Faculty and Staff - June 14, 2023

I hope your summer is off to a great start!

Summer is officially underway, and I hope you are enjoying our casual dress option as well as the summer schedule. I’ve been busy the last few weeks networking with others presidents at the Big South Conference annual meeting, visiting our alumni in Washington, D.C., sharing Winthrop with members of Rotary Club of Charlotte South, welcoming York County high schoolers for STEM camp, and so much more! There’s a lot going on, and I wanted to share with you a few items of interest below:

State Budget

The state’s 2023-24 budget has yet to be finalized. On June 8, South Carolina Budget Conference Committee members reached a deal on the $13 billion state budget. The budget has been in a holding pattern as legislators have been debating on how much money should be set aside to fund a new veterinary school at Clemson. The budget now heads back to the House and Senate where both chambers will have to sign off on it before it heads to Governor McMaster’s desk for final approval. As a reminder, Winthrop has requested nearly $42 million in recurring and non-recurring funds for this next fiscal year for tuition mitigation, campus infrastructure improvements and more. On a very positive note, in the state’s proposed budget, there is money set aside for state employee raises. If the budget is approved as is, state employees earning less than $50,000 a year will receive a $2,500 pay raise. Those earning more would receive a 5% increase. Watch for more detailed information from HR in the coming days as this continues to unfold in Columbia.

New Trustee and Upcoming Board Meeting
The Board of Trustees will welcome its newest member at the upcoming June 22-23 board meetings. Governor McMaster has appointed Winthrop alumnus Richard Lee Jr. ’82 as his designee, and Rick will attend his first meeting this month. Rick replaces Tim Hopkins ’83, ’85, ’00, who served on the board for 12 years as the governor’s designee. I appreciate Tim’s dedicated service to his alma mater as he has served Winthrop in numerous capacities over the years. Read more about Rick in this press release, and please welcome him when you see him on campus. Be on the lookout for the June meeting agenda that will be posted online and provided as a link in email. 

New Programs Under Consideration

Among the items the board will discuss are potential new programs that came out of the Academic Affairs division during a two-day May workshop led by Gray Associates. We need to move on these in phases to get them to market with those most ready (think of our alternative certification pathway for practicing teachers as a similar example) to be top priorities for study and subsequent planning:

Bachelor’s programs – RN to BSN, game design/management/esports, film production, sports tourism, criminal justice, supply chain logistics, neuroscience

Master’s program – business analytics

Doctorate – organizational change

We know part of the strategic plan will be built around offering market-driven, career-ready degrees, so a phased approach to exploring and marketing these programs will get us a running start on implementation.

Orientation in Full Swing

Thanks to our Student Affairs and Admissions staff and others all across campus for their outstanding efforts to welcome our newest class of Eagles and get them ready for the Winthrop experience this fall! We are thankful for every student who has chosen to sign up for Orientation, and I know you have and will make them feel at home and part of the family while they are here.

Facilities News

I would like to acknowledge all the facilities and related activity this summer that shows our significant investment in enhancing the campus for our incoming and current students. Projects include continued campus WiFi upgrades, classroom enhancements, residence hall refreshes, accessibility improvements and much more. Please review the attached PDF that summarizes all of the projects in the works and on the horizon. Thanks again to our facilities staff for all that they do, especially during a busy (and hot) summer. We appreciate you.

Clearly, there are exciting things happening all around us. I will share more information with you on action items from the June 23 Board of Trustees meeting in an update after the meeting. Finally, as a friendly reminder, if you have not yet completed the strategic planning survey, please share your opinions by June 30. Thank you for all you do for Winthrop!


Edward A. Serna