Minutes of the of the Winthrop University Board of Trustees

June 23, 2017

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

Members absent:  None 

Representatives present: Elisabeth West (via phone), Student Representative; John Bird, Faculty Representative

Representatives absent: None

Others present: David Thackum, The Herald; Lee Gardner, chair of the Winthrop Real Estate Board, members of Winthrop faculty and staff

The Board of Trustees met on Friday, June 23, 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 1:15 p.m. He welcomed all present.


Approval of Minutes

Don Long moved to accept the minutes from the meeting of April 7, 2017. Jane LaRoche seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous in favor of the minutes as submitted.


Executive Session

Tim Sease moved with a second from Donna Holley 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. President Mahony, Dr. Faust, Dr. Bird, Dr. Lipscomb, Ms. West, and Mr. Page, and Mr. Gardner will invited to remain for the executive session.

Kathy Bigham moved with a second from Scott Middleton to end the executive session and return to public session. The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.


Report of the Executive Committee and Chair of the Board

Chair Folkens delivered the report of the Executive Committee. He began by asking the Board to consider three resolutions from the Executive Committee.

Resolution to Honor Dr. Sue Rex for Meritorious Service to the Board

In her 12 years on the Board, she served on a variety of committees including Compensation, Institutional Advancement and Development, as well as serving as the chair of the Committee on Academic Quality. During her 23 years as a faculty member at Winthrop she empowered countless teachers to encourage the intellectual growth of future generations. With her husband, Dr. Jim Rex, she has funded the James and Susan Rex Institute for Educational Renewal and Partnership, whose mission is to serve, facilitate, and support faculty and unit initiatives that involve internal and external collaboration, partnership, and outreach to ensure cohesive, quality programs.

The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.

Resolution to Honor Dr. John Bird for Meritorious Service to the Board

Dr. Bird is much admired for his devotion to his scholarship of American Literature and international prominence within his field as an expert on the writings of Mark Twain, President of the Mark Twain Circle of America, his widely hailed book, Mark Twain and Metaphor, and his discovery of an invaluable and heretofore unknown Twain manuscript. He taught for 23 years at Winthrop University.

The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.

Resolution Honor Elisabeth West for Meritorious Service to the Board

As president of the Council of Student Leaders, Beth consistently shared thoughtful advice and counsel with the President and the Board and devoted herself to the fulfillment of Winthrop University's mission. She was instrumental campaigning to permit students to self-identify by the name of their choosing in administrative records and thereby fostering a more inclusive classroom environment.

The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.

Mr. Folkens reported on the Executive Committee's annual evaluation of President Mahony. The Executive Committee met on June 22, 2017 to review the Agency Head Performance Evaluation Goals and Objectives. Each of the six objectives was determined to be met at the Exceeds Expectations level and the overall evaluation was also at the Exceeds Expectations level. The survey of Trustees as mandated by the Agency Head Salary Commission resulted in an aggregated score of 4.5 on a scale with a range of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best score.

Chair Folkens brought forth two resolutions from the Executive Committee regarding President Mahony's evaluation and contract.

Resolution Regarding 2016-17 Performance Evaluation of President Daniel F. Mahony
Chair Folkens noted that this was the first Agency Head Evaluation process where the president asked for the current faculty representative, in-coming faculty representative, the current student representative, in-coming student representative, as well as the chair of the Winthrop Real Estate Foundation to be included.

The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.

Dr. Mahony stated his thanks to the Board for their input and support throughout the evaluation process. He continued by asserting that a president can only exceeds expectations if the group he works with exceeds expectations. He thanked all the staff and faculty for their good work on his behalf and this resulting success.

Resolution Regarding Contract for President Daniel F. Mahony

With this resolution, Board signifies President Mahony's performance merits a one-year extension to his current contract, which will come to term on June 30, 2018. With the extension, the contract will come to term on June 30, 2019.

The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.


Report of the President

State Budget. The House and Senate approved the budget, with Winthrop receiving a $276,024 increase in the base budget in recurring funds and $334,497 in Lottery Technology Funds. One proviso of significance to higher education was included. It will give public universities greater authority of FTE management. Two other provisos related to the CHE were vetoed by the Governorsuspend CHE authority to review improvement projects & convene a Governance Summit of university presidents. (no word yet if Legislature will override)

The proposed bill related to retirement contributions has passed. The bill raises contribution rates for employees from 8.6% to 9% on July 1, 2017. Contribution rates for employers will increase from 11.5% to 13.5% on July 1, and will continue to increase by one percentage point every year until fiscal year 2023. For FY 2018, 2% increase will equate to just under $1.1M for Winthrop. Long term projections to 2023 are estimated to be over $3.7M.

