Minutes of the of the Winthrop University Board of Trustees

Friday, April 7, 2017

Members present: Karl Folkens, Glenn McCall, Jane LaRoche, Kathy Bigham, Sue Rex, Janet Smalley, Tim Hopkins, Don Long, Julie Fowler, Randy Imler, Donna Glenn Holley, Scott Middleton, Ashlye Wilkerson (via telephone), and Dan Mahony (ex officio).

Members absent: Tim Sease

Representatives present: Beth West, Student Representative; John Bird, Faculty Representative

Representatives absent: None

Others present: David Thackam of the Herald newspaper, various faculty and staff of Winthrop University, Warren Norman, Matt Bissett

The Board of Trustees met on Friday, April 7, 2017 on the campus of Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC.


Public Comment

There were no requests for public comment.


Call to Order

Chair Folkens called the meeting to order at 1:00 p.m.


Approval of Minutes

Don Long moved to accept the minutes as written from the meeting of February 3-4, 2017. Donna Holley seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous in favor of the minutes as amended.


Report from the President of the Council of Student Leaders

President Beth West reported on the election process for Academic Year 2017-18's Council officers. Ms. West did not seek reelection as she will be studying abroad in Ireland next year. Due to a split vote between three tickets, a run-off election was required. That run-off in occurring today and results are expected to be tallied by early next week.

Ms. West presented a year-end summary of the activities of the Council including an update to the Constitution, a digital transition guide to be used to on-board new officers, the Council's successful efforts to now have a student's major printed on the graduation diploma. Previously, only the degree designation, i.e. Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts, was included. The Council also successfully campaigned to permit students to use their name of choice on class rosters and identification cards. However, in order to comply with federal tax and financial aid processes, students must continue to use their legal names on official documents.


Executive Session

Glenn McCall moved with a second from Kathy Bigham that the Board meet in executive session pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. 30-4-70(a)(1) and (2) for the purposes of discussion of employment matters involving certain current and former university employees as well as discussion of a contractual matter regarding university property.

The vote was unanimous. Kimberly Faust, John Bird, Frank Zebedis, and Warren Norman were invited to remain for the executive session. Donna Holley moved the Board end executive session, Sue Rex seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously by voice vote. No actions were taken in executive session.


Report of the Executive Committee and Chair of the Board

As per Article III, Section B of the Board bylaws, Chair Karl Folkens appointed from among the voting members of the Board the members of a Committee on Nominations. Chair Folkens appointed Mr. Tim Sease as chair of the committee, with Mr. Don Long and Dr. Julie Fowler as the remaining two members. Randy Imler made a motion to accept the nominations. Glenn McCall seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. As noted in the bylaws, the committee will notify the full Board of their slate of nominees for chair and vice-chair within 30 days of the next meeting which in this academic year will be May 22, 2017.

Chair Folkens spoke about efforts to expand the senior leadership's interaction with all committees and charged the Secretary to the Board to work with the Committee chairs as they may request cross divisional information or presentations.

The Chair also addressed the topic of absences both excused and unexcused from Board meetings and urged all Trustees to make extra efforts to attend all meetings. Attendance is critical in order to keep apprised of the work of the University. Trustees who miss two consecutive absences may be reported to the Secretary of State's office.


Report from the President

President Mahony introduced Mr. Matt Bisset who specializes in advancement work for liberal arts colleges, independent schools and museums. Currently the Vice President for Advancement at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, he recently led that institution through its most successful campaign, nearly tripling the previous campaign's total. Employing strong major gift matrixes as the foundation to the college's success, Matt has more than 15 years of experience guiding non-profit and educational institutions through all aspects of external relations including board development, internal audits, feasibility studies and campaign counsel.

Mr. Bisset spoke to the Board about the changing role of the vice presidents of advancement. Of course they must be keen fundraisers but additionally, must be good writers and communicators. A good vice president will be a manager and motivator. He/she will work with Trustees and the Foundation Board as well as collaborate with faculty and academic leadership. Most critically, development is a long-term business. It is important for the next vice president of advancement at Winthrop to be a strategic thinker and share the fundraising duties with University staff and administrators.

