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

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Friday, October 25, 2019

Owens Hall/DiGiorgio Campus Center

Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC 

 

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

 

Members absent: Janet Smalley, Julie Fowler

 

Representatives present: Imani Belton, Student Representative; Dr. Adolphus Belk, Jr. Faculty Representative

 

Representatives absent: None

 

Others present: Dr. Debra Boyd, Bob Breakfield, Patrice Bruneau, Dr. Adrienne McCormick, Judy Longshaw, Tammie Phillips, Justin Oates, Karen Jones, Dr. Ken Halpin, Wes Love, Dr. Jennie Rakestraw, Dr. P.N. Saksena, Tim Drueke, Caroline Overcash, Lisa Cowart, Dr. Jack DeRochi, Amanda Maghsoud, Dr. Meg Webber, Kirk McSwain, all of Winthrop University; Matt Thrift of the Johnsonian, Indira Eskieve of CN2, Matthew Kreh of WRHI, John Gettys, Mayor of Rock Hill, SC, Warren Norman, David Williams, Alison Davis, Peggy Williams

 

The Board of Trustees met on Friday, October 25, 2019 on the campus of Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC. 

 

 

Call to Order

Chair McCall called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m. in Owens Hall, G-02.  He welcomed all present.                    Ed Driggers delivered an invocation.

 

Provost Adrienne McCormick presented the 2019-2020 Priorities of the Academic Affairs division.  Those priorities included increased efficiencies across Academic Affairs, restructuring to advance priorities, new budget development model, comprehensive review of Academic Affairs policies, Academic Affairs Work Plan with key goals in each area driven by Winthrop Plan, Academic Master Plan development, and the Wildly Important Goal: Student retention and success initiative. 

 

Provost McCormick explained that an academic master plan is a central driver of integrated planning and decision-making that links mission, vision, and goals to people, services, and resources in a flexible process of evaluation, action, and improvement

 

Current academic programs in various stages of development are Current program development:

College of Arts and Sciences: Bachelor of Professional Studies launch, Data Science proposal, Human Nutrition MS Online proposal; College of Business Administration:  Applied Software Development proposal, creating a Minor in Finance for a Fintech option, exploring Online MS in Accounting &Data Analytics; College of Education: Proposed BS in Educational Studies (adult focus), Developing MAT teacher residency program, Finalize preparations for blended (3+2) MSAT (Athletic Training) program w/exercise science track, College of Visual and Performing Arts: developing BA in Integrated Arts, Converting BFA in Visual Communications to Bachelor of Design, complete program change proposal converting Master of Fine Arts from three year to two year program

 

The Provost also discussed the next round of online course development as considering proposal of existing Human Nutrition MS in online format, considering expanding markets for existing online programs through broader Wiley partnership with a Literacy M.Ed. and a Sport and Fitness Administration M.S.

 

Provost McCormick concluded her presentation with a discussion on the Wildly Important Goal of increasing Fall to Fall retention for all degree seeking students from 80.9 to 82 percent by Fall 2020.

 

Dr. P.N. Saksena presented a review of the work he has done since assuming the position as Dean of the College of Business Administration.  Efficiencies gained have been data driven faculty position requests (41 FT Instructional Faculty in 2017/35 in 2019), cut staff positions (7 in 2017/4 in 2019), leadership positions consolidated, cut expenses (Liuzhou, AMPD, adjuncts), and lean operating costs.

 

Moving forward, the dean will focus on strategic planning, growing college enrollment, focus on quality, innovation, and engaging with stakeholders.  New ideas include BC3: professional development, Business Acumen Program (8 BA credits), required High Impact Practices (3/6 cr. hrs), stackable credentials, and program refreshes.

