Meeting of the Winthrop University Board of Trustees
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Meeting of the Winthrop University Board of Trustees

 

Friday, April 12, 2019

Evans Room/Gold Room

Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC 

 

Members present: Glenn McCall, Jane LaRoche, Tim Hopkins, Isaiah Venning, Randy Imler, Donna Glenn Holley, Sandra Stroman, Ashlye Wilkerson, Robby Sisco, Gary Williams, Tim Sease, Janet Smalley, Kathy Bigham, and Dan Mahony (ex officio).

Members absent:  Ed Driggers, Julie Fowler

Representatives present:  Ximena Perez, Student Representative; Michael Lipscomb, Faculty Representative

Representatives absent:  None

Others present: Dr. Debra Boyd, Shelia Burkhalter, Evan Bohnen, Eduardo Prieto, Patrice Bruneau, Dr. Adrienne McCormick, Judy Longshaw, Tammie Phillips, Justin Oates, Karen Jones, Dr. Ken Halpin, Dr. Jennie Rakestraw, Dr. P.N. Saksena, Tim Drueke, Caroline Overcash, Lisa Cowart, Dr. Jack DeRochi, Amanda Maghsoud, Dr. Meg Webber, Dr. Takita Sumter, Kirk McSwain all of Winthrop University

 

The Board of Trustees met on Friday, April 12, 2019 on the campus of Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC. 

 

Call to Order

Chair McCall called the meeting to order at 8:30 a.m. He welcomed all present and delivered an invocation.

 

Presentation on Homecoming 2019

 Historically at Winthrop, the responsibility for Homecoming was spread among individual offices and departments with little or no oversight.  This resulted in miscommunications, events not listed on the official schedules, duplicate activities, and overlapping key activities planned for the same time periods. Often decisions were made without institutional input.

In order to alleviate these problems, a steering committee of Dr. Ken Halpin, Mr. Evan Bohnen, and Ms. Shelia Burkhalter representing Athletics, Alumni Affairs, and Student Affairs, respectively, was formed to oversee planning for Homecoming 2019.  Individual work committees are being formed charged with various tasks related to athletic events, alumni events, and current student events.  Funding for Homecoming 2019, rather than spread among the three divisions, has now been combined into one fund.  This will permit more accurate tracking of spending related to Homecoming.

Plans for Homecoming 2019 include charges for parking spaces and for tailgating spaces.  The decision to do so was finalized after weighing the need to control overcrowding, ensure safe ingress and egress routes for emergency personnel, provide adequate toilet facilities, increase the number of security personnel, and cover the growing costs of cleanup against the tradition of providing all of these amenities for free.  Costs will range from $5 per car to $40 for the largest tailgating tent areas.

Additionally, tailgating will end 30 minutes prior to the men’s basketball game tipoff, tentatively scheduled for 4:00 p.m. 

 News of the tailgating changes will be disseminated via Alumni website and Facebook pages, Winthrop Magazine (June 2019), Homecoming mailers to Alumni, Winthrop website, social media, and email messages to students, and basketball season ticketholders.

 

 

A Look Forward to FY2020 Budget

Overall declines in Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 undergraduate enrollment numbers as well as a dip in returning students have led to decreased revenues.  Likewise, campus based graduate enrollment has declined.  On-line enrollment has increased but because of the cost sharing program with Wiley, we receive less revenue per student from online programs than the campus based programs.

Looking forward to Fall 2019, orientation enrollments tend to be good indicators of fall enrollments.  At this time, orientation enrollments are trending upward with final fall enrollments expected to be about 150 new students (new freshmen and new transfers) as compared to Fall 2018. 

While new student enrollments are expected to increase, we are preparing for fewer returning students as retention numbers are declining.  However, given the changes in financial aid awards, fewer students does not necessarily mean lower revenues.  The total head count of students is not as critical as the net tuition revenue.

The overall consensus of the Trustees was to hold AY 2019-20 tuition increases as low as possible with a number of Trustees proposing a goal of 0% tuition increase.  Additionally, the Trustees suggested profit and loss analyses of the Colleges and a review of current fees with a consideration of looking into the possibility of implementing program fees.

 

Recess

The meeting was recessed at noon with plans to resume at 1:00 p.m.

 

Reconvene

Chair McCall reconvened the meeting at 1:03 p.m.  He welcomed the newest Trustee, Mr. Gary Williams, and his wife Peggy Williams.  Special guests at today’s meeting included Mr. Bob Breakfield, chair of the Winthrop Foundation Board, and Representative Gary Simrill, South Carolina House of Representatives Majority Leader. 

