Meeting of the Winthrop University Board of Trustees

February 28-March 2, 2014
Gold Room, DiGiorgio Campus Center
Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC


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

Members absent: None

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, Manning Kimmel, WRHI

The Board of Trustees met Friday, February 28, 2014 on the campus of Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC.


Call to Order

Chair Kathy Bigham called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m. There was no request for public comment.

Approval of Minutes

Scott Talley moved, seconded by Tim Hopkins to approve the minutes of December 13, 2013. The minutes were approved unanimously by voice vote.

Report of the Executive Committee and Board Chair

Ms. Bigham reported that the Executive Committee had met on campus on February 5, 2014. Several matters were reviewed and discussed including the President's presentation to the Subcommittee on Higher Education of the SC House Ways and Means Committee; the upcoming Presidential Inauguration; and the plans for this retreat. The materials from the meeting have been forwarded to each of members of the Board.

Chair Bigham apprised the Board of the resignation of Dr. James Williamson. Dr. Williamson accepted a new position as President of the South Carolina Technical College System and as a result could not continue in his position as a Trustee of Winthrop. Dr. Williamson was appointed to the Board by the Alumni Association. They are presently conferring and will soon name their replacement for Dr. Williamson. Chair Bigham asked the Board to join her in extending best wishes and congratulations to Dr. Williamson.

Executive Session

Bob Thompson moved with a second from Karl Folkens that the Board go into Executive Session for discussion of personnel and contractual issues. John Bird, Christopher Aubrie, JP McKee, Amanda Maghsoud, and Kimberly Faust were invited to join the meeting. Tim Hopkins moved with a second from Jane LaRoche the Board end the executive session. The motion passed unanimously. No actions were taken in executive session.

Bylaw revision

Glenn McCall moved and Don Long seconded a motion to adopt a revised set of bylaws for the Board of Trustees. Discussion of the revisions included an analysis of changes to the bylaws and the reasoning related to those changes. Specifically, the changes reflect the Board's desire for all elected and appointed Trustees to be eligible to serve as officers of the Board; the granting to the Faculty Conference the right of appeal to the Board in accordance with the Faculty Conference bylaws; and the addition of a new Trustee seat to represent the newly formed seventh Congressional district in South Carolina. The motion passed unanimously.

Memorandum of Understanding with Winthrop Foundation

Karl Folkens moved with a second from Jane LaRoche to accept the revised Memorandum of Understanding with the Winthrop Foundation. Based on a desire to develop an open and communicative relationship with the Winthrop Foundation, this memorandum confirms that the Board of Trustees set the spending priorities for the funds raised by the Office of Institutional Advancement and managed by the Foundation. The motion passed unanimously.

Review of Key Performance Indicators

President Comstock provided an overview of the Key Performance Indicators noting the progress made to date and the addition of the critical indicator of faculty-student ratio.


Hearing no objections, Chair Bigham recessed the meeting until 9:00 am on Saturday.


The Board reconvened at 9:03 a.m. on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at the Shack located at the Winthrop Recreational and Research Complex.

Saturday's retreat was devoted to strategic planning. The objectives of the retreat were:

  • Understand how Winthrop is redefining the public education experience through access and quality in a singular institution.
  • Set strategic priorities that:
    • achieve enrollment growth
    • expand visibility, access, and affordability
    • ensure student success and attainment
    • deliver market smart, mission driven programs
  • Take a leadership role in creating a campus culture of philanthropy.
  • Create a shared sense of purpose among Trustees.
  • Affirm strategies designed to develop trust and deepen communication among and between Trustees and the University senior leadership team.

President Comstock began the retreat discussions with an introduction to the role Winthrop plays in affordability and access and general overview of Winthrop's current efforts/actions in regard to access and quality by focusing on Winthrop's 90% in-state student rate, 33% minority rate, 97% state lottery scholarship rate, 39% Pell eligible rate, and lowest debt rate of any SC public university. The resulting goal of this discussion was to increase access for traditional, post-traditional, veteran and graduate students; increase affordability for all students, be accountable for student success as measured by increased retention, graduation, and placement rates, and to impact workforce and economic development in the local region and state.

The second agreed upon goal was to grow enrollment while offering quality and access in singular institution. To this end, the President with assistance from Provost Debra Boyd reviewed the essential learning outcomes engendered by High Impact Practices (HIP) of undergraduate research, global learning/student abroad, internships, and service learning. An important component of this discussion was how the HIP could be made available for all students including our post-traditional students. They noted the need to provide working adult students easy access to programs and support services, improvement of time on task via one location for classes and services, financial support for HIP, and improved faculty and staff development to accommodate a new model for degree attainment.

Associate Vice President of Information Technology James Hammond presented information on ways to leverage campus technology to advance quality. Specifically, Winthrop will work toward full Wi-Fi in all residence halls, maintain smart classrooms and innovative 21st century designs, implement administrative systems that maximize efficiency, compliance, and security, expand online learning personnel, and expand infrastructure to address students' expectations and demand for up to date computing and wireless technologies.