President Mahony thanked Mr. Bisset for his advice and his service to our search for the next vice president of advancement.

President Mahony began his report with an update on the State Budget. The Senate Finance Committee's version of the budget includes $330,000 recurring dollars for Winthrop. The House version of the budget and the capital reserve fund contained no new recurring or non-recurring money for any college or university. The next step is to form a conference committee to reconcile the differences between the two bills.

The full Ways & Means Committee took up the bond bill last week. Winthrop is projected to receive $10 million for system upgrades and critical maintenance in the proposed bond bill. Next steps are for the House to take up debate again on the bond bill.

Retirement Contributions-- Companion bills in the Senate and House, S.394 and H.3726, include employer and employee contribution rate increases effective July 1, 2017. Both legislative bodies must approve a bill before these rates become effective. For FY2017-18, a rate increase of 2% will equate to just under $1.1M for Winthrop in gross costs, assuming no allocations from the state. With an increase of an additional 1% over the following five fiscal years, the total gross costs to Winthrop will be over $3.7M. This amount is without considering any general salary increases likely to occur in at least some of the years. By 2022-23, assuming these rate increases, the total employer contribution rate for regular SCRS will be 23.89% (26.57% for police retirement). This rate includes the insurance surcharge, currently at 5.33%. It is possible that the insurance surcharge rate could also increase over the coming years.

Competitive CompensationPresident Mahony brought to the Board's attention the need for a Classification Study. Over the years, job duties have changed due to technology, realignment of divisions, and need for efficiencies. Job descriptions and State classification titles are not always in sync. It is difficult to assess by how much salaries need to be increased if we do not have employees in proper job classifications.

BMX In July Rock Hill will be hosting the World Championship BMX competition. Graduate School dean, Jack DeRochi, has taken the lead on developing a wide range of ways our faculty, staff, and students will be involve including a Winthrop sponsored cultural event on Sports Tourism in Rock Hill, translation services for 2017 BMX World Championships Week, orientation for U.S. participants at the Winthrop Coliseum, package pick up and registration at Winthrop Coliseum, mass communications student produced documentary on 2017 BMX World Championships, internships in sustainability and marketing, Sport Management class on economic impact of championships, class marketing consultation for City of Rock Hill, development of a proposal for a new cycling club at Winthrop, and a reception to be held at the President's House.

World Wide Winthrop DayAdmitted students are invited to campus to meet with faculty, tour the campus, learn about the clubs and organizations and see the residence halls in addition to a number of entertaining activities. Students can sign up for summer orientations, too. At this point in the year, orientation registrations are strongup from last year at this time. Overall, we have more interest from a wider range of students.


Report of the Committee on Student Life and Athletics

In the absence of chair Tim Sease, Mrs. Kathy Bigham assumed the duties of chair of the Committee. She shared highlights of the reports as presented to the Committee. Mrs. Bigham began with a summary of the Athletics Division's Strategic Plan. Specifics of the plan include six aspirational goals. They are (1) fully developing student-athletes as persons with a focus on academic achievement, personal wellness, professional success, and to be active citizens after graduation, (2) to create an environment that incorporates inclusive excellence, (3) to be competitive in all inter-collegiate sports, (4) to be fully integrated into the University culture, (5) to be recognized as essential to the well-being of the community and region, (6) to be a national model for innovative operations of a "mid-major" athletics department.

Per the stated roles of Committee in the recently revised bylaws, this Committee will review and recommend to the Board the candidates for the Winthrop Athletic Hall of Fame Committee. That action will occur at the Fall 2017 meeting.

In other Athletics related news, the Athletics staff and the Eagle Club Board has been working to revise the membership and benefit structure of the Eagle Club. The expected result is an expansion of membership and a more attractive benefits package for both individual and corporate members. Expected roll out of the new program is mid-summer 2017.

