Meeting of the Winthrop University Board of Trustees

Friday, November 2, 2018
Evans Room/Gold Room
Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC

Members present: Glenn McCall, Jane LaRoche, Ed Driggers, Tim Hopkins, Isaiah Venning, Randy Imler, Ashlye Wilkerson, Donna Glenn Holley, Julie Fowler, Sandra Stroman, Robby Sisco, Don Long, Kathy Bigham, and Dan Mahony (ex officio).

Members absent: Tim Sease, Janet Smalley

Representatives present: Ximena Perez, Student Representative; Michael Lipscomb, Faculty Representative

Representatives absent: None

Others present: Dr. Debra Boyd, Andy Shene, Patrice Bruneau, Dr. Adrienne McCormick, Judy Longshaw, Tammie Phillips, Justin Oates, Karen Jones, Dr. Ken Halpin, Dr. Jennie Rakestraw, Dr. P.N. Saksena, Tim Drueke, Caroline Overcash, Lisa Cowart, Dr. Jack DeRochi, Amanda Maghsoud, Dr. Meg Webber, Dr. Takita Sumter, Kirk McSwain, all of Winthrop University; Anna Sharpe of the Johnsonian

The Board of Trustees met on Friday, November 2, 2018 on the campus of Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC.



Call to Order

Chair McCall called the meeting to order at 8:08 a.m. He welcomed all present. Ashlye Wilkerson delivered an invocation.


Review of FY19 Budget

Vice President of Finance and Business Affairs, Justin Oates, began his presentation with a review of the past year’s budget. The Unrestricted Net Position increased by $1.4M to a total of $20.2M. The Education and General (E&G) funds increased by $1.3M and Auxiliary funds increased by $516K while other revenue program funds decreased $155K and ICPF (capital) funds decreased by $235K.

Looking forward, this fall the University has experienced a decline in degree‐seeking students that has created a negative $4.4M impact on the university’s revenues. In order to cover the $4.4M revenue reduction, management is preparing to manage the vacancy process to maximize salary savings throughout FY2019 and beyond (currently estimating $1.4M); use accumulated Foundation & Courtyard funds ($580K primarily restricted & one‐time use); reduce operating budgets $1.6M (mix of permanent vs. one‐year; $450K already identified); and finally, will be requesting Board approval to draw upon the Net Position for $1M to support one‐time expenses.

Previously, the total expected vacancy savings were included in the annual budgets. Moving forward, the budgets will be reduced in the amount of the expected vacancy savings so that budgets more accurately reflect actual expenses.

The Board also discussed the increase of Service Award students and requested detailed information about the number of students eligible for this funding and information on how many of these type of students are enrolled in the other public universities in South Carolina.

Based on this discussion, Dr. Randy Imler made a motion to remove the approval of the budget from the consent agenda. Tim Hopkins seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.

The Board continued their discussion of the budget and the request to use $1 M from the Net Position. VP Oates reiterated that a portion of the requested $1 M from Net Position will be monies that had intended to be spent in the previous fiscal year but due to delays in the State procurement process, those monies had not been spent.

At the conclusion of the discussion, on behalf of the Committee on Finance and Business, Dr. Imler made a motion to accept the revised budget as discussed. No second was needed. The vote was unanimous in support of the revised budget.


Consent Agenda

  1. Approval of Board Minutes of August 20 and September 27, 2018
  2. Approval of Emeritus Status for Frank Ardaiolo

Robby Sisco moved to accept the consent agenda. Don Long seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous in favor of the agenda as presented.


Report of the Executive Committee and Chair of the Board

Chair Glenn McCall discussed the need to have a Trustee Code of Conduct to give guidance on appropriate use of electronic devices, dress code, reporting absences, and other actions critical to good governance of the Board. All Trustees but one signified support of the Code via their signatures.


Report from the President

President Mahony thanked everyone involved in the new budgeting processes. Other actions and initiatives underway this year include a revision of the General Education Core to be transfer-friendly; launching of the four online graduate programs; the Bachelor of Professional Studies moving through the approval process both on and off campus; continued review of possible changes to admissions standards; and exploring academic and non-academic program options as a way to grow enrollment.

The search for a new provost is underway. The search committee led by VP Justin Oates, and VP Shelia Burkhalter continues to meet and is crafting the vacancy position. First round interviews are expected in late January through early February with campus visits of the finalist expected in March through April.

