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Minutes of the of the Winthrop University Board of Trustees

March 11, 2016


Members present:
Kathy Bigham, Karl Folkens, Glenn McCall, Jane LaRoche, Scott Middleton, 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
: Susan Smith-Rex

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

Representatives absent: None

Others present: Bristow Marchant, The Herald; members of Winthrop faculty and staff

The Board of Trustees met on Friday, March 16, 2016 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 1:00 p.m. She welcomed all present.

Approval of Minutes
Don Long moved to accept the minutes from the meeting of January 29-30, 2016. Jane LaRoche seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous in favor of the minutes as submitted.

Report of the Executive Committee and Chair of the Board
Per Article III, Section B of the bylaws of the Winthrop University Board of Trustees, Chair Bigham appointed a nominating committee of Tim Sease (chair), Don Long, and Dr. Julie Fowler. These three Trustees have the responsibility of presenting to the Board, no later than 30 days prior to the final meeting of the fiscal year, a slate of two candidates for chair and vice chair of the Board of Trustees for academic year 2016-17. Karl Folkens moved to accept the nominating committee, Tim Hopkins seconded. The motion passed unanimously.


Report from the Committee on Compensation

Chair Smalley began her report with an update on the continuing work of the competitive compensation study. A plan is underway to distribute $200,000 to select employees based on their current salaries. The distribution is set for late April.

The Committee also received the workforce summary report showing promotions, reclassifications, new hires, and terminations for the last 3 months. Due to need to assign the diversity initiative/responsibility to an employee in the division, it was added to the Employee Relations Manager position. The Benefits and Wellness Program Manager now supervises the benefits area. The Employee Relations and Diversity Manager have the responsibility to work with search committees to discuss ways to prevent biases, ways to reach underrepresented groups, and other issues as part of the university’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. The Benefits and Wellness Program Manager will take on the coordination of the employee health screenings and will coordinate a comprehensive health fair for employees.

Building upon last year’s adoption of the new Employee Performance Management System (EPMS) form, an electronic form that is more user-friendly was created for use and is ready for this year’s March 31 universal review date.

The Committee discussed the proposed changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime rule which would require employees whose salaries are less than $50,440 to earn overtime/compensatory time for all hours worked over 40 per week. Because a number of our employees would be affected, Ms. Cowart and her staff are developing a plan for addressing all employees who will be affected by the change. At this point we are waiting from direction from the federal government as the proposed changes have not yet been accepted into law.

Report from the Committee on Academic Quality

In the absence of Chair Rex, Trustee Donna Glenn Holley chaired the meeting and reported on items of interest from the meeting. She brought forth as a recommendation from the Committee a resolution to become a founding member of the Greater Charlotte Consortium. The purpose of the proposed Greater Charlotte Consortium (GCC) is to assist students enrolled at participating colleges/universities in the surrounding Charlotte area, to progress towards degrees without interruption due to course availability. The primary purpose is to provide opportunities for students to register for course(s) at nearby partnering institutions that may be unavailable, in a given semester, on the student’s home campus. As an example, UNC Charlotte serves as the regional battalion for ROTC instruction. The establishment of GCC will facilitate a smoother registration process for Winthrop students who wish to engage in cadet training in the region, through the Consortium Registration Program. The proposed members of the Consortium are UNC Charlotte, Central Piedmont Community College, Winthrop University, Johnson C Smith University, Queens University of Charlotte, Belmont Abbey College, Johnson & Wales University. As the motion was from a committee, no second was needed. The motion passed unanimously.
The committee heard a report on the fifth and final year of Winthrop’s Global Learning Initiative that is our required Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) of SACSCOC. Final data sets are being collected this semester. The project is expected to meet all of its implementation goals. Additionally, the committee received a report on the Compliance Certification, which monitors continued compliance with identified Core Requirements, Comprehensive Standards, and Federal Requirements. The fifth year interim report is due March 2017. A 14-member steering committee, will provide oversight of the fifth-year interim report process.

The Provost reported on an initiative involving Chinese businesspeople and government workers to Winthrop for our MBA program. As conceived the program would be a highly selective, competitive, 12-month program in a cohort style. A second initiative involves the Confucius Institute. Pfeiffer University’s decision to close their Charlotte campus where the Institute is currently housed means we have the opportunity to consider adding the Confucius Institute to our campus. We are especially interested in their work with local K-12 schools.


Report from the Committee on Enrollment and Retention

Chair Folkens gave an update of current enrollment numbers including spring enrollment and retention. Fall to spring retention for the Fall 2015 first-time freshman cohort was slightly lower as compared to last year with 90.8% as compared to 92.4% for Fall 2014 cohort. However, the good news is a higher number of freshmen were retained for the Spring 2016 semester (988) as compared to Spring 2015(941).

The Committee then discussed the work of the Marketing Planning Group. Goals, supporting platforms, and the billboard campaign were covered. An update was provided for the planned work on the website. The conversion of the Content Management System will begin by July 1. An Request for Proposals for branding and a new web design is currently in the State’s procurement process.

