Minutes of the Winthrop University Board of Trustees

Thursday, October 11, 2013
Gold Room, DiGiorgio Campus Center
Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC


Members present: Kathy Bigham (Chair), Karl Folkens,  Jane LaRoche, Susan Smith-Rex, Bob Thompson, Donna  Glenn Holley, Janet Smalley, Ashlye Wilkerson , Glenn McCall, Tim Hopkins, Don Long,  Mitchell Zais, Tim Sease, Scott Talley, Jayne Marie Comstock (ex officio).

Members absent: James Williamson.

Representatives present: Christopher Aubrie, Student Representative; John Bird, Faculty Representative

Representatives absent: None.

Others present: Faculty and staff of Winthrop University, Anna Douglas of The Herald.  David Thackham, The Johnsonian

The Board of Trustees met Thursday, October 11, 2013 on the campus of Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC.


Call to Order

Chair Bigham called the meeting to order at 1:30 p.m.


Executive Session

Bob Thompson moved with a second from Sue Smith Rex that the Board meet in executive session for the purpose of discussing personnel, legal, and contractual issues.  Members of the President's Advisory Council, Karen Jones, Danny Nicholson, and Faculty Representative John Bird were invited to remain for the Executive Session.

Karl Folkens moved the Board end executive session, Tim Hopkins seconded.  The motion passed unanimously by voice vote.  No actions were taken in executive session.

Chair Bigham recessed the meeting until 1:00 p.m. on Friday, October 11, 2013.

As there was no request for public comment, Chair Bigham resumed the meeting on Friday, October 11, 2013 at 1:04 p.m. in the Gold Room of the DiGiorgio Campus Center.


Approval of Minutes

Don Long moved, seconded by Ashlye Wilkerson to approve the minutes of June 7, 2013. The minutes were approved unanimously by voice vote.


Report of the Executive Committee and Board Chair

Chair Bigham reported that the Executive Committee had met on campus on October 2, 2013.  Several matters were reviewed and discussed.  The materials from the meeting have been forwarded to each of members of the Board.  The resolution regarding the Agency Head Goals will be tabled until later in the meeting.


Report of the Committee on Academic Affairs

Chair Smalley thanked the Academic Affairs team for delivering a full, lively, and informational meeting.  The focus was on Global Learning Initiative (GLI). Dr. Gloria Jones provided an overview of the initiative that seeks to increase global elements on campus and study abroad opportunities.  Each of the deans focused on GLI initiatives in their areas.  Dean Gloria Jones, University College, reviewed the first "Rock the Hill; Rock the Globe" event for all new freshmen and transfers.  Students were bussed to the Coliseum to meet the athletes from the fall sports teams in order to build team spirit. Dean Jones also report on this year's global Common Book is William Kamkwamba's "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind," that addresses many global issues, including religion, education and the impact humans have on the earth.

The College of Business Administration continues to be the main conduit for study abroad at Winthrop with a current total of 148 international students.  Dr. Laura Ullrich, Associate Professor of Economics, will serve as a Fulbright Scholar in policy economics at the University of Pristina in Kosovo.

Dr. David Wohl reported that College of Visual and Performing Arts students and faculty travelled and preformed nationally and internationally. Winthrop University Galleries held two exhibitions focused on global learning that were partially supported by grants from the GLI program.

The College of Education has signed a memorandum of understanding with Shanghai Far East School in China with two of our students doing internship teaching in China. For the third year, the College of Education will host the U.S. State Department's Teaching Excellence and Achievement (TEA) Fellows.

The College of Arts and Science faculty routinely integrate global learning such as using Skype within their courses and are developing more short term study abroad opportunities.

Graduate School has 56 international graduate students with more than 30 graduate level courses classified as Global Perspective courses.

Dacus Library continues to be used at various hours with student reporting satisfaction with the new 24 hour format.


Report of the Committee on Finance

Chair McCall thanked the Finance and Business department and President Comstock for their good work in developing the new budget template. This new format will assist in transparency efforts and will be more clear and precise than the previous Allocation Status Report (ASR).  Although the numbers and categories are not so different than the ASR the new budget template presents the numbers by department, making the budget more understandable.  

The committee also discussed the plans to disseminate the new format to the campus endorsing President Comstock's plan to share the template at the next faculty conference meeting.


Report of the Committee on Student Life

Chair Talley began his report with an update of the work being completed on the Athletics facilities.  The new training facilities for the Track and Field team funded by Piedmont Medical Center will be a welcome and much appreciated addition.  The Big South Conference baseball tournament will be held at Winthrop this spring.  Planned safety upgrades to the ballpark including additional padding behind home plate will be completed in time for the tournament.

