Faculty and Staff - August 15, 2019

Dear Colleagues:

It’s time to welcome another academic year. It’s hard to believe that the summer went by so quickly, but I hope that you enjoyed time with family and friends, and that you are rested, recharged and ready to welcome our students who are arriving this week. The first few weeks of the semester are very busy, so I wanted to update you on a few items of interest:

Faculty and Staff Welcome Reception

Thanks to those of you who attended Monday’s President’s Welcome. It was good to talk with so many of you, welcome our newest members of the Winthrop community and celebrate the achievements of 2018-19. We also got excited for 2019-20 and heard from several colleagues on what they’re most looking forward to this academic year. As always, I appreciate your work over the summer and every day, as we stay focused on providing our students with the best possible Winthrop experience. 

Convocation and Welcome Week

We will officially kick off Winthrop’s 134th academic year with our Aug. 19 Convocation ceremony. Please note that, due to Byrnes Auditorium construction, this year’s event will be held at 11 a.m. at the Winthrop Coliseum. Convocation is a special time as we officially welcome our freshman class and transfer students into the Winthrop family of learners. Jay Karen ’96, the chief executive officer of the National Golf Course Owners Association, will deliver the Convocation keynote speech. The traditional community picnic will follow outside the coliseum. While the university will not officially close for Convocation and the picnic, all faculty and staff are encouraged to attend. A more detailed message regarding employee attendance and office staffing will be sent from Vice President Lisa Cowart later today.

As always, the DiGiorgio Student Union has lined up a variety of fun activities during Welcome Week. Take a look at the schedule and plan to attend an event or two.

Academic Affairs Updates

It is hard to believe, but we are close to launching the decennial review process for SACS/COC since our next reaffirmation of accreditation will be in 2022. I am pleased to announce that Noreen Gaubatz will be serving as liaison this year while we search for a new vice provost for institutional research and effectiveness. Karen Jones was the SACS/COC liaison for many years, in addition to her leadership of AAAS, and she will be leaving Winthrop at the end of 2019.

The division also will launch a search for a new vice provost for student success, who will replace and also serve as dean of University College. This person will be a key player in coordinating existing and launching new retention efforts. University College has grown and sharpened its focus in recent years through the good work of Gloria Jones, who also will conclude her time as dean at the end of 2019. We appreciate both of these longtime employees’ years of dedicated service to Winthrop.

The division is streamlining its organization and will not replace former vice provost Takita Sumter who became dean of the College of Arts and Sciences over the summer. Meg Webber will expand her role and become vice provost for academic affairs and executive director of the Center for Professional Excellence, effective immediately.

The division is launching the process for appointing the ombuds position this fall. You may recall that Winthrop having such a position has been discussed for a few years and most recently was endorsed by both the faculty and staff conferences, as both bodies concurred that an ombuds would enhance employee satisfaction.  

Grier Professorship Appointment

Every four years the College of Business Administration recognizes one of its members as the William H. Grier Professor of Business Administration. I’m pleased to announce that Professor of Marketing Cara Peters has been awarded the Grier Professorship, which was established in 1993, for 2019-23. Cara’s record of exceptional teaching, prolific scholarly output and significant service made her a worthy recipient of this honor. Read more about the professorship and Cara’s selection in the press release that went out today, and please congratulate Cara when you see her.

Faculty and Staff Conferences

The first Faculty Conference meeting of the academic year is on Friday, Aug. 16, at 2 p.m. in Plowden Auditorium. The first Staff Conference of the academic year will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 27, at 2 p.m. in Dina’s Place.

Campus Safety Week

A cross-campus committee has been meeting this summer and will soon announce the schedule for Campus Safety Week, a new university undertaking which will be held Sept. 16-20. Watch for more information on this week of activities that will help shine a light on the many and varied aspects of our safety and security for the coming year.   

State of the University Address Invitation
A more formal email invitation will be coming soon, but I would like for you to save the date of Tuesday, Oct. 29, for the university’s fourth annual State of the University address. During my 11:15 a.m. presentation in Richardson Ballroom, I will update you on our Winthrop Plan progress and share additional information related to our campus-wide strategic plan efforts. 

As always, thank you for all that you do for Winthrop. I look forward to another successful fall semester.