Winthrop University Board of Trustees

April 17, 2009
1:00 pm
Dunlap-Roddey Room, Johnson Hall
Winthrop University
Rock Hill, South Carolina

Minutes of Meeting of the Board of Trustees

Members present:  Kathy Bigham (Chair), Frances Davenport, Karl Folkens, Janet Smalley, Jane LaRoche, Susan Smith-Rex, Donna Tinsley, Lee Cox. Dalton Floyd, David Vipperman , Anthony J. DiGiorgio (ex officio)

Members absent:  Sam Foster

Representatives present:  Tatiana Sosa, Student Representative; Cheryl Fortner Wood, Faculty Representative

Representatives absent:  None

Others present:  Faculty and staff of Winthrop University, Shawn Cetrone, The Herald

The Board of Trustees met on Friday, April 17, 2009 at 1:00 p.m. in the Dunlap-Roddey Room of Johnson Hall on the campus of Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC.

Call to Order

Chair Kathy Bigham called the meeting to order at 1:10 p.m. As there were no requests made for public comments, the meeting began as Bob Thompson made a motion to approve the minutes from the meetings of February 27 through March 1. The motion seconded by Lee Cox . The minutes were approved unanimously as presented.

As the first order of business, Chair Bigham read a letter of thanks from former Trustee Glenda Owens.  In the letter, Ms. Owens expressed her delight in being able to serve the Board for many years as the representative from District One.  She sent her best wishes for the Board as it continues to move the University forward.

Report of the Executive Committee and Chair of the Board

Chair Bigham reported that the Executive Committee had met on campus on April 1, 2009.  The materials from the meeting have been forwarded to each of members of the Board. Most of the issues that were discussed will be or have already been a part of today's agenda.

Chair Bigham reported the Executive Committee also had an executive session for discussion of legal, personnel, and contractual matters.  No action was taken in the executive session.

The Chair of the Board appointed a nominating committee consisting of  Janet Smalley, Bob Thompson, and Jane LaRoche.  Ms. Smalley will chair the committee.  A slate of officers for the 2009-10 academic year will be put forth by the committee and distributed to the full board 30 days in advance of the next Board meeting The elections will be held on June 5, 2009. 

Report of the Academic Affairs Committee

Committee chair Lee Cox expressed his committee's thanks and gratitude to the faculty and staff of Winthrop University for their willingness and hard work in keeping morale and quality standards high in these recent months of economic challenges. 

Chair Cox's report included highlights of the Academic Affairs committee meeting held earlier today.  Included were discussions on the progress being made with the articulation agreements between York Technical College and Winthrop University; the success of the Seed Conference held on our campus a few weeks ago; a progress report on the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges reaffirmation process; the full accreditation of the Master's in Social Work programretroactive to the inaugural cohort; the certification of the Healthcare Management program (the only certified program of its kind in the state);  the relocation of the John West forum on politics to our campus; an update on activities planned for the Common Book for next academic year; increased enrollment in the summer graduate programs; and the acknowledgement of Dr. Carol Marchel, Associate Professor in the Center for Pedagogy as the Thompson Scholar.

Cox also gave the condolences of the Academic Affairs committee to the family of Dr. Cynthia Furr on the tragic death of Cynthia and her daughter McAlister.

Report of the Finance Committee

Committee chair Karl Folkens reviewed the resolution for room and board fees.  Folkens reported the increase was necessary due to the rising costs of energy and food.  Although food and utility prices have risen higher than the Higher Education Price Index (HEPI), our fee increase is relatively low.  Folkens reminded the Board that auxiliary services such as housing and dining must be self-supporting and therefore require fee increases to be consistent with the marketplace. As the resolution was presented by the Finance committee, no second was needed. The resolution passed unanimously. 

Folkens reported on the Allocation Status Report by noting the current $197,000 shortfall is expected to the covered by savings expected in the 4th quarter. 

Folkens reported good news and steady progress on the capital projects on campus.  Carroll Hall is on track for a Fall 2009 completion, the Campus Center is moving toward its expected completion in Fall 2010, and Scholar's Walk is ahead of schedule.

Report of the University Relations Committee

Committee chair Janet Smalley reported on the meeting of the University Relations committee. The committee began by reviewing the GPAs of the athletes noting 20 of our scholar-athletes have already received or are currently being considered for various awards from the Big South Conference and/or the NCAA. 