 

Vice President Lisa Cowart introduced Yelana Stiles and Katie Manning of Sibson Consulting.  They updated the Board on the work done to date on the Classification and Compensation study.  The study has been lengthy due to the need for buy-in among employees and to understand particular issues as well as to gather feedback. Project outcomes include a compensation philosophy, market assessment, job classification recommendations, salary structure, salary administration policies and procedures plus a multi-year implementation strategy.  In response to questions, Ms. Stiles said salary administration is a description of how to manage day to day guidelines and pay strategies.  Acknowledging that it will take years to increase every position to a fair market rate, Trustees asked if the consultants thought Winthrop would lose employees to other companies. Ms. Stiles replied that while there were always be turnover as employees choose new employers for a variety of reasons, but to many employees a “belief in the mission and a tie to and institution is a reward just as is salary, healthcare, and benefits.”

 

 

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, Lisa Cowart, Yelana Stiles, Katie Manning, Dr. Adolphus Belk, Amanda Maghsoud, Justin Oates, Kimberly Faust, Ken Halpin, Eduardo Prieto, and Shelia Burkhalter were invited to remain for portions of the executive session.

 

Tim Hopkins moved with a second from Sandra Stroman to end the executive session and return to public session.  The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.

 

 

The Board recessed the meeting at 11:40 a.m. with plans to reconvene at 1:30 p.m.

 

The Board reconvened their meeting at 1:30 in the Evans Room of the DiGiorgio Campus Center.

 

 

Update on City of Rock Hill Partnerships

Mayor John Gettys attended the meeting as a guest to thank the University for its sponsorship of the MyRide Bus System.  Along with Warren Norman and David Williams as representatives of the York County Disabilities Foundation, the Mayor thanked Winthrop for its willingness to enter into a long-term lease of property at the corner of Cherry Road and Richmond Drive for the creation of Miracle Park.  Trustee Gary Williams stated how proud he was of his two children, Ms. Alice Davis and Mr. David Williams, for their efforts in bringing this plan to fruition.  Mr. Warren Norman spoke about the how the plan for the park was developed.  He conveyed his thanks to Winthrop for supporting the idea.  Chair Glenn McCall thanked Justin Oates, Caroline Overcash, and Trustee Kathy Bigham for the many hours of work they did to secure all of the State permissions that were needed in order to finalize the lease of the property.

 

Miracle Park is a public/public/private project between Winthrop University (Winthrop), the City of Rock Hill (City), and the York County Disabilities Foundation.  The project is to build a first-in-the-state recreational facility designed for children with disabilities.  Both the City and Winthrop are providing the land through a low-cost, long-term lease for the park location.  The Foundation is charged with fundraising and development.  The City will manage the day-to-day operation of the park through their Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department.  Adjacent to campus, Winthrop students in several academic disciplines will have unique internship and service opportunities that align with our agency mission.

 

 

Approval of Minutes from August 19, 2019

Tim Sese with a second from Tim Hopkins, moved to accept the minutes as written.  The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.

 

 

Report of the Executive Committee and Chair of the Board

Chair Glenn McCall reviewed the meeting of the Executive Committee on October 2, 2019.  From that meeting comes a recommendation of the Executive Committee to authorize the implementation of a comprehensive information security plan for the University.

 

Motion to Authorize a Comprehensive Information Security Plan.

 

Following the SC Department of Revenue breach of citizen records in 2012, the State worked to develop and comprehensive approach to secure the information held by the state through its various agencies and institutions.  All executive branch agencies had to work directly with the Division of Information Security and the Enterprise Privacy Office within the Department of Administration to agencies adopt a set of policies. The legislature required that all institutions of higher learning have cyber security policies, guidelines, and standards that meet or exceed those implemented by the South Carolina Department of Administration.  Historically, information security has been intermingled within the Information Technology Department at Winthrop University.  This was carved out and placed under Internal Audit in June 2019 in compliance with best practices and state compliance.

 

This resolution will provide the governance required by state standards as well as several federal compliance requirements (e.g. Graham Leach Bliley Act for financial data).  This plan will include a comprehensive set of data and information security policies to protect the data of our students and employees.