 

Representative Simrill was in attendance in order to administer the Oath of Office to Mr. Gary Williams as follows:

 

I do solemnly swear that I am duly qualified, according to the constitution of this state, to exercise the duties of the office to which I have been appointed, and that I will, to the best of my ability, discharge the duties thereof, and preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of this state and of the United States. So help me God.

 

Approval of Consent Agenda

Tim Hopkins with a second from Randy Imler, moved to accept the consent agenda.  The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion. 

  

Report of the Executive Committee and Chair of the Board

 Chair McCall reported the Committee reviewed agendas and received personnel updates at their March 29, 2019 meeting. 

  

Report from the President

President Mahony described the SOURCE (Showcase of Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors) program today occurring on campus and urged the Trustees to visit it at the conclusion of today’s Board meeting. SOURCE is an annual, on-campus event in which Winthrop undergraduates from all disciplines present or perform their scholarly and creative work. Students' projects may have originated from course assignments or from extracurricular scholarly or creative activities.  

He also thanked our legislators for their support in awarding Winthrop nearly $2 million in recurring dollars and $7 million in non-recurring dollars in FY20 State appropriations budget.  While the State’s budget process is not yet finalized, Winthrop remains hopeful the current estimates will remain.

 

Committee on Academic Quality

Chair Hopkins reported the Committee heard about collaborative work across campus being done in support of retention of current students.  Additionally, the Committee learned about the Fall 2018 to Spring 2019 New Student Retention Report developed by Accreditation, Accountability, and Academic Services (AAAS).  The report drills down to a number of factors typically used to track retention such as the high schools attended, first-semester GPA, race/ethnicity, and Academic Work Ethic.  

 

Provost Boyd and Dr. Lipscomb discussed the work of the Task Force on Tenure and Promotion.  The task force has recommended several changes to the tenure and promotion policy.  Tenure decisions reflect the University’s recognition that the individual faculty member has demonstrated a level of performance that merits continued (but not guaranteed, lifetime) employment.  Those changes will work their way through the Faculty Conference review process. The tenure process continues to be a rigorous review with post-tenure reviews performed for tenured faculty every six years.

Chair Hopkins reported the Committee heard the idea of name changes for some of the Colleges.  He stated more discussion regarding changes needs to happen.

All of the Colleges shared what was happening in their areas.  The heard a list of new programs and certificates being developed such as data analytics, criminology, product design, medical illustration, and the plan to move the Masters’ degree in music to an online program.

 

Committee on Compensation

Chair Bigham reported the Committee heard about the the specifics of the new Employee Assistance Program.  It is a voluntary, work-based program that helps employees in resolving personal problems that may be adversely affecting the employee's performance. It will offer a range of assistance including confidential assessments, short-term counseling, referrals, and follow-up services to employees who have personal and/or work-related problems.

The programs will be delivered at no cost to our employees and include (1) assessment and counseling

Help that is accessible 24/7/365 through a toll-free number. (2) Managers and supervisors have access to telephonic consultations when sensitive workplace issues arise (3) an employee with a documented decline in work performance or an on-the-job incident can be referred to the EAP as a way to motivate them to seek and accept professional assistance (4) fitness for duty evaluations (5) immediate response when a crisis event impacts the workplace.

The service is confidential.  Winthrop is not notified which employees are using the program. 

The Committee also heard about the status of work on developing the compensation policy.  When it is finished Winthrop will have a compensation philosophy, and market assessment, classification recommendations, salary structure development, salary administration policies and guidelines, and a multi-year implementation strategy.

 

Committee on Enrollment and Retention

In the absence of Chair Julie Fowler, Mr. Tim Hopkins reported on the activities of the Committee.  A report on graduate school enrollments was presented.  Currently there are 108 students enrolled in the online programs with Fall 2019 total enrollment for Graduate School is projected to be about 800 (both online and on-campus).  Market analysis is being completed to identify new graduate level degrees as well as assessing the MBA program to find ways to increase enrollment.

At the undergraduate level, new yield events are happening and one, “Video Chat with a Counselor” is very successful.  Early Eagles and Winthrop Day events brought in the highest number of attendees to date - 57 and 547 respectively.                Winthrop Admissions Instagram page is posting daily and using different highlights to attract students including student stories, pictures and videos.

Total applications are at 6,391; an increase of almost 20% compared to same time last year with total number of admitted students at 4,192; an increase of just over 20% compared to same time last year.  Orientation enrollments are at 810, which is up just over 24% compared to same time last year.