Report of the Committee on Institutional Advancement and Development
Chair Hopkins reported on the information shared with the Committee. As of February 26, 2016 a total of $214,584 has been received. This is an increase of $20,873 over last year at this time. Winthrop Fund/unrestricted is $34,683, an increase of $26,343 in 2015. The president is actively engaging in fundraising by attending a number of events, visits with individuals, and a schedule of weekly phone calls to donors.

The Phonathon raised a total of $254,897 representing 3,491 pledges in 2015. Due to the addition of automated dialing systems, student callers were able to complete 25,866 calls compared to 5,228 in 2014, an increase of 394.46

A report from the Winthrop Foundation included a discussion of the reduced management fee from a high of 6% to mid-level of 3.5%. While it means a savings of $740,519 to the Foundation, it also translates to a cost of $740,519 to the University. Foundation Board President Marc Bogan has resigned from the Board with Foundation Board member Andy Shene agreeing to fill the position on an interim basis until a new president can be named.

The Committee received a PowerPoint presentation of news, communications, and social media related to the University. All indicators show that positive press outnumbered any negative press.

Report of the Committee on Student Life and Athletics
Chair Talley briefed the Board on information presented to the Committee. President Mahony attended the meeting to give a status report on the hiring process for a new Athletic Director. A 15 member search committee comprised of faculty, staff, and students was formed to work with Athletic Consultant Todd Turner. Because of the confidential nature of the search, only the top three finalists will be made public. A target date for the hire is April with a start date of July.

The Committee reviewed Winthrop’s concussion protocol including the management plan that begins with baseline testing upon arrival at Winthrop, follow up testing every two years, a concussion education video and fact sheet, and a statement of agreement signed by each student-athlete.

Staff from the Division of Student Life presented an overview of their programs designed to increase resilience in our students. Programs have been developed in the areas of student employment, leadership opportunities at the West Center, the LIFT institute, as well as the Fearless program which brought together in collaboration sponsors from Student Life, Athletics and Academics.

Report from the Committee on Finance
Chair McCall reported on several positive adjustments in revenue that had occurred in the last 6 months totaling over $500,000 in revenue. The Committee also reviewed the projection, calculation, and use of vacancy savings.

Vice President for Finance, JP McKee reported to the Committer on the refunding of State Institution Bonds. Approved in January, and refunded in February for a total savings of $3.4M over the life of the bonds. The Committee also discussed the refunding of the Higher Education Revenue Bonds, funded with auxiliary revenues. A Request for Proposals will be issued for refunding by banks.

The Committee also discussed a number of revisions to the draft of the proposed Committee on Finance Purpose and Responsibilities.


Report from the Chair of Faculty Conference

Dr. John Bird reported that no new curriculum changes have been proposed this year, rather the usual work of the conference has occurred. Many faculty are busy working on the Strategic Planning working groups and are enjoying the inclusive process. President Mahony has shared his budget presentation with the Faculty Conference giving ample time for questions by the faculty. The faculty were impressed by the scope of the information, depth of details, and the openness of the process.

The Teaching and Learning Conference was well attended last month with over 100 people involved in the event.

The joyous atmosphere that was created on campus when Dr. Mahony was hired still remains. Faculty are responding well to the president’s inclusive and thoughtful nature.

Report from the Chair of the Council of Student Leaders
President Ray McKetty reported on the second annual Winthrop Day at the State House. Working with Vice President Perez, the students were able to meet with Representatives and Senators and the Winthrop legislative liaison, Bob Coble.

Other accomplishments of the Council include the presentation of Active Bystander Training and working with the Provost and President to get approval for graduating students to wear stoles from Winthrop affiliated and approved organizations at commencement ceremonies.

Report from the President
President Mahony began his report with an overview and update on the status of the campus Strategic Planning process. While the working groups are all at various points in the process, the Strategic Planning Committee and many of the working groups have begun drafting and revising reports. In a few weeks, we will be sharing those reports with the campus community and asking for feedback.

Meetings will all academic departments as well as all of the staff are nearly completed. Everyone was given the opportunity to discuss strengths, challenges and their roles in Winthrop’s future. Summary input from the meetings has been shared with the Strategic Planning Committee.

One of the working groups is focused on exploring new budget models for Winthrop. While we do need to consider a new, transparent, inclusive budgeting process, the current financial situation at Winthrop is stable. Over the last eight years Winthrop has experienced a steep decline in State appropriations, stagnant enrollments, and increased costs of healthcare and other benefits. There have been many financial demands on our budget, yet our unrestricted net position remains favorable. It is a testament to the financial acuity of Vice President JP McKee and his staff that Winthrop has been able to maintain a solid financial base when many other schools in our same situation have experienced financial setbacks.

Looking forward, we will continue to keep costs down while working to enroll additional students, repair/improve our older facilities, maintain our high ratio of tenured/tenure track faculty, increase employee compensation, and increase private funding for student scholarships.

Executive Session
Tim Sease moved with a second from Tim Hopkins 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. Randy Imler moved the Board end executive session, Tim Hopkins seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously by voice vote. No actions were taken in executive session.


New Business
There was no new business.

Adjournment

Janet Smalley moved to adjourn the meeting with a second from Randy Imler. The vote was unanimous. The meeting was adjourned at 4:25 p.m.

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

APPROVED BY THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES ON June 10, 2016. 

 

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