 

Needing no second as the recommendation was from the Executive Committee, Chair McCall called for a vote.  The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion. 

 

 

Report from the President

Dr. Mahony invited the Trustees to next week’s State of the University Address.  The annual event will be held on Tuesday, October 29 at 11:00 a.m.  The president also mentioned two upcoming fundraising events, the Arts Gala on November 1, 2019 and the Friends of Dacus Library event on November 7, 2019.  He concluded his report by mentioning the upcoming Fanfest, a celebration of Winthrop Athletics to be held on November 2, 2019 and the Homecoming tailgate and basketball game on November 16, 2019.

 

 

Committee Reports

 

1. Committee on Academic Quality

Chair Tim Hopkins reported on the Academic Affairs decision to choose as its Wildly Important Goal (WIG) for the 2019-2020 academic year: “Increase Fall-to-Fall retention for all degree-seeking students from 80.9 to 82 percent by Fall 2020.”  The retention effort is a collaborative effort across Academic Affairs, Access and Enrollment Management, Student Affairs, and Business and Finance.  

 

The report from the faculty representative to the Board included a recognition of faculty who earned tenure and promotion, ongoing work from 18-29 Task Force on Tenure and Promotion Protocols that is now looking at pre-tenure review, the plans to staff an ombuds position, and his desire to maintain a diverse student body.

 

Updates from the deans included the following.  Graduate degree-seeking enrollment is at its highest level since 2014 with 833 students.  The increase in degree-seeking enrollment stems from growth in online graduate programs with a total of 259 enrolled students.  In addition to the Bachelor of Professional Studies and data science degrees, the College of Arts & Sciences has developed new programs in Sociology with a concentration in Social Inequalities and Mass Communication with an interest in Digital Sports and Content Production.  A Living Learning Community for Accounting Mentorship and Professional Development (AMPD) students was created.  Teacher Quality Partnership

 

grant was awarded to the College of Education effective October 1 in the amount of $3,861,745 over five years—This makes the fourth USDOE grant that the College has received since 2009, totaling $17.6 million.    CVPA achieved an 8% enrollment increase over 2018 and 23% increase since 2015, due to continued recruitment efforts by faculty and staff and dedicated recruiter in Access and Enrollment Management. Friends of Dacus dinner featuring Vivian Howard, the internationally known chef, is the keynote speaker for the November 7, 2019 event. University College is restructuring the program for provisional admissions, previously called our Learning Excellent Academic Practices (LEAP) program.  

 

 2. Committee on Compensation

Chair Bigham began her report by expressing the Committee’s thanks for the development of the data dashboards as the format and choice of data included made it easy for Trustees to understand what was occurring at the University.  The Committee learned that 158 faculty and staff are over the age of 60 and 233 faculty and staff are between the ages of 50-59. Also, 53% of our annual turnover this past year was concentrated in Athletics, Campus Police, Information Technology, and Facilities. 

 

Also discussed at the meeting was the state mandated $600 bonus given to fulltime state employees who were hired prior to January 2019 and who had a base salary of less than or equal to $70,000.  At Winthrop, 560 employees received the bonus at a cost of $336,000.  The State gave Winthrop about $85,000 toward that bonus payment.

 

Additionally, the Committee learned about new minimum set by Department of Labor for exempt employees (salaried employees not eligible for overtime.) Previously, the minimum was $23,660 and now it is $35,560. Winthrop currently has 27 exempt employees who earn less than the new minimum.  If all 27 remain as exempt, it will cost $51,000 in pay increases. 

 

Ms. Bigham concluded her report by commending facilities staff for their exceptional work dealing with the recent difficulties on campus when the City experienced a water main break.

