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Minutes of the of the Winthrop University Board of Trustees


February 2-3, 2018

Members present: Karl Folkens, Glenn McCall, Jane LaRoche, Janet Smalley, Tim Hopkins, Don Long, Randy Imler, Donna Glenn Holley, Scott Middleton, Ashlye Wilkerson, Julie Fowler, Sandra Stroman, Kathy Bigham, and Dan Mahony (ex officio).

Members absent: Tim Sease

Representatives present: Tadean Page, Student Representative; Michael Lipscomb, Faculty Representative

Representatives absent
: None

Others present: JP McKee, Amanda Maghsoud, Tammie Phillips, Kirk McSwain, Judy Longshaw, Jeff Perez, and Kimberly Faust

The Board of Trustees met on Friday, February 2, 2018 on the campus of Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC.

Public Comment

There were no requests for public comment.

Call to Order

Chair Folkens called the meeting to order at 1:20 p.m. He welcomed all present.

Approval of Minutes


Julie Fowler moved to accept the minutes from the meeting of November 10, 2017. Don Long seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous in favor of the minutes as submitted.

Report from the Committee on Finance


Chair Randy Imler brought forth a resolution regarding the authorization and approval of certain equipment lease/purchase transactions totaling $1,996,176. Donna Holley moved to approve the list of equipment and to enter into a lease of up to $2 million with the State Treasurer’s Office. Janet Smalley seconded the motion. Questions were raised regarding the allocation of equipment by academic program specifically the allocation to the Vice Provost’s budget line. Ms. Maghsoud explained the list of equipment included preliminary, estimated prices. If the actual prices are lower than estimated prices, the remaining funds would be used to purchase the items listed in the Vice Provost’s budget line. Those items would then be distributed among the various academic departments as needed.

The vote was unanimous in favor of the resolution.

Report from the Chair of the Board

Chair Folkens called for a motion to create a task force to study the short term and longer term needs of the President’s House. The task force will review House expenditures and recommend policies and a system of oversight for the House. Suggested members of the task force are Karl Folkens, Glenn McCall, and Kathy Bigham. The task force will share their findings and recommendations with the Committee on Finance and the full Board. Jane LaRoche moved to support the creation of the task force as described; Ashlye Wilkerson seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.

Report from the President

Dr. Mahony began his report by reviewing Spring 2018 enrollment and current state of the budget. He also provided following campus updates to the Board.

Diversity
Per the South Carolina Human Affairs Diversity report guidelines, Winthrop has reached 84.3% of our diversity hiring goals. We are the second most successful university in South Carolina in reaching the stated goals.

Coke Plant
520 Cherry Road (aka Coke Plant) was reappraised for $1,450,000. It is currently serving Winthrop as storage site for the Courtyard furnishings from 24 apartments (couches, dining tables, TV cabinets, beds, dressers, chairs, etc.). A local business owner is interested in possibly purchasing it for a new location. His decision will be based in part on City of Rock Hill regulations for the property. If he does not purchase the property, we will again use the State Property Office contract Real Estate Agency as a listing agent.

Miracle Park
The Rock Hill City Council agreed to lease part of the land known as Winthrop Park to York County Disabilities Foundation for $1 a year, so the Foundation could purse the creation of a Miracle Park.

The park is planned in three phases. The first phase on the City property is expected to be finished by the end of 2018. It will include one Miracle Field, a specially designed playground and infrastructure including parking lots and restrooms.

The first phase of the project will cost roughly $1 million. The Foundation already has about 70 percent of the needed funds from previous fundraisers. The City of Rock Hill has also invested $550,000 for the parking lot and restrooms.

Phase two and three are expected to be finished in the next three to five years. Phase two would consist of the second Miracle field and two multi-purpose fields. They hope to eventually be able to host regional and even national Special Olympics competitions at the Miracle Park. Phase three would include a retail section, including a coffee shop that employs and is mostly run by people with disabilities. Both phase II and phase III will be on Winthrop property.

When and if the Disabilities Foundation is able to fund the second and third phases, at that point approval for Winthrop to lease the property to the Foundation will need to be taken through the State Approval process (SC Property Office, JBRC and SFAA) for lease approval.

Knowledge Park/University Center/Lowenstein Building
The Exercise Science facility (labs) in the Lowenstein Building is currently scheduled for an August 2018 opening.

