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Faculty and Staff

September 18, 2017

Dear Colleagues:

The fall semester is well underway, and I want to thank you for your part in helping the university have such a smooth and successful start to the academic year. Your participation in Convocation, Welcome Week and other events extended a warm Winthrop welcome to our new students. I’m confident that same spirit of camaraderie will serve our students well in the classroom and beyond this semester.

I wanted to take just a moment to update you on a few items. In fact, I will be sending you an email each month that provides updates that are important to you as faculty and staff members. This month’s key takeaways include:

Accolades
We have once again been mentioned in U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” edition as well as in the Princeton Review’s “2018 Best Colleges: Region By Region” online resource. In U.S. News, Winthrop retained its spot among the South’s top 10 public regional universities that convey bachelor's and master's degrees for 2018. Ranking eighth among Southern publics, we moved into the top 25 of public and private institutions in the region. The rankings cited our increased graduation rate from 55 to 58 percent and our climb from 19th to 17th on the regional list of Best Colleges for Veterans.

The Princeton Review included us in its annual list of 140 regional universities, and Winthrop was praised for its diverse student body and beautiful campus. While we don’t chase these rankings, we’re pleased that our efforts and student-focused Winthrop experience are consistently noted. Thanks to each of you for your contributions to these recognitions.

Branding
Over the past several months, our marketing team has been working with FMB Advertising on a university-wide rebranding initiative. Last spring FMB conducted brand perception research with multiple university constituencies to identify Winthrop's strengths. These insights help to hone our brand messaging to better resonate with and attract prospective students, in support of our Winthrop Plan enrollment goal.

Currently, we are developing our brand positioning and evolving our visual identity. We have been consulting groups both on and off campus for feedback on our current direction which we will use as a guide as we move forward. Over the next couple of months, we expect to share the results of our FMB partnership with the campus community.

Newest Trustee
The Winthrop Board of Trustees welcomed its newest member, Sandra Stroman, this fall. Sandra was elected to a six-year term by the South Carolina General Assembly for an at-large seat previously held by Sue Smith-Rex, a Winthrop professor emerita of education. Sandra, who is retired from the Chester school district, taught special education and social studies for 25 years and is National Board certified in special education and learning disabilities. She holds a communications undergraduate degree and a special education graduate degree, both from Winthrop.

Please join me in welcoming Sandra to the board when you see her on campus, and a special thanks to Sue for her many years of dedicated service to Winthrop.

Strategic Plan Working Groups
Five working groups will soon begin meeting to continue our progress on the goals outlined in the Winthrop Plan. The working groups focus on initiatives related to the goals of the strategic plan: enrollment and retention; culture of innovation and new programs; faculty and staff recruitment and retention; facilities, technology, and budget; and advancement. The creation of these working groups will assist us in continuing the good work that already has been accomplished in the last year, in addition to providing an additional layer of transparency throughout this process. Thanks to those who have willingly given of their time to serve on these important groups.

State of the University Address Invitation
A more formal email invitation will be coming to you shortly, but I would like for you to save the date of Thursday, Oct. 5, for the university’s second annual State of the University address. During my 11 a.m. presentation in Byrnes Auditorium, I will update you on our Winthrop Plan progress and share additional information related to our campus-wide strategic plan efforts.

As always, thank you for all that you do for Winthrop. I appreciate your support as we work together on Winthrop’s behalf.

IN THE HEART OF THE CAROLINAS
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