The grade point average (GPA) of our student athletes continue to trend above the overall student body GPA.  Completion tracking shows from the 2006-07 entering class, 86% have graduated (this does include students who transferred to other schools and received a degree.)

Student Life is currently completing Title IX training across campus.  The federal funding for the Office of Victim's Assistance will end in June 2014.  Student Life staff are working on alternative options to continue this service for our students. 

The committee finished its work with a tour of the new Veterans' Center.  Although the Center will not officially open until November, students have begun to use it and are appreciative of the efforts of all involved.  President Comstock took the lead on ensuring the space included a private, wheelchair accessible restroom.  The Committee is appreciative of her good work in this area.

Report of the Committee on Institutional Advancement and Development

Chair Bob Thompson reported on the latest enrollment numbers for fall 2013.  As of this date, 1,096 new freshmen and 367 new transfer students have enrolled.  The yield rate is 35.4%.  As the team moves forward to begin to recruit for next year, they will be also implementing the new CRM recruitment software package. 

The York Technical College Bridge program is off to a good start with 26 students enrolled in the program.

The Foundation continues to implement key recommendations from the Kathryn Miree report.  With the addition of Dr. Danny Nicholson, the fundraising responsibilities have been separated from the Foundation activities.  Staff reassignments will follow based on this new direction.

Report of the Chair of Faculty Conference and Faculty Representative to the Board

Dr. John Bird reported on the actions of the Faculty Conference.  Of greatest interest is the desire to reinstate the appeals process.  Currently, actions of the Faculty Conference are recommendations to the President.  If those recommendations are not accepted, there is no recourse.  The Faculty Conference desires, and President Comstock supports, a process that would permit the Faculty Conference to appeal to the Board.

Faculty committees are working this semester to look at ways to streamline the General Education requirements for transfer students and those who want to change majors. 

Report from the President of Council of Student Leaders and Student Representative to the Board

President Christopher Aubrie introduced Ian Deas, the Vice President of Student Leaders.  To date, $3,861 has been allocated from the student activities fund to the various student clubs on campus.  Progress continues on the planning of the 2nd annual Garnet and Gold gala with this year's theme to be "second chance prom".  Representatives from the Council will complete the annual safety walk with Chief Zebedis to look at lighting and safety issues on campus.  This is a way for students to have direct input to Campus Police in matters of importance to them.  The Council will send representatives to the University of South Carolina tobacco free summit to gather ideas on how Winthrop could become completely tobacco free.


Report from the President

President Comstock expressed her appreciation to the Board for their willingness to give the extra time associated with this Board meeting.  The time spent on Thursday's Future Focus Workshop reviewing the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) was valuable as a way to build a good base of information that will be used to guide and measure our success moving forward.  The KPI are categorized into access, recruitment, and enrollment; student success; retention and graduation; academic quality; resource allocation; financial sustainability; and diversity of our student body as well as faculty and staff. 

The President spoke of her gratitude to the entire Winthrop community both on campus and throughout the region for the warm welcome and support she and her husband, Larry Williamson, have received in the last few months. 

Don Long presented President Comstock with a gift of a Winthrop football helmet as a visual reminder of interest in a possible football team and marching band at Winthrop.  The President accepted the helmet by assuring Mr. Long she would undertake a thorough and unbiased feasibility study to be completed this year.


Executive Session

Karl Folkens moved, Sue Smith Rex seconded that the Board go into Executive Session for discussion of personnel and contractual issues.  JP McKee, Amanda Maghsoud, Debra Boyd, and Kimberly Faust were invited to join the meeting.  Scott Talley moved with a second from Tim Sease the Board end the executive session.  The motion passed unanimously.  No actions were taken in executive session.


Executive Committee Request for Action

Chair Bigham asked that the Board consider a resolution from the Executive Committee related to the annual Agency Head Objectives. Each year the Executive Committee sets forth a set of goals and objectives by which to evaluate the President's performance.  While the format and focus areas of these goals are set by the South Carolina Agency Head Salary Commission, the specific parameters and criteria of those goals are at the discretion of the Trustees.  In consultation with President Comstock, the goals for AY 2013-14 are to increase national prominence of the University; improve the institutional completion rate; provide workplace support for faculty and staff; increase enrollment; improve access and affordability for traditional and post-traditional students; and develop a long-term strategic plan with campus community input.

The resolution passed unanimously by voice vote.

Old  Business


New Business




Hearing no objections, Chair Bigham adjourned the meeting at 4:17 p.m.