 

3. Committee on Enrollment and Retention:

In Chair Janet Smalley’s absence, Glenn McCall chaired the Committee meeting.  He relayed information shared regarding current enrollment numbers including the changes in enrollment and university headcount over a 5-year period. Winthrop’s financial aid optimization partner, Educational Advisory Board (EAB), assessed the potential of trouble in retaining students with high need, which unfortunately has come to pass as evidenced by the decrease in the retention rate.

 

An update on graduate enrollment showed the number of total degree-seeking students has surpassed 800 for the first time since 2014. This increase is due to the 118 new students enrolled in Winthrop’s 100% online programs in Fall 2019. Of the 833 degree-seeking students, 259 enrolled in 100 % online programs and 62 (24%) of these online students live within a 25-mile radius of Winthrop.  There has been a corresponding decline in students enrolled in on-campus programs.

 

Finally, Mr. McCall spoke about the increase in applications being primarily due to engaging and updated communication to the students and parents, improved student application experience with SLATE, and stronger collaboration across the university with University Communication and Marketing, Office of Alumni Relations, and the colleges to ensure consistent messaging and recruitment efforts.

 

The Committee discussed the need to establish the ideal student profile for future recruitment and enrollment purposes.

 

4. Committee on Finance

Chair Randy Imler presented the information shared at the Committee meeting. An unmodified opinion was issued on Winthrop University’s basic financial statements dated June 30, 2019. There were no material weaknesses or significant deficiencies.

 

Data from the dashboards show the institution’s debts due in a year or less are less than its current assets.  Current capital projects approved or in process of being approved total $20.65M. From 2015-2019  employee travel expenses have been flat.   Winthrop’s 40% share of the online revenue associated with the Wiley programs for the academic year was $416,127.  This academic year our share will be 45%.

 

Motion to Approve Differentiated Tuition for Bachelor of Professional Studies

 

After reviewing information provided regarding competitor rates and discussing the various options, the Committee brought forth a motion to provide a 30% discount on the regular fee rates for the BPS program.  Needing no second, a vote was called.  The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.  

 

Motion to Authorize and Approve Net Position Usage in the Aggregate Amount of $ 2,200,000

 

The FY2019 Net Position is projected to the end the year at $21.8M or $1.6M higher than FY2018

balance. The FY2020 Operating Budget, however, is projected to increase $1.6M compared to FY2019

preliminary year-end actuals. Based on review of an itemized list of capital expenses and maintenance needs, the Committee on Finance brought forth a resolution to authorize and approve net position use up to $2,200,000.

 

Needing no second, a vote was called.  The vote was unanimous in favor of the resolution.

 

To support the management of project prioritization on the $2.2M and all future projects, a Capital Budget Working Group will be formed to make recommendations to the Senior Leadership Group and the Board of Trustees. 

 

5. Committee on Institutional Advancement and Development

Ms. Kathy Bigham chaired the Committee meeting during Dr. Fowler’s absence.  Ms. Bigham reported on the presentation given by Dr. Ken Halpin regarding fundraising in Athletics.  Year-to-Date Athletic Giving for 2019-2020 currently totals over $400,000.  As of October 1, the Eagle Club membership is trending up 37% over the same period in 2018/2019, as of October 16, 2019 there are 355 Eagle Club members.  It is important to note that Eagle Club membership has been redefined and extended to any donor who gives funds over a certain amount.  In the past, donors were not automatically awarded an Eagle Club membership regardless of donation amounts; they had to give twice.

 

Foundation Director, Ms. Robin Embry, shared an Investment Analysis with the Committee.  As of September 30, 2019, the Portfolio Market Value was $59,267,371 and the Portfolio Investment Return was 14.72%.

 

The Committee also received an update on fundraising.  Winthrop Fund cash receipts through September 30, 2019 were $210,580 and $222,600 in cash receipts through October 23, 2019. Winthrop Leadership Society (WLS), launched in January 2018, had 81 charter members as September 30, 2019 with a charter membership goal of 110 for CY 2019. $1.7M pledged over 5 years to the University priorities including the Winthrop Fund. $78,257 pledged to the Winthrop Fund YTD from WLS members for CY2020.