Assistant Vice President of Student Life, Chief Frank Zebedis, presented the report from the Division of Student Life. He began with a review of proposed changes to Constitution of the Council of Student Leaders (CSL). The most recent update was in 2013. The proposed updates had no substantive changes concerning CSL authority and responsibilities. The method used by the Council was to review what was no longer current and to delete select items from the CSL Constitution. Additionally, articles and sections were renumbered to clarify the document.

Glenn McCall moved to approve changes as submitted. Don Long seconded the motion. There were no objections. The proposed CSL Constitution changes will be presented to the full Board for final approval.

Ellin McDonough, Director of Center for Career Development and Internships, gave a presentation about the Literacy Intervention Team (LIT). Currently there are LIT teams at three schools in the Rock Hill School District, Rosewood Drive, York Road, and Richmond Drive. The purpose of the LIT Team is to assist overcoming early school reading deficits in order to reduce the dropout rate.
The Literacy Team is mobilized to help children read by giving out free books thereby encouraging young students to read. The Team also provides tutoring.


Report from the Committee on Compensation

Chair Janet Smalley reviewed information provided to the Committee including details of the university's directors and officers insurance policy effective March 1, 2017. The policy covers all employees as well as past, present, or future university directors and Board of Trustees members. Some of the claims covered under the policy include wrongful dismissal, harassment, discrimination based on a protected class, breach of any manual of employment policies or procedures, retaliatory action, and claims under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or similar statute between the insured and a student, parent, or guardian of the student. The policy is in effect for one year and renewable up to five years.

The Committee also received a report on initiatives being conducted and considered in relation to diversity such as implicit bias training for search committee members, the appointment of Kinyata Adams Brown as the new Assistant Dean for Student Diversity, Engagement, and Inclusive Excellence. She and Diversity Officer Zan Jones will partner on interdivisional diversity and inclusion-related initiatives. In order to reach a more diverse employment pool, Winthrop joined the Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC) which provides resources for recruitment of minorities, veterans, LGBTQ community, women, and individuals with disabilities.

Other news shared with the Committee included a summary of activities related to health and professional development including wellness workshops and events for faculty and staff included a heart age assessment in February for heart month, biometric screening for blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose, and financial workshops on budgeting for retirement and home buying.


Report from the Committee on Academic Quality

Dr. Sue Rex shared updates from the Academic Quality meeting. She reported on the status of the SACSCOC Fifth-Year Report due on March 15, 2017 and invited those interested to view it online next month. Also submitted to SACSCOC was the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Impact Report.
The goals and corresponding results are 1. Infuse ACAD 101 & HMXP 102 with Global Learning (accomplished through Study Abroad videos, Global Readings, and the Common Book); 2. Increase the number of General Education courses with Global Learning by at least 10% (an 18% increase); 3. Increase the number of Cultural Events per year by 5% (following a robust first year baseline, there was an increase of 5% in two of the four years, leading to a 15% increase overall); 4. Opportunity to complete General Education credits while studying abroad (100% participation from faculty across major programs to identify the best study abroad semester); 5. Student Learning Outcomes (SLO) Assessment and Utilization (3 SLOs with multiple measures analyzed within and across years with ongoing usage); and 6. Expand and continue Global Learning through 2021

The Committee received a report from Dr. Kimarie Whetstone, Director of Online Learning regarding ongoing efforts to produce quality online courses, including a 2017 Summer Exemplary Online Course Program. Thirteen faculty members across four academic colleges are scheduled to participate.

Current data on online courses show the number of faculty teaching fully online courses increased by 63% from Fall '15 to Fall '16 (35 to 57) and by 50% from Spring '16 to Spring '17 (38 to 57). An increase is also expected in Summer 2017 online offerings.

In other news, six faculty were awarded tenure. They are Dr. Kristen Abernathy; Dr. Leslie Bickford; Dr. Nathaniel Frederick; Dr. Scott Shinabargar; Dr. Pamela Wash; and Dr. Douglas Presley.