Staff from Access and Enrollment as well as University Communications and Marketing continue to meet with staff from the academic colleges in order to help identify strategies for recruitment, marketing and outreach, program capacity, and opportunities for growth.

Finally, the Committee heard about the continuing research on the use of AWE, or Academic Work Ethic, as a predictor of retention success.

 

Committee on Finance

 Chair Imler reported that 97% of the adjusted budget revenues have been achieved through March 2019 and the FY2019 forecasted revenues assume summer school revenue is in‐line with prior year levels ($2.1M).  $1.6M has been identified in operational reductions and $3.6M leveraged through the vacancy management process to ensure Winthrop ends the year in‐line with the FY2019 Approved Adjusted Budget.  As agreed to earlier this year, $ 1 M from the Total Net Position will be used to cover operating costs. If not all of the $1 M is needed for currently planned costs, the Committee gave its approval to use the remaining funds up to $1 M on other needed projects. FY2018 year-end Net Position total was $20,187,619 and is expected to be $18,681,677 at the end of FY2019. 

 Chair Imler noted the Byrnes renovation project has been delayed due to fire that occurred there last year and the need to settle insurance claims before continuing with the renovation work. 

 Looking forward to next year’s budget, VP Oates and his staff are continuing to evaluate the tuition revenue planning model by including best case and worst-case scenarios and evaluation of increasing graduation rates.  They are also looking into potential non‐required fee increases or new non‐required fees and benchmarking to peers for non‐required fee increases.

 The Finance Committee will most likely have to hold additional meetings as the new budget is being built.  The entire Board will be notified of those meetings and will be invited to participate.

 An ad hoc committee was formed to reconsider and review the PFM housing study.

 

Committee on Institutional Advancement and Development

 Chair Smalley reported in calendar year 2018 there was a total of $714, 212 raised in gifts and pledges, of that amount, $455,353 were cash receipts and $258, 859 pledge receipts.  These funds will be received over the next five years.  Also, there are 81 charter members of the Winthrop Leadership Society as of December 31, 2018.

 The Committee heard a report from Ms. Shannon Brown, Annual Philanthropy Manager, regarding the Inaugural Day of Giving which she led, in conjunction with Winthrop Day that was held on April 6, 2019. A total of $20,975 in gifts and pledged was raised on that one day. 

 The Committee heard a report on Annual Giving including a snapshot of donors dating from 2013 to 2018.  While there was a high point in Annual Giving donors achieved in 2016, they were not retained.  Moving forward there will be a need to build consistency in retention strategies with donors in the Annual Giving program. Also important is the need for accurate contact information for donors and alumni.  Next steps in this process are to use the National Change of Address (NCOA), Winthrop Magazine, USPS Return Service Requested, Address Finder, Cellphone Append, Email Append, alumni survey/attitude survey and LinkedIn Sales Navigator.

 The Committee then turned to a discussion of communications and marketing.  In general, work this year has been focused on raising awareness of Winthrop and President Mahony.  Op-eds and feature articles were created and submitted to national, regional, and local media outlets.  Use of social media was increased with a cadre of over 30 staff, students, and alumni who agreed to “like” and “share” Winthrop information on their own social media sites.

 In other work, the university will be using a new content management system (CMS) that will simplify the publication of web content to websites and would allow content creators to submit content without requiring technical knowledge of programming languages. Jamie Ray, Directory of Web Development, will be spearheading this conversion, slated to be implemented by May 31.  

This particular CMS was created for institutions of higher education and will allow for presentation of a variety of content, has a responsive design and is also 508 compliant, making it accessible to individuals with disabilities.

 In the area of Government Relations, Winthrop’s goal is to share information with public officials that will continuously expose them to what the university does and how Winthrop contributes to city, state and national economic development.  To this end, Legislative Liaison Bob Coble has been utilized, weekly legislative updates are sent to all Trustees, and presentations by the President have been given to the Ways and Means Higher Education Budget Subcommittee on January and to the Senate Finance Higher Education Budget Hearings on February 28.

 The Committee concluded its work by learning about the plans for the upcoming Winthrop magazine as well as considering ways to improve the magazine.  Years ago, the magazine was printed and mailed to alumni and friends of the University four times per year.  Now, we have one print version and three digital versions.  The cost the printing and mailing a paper version is $34,000.  While using the digital version definitely results in cost savings, less than 33% of our alumni have active email addresses registered with us.  Therefore, less than 1/3 of our alumni receive the digital versions of the magazine.

