Winthrop University: Meeting of the Winthrop University Board of Trustees
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Board of Trustees
114 Tillman Hall
Rock Hill, SC 29733, USA
803/323-2225
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trustees@winthrop.edu

Meeting of the Winthrop University Board of Trustees

Friday, June 25, 2021| 9:00 a.m.
Richardson Ballroom| DiGiorgio Campus Center
Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC

 

Members present:                  Glenn McCall, Gary Williams, Kathy Bigham, Robby Sisco, Isaiah Venning, Jane LaRoche, Janet Smalley, Randy Imler, Ed Driggers, Julie Fowler, Tim Sease, Sandra Stroman, John Brazell, President George W. Hynd (ex-officio)

Members absent:                    Ashlye Wilkerson, Tim Hopkins

Representatives present:       Brandon Jackson, Adolphus Belk, Jr

Representatives absent:         None

Others present:                        Peter Moroni, Winthrop Foundation chair, media representatives included Matt Kreh from WRHI.


The Board of Trustees met on Friday, June 25, 2021 on the campus of Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC.  


Call to Order

Chair McCall called the meeting to order at 8:45 a.m.  He welcomed all present and delivered an invocation.  

Executive Session

 Tim Sease made a motion with a second from Julie Fowler to move into executive session pursuant to South Carolina Ann. §30-4-70(a)(1) and (2)  for the purpose of discussions of personnel issues and legal matters.  The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.  

Kimberly Faust was invited to remain for the executive session.

Sandra Stroman moved to end executive session.  Jane LaRoche seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous to end executive session with no report.

Recess

Chair McCall recessed the meeting at 11:30 a.m. for a presentation by Interim Vice President for Enrollment and Management, Dr. Jack DeRochi.  

Return to Meeting

Chair McCall reconvened the meeting at 1:00 p.m.

Approval of Minutes of April 9, 2021

Gary Williams moved to accept the minutes as written.   John Brazell seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous in favor of the minutes as written.

Report from the Executive Committee and Chair

Chair McCall brought forth the following two resolutions for meritorious service as recommended by the Executive Committee.

In thanks for his two years of service to the Board of Trustees, a Resolution to Honor Dr. Adolphus Belk, Jr. for Meritorious Service as Faculty Representative to the Winthrop University Board of Trustees was presented.  Needing no second as this resolution was from a committee, Chair McCall called for a vote.  The vote was unanimous in favor of the resolution.

As president of the Council of Student Leaders in 2020-21, Brandon Jackson led the student body through unprecedented times.   In thanks for his service, a Resolution to Honor Mr. Brandon Jackson for Meritorious Service as Student Representative to the Winthrop University Board of Trustees was presented. Needing no second as this resolution was from a committee, Chair McCall called for a vote.  The vote was unanimous in favor of the resolution.

From time to time, a university must review and update its mission statement.  Not only is this a SACSCOC requirement, it is a best practice.  Therefore, a Resolution to Authorize the Interim President and Provost to Lead a Campus-wide Process to Review and Refine Winthrop’s Mission Statement was presented.  Needing no second as this resolution was from a committee, Chair McCall called for a vote.  The vote was unanimous in favor of the resolution.

Annually, the Board of Trustees are charged with evaluating the work of the president by using the Agency Head Salary Commission’s rating system.  In August, six objectives were identified as goals for President Hynd.  Those goals included examining the Winthrop Strategic Plan to assess progress to date and to make changes in the Strategic Plan in the face of the new reality, prepare an Academic Master Plan for program refresh, development, and/or elimination, capture $3 million in salary savings via a furlough plan, to begin the process of creating Facilities Master Plan, to facilitate ongoing conversations with Board of Trustees and Foundation Board to identify and strengthen shared goals, to complete a readiness audit of division of University Advancement and Alumni Relations, and to continue the SACSCOC Reaffirmation Process.