With the resignation of Dr. Jeff Perez, VP of University Relations, Justin Oates, VP of Finance and Business Affairs, and Dr. Kimberly Faust, VP, Chief of Staff and Secretary to the Board of Trustees, have agreed to assume the duties of Dr. Perez’s former position. VP Oates will assume responsibility of University Events division while Dr. Faust assumes responsibility of the Office of University Communications and Marketing and will assist the President with government relations work.

The President concluded his remarks by reminding the Board of the upcoming NCAA Cross Country Regionals to be held on campus on November 9, the first home men’s basketball game on November 13, and Homecoming activities on November 17.


Committee Reports

a. Committee on Academic Quality

Chair Tim Hopkins reported the Committee received information on fall retention for first-time freshmen and transfer students and was pleased to report that Winthrop is above the State average on retention and graduating students on time.

The Committee also head about a new way to analyze students’ academic work ethic (AWE). Students identified with a low academic work ethic (non-AWE) are far less likely to be retained and graduate than those with a high academic work ethic (AWE). If non-AWE students were retained/graduated at the same percentage as the rest of the cohort group, the retention rate would increase by 2% and the six-year graduation rate would increase by 3%; and Winthrop could realize approximately $3.3M in additional revenue by enrolling and retaining these students. These analyses are already being used to target freshmen with low AWE scores through their ACAD classes and to point these students toward appropriate support services in order to impact retention.

The Bachelor of Professional Studies is on track for CHE approval, with the Committee on Academic Affairs and Licensing having approved it. It will now go to the full Commission for approval as a part of the consent agenda on December 6, 2018.

Chair McCall asked for a report on the length of time for a new program to be approved by the Commission on Higher Education (CHE).

Assessing the feasibility of implementing an RN to BSN program as our next adult degree completion program is underway. A market analysis done a year ago is being updated to reflect current trends. Conversations are also taking place with local healthcare providers to gauge both interest in such a program and willingness to support it in tangible ways through partnership agreements.

After approval of both Faculty and Staff Conferences, staffing of an Ombuds position will occur internally and will be implemented by the President’s and Provost’s Offices.

The President and Provost continue to work with faculty to explore ways to address the threat of faculty burnout driven by these concerns and to think about ways in which we can continue to motivate and energize faculty, for example, by assessing the costs, within the context of budgetary constraints, of correcting problems related to salary compression, providing modest but regular course relief for faculty, and of instituting merit pay.


b. Committee on Compensation

Chair Kathy Bigham reported on the Committee’s meeting that took place on October 12, 2018. The Committee reviewed the work being planned for the Class and Compensation study. To date, a steering committee has been identified with the senior leadership of the University (Mahony, Bohnen, Boyd, Burkhalter, Cowart, Faust, Halpin, Oates, Prieto) acting in that role. The project team (Zan Jones, Kim Sipes, Takita Sumter, Maria Linn, Amanda Maghsoud, Amanda Hackney) The project team will include other individuals from their respective functional areas, and from other areas, as needed, as the project progresses (e.g., Communications and Marketing, Information Technology). Responsibilities of the Project Team include: providing data as needed; managing logistics of meetings, interviews, participant input gathering; offering feedback on and reviews work in progress; and serving as a sounding board for final recommendations before they are presented to the Steering Committee and others.

At the end of the process, Winthrop will have a new compensation policy and set of standardized criteria for providing guidance and advice to ensure that, through the reclassification of existing positions and the establishment of new positions, jobs are classified accurately, with interdepartmental continuity, and in accordance with University, state, and federal regulations.


c. Committee on Enrollment and Retention

Chair Julie Fowler reported the Financial Aid Optimization RFP was awarded to Educational Advisory Board (EAB).

The final Fall 2018 headcount is 4887 undergraduates with 998 freshmen, 1019 sophomores, 1218 juniors, and 1310 seniors. Additionally, 924 degree-seeking graduates enrolled and 209 non-degree seeking graduates enrolled this fall.

USC Columbia, Clemson, and College of Charleston continue to be are our biggest competitors based on number of admitted students who went elsewhere.

First to Second Year Retention is Winthrop at 74.7% as compared to national average at 69%. Fall to fall retention for transfer students is 73.5%.

Objectives and Strategies for this year is to increase first-time freshmen enrollment from South Carolina by 5%. This will be accomplished by a focus on top feeder schools, increased visits in secondary markets, increased efforts with homeschooled population, a revamp and revitalization of alumni involvement, and increased focus on Winthrop value and outcomes.