The Committee also received information regarding retention. The Fall 2016 to Spring 2017 retention rate for first-time, full-time freshmen was 92.5%. This is a slight increase from last year and is roughly equivalent to the ten-year average. Fall 2016 to Spring 2017 retention for new, full-time transfer students was 91.2% exceeding the ten-year average of 89%. A very strong relationship between retention and a student's first semester GPA continues to be observed. Data from the National Student Clearinghouse revealed that 39% of non-returning new students transferred to another institution. Of those confirmed fall-to-spring transfers-out, most students enrolled in a major at their transfer institution that is offered at Winthrop, and most freshmen non-returners who enrolled in a transfer institution in Spring '17 chose an institution that was closer to home.


Report from the Committee on Enrollment and Retention

Chair Julie Fowler presented a report of the Committee meeting. Committee members were briefed on
Winthrop's Dual Enrollment Program. A committee comprised of representatives from each college and staff members in the Office of Admissions, Financial Aid, Records and Registration, and Finance and Business began meeting in April 2016 in response to a request from local school districts for Winthrop to offer courses for their students that are not being offered at York Technical College and USC-Lancaster. Implementation of the Dual Enrollment Program is planned in three phases. In Phase One, students will select from an array of courses that will be offered beginning in Fall 2017. In Phase Two, high school teachers will teach the Winthrop course in their schools under the supervision of Winthrop faculty. In Phase Three, courses will be taught by Winthrop faculty at the high school. A Dual Credit option is also being explored.

The Committee also received an update on the Honors Program. An analysis was conducted several years ago on the actions needed to transition to an Honors College. Using those results, we are in the planning phase of this implementation. In order to qualify for the Honors Program first-time freshmen must have a 3.5 cumulative GPA and 1200 on the SAT or 27 on the ACT. Transfers are also eligible with a cumulative GPA of 3.30. Enrolled students who were not Honors-eligible at admission can be admitted to the Program with a cumulative Winthrop GPA of 3.30.

Concerning Fall 2017 undergraduate and graduate application and admission numbers, undergraduate applications are down by 9% and acceptances were down by 1%. Graduate applications are down by 18% but acceptances are up by 13%. On the other hand, the final enrollment for Spring 2016 (5,783) shows a fourth consecutive semester of positive enrollment. Activities conducted for the recruitment of undergraduate students include recruitment travel in South Carolina and other states; hosting visit opportunities during the week and on weekends; hosting off-campus receptions for prospective and admitted students. The Office of Admissions has a communication plan that includes telephone calls, mail, email, texting and utilization of the web pages to recruit and enroll students. The committee also reviewed the schedule for Worldwide Winthrop Day, a visit opportunity for admitted students, which was scheduled for Saturday, April 8.

Per bylaw requirements, the Committee was provided with information related to Student Recruitment Search request for proposals. The University has submitted a state Request for Proposals to conduct student search services for undergraduate admissions. The institution's review committee has been formally charged by the State with performing their duties in order to comply with the state procurement process. We are in the silent phase, and committee members can only discuss information related to the RFP with the state official assigned to the RFP.


Report of the Committee on Institutional Advancement and Development

Chair Tim Hopkins presented the report on the updates shared with the Committee. Soon work will begin on the Cherry Road improvements. This is a collaborative effort of Winthrop, the City of Rock Hill and York County. Winthrop gave permission for utilities to be buried on the university's side of the street in return for which the City will remove the wall in front of Wofford and Richardson residence halls and will move the sidewalk away from the street. Total cost will be about $1 million funded by the Pennies for Progress program. Winthrop will assume the costs of rebuilding the fencing in front of the residence halls. Additionally, the Ebenezer Avenue and Cherry Road intersection will be better aligned with an entrance to Winthrop in order to improve pedestrian safety.

The Committee received a report on University Communications and Marketing (UCM) strategic goals and lines of effort for 2017 including the new feature "YouVisit," a virtual tour of the Winthrop campus located on our website. Chair Hopkins urged the Board to view it. He expressed appreciation to the UCM staff for their work leading to the highest commendation, the Grand Award, at the CASE III Conference for their work on the First in the South Democratic Presidential Candidate Forum.