The Executive Committee reviewed progress to date at their meeting on June 11, 2021.  The Committee presented their findings regarding the personnel evaluation of the President to the full Board in executive session earlier today. Therefore, a Resolution Regarding 2020-21 Performance Evaluation for President George W. Hynd was presented for consideration. Dr. Hynd received an “exceeds expectations” and a score of 4.41 out of a possible 5 points by the full Board.  Needing no second as this resolution was from a committee, Chair McCall called for a vote.  The vote was unanimous in favor of the resolution.

As Dr. Hynd’s interim appointment will end on June 30, 2020, the Board must begin to search for the next permanent president. It is the Board of Trustees' intention to appoint the 12th President of Winthrop University who will be charged with building upon and enhancing Winthrop's record of accomplishment and innovation while leading the University to increasing levels of excellence and service. At this critical time when higher education is facing extraordinary obstacles, the Board will seek a president who is qualified to meet the challenges and opportunities at Winthrop University.  A Resolution to Conduct a Presidential Search by establishing a Presidential Search Committee under the leadership of chair Dr. Julie Fowler and a Presidential Search Advisory Group under the leadership of co-chairs Dr. Gloria Jones and Mr. Peter Moroni, was presented for consideration.  Needing no second as this resolution was from a committee, Chair McCall called for a vote.  The vote was unanimous in favor of the resolution.

Recognizing a need for a comprehensive review of the Board’s bylaws in order to determine whether any provisions in the current articles should be eliminated, updated or revised as well as new articles added in order t reflect the changing nature and character of the university, Chair McCall appointed an ad hoc committee to do so.  Under the direction of Committee Chair, Dr. Julie Fowler, the Bylaws Committee consisting of Ed Driggers, Tim Hopkins, Robby Sisco, and Kathy Bigham, conducted the review.  All Trustees as well as internal and external counsel were given the opportunity to review the work resulting in amended and restated bylaws. A 

Resolution Amending Bylaws of the Board of Trustees of Winthrop University was presented for consideration.  Needing no second as this resolution was from a committee, Chair McCall called for a vote.  The vote was unanimous in favor of the resolution.

Report from the President

Dr. Hynd began his report with an update on work with alumni and supporters to keep them connected and supporting the university through their gifts. The success of the Day of Giving is but one small example where Winthrop had 650 donors contributing $72, 600 that one day. Other actions we are taking include reaching out to alumni with Zoom events titled “Hanging with the President.”  Next year we plan to have both in-person and Zoom meeting with our alumni and to link those in-person alumni meetings to student recruitment gatherings.

Although Mr. Evan Bohnen our VP for Advancement has resigned effective June 30, 2021, we continue to build our team in Advancement.  We are now hosting in person events with our supporters at the President’s house. We are finding that despite the transition in senior leadership that donors remain proud of their affiliation and impact at Winthrop. Moving forward, we will work with a consulting firm to provide our deans and senior leadership with a workshop in the early fall on how to develop strategic priorities in friend and fund raising.

The Campus Beautification Initiative was formally kicked off at an event on May 21 at the President’s House.  About 65 supporters attended and to date, over 40 individuals have contributed their resources to this effort.  There have been many mini projects including around the Harden Garden, the artisan well, in front of Joynes Hall, along the south side of the President’s house, around the South gate to the Farm, etc.  We have plans to solicit proposals this next week to redo the fence along Oakland Avenue and completely replace all the tiles between the West Center and Digs. We also have aspirations to replace the pergolas along Scholars Walk with swings and benches. 

Concurrently, we are now in final conversations with the consulting firm that will be responsible for helping us develop a new campus facilities master plan.

Dr. Hynd continued his report by reviewing work on developing a budget model that would update and modernize budgeting practices and allow for more strategic planning in the years ahead.  The goal is to stabilize and right size the budget so that available resources support planning for new academic programs and other strategic initiatives.   We have been working very closely with the university leadership and the Finance Committee to develop a three-year budget model that is based on realistic data regarding our enrollments, staffing needs, and state financial support. 

Dr. Hynd concluded his report by urging the university to consider taking advantage of new state legislation that will permit comprehensive universities to create and implement up to five doctoral programs by possibly offering a doctorate of physical therapy that builds on our exceptional exercise science program, or a doctorate of education in counseling or a doctorate in school psychology.