  

Committee on Student Life and Athletics

Chair Sease reported on the status of the strategic plan development of Student Affairs division.  Most key stakeholder meetings to inform the process have been completed.  Staff are currently converting themes from the cultural and SWOT analyses, surveys, and meetings into goals and performance measures. The plan is on target for June 2019 completion. 

VP Burkhalter is leading the creation of a more effective staffing and budget process. Several departures have allowed for unit level reorganization. Three announced retirements and approximately 10 anticipated departures will permit large scale reorganization and modernization of the Division.  Temporary and student positions are being assessed for impact and need during FY20 budget call and alternative revenue streams is being considered (i.e. Work study funds). Funds utilized for programming are under consideration with the goal to reduce redundancies. 

 The Committee discussed the existing and future Sodexo programing.   Highlights included National Employee Appreciate Day in March, Battle of the Chefs in April, and the cafeteria To Go box initiative set to launch in fall 2019.  Since breaking ground, Sodexo has a growing list of accomplishments, including outperforming Starbucks’ previous year sales at 7.4 % year over year. Subway has achieved record sales two times this quarter possibly due to extended and earlier opening hours. 

 A plan to refurbish the Thomson Dining Hall has been approved by the Administration for further exploration. The proposed layout includes different cuisine options.  Sodexo design partners will visit campus on April 16th to finalize plans and complete the final pricing model. The project has an estimated completion date of summer 2019.

 A recent survey of students, faculty, and staff done by Sodexo showed a satisfaction result of 84%. This is five percentage points above the national average. The highest scores were reported in areas such as food quality, friendliness of staff, and speed of service.

 Winthrop is one of only two South Carolina universities that received the designation as a voter-friendly campus. One hundred twenty-three institutions were designated Voter Friendly Campuses in 2019.  

 Turning to the Athletic division report, Chair Sease conveyed that the experience with alcohol sales at baseball and softball games has been positive to date.  We have secured an additional insurance policy for $1 M in coverage as our State tort policy does not cover incidents related to alcohol use.

 The overall GPA (grade point average) for student-athletes in fall 2018 was 3.22.  If this trend continues, it will the highest in department history.

 The Committee concluded its meeting by touring the planned eSports space in the basement of Dacus library.

 

 Reports from the Representatives to the Board

 

Chair of Faculty Conference:

Dr. Mike Lipscomb discussed work done by the Task Force on Tenure and Promotion.  The group has recommended several changes.  Those changes will work through the Faculty Governance process and be reviewed by legal counsel prior to being presented to the Board.  Other changes that do not pertain to the policy but are rather procedural considerations such as privacy and confidentiality will work through the Provost’s office.

 Dr. Lipscomb also reported that Winthrop has conducted 30 searches for instructional faculty this year with 15 of those completed at this point. 

 Through collaborative efforts, faculty and administration have continued to address challenges related to compensation, resource allocation, and professional development. Examples he gave of collaborative efforts include the ways to provide opportunities for post-tenure faculty professional development, inviting faculty to participate in the new budgetary process, and faculty efforts to move course offerings and degree programs in ways that can capture the changing realities of our student base.

  

President of the Council of Student Leaders:

 Ximena Perez reported on the busy spring semester the Council has had.  They held a second retreat where they refocused their goals and plans for the remainder of the academic year.  Activities held to date include Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, Town Hall Tuesdays where students can talk to administrators regarding campus safety, financial aid, and other issues of concern.  They invited the student governments from local middle schools to spend a day at Winthrop with the Council.  They also held a “roommate mixer” during Winthrop day with 32 people in attendance.  Work continues on social media outreach and changes to the Council’s Constitution.

The recent election for new Council leadership involved approximately 26% of the student population.  With a total of 574 votes, Imani Belton and Brandon Jackson will be the 2019-20 President and Vice President of the Council of Student Leaders.  They will begin their term on July 1, 2019.

 

Executive Session

Randy Imler moved with a second from Jane LaRoche to move into executive session pursuant to South Carolina Ann. §30-4-70(a)(1)  and (2) for the purposes of discussion of employment matters involving certain current and former university employees and for a discussion of proposed contractual arrangements.  The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.  Dan Mahony, Caroline Overcash and Kimberly Faust were invited to remain for portions of the executive session.

 Gary Williams moved with a second from Ashley Wilkerson to end the executive session and return to public session.  The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.  No actions were taken.

 

New Business

There was no new business.

 

Adjournment

Hearing no objections, Chair McCall adjourned the meeting at 4:15 p.m.

 

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

Last Updated: 8/1/19