Faculty and Staff - January 13, 2023

Welcome back!

I hope you had a restful and revitalizing winter break, and that the spring semester has gotten off to a smooth start! As we approach the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend I’d like to note that our students, faculty and staff are continuing the tradition of service by participating in nearly 10 projects from Jan. 13-20. Some are volunteering at Pilgrims’ Inn, the Adult Enrichment Center and Freedom Montessori, and some are participating in on-campus clean-up opportunities and tree plantings, among other projects. If you’re interested, you can volunteer for a project here. Thank you to everyone who has had a hand in coordinating and implementing this important continuation of our service to others.

As I typically do in my monthly update, I’d like to share the following items of interest:

Leadership Updates
On Jan. 17, Kevin Hughes will begin his new role as vice president for university advancement. Jack DeRochi, who has held that interim role, will return to his former position as dean of the Graduate School, and Greg Oakes, who has served as acting dean of the Graduate School, will assume his previous role as associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Thanks to Jack and Greg for their leadership in these areas, and please join me in welcoming Kevin when you see him on campus.

Provost Search

As mentioned previously, the Provost position will close Jan. 17. Our partners at Myers McRae are assisting with the search. The soon-to-be-announced search committee will be led by Professor Emerita Dr. Marsha Bollinger.  The search committee will be comprised of six faculty (chosen by faculty conference), two staff (chosen by staff conference), three presidential appointees, and the chair. 

The committee’s charge will be to review all applications and interview candidates in order to present three to four finalists.  The finalists will be invited to campus for additional interviews, public presentations, and meet and greets, likely in February or early March. The groups who participate in the campus interviews will be asked to provide feedback, and all will be able to share their thoughts following the finalists’ campus presentations.

Institutional Updates

We have nearly completed negotiations for our strategic planning consultant, and I hope to be able to announce that and our new general counsel soon. Gray Associates will share the instructional economics data they have compiled at an academic leadership workshop Jan. 31. The workshop and final report, which will be shared with you all, will help support and inform our decision-making about our academic portfolio moving forward. The Campus Master Plan is nearly complete and I expect will be released campus wide by the end of the month.

Campus Facilities Work

Like several universities around the state, Winthrop dealt with side effects from the bitter cold temperatures we experienced at the start of the winter break. McLaurin Hall experienced a third-floor fire sprinkler pipe break on Christmas Day. Clean up began quickly, and significant work was done in order for the space to be used for the start of the semester. I am pleased to say that the DiGs lower plaza work is wrapping up, some swings on Scholars Walk are being installed this week, several areas of campus benefitted from our latest round of pressure washing, and roadway striping is proceeding as the weather allows. On the IT front, Rutledge and Lee Wicker Wi-Fi upgrades are complete, and more emergency phones have been replaced (for a total of six that are up and running). As always, thank you to our hard-working facilities and IT staff, as well as our contractors, for their efforts!

Ask Me Anything Sessions
Last semester I enjoyed hosting several Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions where students could drop by and inquire about topics of interest to them. It also gave me the opportunity to chat with faculty and staff who dropped by as well. I’m offering four more AMAs this semester and encourage you and our students to drop by Markley’s during Common Time on Jan. 26. Vice President for Finance and Business Justin Oates will be joining me for this session as we focus the conversations around Winthrop’s budget. Other sessions will follow later this semester. Also, please also encourage your students to take advantage of my in-person office hours, the next of which is Jan. 19, if they desire.

Thank you for helping get the semester started off right. I look forward to seeing you around campus soon!


Edward A. Serna