Report from the Committee on Compensation

Chair Bigham reported on the progress of the search for Vice President of Enrollment Management and Marketing.   The search is underway with eight semi-finalists interviewed for the position via Zoom. Three finalists will be on campus the weeks of July 12, 2021, and July 19, 2021, to interview with several constituency groups. Each candidate will give a public presentation, which will be recorded and available to the campus community for those unable to attend. 

Winthrop continues to follow the Center for Disease Control’s guidelines for masking protocol. Individuals who are fully vaccinated have the option to not wear a mask or physically distance in indoor and outdoor spaces on campus. Those who are not fully vaccinated are required to wear a mask indoors unless working alone in a private office. 

Chair Bigham concluded her report by discussing the state’s revised telecommuting policy, which now requires state agencies to show business need, cost savings, and efficiency when approving an employee for telecommuting. Childcare concerns may not be a consideration when determining eligibility. 

Report from the Committee on Academic Quality

Chair Smalley brought forth a resolution from the committee regarding the awarding of emeriti status to seven retired faculty.  The  retirees are Patricia I. Ballard, Assistant Professor and Cataloging/Medadata Librarian; Dr. Marsha S. Bollinger, Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies and Professor of Geology; Dr. Debra C. Boyd, Provost Emeritus and Associate Professor of English; Dr. Donald F. Friedman, Professor of German; Dr. Peter J. Judge, Chair of Philosophy & Religious Studies and Professor of Religious Studies; Dr. Jonathan Marx, Professor of Sociology; and Dr. Christopher D. Van Aller, Professor of Political Science.  Needing no second as this resolution was from a committee, Chair McCall called for a vote.  The vote was unanimous in favor of the resolution.

Chair Smalley brought forth a second to affirm Winthrop University’s compliance with the Reinforcing College Education on America's Constitutional Heritage (REACH) Act Requirements related to instruction in the Founding Documents of the United States of America. The REACH Act amended South Carolina Code of Laws to address the study of Constitutional heritage at institutions of higher education.  The new Act adds the study of the Emancipation Proclamation and one or more founding documents central to the African American freedom struggle to its previous support for instruction related to our Constitutional heritage.  Needing no second as this resolution was from a committee, Chair McCall called for a vote.  The vote was unanimous in favor of the resolution.  

The Committee received a report on the status of the Academic Master Plan including the program portfolio data, new program outlook from 2021 to 2025, and the transfer pathways with York Technical College. The Committee further discussed the possibility of adding a doctoral program to our program offerings.

The Committee also received an overview of the Southern Association of College and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the compliance certification report, and the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP.)

Report from the Committee on Enrollment and Retention

Chair Fowler began her report by discussing updated enrollment and retention data.  

Dr. DeRochi and Dr. Jamie Cooper presented the collaboration between Enrollment Management and University College to project enrollment based on retention and new/incoming enrollment. This collaboration assessed retention on a year-to-year basis with the changing incoming enrollment being taken into consideration. 

Initial student withdraw data were provided to highlight the areas of opportunities to increase undergraduate enrollment through new student recruitment and retention efforts. 

The Committee discussed the short-term goals designed to help Enrollment Management and Marketing continue collaborations with department across the campus to improve brand awareness and enrollment.   Among those goals is to host prospective students on campus to drive yield rate for Fall 2021 and begin impactful Fall 2022 recruitment cycle.  The Office of Admissions held new and recurring events throughout Spring and Summer. Fall event plans are in the works to have students and families back on campus. 

Chair Fowler concluded her report with a summary of the updated recruitment plan for Fall 2022 travel, events and outreach. Changes include adding four new positions to the recruitment team to achieve optimal enrollment in target markets and add support in the office, increase travel and outreach to specific enrollment-driving markets, and allow for additional engagement with special groups.

