Meeting of the Winthrop University Board of Trustees

Friday, February 22/Saturday, February 23, 2019
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, Tim Sease, Janet Smalley, Kathy Bigham, and Dan Mahony (ex officio).

Members absent: None

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

Representatives absent: None

Others present: Dr. Debra Boyd, Shelia Burkhalter, Evan Bohnen, Eduardo Prieto, 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, Tammie Phillips, all of Winthrop University; Anna Sharpe of the Johnsonian, Richard Roszelle

The Board of Trustees met on Friday, February 22, 2019 on the campus of Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC.


Call to Order

Chair McCall called the meeting to order at 8:30 a.m. He welcomed all present. Donna Holley delivered an invocation.

Prior to beginning the listed sessions, Ms. Kate Flynn of the Lee Institute was introduced as the retreat facilitator. With Ms. Flynn’s assistance, the Trustees identified their desired outcomes for the retreat and established a list of working agreements that the Board agreed to follow throughout the retreat in order to reach those desired outcomes.

Desired outcomes included sustainable financial solutions for the university, clarity about the board’s intentions, definition of board role and understand how the board can add value, more collaboration, ability to articulate the value of a Winthrop degree, strategic thinking, board is well-informed about what’s going on at the university, clearly-defined vision and plan for the future, utilize the varied and diverse skills of the board, and long-term planning.


Retreat Session # 1

Human Resources, Diversity, and Employee Wellness

Vice President Cowart began her report with a summary of employee turnover at Winthrop. While the national trend was 19.3% in 2018, at Winthrop it was 15.45%. Compensation does play a role in why employees leave Winthrop but lack of advancement opportunities and retirement is also important to note.


Employee Satisfaction Survey

In order to address turnover and to assess the generation climate at Winthrop, an Employee Satisfaction Survey was conducted during the spring of 2018. Pay and Benefits was rated the most unfavorable dimension, followed by Work, Process, and Structure, third was Training, and fourth was Collaboration.

Other findings show a fairly significant difference in how employees who have been at Winthrop more than ten years responded versus those who have been here ten or less years. Those who have been here longer rated all fourteen dimensions lower, and in some dimensions, significantly lower.

After the survey results were analyzed, a series of focus groups were held on campus. Findings included (1) Lack of communication and responsiveness, and slow decision-making on the part of top administration (2) Lack of resources to support work (lack of support for travel/professional development) (3) Lack of training (internal processes, cross training within a department, etc.) (4) Employees have a strong commitment to Winthrop (5) Employees believe that there is strong intra-group collaboration, communication, and mutual support (6) Employees are encouraged by the openness of the new administration.

Next steps are using the budget request process to take a closer look at travel/training/professional development budgets and make adjustments when applicable; engaging more employees farther down the chain of command in the budgeting process (collaboration); finalizing the creation of The Center for Professional Excellence was created to coordinate, promote, and provide learning and development opportunities for faculty, staff, administrators, and where appropriate, student workers; and Winthrop has contracted with the McLaughlin Group out of Charlotte to provide EAP services such as mental health counseling sessions for employees and their families, legal and financial counseling, and life-skills and work-life balance resources.


Classification and Compensation Study Update

We continue work with our partner, Sibson, on the Classification and Compensation Study. At its conclusion, we will have a better understanding of how our employees’ individual pay and compensation compares to market data; how pay-related decisions are made at Winthrop; and how a multi-year plan will address pay inequities at Winthrop.


Student Affairs

Vice President Shelia Burkhalter gave an update on the Provost search. Eighty-eight people applied for the position. Eight were invited to the first round interviews with four being chosen for campus visits. The visits will include interviews with a number of campus constituencies as well as a public presentation.


Divisional Reorganization and Strategic Plan

The division is currently undergoing a process to develop a Comprehensive Student Affairs Strategic Plan. This process began with an environmental scan and a cultural assessment/internal SWOT analysis. Both of these steps have been completed. Currently, the Division is working on crafting their shared mission, vision, and values. Stakeholder meetings and an external SWOT analysis is in progress. The product of this work will be a strategic plan with measurable outcomes.

Also occurring is work to create a new divisional staffing budget and plan. This process began with an identification of the essential functions, gaps, and redundancies in the division in order to align functions with appropriate divisional employees and revise job descriptions as well as to review salaries.