The number of recruitment events will increase from 450 from 411 total; promotional and information events will increase from 6 to 8 targeting high school guidance counselors and two-year college administrators; an attempt to increase first-time freshmen out of state enrollment by 12%; and to increase international recruitment through the use of additional partner agents, a partnership with two highly-regarded schools in Bangladesh, recruiting at domestic boarding schools and ELS outreach, and to work with alumni internationally to assist with recruitment


d. Committee on Finance

Chair Randy Imler reported on external auditor Mr. Ben Kochenower’s issuance of an unmodified opinion on the financial statements. Mr. Kochenower noted the accounting policies that require the university to report the proportionate share of the state retirement and other postemployment benefit liabilities, which are accounting liabilities, but not legal liabilities. Therefore, although the face of the financials reflects an overall $93M negative net position, the net position exclusive of these accounting liabilities is $81M positive.

Ms. Caroline Overcash, Esq. updated the Committee on FY2017-18 audit work as well as provided an update of planned projects for FY2018-2019. The FY2018 audits included inventory, university events, and procurement cards while FY2019 audit work will focus on compliance, risk assessment, and repositories (policies and contracts).

VP Oates updated the Committee on 2019-2020 budgeting process by explaining how he and his staff will facilitate a new budget and planning process. Specifically, they will be establishing Budget Working Committees for the various components of the annual operating budget (Tuition & Fees, Financial Aid, Divisional Allocations, etc.); designing and implementing budget models to support the various components of the annual operating budget to include revenue planning, program level analysis, & budget vs. actual reporting; holding quarterly Divisional Budget meetings to discuss and monitor the annual operating budgets; designing and implementing Divisional Budget templates to request and justify FY2020 expenditures; and creating dashboards for the Board of Trustees to support the annual budget development process and year‐to‐date monitoring; and finally, beginning the process of creating a Master Plan to support future capital planning, including a potential new residence hall.


e. Committee on Institutional Advancement and Development

In the absence of Chair Janet Smalley, Ms. Kathy Bigham reported on the actions of the Committee. Information shared from the University Communications and Marketing division included the top social media posts of the year were the aerial tour video and the opening of a Chick-fil-a on campus. Staff produced 187 news releases, 16 My Winthrop Experience stories, and 17 videos. Of the $150,000 marketing budget—64% spent on digital marketing, 18% on other, 11% on print, & 7% on outdoor advertising. This is an indication of how important digital media has become.

With assistance from vendor, Winthrop will develop and execute a comprehensive digital marketing strategy to include--Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Digital Display Advertising, Social Media Advertising, Campaign Management & Optimization, Creative Services, and Advanced Analytics Tracking & ROI Analysis.

Renegotiation of printing services equipment lease is resulting in $894 savings per month.

In the 20th consecutive year of the US Disc Golf Championship at Winthrop, it attracted 9,000 attendees. Winthrop & Sodexo had food and alcohol concessions for 1st time. Increase in Winthrop net revenue doubled to $10,000. Disc Golf sponsor, Innova, has spent $75,000 in improvements to Winthrop course.

Information shared from the Advancement and Development division included information on the nine new alumni chapters created with alumni volunteer leadership in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Washington, DC. Alumni Relations provides support and resources to the alumni volunteer leadership with alumni chapter handbook, alumni data, Facebook/social media, chapter email address, event support, quarterly conference calls, and an annual volunteers’ conference. Potential futures alumni chapters in 2019 include Florence/Myrtle Beach and Orlando, FL.

As of October 12th, a total of $232,714 in gifts and pledges have been made toward the $500,000 goal for the 2018 Winthrop Fund ending on December 31, 2018. VP Bohnen emphasized that annual giving support of the Winthrop Fund is historically weighted to the 4th quarter. For the past five years, 4th quarter gift receipts from Annual Giving channels for the Winthrop Fund range from $160,726 to $268,148. Using the lowest 4th quarter gift receipts figure of $160,726; the Development team has a target of an additional $107,000 to solicit and close for the Winthrop Fund by December 31st.

