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Minutes of the Winthrop University Board of Trustees

October 16, 2015

Members present: Kathy Bigham, Karl Folkens, Glenn McCall, Jane LaRoche, Susan Smith-Rex, Janet Smalley, Tim Hopkins, Don Long, Randy Imler, Donna Glenn Holley, Ashlye Wilkerson, Scott Talley, Tim Sease, Julie Fowler, and Dan Mahony (ex officio).

Members absent: Scott Middleton

Representatives present: Ray McKetty, Student Representative; John Bird, Faculty Representative

Representatives absent:
None

Others present: Mike Crowder, WRHI; members of Winthrop faculty and staff

The Board of Trustees met on Friday, October 16, 2015 on the campus of Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC.

Public Comment
There were no requests for public comment.

Call to Order
Chair Bigham called the meeting to order at 1:04 p.m. She welcomed all present including Marc Bogan, president of the Winthrop University Foundation and Grant Scurry and Maria D’Agostino, chair and vice chair, respectively, of the Winthrop Staff Assembly.

Approval of Minutes

Janet Smalley moved to accept the minutes from the meetings of August 24, 2015. Tim Hopkins seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous in favor of the minutes as submitted.

Executive Session
Don Long moved with a second from Tim Sease that the Board meet in executive session for the purposes of discussion of employment and compensation matters involving certain current university employees and to discuss negotiations incident to proposed contractual arrangements concerning the possible purchase, lease, and sale of real property. The vote was unanimous. Kimberly Faust, John Bird, and Ray McKetty were invited to remain for the executive session. Jane LaRoche moved the Board end executive session, Julie Fowler seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously by voice vote. No actions were taken in executive session.

Return to Public Session

Report of the Executive Committee and Chair of the Board

Chair Bigham reported on the Executive Committee’s meeting in August 2015. They plan to meet again in December for an informal mid-year evaluation of President Mahony. This meeting will be an opportunity for both the Executive Committee and the President to receive feedback rather than waiting until the end of the academic year.

Report from the Committee on Compensation

Chair Smalley began her report with an update on the continuing work of the competitive compensation study. The committee plans to meet with the President and Provost in early November to review the data and discuss next steps of the process. In addition to the $200,000 in the budget for employee compensation, the committee reviewed other ways to generate improved faculty and staff morale.

As the division of Human Resources, Employee Diversity, and Wellness is only a few days in existence, Vice President Lisa Cowart has planned a working retreat to discuss strategies for the new division and ways to create efficiencies. The Committee is pleased to support the inclusion of Diversity and Wellness in the division title as it represents the interests of all employees.

Report from the Committee on Academic Quality
Chair Rex reported on the development of an Institution-wide Integrated Career and Academic Advising Program, a new goal for Academic Affairs. The purpose is to help students combine experiences gained both inside and outside of the classroom not only to transition into the job market but to develop successful careers.

Due to a desire to create efficiencies as well as provide adequate seating for all guests at our commencement ceremonies, the Fall 2015 Graduate and Undergraduate commencement ceremonies will be combined into one event. For the Spring 2016 commencement, we will have two separate days, Thursday for graduate students and Saturday for undergraduates. But, due to the desire not to restrict the number of guests, the spring undergraduate ceremony will be divided by Colleges into a morning and an afternoon event.

The Provost provided the Committee with an update on recent organizational changes including Karen Jones as Vice Provost for Administration, Meg Webber as Vice Provost for Academic Quality and Innovation, Tim Drueke as Assistant Vice President for Curriculum and Program Support, and Information Technology has been moved from Finance and Business division to the Academic Affairs division

Report from the Committee on Enrollment and Retention
Chair Folkens reported on the good progress of the Admissions team. Freshmen enrollment increased by 7% while transfers increased by 7.5% over last year.

As part of the efforts to better leverage our available institutional financial aid dollars, the Palmetto Scholarship, formerly a full-cost scholarship, has been adjusted. The change has resulted in 30 fewer Palmetto Scholars but those dollars have been put to better use for other students.

Looking forward, the Committee reviewed planned recruitment activities for the fall 2016 recruitment cycle, including fall recruitment travel and special events as well as enrollment goals for the next five years.

Report of the Committee on Institutional Advancement and Development
Chair Hopkins reported the total amount of donations given to date is $2,420,328 including nearly $323,000 in Annual Giving. The additional of new software designed for Phonathons, there have been 341,000 calls made this year compared to 40,000 last year.

The President and Mrs. Mahony have been attending a number of events geared toward meeting alumni as well as current and new donors including events in Charlotte and Charleston. Spring 2016 events are planned for the Greenville/Spartanburg and Florence.