Committee on Finance

Chair Imler began his report with an update on the FY2020-21 external audit process. Mr. Ben Mr. Ben Kochenower confirmed the compliance supplement for last year’s federal audit came out late (December 2020/January 2021) therefore, his firm continues to work on the audit and a full report will be presented in October 2021.

The Committee reviewed the current FY2021 budget that ended with a deficit of $1.5M in operations.  He stated that the University received Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) of $9M in FY2021 and $7.5M for FY2022.  Those funds were used to cover revenue declines due to COVID-19.  

Typically, the Courtyard transfers about $100,000 each year into Winthrop’s operating budget.  However, due to low vacancy rates and refunds, the Courtyard did not meet the debt ratio, therefore were not able to make a transfer last year, further reducing the operating budget. 

Due to unknown revenues related to enrollment expectations, the Committee recommends deferring the budget approval until late July.

Chair McCall accepted a motion from Gary Williams to hold undergraduate tuition flat, increase on-campus graduate programs by 1%, increase room fees by 2.4%, and increase meal plan fees by 3.5%.  Sandra Stroman seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous in favor of the resolution.  

Committee Chair Imler concluded his report with information about on-going capital projects.  Phase 1 of the Joynes Hall Renovation has been approved by the state and Phase 2 has been submitted and is projected to be approved in August.  Renovations of Joynes are expected to begin November 2021 with completion in May 2022.  Upon completion, the Alumni, Development, and Foundation offices would be housed in Joynes along with Admissions.

The Committee reviewed the Comprehensive Permanent Improvement Plan (CPIP). Currently, projects listed on this plan total $120M.  

Committee on Institutional Advancement and Development

Chair Sease reported on the update from University Communications and Marketing regarding marketing.  Our contract with Carnegie Dartlet can be expanded to enable direct campaigning to students, allow additional traditional search opportunities, and offer much more without procuring a new request for proposal. The use of non-recurring funds could enhance facilities and aesthetics, and provide opportunities to build up departments for specialized training in areas of photography, videography, website enhancement, and copywriting for staff. Three budget scenarios of $130,000; $250,000 and $350,000 were presented. The marketing breakdown included line items for digital marketing, specific marketing for college programs, non-traditional marketing, and other marketing areas. The ideal budget of $350,000 would make everything seamless and provide overall growth potential.

Good news from the Foundation showed receipt of $13.5 million of which $10 million was investment earnings and $3 million for gifts received. The Foundation paid out $1.9 million in scholarships to the university. The Portfolio Analysis revealed that as of May 31 Foundation has total assets of $80,538,967. The quasi-endowment, also known as the Winthrop Endowment, consisted of $2.4 million. There are currently 444 endowed funds, none of which are underwater. A total of $5.3 million is available for the 2021-2022 academic year. The General Fund had a surplus of $220,000 including $130,000 allocated to general scholarships, $50,000 for consulting work for use by Dr. Hynd, and $20,000 for general programing. Mrs. Embry further reported that the Investment Policy Statement consisted of 60% Stocks, 35% Bonds and 5% Alternatives.     

Annual giving year-to-date in 2021 has received 2,554 gifts from 1,857 donors, raising over $779,340.  Spring phonathon commitments surpassed $60,000.  While the Campus Beautification Initiative has raised over $40,000 to date.  Chair Sease challenged the Trustees to donate to the effort by stating he would match gift totals to $900.  Within a few minutes, the remaining Trustees pledged gifts totaling over $900 in order to meet Mr. Sease’s challenge.

Committee on Student Life and Athletics

In the absence of Chair Tim Hopkins, Mr. Robby Sisco reported on information shared at the Committee meeting.  Current Orientation numbers show new freshmen at 840 and transfers at 202.  Numbers are trending lower than last year. 

Current housing numbers show continuing students at 1023 and new students (freshmen and transfers) at 705 totaling 1728.  Housing numbers are trending a lower than last year and previous years. Available beds on campus are 2050.  

Student Affairs is working with Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management on additional communications to new and continuing students aimed to increase yields in Orientation reservations and Housing contracts. Increased communication will address financial aid, emergency funding, and the in person campus experience for Fall 2021.

