Faculty and Staff - June 29, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

I hope this message finds each of you well and enjoying the first official days of summer. As you may know, last week the Board of Trustees visited campus, and I want to share with you some meeting updates. All of this information is available online, but here are the highlights:

·Trustees voted to move forward with the search for Winthrop’s 12th president, which will be led by Trustee Julie Fowler and include the full board as the search committee. This news release shares additional details, and I understand that the first update to the campus community will be sent later this week.  

·They voted to once again hold the line on tuition with no increase for the 2021-22 academic year. Read the news release for additional details.

·Members reaffirmed the university’s mission statement, introduced a new campus-wide process for mission review every five years, and charged Provost Adrienne McCormick and myself with completing a review in the next eight months. 

·The board was informed of the latest tenure and promotion decisions coming from Academic Affairs and conferred faculty emeritus status on seven of our retiring friends. 

·They also recognized the service of Adolphus Belk Jr., outgoing faculty chair, and Brandon Jackson, outgoing chair of the Council of Student Leaders.

·Members affirmed Winthrop’s compliance with the REACH Act which relates to instruction about the United States’ founding documents.

·Trustees elected Chairman Glenn McCall and Vice Chair Kathy Bigham to two-year terms beginning July 1. Read more in this news release.

·They revised their bylaws with the most substantive changes being to: 

oReduce the number of committees from six to four: Finance; Facilities and Planning; External Affairs; and Academics, Student Affairs and Enrollment; and to define the duties of each committee. Trustees will serve two-year terms on each committee. 

oReaffirm expectations for board meeting attendance. 

oElect officers for two-year terms. Members may be eligible for re-election for no more than two additional consecutive terms, for a total of six years. 

oClarify language about faculty and student liaisons to the board, plus add a staff liaison.

The revision to include the voice of staff in discussions with trustees has been a long time coming, and I look forward to working with our three liaisons — Professor Jennifer Jordan of the Richard W. Riley College of Education, faculty; John Kroft, records and registration coordinator, staff; and Erin Emiroglu, student — to keep the board fully informed of their respective constituents’ concerns.  

While the finance committee had extensive discussion about the 2021-22 budget, there was no action as the board desires more clarity on enrollment numbers before committing to a final budget. The committee was pleased with the 2021 year end forecast, and while we will still have an operating deficit, things could have been much worse. 

Enrollment continues to be a concern. Dr. Jack DeRochi presented a sobering report to Trustees that underscored the need to rightsize our enrollment outlook given the trends we are seeing among our peers and experiencing first hand. 

I also want you to be aware of some changes in our administrative team that will be taking place this week. Evan Bohnen has resigned his position as vice president for university advancement, and Dr. Jack Dr.Rochi will be leading the division until our permanent president is in place who will then decide on the timing of an appropriate search. Candidates for the new vice president for enrollment management and marketing position will be visiting campus next month. Until a new vice president is named, Dr. Amanda James will provide the administrative leadership necessary for the division. Watch for more on that from Lisa Cowart and Zan Jones, search committee chairs. 

In other news, Orientation is in full swing, and we can’t wait to see students back on campus for Eagles Landing in August. As I have said, we look forward to a more normal Winthrop experience in the fall, but there is still much to do to help ensure a healthy and safe campus environment. More to come on that next month. 

I know you are all eager to hear about the 2.5 percent pay raise for state employees. This bright spot in compensation comes at a busy time for the payroll folks because of our furlough plan ending this month. Please be on the lookout for a detailed message from HR about this increase and what you will see in your paycheck when. 

Finally and on another bright note, the water fountains in campus buildings will be flowing again soon. Signage will be posted on safe use of the fountains, but I know you join me in appreciating yet another indicator that normalcy is returning slowly but surely to the Winthrop campus.

Thank you for all that you have done and will continue to do for this fine institution.  

With warm regards,


George W. Hynd
Interim President