Faculty and Staff - January 17, 2024

Many of you have seen mentions of Winthrop in recent news stories referencing Governor Henry McMaster’s budget allocation of $3 million for a study on higher education governance. As I have shared with Winthrop alumni and friends who have asked, I welcome the opportunity to share all the progress we are making at Winthrop. I’ve said since my first interview for this job two years ago, we need to do a better job of telling our unique story and sharing our successes. I’m happy to talk about launching our new strategic plan, our enrollment and retention gains, our facilities master plan, our tuition transparency initiative, our economic impact study, and workforce development through Competency Based Education and new academic programs that appeal to prospective students and employers, among others. 

The Winthrop story is not only unique, it is built on a successful past, with a future aimed toward sustained relevance in a quickly changing world. We are now better positioned than we have been in decades to showcase our mission, vision and values and how we are united in a new era of excellence at Winthrop. If you receive questions from friends, neighbors or community members, please share my thoughts with them. 

In other news, I want to mention the following:

This week Sebastian van Delden joins us as Provost. His experience, charisma and enthusiasm will undoubtedly serve us well. He is eager to contribute to Winthrop’s long-term success and is aware of the hard but important work ahead of us as outlined in our new strategic plan.  Read more about Sebastian here, and please welcome him when you see him around campus. I’m also pleased that we have managed to talk Peter Judge into staying around a little while longer to aid in Sebastian’s transition. 

Speaking of the strategic plan, which was approved by the Board of Trustees last month, I’m happy to say that it is now in the hands of our VPs who are actively working on the implementation portion, taking BRG’s extensive recommendations and forming our specific year-over-year objectives, tactics and key performance indicators. More on our plan launch is coming soon.

We also are close to sharing the results of the Korn Ferry employee satisfaction survey. Be looking for more information from me before the end of January. 

Big game tomorrow as our men’s basketball team plays UNC Asheville at the Coliseum at 7 p.m. The Eagles are currently ranked #1 in conference play, while the Bulldogs were top ranked in the preseason and are the returning BSC champions. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN-U, but we really want the Coliseum filled. So I’m proclaiming tomorrow a Garnet and Gold Thursday and want to see you in your Eagle spirit wear at work and at the game if you can make it! Athletics will be tabling in DiGs from 10 a.m.-noon, giving students the chance to win promotional gear, Apple products, and more. Please encourage your students to stop by as well as attend the game!

Finally, a couple of points of pride as we get the semester underway: we have more than 60 students participating in five Martin Luther King Jr. service projects this week, and the latest iteration of our Investing in Winthrop piece is attached for your reference. 

Here’s to a productive and fulfilling spring semester! Please know your work is meaningful and helping Winthrop make progress toward its goals. 


Edward A. Serna