Staff Professional Development ConferenceFirst conference of its kind at Winthrop. It was planned by the Staff Conference with very little cost and a great deal of enthusiasm. Over 150 staff attended one or more of the six workshops including creating successful communications, dealing with difficult situations in the workplace, leadership skills, customer service, and event planning. Our own faculty and staff served as presenters and discussion leaders.

Orientation for new students has been underway all month. It is a two day program for both parents and students. (see handouts). In years past it functioned as a way to familiarize new students with the university they had chosen to attend. Today, we are seeing more and more students who arrive undecided and use the visit to help them make a decision. In fact, there is a growing trend for students to attend more than one college's orientation to compare before making a final decision. That is why we are considering orientation as the final step in recruiting and why we make it a fun and informative event. In doing so, we introduced a new feature this year--the Winthrop New Student and Family Programs app. If you want to see it, you can download it for free from the App Store on your phones.
On Wednesday we announced our new partnership with Deltek Wiley who will be assisting us with our online programs. We currently have one completely online program and three more in the hybrid category as they are partially online and partially on campus. Those three programs are on track to be completely online. Once we begin working with Wiley, we will be able to more easily and efficiently add to our online program offerings. Developing online classes and especially online programs has become more difficult and costly because students now expect a greater array of services, video and text options, and 24/7 access to IT support. Wiley will help assist with meeting those expectations.

FMB, the marketing firm we are working with, has completed it survey of the Winthrop Community. Preliminary results are in and we learned students make their enrollment decision based on quality of programs, quality of faculty, entry to good jobs or graduate programs, availability of a specific major, and affordability.

Many of our faculty, staff, and students have been hard at work in support of the BMX world championships in July including our students working as translators, filming a documentary, providing marketing assistance, the use of our Coliseum as a sign-in and welcome center. Based on our many in-kind contributions, Winthrop will be featured as one of the most significant community sponsors ($25,000 level). As a top tier community sponsor we will be prominently featured in the program and website. We have also been offered two tent spaces in the Expo for the entire week free of charge. Based on the amount of interest in and facilities for cycling in this area we are starting a cycling club or team.

Work is set to begin on July 5 on Cherry Road improvements. The City will be widening the sidewalk area in front of Richardson and Wofford residence halls as well as realigning the intersection of Ebenezer and Cherry Road. Both efforts will increase pedestrian safety for our students and the overall look of the area.

The Foundation, Real Estate, and Alumni boards met a few weeks ago for their final meetings of the academic year. The new investment firm, Vanguard, has begun work with the Foundation on a positive note. Earnings are up and costs are down.

Chair Folkens noted that the Foundation has asked Dr. Sue Rex to join their Board as of July 1 when she finishes her term as a Trustee.


Report from the Committee on Academic Quality

Resolution to Confer Emeriti Faculty Status

Chair Sue Rex brought forth a resolution from the Committee conferring emeriti faculty status to Dr. Leigh Armistead, Professor of Psychology; Dr. R. Carlton Bessinger, Professor of Human Nutrition; Dr. John Bird, Professor of English and the Margaret Bryant Endowed Professor of English; Dr. Glen Broach, Professor of Political Science (posthumous); Ms. Patrice Burleson, Assistant Professor of Management; Dr. Barbara Fuller, Professor of Marketing; Dr. W. Martin Hughes, Professor of Music; Dr. Katherine S. Kinsey, Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities; Dr. Carol Marchel, Professor of Educational Psychology; Dr. Antje Mays, Professor, Dacus Library; Dr. Deana Morrow, Professor and Chair of Social Work; Dr. Emma J. Riddle, Professor of Management; Dr. Elizabeth J. Silagyi-Rebovich, Associate Professor of Human Nutrition and Executive Director of Institutional Research; Dr. Seymour Simmons, Professor of Fine Arts; Dr. Stephen S. Smith, Professor of Political Science; Dr. Jennifer Solomon, Professor of Sociology; Mr. Tom Stanley, Professor and Chair of Fine Arts; Dr. Robert Stonebraker, Associate Professor of Economics; Dr. Dorothy Perry Thompson, Professor of English and African American Studies (posthumous); Dr. Roger Weikle, Professor of Management and Dean of the College of Business Administration; and Dr. B. Michael Williams, Professor of Music and Director of Percussion

As this resolution was from the Committee, no second was needed. Vice Chair Folkens called for a vote. It was unanimous in favor of the resolution.