The Committee received an update from Robin Embry, Executive Director of the Winthrop Foundation on the restructuring of their operations leading to cost savings. Additional good news is the renewal of a grant from the Sisters of Mercy providing support to the LEAP Program for at-risk students who need additional help in transitioning to a college academic environment.

In the area of Communications and Marketing, Katie Price will join the staff as the new Marketing Director. A Request for Proposals (RFP) for a new Content Management System (CMS) is under development.

Report of the Committee on Student Life and Athletics
Chair Talley departed the Board meeting prior to his Committee’s report therefore, Tim Sease reported on the presentation by staff from the Counseling Services offices. While the number of students requiring support is high, it is clear our staff are well-prepared and our students are receiving high quality care.

We currently have a total of 336 student athletes with 164 out-of-state, 49 international, and the remaining 123 are from South Carolina. Retention of student athletes remains high as does their academic performance.

Report from the Committee on Finance
Chair McCall summarized the report of fiscal year ending June 30, 2015 from external auditor, Mr. Ben Kochenower. The audit resulted in an opinion of unmodified on the financial statements. No deficiencies were found in the financial reporting.

On behalf of the Committee, Mr. McCall brought forth the Resolution to Refund/Refinance State Institutions Bonds. The issuance of new bonds is for paying off interest in previous old bonds resulting in over $100K a year savings in payments for principal and interest over current rates.

As the resolution was from a Committee, no second was needed. Chair Bigham called for the vote. The resolution passed unanimously.

Report from the Chair of Faculty Conference
Dr. John Bird reported on the positive reaction to President Mahony’s meetings with all academic departments. Most faculty at Winthrop cannot remember a time when the President visited each department.

In terms of faculty governance, there are not too many curriculum items to review as many were finished last year. However, after two years of work, the Committee on Integrity is nearly ready to recommend an honor code and honor pledge.

Finally, faculty are anticipating information from the Competitive Compensation Study and the resulting actions.

Report from the Chair of the Council of Student Leaders
President Ray McKetty reported on the Council’s retreat held on the weekend of September 11, 2015. During the retreat they reviewed the needs of the student body and created four core committees for the upcoming year. Those new committees are Civic Integrity, Trending Now, Campus Life and Engagement, and Communication. The Civic Integrity committee plans to sponsor a voter registration drive in October. The Communications committee has developed “Tell It All Tuesday” held during Common Time on Tuesdays. The purpose is gives students an opportunity to talk about concerns. Campus Life and Engagement committee hosted Campus Police Chief Frank Zebedis in a talk about parking and campus safety. Lastly, the Trending Now committee hosted an event regarding students’ sexual health.

Report from the President
President Mahony shared with the Board the start of the strategic planning process that will identify priorities and the best ways to allocate resources in support of those priorities. Over 100 Winthrop faculty and staff have been tasked to serve on the overall strategic planning committee or on one of seven working groups focused on Retention, Graduation Rate Improvement, Academic Program Mix, Diversity, Employee Satisfaction (non-compensation issues), Culture of Philanthropy, and Budget Model.

The working groups are a mix of new as well as senior employees. The President has asked them to identify the top five to 10 ideas, reflective of best practice, of their designated area. The President has attended the initial meeting of each group to discuss the charge and clarify his expectations. Expectations for final reports are January. Looking forward, the President feels the difficulty in planning will not be search for good ideas but rather deciding how to prioritize the needs of the university.

In addition to the strategic planning groups, other groups have been tasked to work on specific matters such as a football study group, a student housing group, historical recognition group, and so forth. Also scheduled to occur this year are an external study of our Athletics division, the development of an advertising plan, improvement of our website, and a great deal of alumni and donor visits and outreach. The President reported that one of his most enjoyable activities is attending the various student events and the opportunity to frequently have lunch with students in the Thomson Café.

The President shared with the Board a number of ways they could help support Winthrop. The suggestions ranged from writing letters of thanks to donors to making their own monetary contributions. The President emphasized there are a number of ways to be supportive and he encouraged the Trustees to give thought to how best they could be of use.

At the conclusion of his report, the President brought forth a new gift policy designed to ensure any gifts designated to provide recognition of support for students, faculty, or staff must be disbursed according to the donor’s intent and must have sufficient funds for disbursement. If sufficient funds are not available, the University is under no obligation to continue to provide the award.

Karl Folkens moved the gift disbursement policy be accepted by the Board, Sue Rex seconded the motion. Chair Bigham called for the vote. The resolution passed unanimously.

New Business
There was no new business.

Adjournment
Don Long moved to adjourn the meeting with a second from Donna Glenn Holley. The vote was unanimous. The meeting was adjourned at 3:30 p.m.

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

APPROVED BY THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES ON OCTOBER 16, 2015

IN THE HEART OF THE CAROLINAS
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