Courtyard water damage status
Currently, the furnishings have been removed to the Coke Plant and are being cleaned and stored. The wet materials (drywall, carpet, etc.) have been removed and the structure is being dried. Next steps are to repair drywall, paint, hallway and kitchen tile, and carpet. The 22 rooms affected will be unusable through May. Eighty-eight students had to be relocated. The freshmen and sophomores were required to accept alternative housing on campus while juniors and seniors were given the option of staying on campus or moving elsewhere. We are working with our insurance company to cover the cost of repairs plus lost revenue.

Wofford 7th floor stabilization

This project has been advertised through the Office of the State Engineer and the site visit is scheduled for February 15th. It is our goal to start this project May of 2018.

Thurmond Building

Bids for the roof were opened on January 30th. Low bid was $485,000. Repairs will begin later this spring. The elevator pump, tank and controls will be replaced starting in early May 2018.

Executive Searches
Justin T. Oates, the new Vice President for Finance and Business Affairs/Chief Financial Officer will begin his new role on February 19, 2018.

Four finalists have been named for the candidates for on-campus interviews for the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Interviews are scheduled for February 18-28, 2018.

The search for the new Vice President for Student Affairs continues. Phone interviews are planned for later this month with airport/hotel interviews to be held in March. Finalists will be on campus in late March or early April for a campus visit, which will include both a public presentation and a community reception.

New foodservice contract
Draft has been submitted to the Materials and Management Office for review and approval. They will return it to us for our final approval prior to posting. Once bids are received, a selection committee of three will read all proposals. The committee consists of a representative from CHE, MMO, and Winthrop. The bid is awarded on a number of criteria including technical ability, experience; not just low cost. The current contract ends on July 31. The creation of the Request for Proposals (RFP) included staff from Athletics, University Events, Finance, and the University auditor.

New HR application process to replace State supported one
RFP posted 1/28/18; anticipated award date 4/30/18; system will provide online application for staff; improved performance management system for staff; management of position descriptions; and online onboarding processes.

Employee satisfaction survey

The survey is expected to go live in mid-February. Results will be available in late March or early April and will be shared with the Board as well as the campus.

SC EIS
Conversion of HR-related information from current HRIS system to SCEIS is on track – working with staff in Columbia for a projected July 17 go-live date. After go-live date, HR-related information will be electronically provided and updated daily in the SCEIS system.

Classification and salary study
RFP in final stages with state procurement office. It is expected to be posted in next few days with an anticipated award date of May 2018. Work is expected to begin during fall semester.

Pre-College Programs
Dual Enrollment/Concurrent Enrollment Initiative
Winthrop's Dual Enrollment/Concurrent Enrollment Initiative is in its second semester. Five Students completed dual enrollment courses in the fall. Three of those returned along with five new students for the current semester for a total of twelve classes. We continue to actively advertise using a dedicated webpage and visits to high schools. Moving forward we are pursuing options for offering courses language and economics classes on high school campuses taught by Winthrop faculty in the spring of 2019.



Pre-University Arts Summer Program: a 2-week Arts Camp (Summer 2018)
Target Population: With a goal of 20-30 students for the first year of this program, the primary target will be high school rising seniors. Students will work creatively and collaboratively across a variety of disciplines (music, theater, dance, visual arts, design) in the production and performance of interdisciplinary arts events. Students will earn 3 transferrable college credits.

Honors College
A white paper is still under development for use by Advancement to seek donors for a naming opportunity. In lieu of waiting for such a donor, we will continue to move forward creating a proposal for organizational personnel, structure, and location by June 2018.


Online Programs
As of two weeks ago, and before the launch of the new microsites, we are on schedule to meet (if not exceed) enrollment targets for all four online graduate programs. The new online microsites, which you can find at https://online.winthrop.edu, launched on January 16, 2018. Program planning has begun for all four online degrees, and instructional design for the first master courses will commence in March 2018. We remain on schedule for a start date of August 2019.


Rebranding and website redesign:
The new branding will be rolled out to the campus over the course of the next several months. The new logo will be unveiled on February 22. At that time merchandise will be available at the bookstore. Licensing and trademarking processes are currently underway. Banners and campus and on Oakland Avenue will be replaced in the next few months.

New website design templates for the 40,000 pages on the website are being developed. At the same time we are transitioning to new content management system. The website redesign is scheduled to be completed by September 2018.

Report from Vice President for University Relations Jeff Perez


Dr. Perez addressed changes to the federal tax laws pertaining to fundraising. The doubling of the standard deduction to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for married couples may lead to fewer people making donations to nonprofits including universities.

The new tax bill continues interest deductions on student loans and continues the ability for universities to provide free tuition for employees. Graduate student tuition assistantships will not be taxed.