Alumni participation in FY19 is 5.14% from 2,061 donors. The median alumni participation rate for public universities has been 5.00% since 2014.

 

The Committee heard from Ms. Ellen Wilder-Byrd, Associate Vice President of Communications and Marketing.  She reported the good news that the rate of alumni opening their digital magazines almost doubled this past year. Fifty-eight thousands copies of the annual paper edition of the alumni magazine will be mailed out in the next few weeks with a mailing cost of $32,000 or 56 cents each.

 

Work is continuing with the new website as 5,651 web pages have been converted to the new website system—136 authors trained, the site has an “A” security rating and passes WCAG 2.1 compliance standards for accessibility.

 

Ms. Katie Price, Director of Marketing, gave the Committee an update on our marketing efforts.  A total of $150,000 has been allocated for Marketing with $125,000 to be spent on digital marketing. The focus of marketing work this year is launch of digital marketing with Carnegie Dartlet, rebranding signage and branding updates, improved collaboration across campus, marketing of colleges/destination programs, marketing of special events, continue to update and enhance YouVisit virtual tour, and to explore new marketing opportunities as budget allows.

 

6. Committee on Student Life and Athletics

 Chair Tim Sease shared information reported to the Committee.  We’ve had a decline in number of students living in the residence halls from 2015 to 2018 but has a slight uptick this fall. Orientation numbers also declined from 2015 to 2018 with a slight increase in 2019.

 

Good news is that more students are participating in career presentations however the number of career fairs on campus has decreased. Approximately 737 career appointments are made annually.

Reports from Campus Police show they answer about 18,000 calls for service per year. The majority of those calls are facility needs, vehicle assistance, and reports of suspicious activity.  The number of arrests and citations by campus police have been on a steady decline.

 

The Committee learned about the Student Affairs departmental realignment New sub-divisions will be Community Life, Student Affairs Operations, Campus Police & Public Safety Programs, Student Engagement, Transitions & Student Success, and Student Wellness Services. 

 

The report from Athletics showed our 2018-2019 APR is now 975. The current year’s APR is 991. The following men’s teams received perfect scores of 1000: tennis, golf, cross country and track and field. The following women’s teams received perfect scores of 1000: soccer, softball, volleyball and golf. Dr. Halpin explained that our GSR (graduate success rate) of 90% is an all-time high for Winthrop and both the APR and GSR results qualify Winthrop for the new Values Based Revenue Distribution from the NCAA. An overall GPA of 3.25 is the second highest in the history of Winthrop Athletics.

 

The sale of alcohol at Baseball and Softball was overall a positive experience, and Winthrop has secured a secondary insurance policy for any event on campus where alcohol is served to coincide with Sodexo’s insurance policy.

 

Finally, Esports Coach Josh Sides gave a brief update on how the season is progressing.  Winthrop finished in the quarterfinals in both League of Legends and Overwatch at the Harrisburg University Esports Invitational and the Overwatch team is currently 5-1 in Tespa Varsity Invitational, which features only the top 16 rated collegiate Overwatch teams in North America. Key wins Winthrop gained were against University of Missouri, University of Central Florida, Rutgers, Akron and 2018’s undefeated champion, Harrisburg University.

 

 

Executive Session

 Ashlye Wilkerson moved with a second from Ed Driggers 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 university employees and for a discussion of proposed contractual arrangements.  The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.  Caroline Overcash and Kimberly Faust was invited to remain for portions of the executive session.

 

Robbie Sisco moved with a second from Donna Glenn Holley to end the executive session with no report.  The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.

 

 

New Business

There was no new business.

  

 

Adjournment

Hearing no objections, Chair McCall adjourned the meeting at 4:10 p.m.

 

 

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

Last Updated: 9/1/20