The Committee briefly discussed the search process and how Winthrop has improved our outreach to potential employees. This fall we will welcome 35 new faculty members and two new deans to the Winthrop family.


Report from the Committee on Compensation

Chair Janet Smalley reported on the activities of the university as they relate to compensation.
Discussed was the Employee Movement April 1, 2017 - June 16, 2017 statement reporting on the number of new employees, the number that left the university, promotions and so forth. Also reviewed was the recent staff professional development day which featured topics including Tips for Making Your Communications Successful, Dealing with Difficult Situations in the Workplace, Developing Leaders at All Levels, The Attitude of Gratitude — How to service your internal and external clients, and Ask the Experts: Campus Event Planning.

In the upcoming academic year, the division will be focused on procuring a replacement service for the current State owned online job application system. All State agencies are facing this same challenge. Also planned is an employee satisfaction survey, and a job classification study that will permit Winthrop to continue to fairly and appropriately address salary inequities.


Report from the Committee on Enrollment and Retention

Chair Fowler commended the Admissions Counselors for the good work they have done so far this year. The staff has been recruiting throughout the south east region as well as making in-roads in North Carolina. Fall enrollment expectations remain steady in spite of slightly lower numbers of applications.

A series of mini retreats will be held throughout the summer to evaluate all activities related to the recruitment and enrollment of Fall 2017 students. A SWOT analysis will be conducted and suggestions for implementing revisions to enhance each activity will be solicited. The results help to inform decisions on the action plans that eventually become the recruitment plan(s) for the next year and beyond.

The spring and summer months are peak periods for students and families to visit the campus. The population includes high school seniors, juniors and sophomores. A "Visit the Campus" postcard is mailed to every prospective student to encourage them to schedule a campus visit during the summer months.

The Committee discussed plans to work with area high schools regarding dual enrollment and dual credit classes. The target is to have 15 students involved in those options.

Chair Fowler concluded her report by noting a new contract has been awarded to the TWG Plus group. Representatives visited the campus on June 5 to initiate the process of purchasing names and communicating with new prospective students for Fall 2018, Fall 2019, and Fall 2020.


Report of the Committee on Institutional Advancement and Development

Chair Tim Hopkins reported on a number of activities within the Division. The Committee reviewed the report on the State Budget with the approval of recurring funds for $277,024 and lottery technology funding for $334,497. Proviso 11.23 to suspend a Commission on Higher Education review for "institutions of higher education auxiliary, athletic, maintenance and renovation permanent improvement projects" was vetoed.

The FMB consulting company's preliminary findings based on board surveys, focus groups and online surveys were shared with the Committee. Winthrop's strengths were friendly atmosphere, faculty relationships with students, diversity and campus beauty. The University ranked the lowest on affordability, availability of financial aid, quality of campus housing and athletic programs.

In terms of fundraising, sustained Faculty/Staff participation is currently at 19.20% exceeding the goal of 10%. The sustained donor base goal was set at 10% for this year, but is currently at 7.48% for 2017. The Winthrop Fund YTD total is $139,043 toward the goal of $500,000. The Committee also was updated on the phonathon; while most of annual giving comes from phonathon, totals are down from 2016. The Committee discussed the need to reevaluate the future of the phonathon and the need to implement additional strategies fundraising strategies.

Currently, fundraising totals across the division are $1,012,873 toward a goal of $4M. As the Foundation reports fundraising by the calendar year, we should be approximately half way to the goal. However, it is important to remember that a large portion of giving occurs at the end of the year as many donors want to take advantage of tax credits prior to year's end.

The target endowment was set at $47.5M for 2017, with the actual year-to-date at $50.4M. The Foundation and University are collaborating to reduce the management fee assessed to endowments; it is currently at 2.25%, the goal is a 1.5% fee which is the industry standard.


Report of the Committee on Student Life and Athletics

Chair Sease began his report by reviewing the changes being made to the Eagle Club membership and accompanying benefits. The Athletics department and the Eagle Club Board have been working together to improve the membership structure to be more appealing to the fans as well as of greater benefit to the athletes.

He stated he was especially proud to report that for the third consecutive year, Winthrop University's student-athletes have raised the spring semester cumulative grade point average to its highest level since 1998. The university's 18 sports teams combined to raise their cumulative GPA to a record-high 3.20 while finishing the spring semester with a 3.22. Nine of 10 women's teams compiled a 3.0 or above with women's tennis team having the highest GPA of 3.66, making the semester average for all women's teams a 3.34. The eight men's teams finished at the highest-ever semester average of 3.08.