An additional focus in providing a quality experience for our students includes ensuring that all facilities meet accreditation, safety, and ADA regulations. President Comstock with assistance from Vice President of Finance and Business, JP McKee, reviewed for the Trustees a number of needs related to renovations to make Byrnes Auditorium more ADA friendly and multiple projects to address issues cited by evaluators during accreditation visits for the departments of Design, Theater, and Music.

Provost Debra Boyd continued the presentation by discussing academic programs in development that are both market-smart and mission-driven. Currently in development are graduate certificates in management, school counseling, strategic communication, and human resources. We are also planning for a low-residency program in creative arts and entrepreneurship as well as online graduate programs in literacy and educational technology.

Vice President for Enrollment Eduardo Prieto discussed the plan to grow our student enrollment by 1,000 through increases in traditional, post-traditional, graduate, and online students. The plan is to increase our student body by 250 students in each of the next four years. This will be accomplished through the addition of new students as well as the increased retention of current students. An overarching goal in enrollment management will be to increase the diversity of our students by recruiting more out of state students, different categories of minority students, and more international students.

In order to brief the Trustees on the need to refresh our marketing and institutional positioning in support of a renewed emphasis on access, recruiting, and retention, Associate Vice President of Institutional Advancement Ellen Wilder Byrd presented a video of our competitors' websites showing more up to date approaches. As we move forward in our goal of increasing enrollment, it is critical that we refresh our marketing and reenergize our branding both on and off-campus.

Vice President of Institutional Advancement Dr. Danny Nicholson presented the need to create a culture of giving to support a spectrum of initiatives designed to ensure the highest caliber instruction and academic and financial support for students. In doing so, VP Nicholson reviewed the current status of Distinction: The Campaign for Winthrop, the development of the Dare to Rise fund, and focused on future plans including ways to increase alumni engagement and software to leverage the solicitation of major gifts and annual giving.

In her role as Director of the Winthrop Foundation, Kim Keel, reported on the disbursement of Foundation funds to Winthrop in support of: scholarships and grants (approximately $1.8 mil), Alumni Association (approximately $91,000), and Institutional Advancement (approximately $1.6 mil). For fiscal year 2014, the Foundation expects to have $170,000 and the Real Estate Foundation expects to have $365,000 for additional disbursement to Winthrop.

The Trustees then moved into smaller working groups to discuss the Winthrop Foundation funding priorities and the university's funding priorities. After much discussion and reporting out of the working groups, the general consensus was support for the following initiatives:

Support for refreshed, market-appropriate promotion by way of updated websites, new avenues of advertising, and review of current messaging.

Support of all components (personnel, facilities, and programming) needed to grow the student population to an additional 1,000 in the next four years comprised of traditional, post-traditional, international, online, and graduate students while minimizing tuition increases.

Support for expanded philanthropic support from all facets of the campus community to result in an increase in need-based financial aid and other forms of student and faculty/staff professional development.

Support for improvements in campus facilities leading to updated technological capacities, accreditor-approved departmental facilities, and ADA compliance.


Hearing no objections, Chair Bigham recessed the meeting until 9:00 am on Sunday.



The Board reconvened at 9:10 a.m. on Sunday, March 2, 2014 at the Shack located at the Winthrop Recreational and Research Complex.

Sunday's meeting began with a presentation from Tom Hickman, Athletic Director, regarding the preliminary findings of the study of the possible addition of a Division 1 football team and marching band to Winthrop. Mr. Hickman began with an overview of the experiences of colleges and universities that recently added a football team. He reported that while each experience was unique, generally the additional of football led to increased applications, increased enrollment, and increased retention rates.

The costs of non-scholarship football were compared to scholarship football.


  Scholarship  Non-Scholarship 
Annual Costs  $3,472,470  $1,881,681
Annual Revenue  $1,499,000  $2,693,000
Net Revenue  ($1,973,470)  $811,319


One-time start-up costs   
 Football  $495,000
 Support Facility  $11,150,097
 Marching Band/Color Guard  $170,000


Upon conclusion of Mr. Hickman's presentation, the Trustees requested that President Comstock, Dr. Nicholson, and Mr. Hickman move forward with an exploration of the possible private funding to help offset the costs of adding football and marching band programs.


Executive Session

Glenn McCall motioned with a second from Tim Hopkins to move into executive session for the purpose of personnel discussions. Janet Smalley motioned with a second from Donna Tinsley Holley to return to public session with no report and no actions taken.


Old Business



New Business

Chair Bigham named a nominating committee in accordance with Article III Section B of the Board of Trustee bylaws. The committee will report to the Board of Trustees at least one month prior to the last quarterly meeting, the names of two voting members to be placed on a ballot for election to the Chair and Vice Chair positions. Mr. Glenn McCall was named as chair of the nominating committee along with members, Dr. Jane LaRoche and Dr. Sue Smith-Rex.



Hearing no objections, Chair Bigham adjourned the meeting at 1:46 p.m.


Minutes submitted by Kimberly Faust, Secretary to the Board