Residence Hall move-in will be socially distanced over four days with limited helpers. Freshmen check-in will be August 19th and 20th. Upper classmen move-in is August 21st and 22nd. The check in process will begin at the Coliseum. After testing and/or vaccination status is checked, students and their helpers will proceed to the halls for a move-in. Move-in assistance will be limited to two people per student. 

In Fall 2021, we will be reopening common spaces, allowing guests, re-engaging group programming in the residence halls. For dining services, food service staff will continue to wear masks, social distancing in dining area seating and lines will be retained, and alternative food deliveries will continue as well.  Grab and Go options and individually packaged food will continue to be available. 

The campus is returning to primarily in-person programming with hybrid or virtual options and opportunities for students who are uncomfortable with close contact with others, or when space restrictions occur.  

Student Affairs is working on a collaboration with Veteran’s Bridge Home to provide increased veteran and military student support and engagement.  A number of free resources wrap around services, professional development, and training will be provided to veteran and military students and the staff who support them.

Report of Faculty Representative

Dr. Adolphus Belk began his report by mentioning the recent tragedy that befell Dr. Lesslie and his family.  Dr. Robert Lesslie was, for more than 25 years, our supervising physician/medical director here at Winthrop, providing oversight to Health Services and supervising our nursing staff.  

Dr. Belk provided an update on recent actions of the faculty conference.  The Faculty Conference held an emergency session on April 12 to consider a resolution in support of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander faculty, staff, and students at Winthrop University and two motions from Academic Council to promote student retention and graduation.   The first motion was to waive six cultural events credits for August 2021 graduates.  The second motion was to adjust the S/U policy for Spring 2021.  This change will allow a maximum of two (2) elected S/U grades in Spring 2021. Current policy allows a maximum of one (1) elected S/U grade. The overall (WU career) total of five (5) elected S/U grades will remain unchanged.

Dr. Belk reported on issues of concern of faculty.  Those concerns include: 

·         The timeline and search process for the 12th president of Winthrop University.

·         The university’s public health procedures and practices that will govern the return to campus for the 2021-2022  academic year.

·         Implementation of the class and compensation study.

·         Status of the search for a next V.P. for Enrollment Management and Marketing.

·         The search process for the next Title IX administrator and the handling of Title IX cases.

·         The status of the request to the state legislature to restore the name of the main administration building.

Report of Student Representative

Mr. Brandon Jackson began his report discussing Common Time. Brandon reported that Common Time on the Green, offered on the last Spring Break Day in April 2021, was successful. The event introduced new students to and reminded returning students of the Common Time experience at Winthrop. Common Time has historically been an important time for students to socialize, attend meetings, finish projects, connect with other students, etc. Common Time was suspended for the 2020-2021 academic year due to COVID-19 and the schedule more, smaller classes.  That being said, Brandon strongly encouraged the administration to resume Common Time at the start of the Spring 2022 semester.

Brandon also mentioned that students are looking forward to see changes in the transparency of Title IX practices and procedures on campus.  Students are specifically looking for the action steps, follow up, and the follow through on the commitments made by the President. 

To conclude his report, Brandon introduced Erin Emiroglu, the new President of CSL and Vice President, Miguel Caldwell. He expressed that they are both looking forward to leading and serving. The team already has ideas to make student government more visible on campus.

Report on the Nominating Committee Regarding Election of Officers 

Trustee Sandra Stroman assumed leadership of the meeting during the nomination and election of officers.  She called upon Dr. Julie Fowler as chair of the committee that included Ms. Stroman and Mr. Isaiah Venning, to announce the nominated slate of officers.  Glenn McCall was nominated as chair and Kathy Bigham was nominated as vice chair.  As this was a recommendation from a committee, no second was needed.  Ms. Stroman called for the vote.  The vote was unanimous in favor of the nominated slate.

Adjournment

Hearing no objections, Chair McCall adjourned the meeting at 2:38 p.m.

 

Minutes submitted by Kimberly A. Faust, Secretary to the Board 

Last Updated: 10/4/21