The Committee met the new director of campus Aramark dining services, Mr. Travis Ambrose, and also heard a review of the process of awarding the next contract for dining services as the current one ends in June 2018.

Chair Sease brought forth, upon the recommendation of the Committee, a motion to endorse the revised Council of Student Leaders' Constitution. The motion was unanimously accepted.


Report from the Committee on Finance

Chair Imler begin his report by bringing forth a motion from the Committee to approve a capital expenditure for replacement fire alarms. The motion passed unanimously.

The Committee reviewed the 2016-17 budget as well as projections for the 2017-18 budget including proposed increases to the tuition and fee schedule. Dr. Imler emphasized the intent of the Committee to keep tuition and fees increase as low as possible. Therefore, the resolution brought forth by the Committee is for a 2.48 percent undergraduate tuition increase for in-state and out-of-state students. Dr. Imler noted this is lowest increase in 18 years continuing the trend of the last three years of historically low tuition increase. The Committee feels 2.48% is on target and will keep our total fees (tuition and room/board) in sixth position of the public universities in South Carolina.

Individual Trustees inquired about the need to raise tuition and fees each year and the possibility of no increases in the future.

President Mahony noted that since 2009 Winthrop's increase in net cost to students has been 1.5% while HEPI (Higher Education Price Index) has increased by 2%. Our increases over the last eight years have been less than the cost of living increases. The decision to keep the increase below 2.5% was deliberate in light of the large number of Pell-eligible students on our campus. He acknowledged that while raising tuition is a difficult decision, to not do so would impact on Winthrop's debt reduction plans.

President Mahony concluded the discussion by stating Winthrop will most likely have a tuition increase each year as overall costs increase but the way we are working to mitigate it is through additional financial aid being made available to students.

At the conclusion of the discussion Mr. Folkens called for a vote. The resolution passed with 12 in favor of the resolution and one against.

Dr. Imler continued his report by reviewing the need for clear and informative policies regarding the expenditure for public funds.

On recommendation of the Committee, Dr. Imler brought forth two resolutions regarding public funds.

Resolution Authorizing Expenditures for a Public Purpose

This resolution reaffirms Board policy governing expenditures of proceeds from non-appropriated state funds, athletics or other student contests, activities of student organizations and the operations of canteens and bookstores.

The vote was unanimous in favor of the resolution.

Resolution Authorizing Expenditures for a Public Purpose Regarding Group Travel

This resolution authorizes the reasonable expenditures of funds from the proceeds from non-appropriated state funds, athletics or other student contests, activities of student organizations and the operations of canteens and bookstores for the following travel expenses: employees that chaperone student group academic trips, employees that chaperone athletic team travel, employees traveling to recruit potential student admissions, and employees traveling to recruit potential athletes, during the applicable recruiting season under NCAA guidelines.

The vote was unanimous in favor of the resolution.


Reports from the Representatives to the Board

Report from the Chair of Faculty Conference

In his final report to the Board, Dr. Bird praised the faculty for their good work throughout the previous academic year including their work on the Strategic Plan. He informed the Board of the over 100 curricular changes that were made this past year and mentioned the number of departments who were working to revamp their programs.

Dr. Bird introduced the new faculty representative to the Board, Dr. Michael Lipscomb. He then thanked the Board for the opportunity serve with them and for their inclusion of him in the private matters of the Board.

Report from the President of the Council of Student Leaders

Ms. West's report was abbreviated because she was reporting via telephone from her internship position in Washington, D.C. She thanked the Board for the opportunity to be the student representative and encouraged the Board to visit the Council of Student Leaders' website to learn about the year's activities.


Report of the Nominating Committee

At this point of the meeting, Chair Folkens asked Janet Smalley to assume the chair duties and call for the report of the Nominating Committee and subsequent vote.

As chair of the Nominating Committee, Mr. Tim Sease thanked his Committee members, Mr. Don Long and Dr. Julie Fowler. He then announced the recommendations of the Committee regarding the chair and vice chair positions for Academic Year 2017-18. Per Board bylaws, the Trustees were notified 30 days in advance of today's meeting of the Committee's intent to nominate Mr. Karl Folkens as chair and Mr. Glenn McCall as vice chair. Mr. Sease called for additional nominations from the floor. None were made. He then called for the vote. The vote was unanimous in favor of Mr. Folkens and Mr. McCall. They will take office on July 1, 2017.

At the conclusion of the vote, Chair Folkens assumed the chair duties. He thanked the Board for its vote of confidence in both Glenn McCall and himself.


New Business

There was no new business.



Hearing no objections, Chair Folkens moved to adjourn the meeting at 4:13 p.m.

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