Changes to the Unrelated Business Tax means employees may no longer exclude from income tax, reimbursements received from their employer for their moving expenses. As State law permits us to reimburse moving expenses only for employees moving into SC and not within SC, this will typically only apply to new faculty hires.

Executive Session


Chair Folkens called for a motion to move into Executive Session pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. §30-4-70(a)(2) for the purposes of discussions incident to proposed contractual arrangements. Tim Hopkins made the motion with Sandra Stroman seconding the motion. Mr. Bjorn Reigle, VP JP McKee, Associate VP Amanda Maghsoud, Associate VP Walter Hardin, Assistant VP Keith Williams, and Secretary to the Board Kimberly Faust were invited to remain. The vote was unanimous to enter into executive session.

Scott Middleton moved to end executive session. Randy Imler seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous to end executive session with a report that the Board has been apprised of the current status of Title IX policies and procedures at Winthrop.

Chair Folkens recessed the meeting until 8:30 a.m. Saturday, February 3, 2018.

The Board reconvened at 8:42 am on Saturday, February 3, 2018. President Mahony began the day with a presentation on the national landscape of enrollment trends. Critical issues discussed included the decline of high school graduates in most states; the growth of the percentage of at-risk students; and the escalating competition for merit aid.

Specific to Winthrop and South Carolina data show Clemson and USC-Columbia increasing by nearly 13% (5,788 students) during the 2007-2011. At that same time, the USC – regions increased by 10.17% (983 students), the comprehensive institutions increased by 3.85% (1,543 students) while Winthrop decreased by 7.35% (469 students).

The period of 2011-2016 saw Clemson/USC – Columbia increase by 13.57% (6,870 students), the USC – regionals increase by 6.86% (730 students) while the comprehensive institutions decreased by 1.4% (583 students) but Winthrop increased by 3.31% (196 students).

Moving forward, it will be critical for Winthrop to cultivate additional streams of potential students including international undergraduates, community college transfers, adult degree completers, and students interested in a professional Master’s degree.

An analysis of net cost of tuition for first time freshmen (Fall 2017) showed the average in-state student paid $2,200 per semester while out of state freshmen paid an average of $4,500 per semester. The difference between the net cost and the published cost is due to State, Winthrop Foundation, and institutional grants made to the students.

Vice President Eduardo Prieto gave a presentation on the current and future strategies for increasing enrollment. They included a focus on local recruitment, targeted out-of-state recruitment, international student recruitment, an increased focus on diverse populations, transfer student recruitment push, enhanced marketing and student outreach, increased parent engagement, increased outreach to high school guidance counselors, increased Winthrop community involvement, better use of financial aid, more new academic programs, and increased efforts for retention.

Graduate Dean Dr. Jack DeRochi presented an update regarding the status of the online graduate programs to begin in fall 2018 and the new bachelor of professional studies to begin in fall 2019. Opportunities for Winthrop in this area include the large number of adults with some college experience but no degree. They constitute a large pool of potential students for the new degree. Challenges include creating a streamlined admissions and enrollment process, blended academic and occupational curricula, flexible scheduling and easy-to-access instruction, flexibility and degree completion curricula, and credit for prior learning (PLA).

Dr. Zach Abernathy joined the Board retreat to present his findings of research study to identify the predictive factors of student success at Winthrop. Using F2010-F2016 cohort data (N=7343) the goal of the study was to rank the best predictors of cumulative WU GPA from the following variables—high school GPA, high school rank percentile, SAT/ACT scores, number of AP classes taken, number of IB classes taken, and number of transfer courses taken. Multiple linear regressions were used to isolate each variable’s individual contribution to the variance in cumulative WU GPA. Results of the study indicate that high school GPA clearly correlates the strongest with cumulative Winthrop GPA. SAT/ACT scores ranked second amongst the other variables studied.

A second goal of the study was to rank the best predictors for successfully graduating from Winthrop, using the following variables: cumulative Winthrop GPA (baseline for comparison), first semester Winthrop GPA, high school GPA, and SAT/ACT scores. Using F2006-F2012 cohort data (N = 7252), a regression analysis was used to compare how each variable correlated with Winthrop graduation. Results indicated Similar to cumulative WU GPA, students’ HS GPA again correlates much better than SAT/ACT scores. The first semester Winthrop GPA correlates much more strongly with Winthrop graduation rates than either of the two leading variables from students’ high school academic profile. These results reinforce the importance of effective intervention strategies for students struggling academically after their first semester.

At the conclusion of the presentation, the Board requested the creation of a proposal to consider the idea of making SAT/ACT tests optional in the admissions process.

Hearing no objection, Chair Karl Folkens adjourned the meeting at 12:32 p.m.

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

 

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