Annual Giving totals for 2016 are $580,929, up from $409,739 in 2017. Goals for 2017 are raising $500,000 for the Winthrop Fund, increasing the alumni participation rate to 9.5%, and increasing by 2.5% the number of solicitable alumni.

The Committee received a year-end review for 2016 for Alumni Relations, highlights of which included engaging over 1,000 via 17 focused alumni events, engaging 2,100 students via 32 events, publishing the Alumni Directory, and onboarding four new Alumni Executive Board members. The new members are Jontai Blanding, Deborah Dunlap, Kristen Thoennes, and Derrick Gainey. Objectives for the 2017 fiscal year include increasing to 10 the number of defined volunteer opportunities, employing best practices in the office's operation, and offering at least eight opportunities per year for constituents to participate in Winthrop traditions.

Final fundraising totals of 2016 exceeded the goal of $3.5M. Objectives for 2017 were presented, including a fundraising target of $4M. Objectives align with Winthrop's strategic plan. An update for the first quarter of 2017 showed gift totals comparable to the same period for the prior year.

The Committee also Foundation activities for 2016, noting a change in investment advisors and a corresponding reduction in operating expenses. A comparison of scholarship and departmental support for 2017-18 vs. 2016-17 showed an overall increase. To achieve 2017 objectives, lines of effort include increased stewardship, improved fund management and stronger engagement with constituents. A report for the first quarter of 2017 showed endowment assets at $49M, up from $46.7M at yearend 2016.

The Winthrop Real Estate Foundation currently has five properties for sale with two additional property bequests expected.


Report from the Committee on Finance

Dr. Imler summarized the 2016-2017 budget report as of March 31, 2017. Revenues are trending on target to meet the annual budget without any issues including spending a one-time $698,000 from net position in this year. This additional spending did receive prior approval from the Board.

At this point housing revenues are higher than projected. Additionally, revenues in the "Other Revenues" line were up and noted that parking fee revenues represented an example of this increase. Vacancy savings is positive with three months yet to go in the fiscal year. Athletics have gone over their budget, but they generated other revenues that could help improve their numbers.

Planned facilities refurbishments were discussed with the Committee including the $1,080,000 amount that the Committee and Board had approved in October 2016 to be used from the Institutional Capital Projects Fund for needed campus refurbishments. The Committee reviewed future project needs as well as the Wofford Hall repairs and stabilization. Estimated the cost of the repairs is $700,000 with a projection of five to eight years of usage. Competitive bids will be required for this project. The funds would be used from net position.

Chair Imler brought forth a motion from the Committee on Finance recommending the use of net position funds of $500,000-$700,000 to find a semi-permanent solution for the 8th floor of Wofford Hall. As the motion was from a standing Committee, no second was needed. The motion passed unanimously.

Chair Imler concluded his report with a summary of the report from the Internal Auditor who is currently looking at the areas related to university events, procurement, university contracts, and information security.


Report from the Chair of Faculty Conference

Dr. John Bird reported on the 24 faculty searches underway this year. Two of the searches are for deans, the remainder is other faculty. The Academic Council, one of the committees of the Faculty Conference, is making final curricular changes for this year. A major goal has been to revamp old programs and create new ones. Although this process can seem slow, there are a number of steps in the process and navigating those steps does take time.

Dr. Bird congratulated the faculty for the high quality of their scholarship as well as the high quantity of scholarship produced this year. This is especially commendable at a university where faculty are expected to focus on teaching in addition to their research.

At Winthrop we are particularly proud of the mentorship we provide to our students. This mentorship can be evidenced at the Showcase of Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors (SOURCE) to be held on campus in two weeks.

Dr. Bird concluded his report by announcing the election of his successor as chair of Faculty Conference and Representative to the Board of Trustees, Dr. Michael Lipscomb. Dr. Lipscomb is a professor of political science at Winthrop, teaching political theory and environmental politics.. As a teacher, Lipscomb is committed to helping students build the concrete analytical and presentation skills that will help them flourish both economically and as a citizen.



Hearing no objections, Chair Folkens declared the meeting adjourned at 3:33 p.m.

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