Faculty and Staff - April 16, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

I know this is a busy time of the academic year for everyone, but before this week gets away from me, I wanted to touch base on a few items of interest…

April Board of Trustees Action
During an April 9 Board of Trustees meeting, trustees voted to:

  • extend the temporary suspension of standardized test results as a student admissions requirement for two additional academic years. The current temporary requirements now will be in place through fall 2023.
  • set fees for three new online graduate courses that start this fall: M.S. Human Nutrition, M.S. Sport and Fitness Administration; and M.Ed. Literacy.
  • set the in-state M.B.A. rate the same as the online M.B.A. rate so campus-based students can register for the online courses. This will allow for greater efficiency and will allow the College of Business Administration to market the program in three formats: online, in-seat and flexible.
  • reinstate a one-time $400 fee to support the Learning Excellent Academic Practices (LEAP) program.
  • refine the university’s policy in gift naming of facilities, units and positions so that such opportunities are more equitable, consistent and appropriate across the university, as reflective of best practice.

Trustees also charged me with submitting a robust strategic marketing plan for the university by their June meeting, and I look forward to sharing that plan with them soon. Finally, trustees received an update from Justin Oates, vice president for finance and business affairs/CEO, on various facilities projects happening across the university. You also may read the press release that contains the board’s action.

Second Annual Day of Understanding
The Diversity Council and the Office of the President sponsored the second annual Day of Understanding event yesterday to celebrate PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion. The 11 a.m. virtual event was an enlightening and meaningful conversation that included three of our colleagues sharing “Moments of Bravery” and their personal experiences with bias. The speakers included: Duha Hamed, assistant professor of mathematics; Hye-Sung Kim, assistant professor of political science; and Brandon Ranallo–Benavidez, assistant professor of political science. I thank the speakers and everyone involved with the event for their efforts. We heard some great ideas on seeking out and encouraging connections, as well as received the challenge to do our parts to better understand colleagues, neighbors and acquaintances.

SOURCE Annual Event
As you know, we tout Winthrop’s undergraduate research experience as a unique opportunity that spans across all disciplines for freshmen through seniors. You can virtually check out more than 160 research projects from 200 of our students at the annual Showcase of Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors (SOURCE) event TODAY beginning at 11:30 a.m. Dr. Marc Suchard from UCLA will deliver the virtual Plenary Session at 1:30 p.m. on Reliable Evidence from Data Science in Healthcare. The Plenary Session, as well as all other presentations, will be available via Zoom. My appreciation goes to Dr. Nicholas Grossoehme, professor of chemistry, for coordinating this impressive effort. View the day’s schedule.

Faculty/Staff/Retirees Ceremony Reminder

Please join me on Tuesday, April 27, at 9:30 a.m. on the front lawn of Byrnes Auditorium to celebrate and recognize the achievements of our retirees, service award recipients, and winners of the Award of Excellence, Staff Member of the Year Award, Faculty Student Life Award and Mary Spann Richardson Award. It will be wonderful to see everyone safely gathered for such a celebratory time! I look forward to seeing you there.

In-Person Commencement

It’s hard to believe that spring semester classes will be completed in less than two weeks. We are now in that sprint to the end-of-semester finish line that includes completing classes, exams, grading and Commencement. We are expecting nearly 750 undergraduates and 230 graduate students to graduate in May. With multiple Commencement ceremonies slated May 6-8, we anticipate around 160-170 students at each ceremony in order to safely accommodate our graduates and their families. This is always a very special milestone for our students, and I am so thankful that we could provide them with a more traditional celebration. As always, I thank you for the important role you play in helping our students reach this special moment in their lives.

Finally, I want to thank those of you who are helping our students navigate their feelings and find their voices regarding the safety and security of our campus, especially as it relates to sexual harassment and discrimination. Listening to and responding to student concerns will continue to be a priority for this administration. As always, I appreciate your work and all that you do for this university.



George W. Hynd

Interim President