Faculty and Staff - January 19, 2021

Dear Colleagues:

I hope this first monthly update of 2021 finds you healthy and enjoying a smooth start to the spring semester. This week is special in that instead of our traditional, one day of designated service to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Winthrop is honoring the civil rights icon with a full week of service opportunities. Our students are volunteering throughout the week at various agencies off campus as well as performing service on campus. I want to thank everyone involved who helped coordinate this important effort and all that goes into it.  

Additional updates I want to share with you include:

Student Return Testing

While we had some challenges initially with the accuracy of the student return testing non-compliance list (and I do apologize for that), I’m pleased to say that the bugs were quickly worked out, and we have our students moved in and back ready for classes this week. I will add that our return testing requirement worked, as 71 students (as of today) tested positive and were provided instructions on a delayed return to campus. Without our negative test requirement, these students would otherwise be on campus and potentially spread the virus. My sincere thanks to all who worked on the significant, coordinated effort to administer the requirement and manage the results.

Vaccine Update

It has been encouraging to see that people throughout our state are signing up for and receiving the vaccine, particularly our healthcare workers, first responders, and those who are over 70 years of age. As I mentioned last week, higher education employees will be included in Phase 1b. We continue to work with SCDHEC on the possibilities for our campus community. We are exploring every avenue to bring the vaccine to campus. I will share more information as it is available.

House Ways & Means Higher Education and Technical Colleges Subcommittee Presentation
On Jan. 12 I traveled to Columbia to update subcommittee members on Winthrop’s needs as reflected in our budget requests for fiscal year 2022. Our next step is presenting our needs to the Senate Higher Education Subcommittee. The following are consistent with what I shared with you in October:

Recurring Requests

  • $2,000,000 for operation support of STEAM disciplines
  • $280,000 for programming in three areas that address student support, precollege programs and transfer pathways 

Non-Recurring Requests

  • $16,100,000 for maintaining campus infrastructure (includes addressing roof, mechanical, plumbing and electrical updates in more than five buildings and improving Wi-Fi coverage in classrooms)
    $9,000,000 for Arts & Technologies Facility Additions/Renovations (to upgrade our existing infrastructure and build an interdisciplinary technology facility to support student experiential learning for career preparation in the expanding music, performance and software industries)
  • $9,000,000 for renovating and expanding the Winthrop University Science Complex
  • $7,000,000 for Dacus Library renovations
  • $2,230,000 for instructional scientific equipment replacement

Campus Master Plan Update

As I noted in November’s State of the University address, one of the important initiatives that we will undertake this year is the creation of the Campus Master Plan. Before the winter break, a cross-campus committee submitted an RFP that will ultimately lead to the selection of a consultant team that will engage the campus in an interactive process to address a wide array of planning issues in the development of a prioritized, phased master facility plan for Winthrop. The Campus Master Plan will analyze student housing needs; academic and academic support space needs; athletic and recreational needs; landscape and site improvement plans addressing pedestrian and vehicular circulation, public transportation, parking, open space, signage, lighting, etc. During the planning process, the consultant team will be gathering information from a variety of participants including students, faculty and staff, alumni, administration, trustees, city of Rock Hill officials and community members, York County officials, and others.   

The consultant team should be identified by Feb. 1, and the Campus Master Plan process will get underway with the goal of completing and publishing the plan by August.

I would like to thank the committee members for their hard work on this important initiative that will serve Winthrop for the next 10-20 years. Committee members are Chris Johnson, facilities management, co-chair; Kimberly Faust, president’s office, co-chair; Ben Roach, facilities management; Jeff Bellantoni, visual and performing arts; Meg Webber, academic affairs; Wes Love, facilities management; Lori Tuttle, alumni relations; Hank Harrawood, athletics; Grant Scurry, student affairs; Howard Seidler, residence life; Megan Rolf, access and enrollment management; and Taylor Steward, student representative.

Campus Beautification Initiative

In addition to the Campus Master Plan, another vital initiative included in the State of the University address is one that focuses on campus beautification. Ours is an extraordinarily beautiful university campus, and its appearance reflects how we present Winthrop to our prospective and current students, alumni, employees, and community. The Campus Beautification Initiative will offer the opportunity for all of us to participate in respecting our institution’s history by contributing energy, vision and engagement. The committee that will spearhead this initiative is currently being formed, and it will be led by Jeff Bellantoni. Please watch for more information that will be shared soon on how you can be involved.

Administrative Changes

Before we get too far into the semester, I wanted to alert you to a few changes in reporting lines for my office and announce a restructuring of Winthrop leadership meetings. These changes are being made to more efficiently manage the university’s overall operations and the work of a few specific areas.

Beginning this month, the offices of University Counsel and University Events will report to Kimberly Faust. Kimberly will continue to serve as the Chief of Staff and Secretary to the Board, supervise University Communications and Marketing, and serve as our point person for Governmental and Community Relations. Internal Audit will report directly to me and Board of Trustees Chair Glenn McCall.

I have also tapped Kimberly to lead University Counsel, Student Affairs, and HR in developing a new university-wide Title IX compliance and investigation structure resulting in a shift of Title IX coordinator duties to the Office of University Counsel.

In regards to leadership meetings, we began last week with a new structure for these which involves the following teams: Executive Officers, Cabinet, and Senior Leaders. You will soon see the breakout of these on my website. I believe these gatherings will help us be more focused, productive, and inclusive as we pursue the ongoing work of the university.

Eagles Undefeated!

Following last week’s two wins against Longwood, the men’s basketball team continues to hold an undefeated record going into tonight and tomorrow’s games with Presbyterian. The Eagles are enjoying their best start ever (13-0) and the longest Division I winning streak in the nation, despite the challenges of the pandemic. We wish them continued success!

Thank you for reading this lengthy update and for doing your part everyday – wearing a mask, social distancing and practicing good hygiene – to help us start the spring semester on the right track.


George W. Hynd
Interim President