The $100,000 Board Leadership Initiative (BLI) for the Winthrop Fund has collective gifts and pledges of $67,025 YTD. Six of 15 Trustees have pledged their support to the Winthrop Fund with four Trustees with pending gift decisions. At the same time, 18 of 25 Foundation Board members have pledged their support to the Winthrop Fund with two board members having pending gift decisions.


f. Committee on Student Life and Athletics

In the absence of Chair Tim Sease, Mrs. Donna Glenn Holley presented the information received in the Committee meeting. VP Burkhalter explained Student Affair’s paradigm shift from focusing on and reporting engagement, usage, participation metrics, and operations goals to realigning resources to enhance and affect learning outcomes relative to persistence/retention, progression, graduation, and career readiness.

A review of Division to date shows plethora of student engagement opportunities; potential over engagement of some students; vigorous reporting of engagement metrics; and limited verifiable knowledge relative to impact of work on retention, persistence, student success, and career readiness.

Areas of immediate focus identified include: data analysis to understand impact of existing SA programs, services and initiatives; identification, assessment, and coordination of retention efforts; restructure of behavioral intervention systems to better serve and retain students; and increased career readiness initiatives to enhance student employability skills.

Sodexo contract now collaboratively managed by Finance, Student Affairs, Athletics and Facilities. Also new with this contract: equipment issues financed with dedicated fund; pest control & facility cleaning managed by Sodexo; and in-kind funds process established. Several new food options and initiatives have been developed.


Reports from the Representatives to the Board

a. Chair of Faculty Conference

Dr. Michael Lipscomb presented an update on the status of the Task Force on Tenure and Promotion. He also updated the Board on the plans for a university ombudsperson. The major function of an ombudsperson is to provide confidential and informal assistance to constituents of the campus community. Acting as a designated neutral, the staff or faculty member selected for this position will be an advocate for fairness and will act as a source of information and referral and will help with the resolution of concerns and problems. This person will not take the place of the Employee Relations Manager in the HR department.

Dr. Lipscomb gave credit to President Mahony and Provost Debra Boyd as they continue to build community and transparency on campus. The president meets monthly with the chairs of the Faculty Committee on University Life and the Faculty Committee on University Priorities. Additionally, the president has met with each college assembly to permit the faculty to address him directly.


b. President of the Council of Student Leaders

President Perez reported on the continuing work of the Council. This year they created five committees to accomplish their goals. Those committees are: Internal Relations, Public Relations, Events, Civic Engagement, and Campus Outreach. Activities to date include a meet and greet with the senior leadership of Winthrop where they discussed ways to familiarize students with the Winthrop budget process, ways to attract more student athletes to serve on the Council, and possible hosting of Town Halls to act as question and answer sessions. Future plans include a student government day at the South Carolina Statehouse, a program on suicide awareness, and the MLK, Jr. Day of Service.


Presentation of Ethics Reform Act

Ms. Meghan Walker, Esq., director of the South Carolina State Ethics Commission presented a synopsis of recent changes to the South Carolina Ethics Act. She highlighted critical areas of importance to the Board. Both public employees and the Board of Trustees are under the jurisdiction of the Ethics Act.

Ms. Walker reminded everyone to file their Statement of Economic Impact by the deadline of March 30, 2019. Now Trustees must disclose public sources of income and the amount of that income. They must also report private sources of income for themselves as well as spouses and children.

If it is necessary for a Trustee to recuse him or herself from a vote due to a potential conflict of interest, that recusal must be presented in writing to the chair of the Board and the Trustee must leave the room during the vote.


Executive Session

Julie Fowler moved with a second from Robby Sisco 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. Dan Mahony, Justin Oates, Ken Halpin, Caroline Overcash and Kimberly Faust were invited to remain for portions of the executive session.

Isaiah Venning moved with a second from Ed Driggers to end the executive session and return to public session. The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.


Agency Head Performance Goals for 2018-19

Chair McCall delivered the report of the Executive Committee. The Committee met earlier today to consider the 2018-19 Agency Head Planning document. The performance objectives will be based on the key strategic priorities of (a) enrollment growth and increased retention and graduation rates, (b) promoting a culture of innovation, with an emphasis on global and community engagement, (c) attracting and retaining a high quality and diverse faculty, staff, and administrators (d) maintaining and creating facilities, technology, and programs in support of the Winthrop experience (e) ensuring financial stability and sustainability.

Sandra Stroman made a motion to accept the goals as written. Don Long seconded the motion. Mr. McCall called for the vote. It was unanimous in favor of the motion to accept the Agency Head Planning Document.


New Business

There was no new business.



Hearing no objections, Chair McCall adjourned the meeting at 1:48 p.m.

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