Smalley reported on improvements in our admissions and campus visit programs including the introduction of "First Look Fridays," a program designed to promoted individualized, targeted campus visit experiences for prospective students and their parents. 

Continuing with a report on development efforts on campus, Smalley reported while the number of donors are down, the dollar amount of gifts has increased; the annual phonathon is ahead of its fundraising goals, the brick campaign is underway, and the name of the Loyalty Fund is being changed to the Winthrop Fund for better name recognition.

In the area of student life, Smalley reported on the recent upgrade in the availability of on-campus psychiatric care for students.  Through the signing of a service agreement with a psychiatrist, our students no longer have to wait two more weeks to receive an appointment with a local psychiatrist.

Prior to recognizing the faculty representative for her report, Chair Bigham took the opportunity to convey her and the Board's appreciation for all of the work the faculty has done this past academic year.  Bigham said everyone is applauding the faculty spirit in the face of additional work and mandatory furlough days.

Report from Faculty Representative and Chair of the Faculty Conference

Dr. Cheryl Fortner-Wood thanked Chair Bigham and the Trustees for their good thoughts and said she is happy the Trustees recognize that the faculty are working hard to keep standards high.

Fortner-Wood gave an update on the work of the Faculty Conference's efforts to reevaluate and redevelop its committee structures as a way to create a more efficient and timely faculty governance structure.  The faculty governance will review and vote upon the recommendations next week.  If passed, the recommendations will then be passed onto the President for his approval. 

Fortner-Wood then reported on the creation of an ad-hoc committee to review the Roles and Rewards of the faculty evaluation process.  Selected Deans and other faculty will comprise this group and will work in the upcoming year to document how roles and rewards have changed to reflect the new ways in which faculty teach and students learn.

Finally, Fortner-Wood stated her thanks to the administration for preserving travel monies to permit faculty and student travel to conferences. 

Report from the Student Representative

In her final report to the Board, Ms. Tatiana Sosa introduced the incoming officers of the Council of Student Leaders, Chair-elect Sydney Evans and Vice Chair-elect Tripp Volk, III. 

In her report to the Board, Sosa discussed the long term projects the Council of Student Leaders hopes to accomplish including a plan for transportation to local shops; the possibility of using solar lighting in public areas on campus; increasing the awareness of students of the activities of the Council of Student Leaders; and possible future forums to discuss items of interest to the students.

Report from the President

The President began his report by thanking the faculty and staff for all of their good work over the past academic year.  He specially noted the increase workload due to the Banner training and implementation, the Content Management System work, and the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges (SACS) reaffirmation process that has been forefront in many people's duties.

The President then continued his report by sharing an update of the current budget situation.  Winthrop may be subject to an additional appropriation reduction of at least $1.3 million for next year.  With that additional reduction we would reduce our state appropriation by over $7.1 million (34.4 percent) from its level this time last year.

Governor Sanford is being urged to accept and approve use of $350 million in federal stimulus funds to support K-12, higher education and public safety.  But, as you know, the governor insists he will do that only if state lawmakers use equivalent state funds to pay down debt.  At this point, we do not know what will happen with the stimulus monies and in order to be ready for the next fiscal year, we are preparing budget plans that cover a wide range of possibilities.

In that process of budget planning we are continuing to examine all non-personnel aspects of our budget,  as we have been doing since the first reduction was announced in October. As I have mentioned numerous times, non-personnel spending is only 25 percent of our overall expenditures, and 58 percent of that (insurance, utilities, licenses, taxes, etc.) is not discretionary, but required spending. That leave us with few options in the remaining categories, such as supplies, travel, etc.

There are only four ways to manage our future personnel expenditures: (1) through hiring decisions in response to vacancies,  (2) through furloughs,  (3) permanent reductions to pay, and (4) layoffs.

To this point, we have avoided layoffs of permanent employees, and avoided permanent reductions to pay, as this option would have long-term effect on employee retirement earnings and future salary increases. Rather, we have opted for furloughs in order to safeguard employee health insurance and retirement payments.

It may be well into the summer until we know the extent of the budget reductions and our resulting operating budget.  The president promised to keep the trustees and the campus community well informed as we continue to move through these challenging economic times.

Old Business

There was no old business.

New Business

There was no new business.


Hearing no objections, the Chair adjourned the meeting at 2:50 p.m.

Minutes submitted by Kimberly Faust, Secretary to the Board