Sodexo Food Service Implementation

A number of Trustees raised questions about the decision to sell alcohol at baseball and softball athletic events this spring. Specifically, the Trustees said the idea of selling alcohol at campus sporting events should have been discussed with the Board before implementation. Given the possible fiscal and risk impact to the university, the Trustees stated they believe they should be consulted prior to a final decision. The Board has been put at an extreme disadvantage by not being briefed during the decision process. As Dr. Halpin was not in attendance, the topic was tabled until later in the day when he would be present.

Revenue & Expenses are projected to be slightly below prior year actual levels given the drop in enrollment, however the margin will be similar to prior year levels. Another $50K in revenue is expected for summer 2019. We anticipate another $2.6M in expenses for the remaining Spring Semester and summer 2019.

Sodexo provides continuous evaluation of existing programs for future enhancements including Student Affairs Leadership Team Meetings Participation, Sodexo Management Team Weekly Meetings, monthly Student Culinary Council meetings, a Customer Satisfaction Survey that was completed in early November, and a Secret Shopper Program scheduled to begin in March 2019.


Retreat Session # 2

Academic Affairs

Provost Debra Boyd report on the status of new programs both online and on campus. The Bachelor of Professional Studies Program Coordinator has been hired and the program is under review by SACSCOC. We have received updated market data from EAB for localized RN to BSN program. It is being reviewed for potential market share and start-up costs. We have learned the RN degree is in greater demand than the BSN in our metro area according to our healthcare partners. The Bachelors in Science in Middle-level Education is changing from the required two broad subject areas for certification to one broad area to align with state certification standard.

The Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (all concentrations) is restructuring Core courses and adding high-impact practices (internship, study abroad, research or service learning) as well as Business Acumen professional development non-credit activities (CHE notification). Also within the College are plans for concentrations in Financial Technology and Cybersecurity, a minor in Management, a minor in Hospitality and Hotel Management.

A Bachelor’s of Music Education with concentrations in Choral and Instrumental Music is being created with the merger of two separate majors into this single major with concentrations.

A number of programs are under consideration for movement to a fully online format. These graduate programs are Master of Science in Sport and Fitness Administration, Master of Education in Literacy, and Master of Education in Learning Design & Technology. Additionally, a new Master of Accounting and Data Analytics is being studied as a possible online/on campus hybrid for the local regional market.

Other programs currently in consideration are Masters of Arts in American Business Studies, certificates and a possible degree in Nutrition specializing in supporting school system diet administration, and a Master’s of Science in Athletic Training. Additionally, a number of other certificates are under consideration.


Retention efforts

Retention is a by-product of everything we do that impacts our students throughout their life cycle as students. Based on best-practice research, Winthrop uses many acknowledged best practices to improve retention, such as a first-year experience course, early-alert system, intrusive & mandatory advising, tutoring [Academic Success Center, Writing Center, Math Center, department/program tutoring], counseling, peer mentoring, residence hall programming, accessibility office.

Fall 2017 to Fall 2018 retention rate of our first-time, full-time freshmen fell this year from 76.6% to 75%. Preliminary data indicate that Fall 2018 to Spring 2019 retention of new full-time freshmen (88.3%) is down from last year’s group (91.2%), which may be an early warning sign of persistence issues for this cohort. The good news is that Fall 2018 to Spring 2019 retention rate (91.9%) of new full-time transfer students is up from last year (89.3%) and above the ten-year average (89.4%). New, full-time transfer students were retained to spring at a higher rate than new, full-time freshmen for the first time in the last ten years.

Moving forward we will conduct business process analyses in key areas that impact students such as Admissions, Advising, Registration/Course Availability, Financial Aid, and Housing to understand and improve student interactions with these areas, and assessing the impact of any changes made.

Upon completion of Provost Boyd’s presentation, the Board moved to the Gold Room for the business portion of the meeting.


Approval of Minutes of November 2, 2018

Don Long moved with a second from Robby Sisco to approve the minutes as presented. The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.


Resolution to Recognize and Honor Winthrop University’s Purple Heart Recipients and to Proclaim Winthrop University a Purple Heart University

When approached by Richard Roszelle of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Department Adjutant for South Carolina, the Board was happy to consider this designation. Winthrop University has long been dedicated to our student and alumni veterans by providing veteran-specific institutional support, study and social space, dedicated computer lab, military academic credit, benefits coordinator, student organization, Purple Heart parking, mentorship, annual appreciation events, and advocacy.

Tim Hopkins moved with a second from Julie Fowler to accept the proposed resolution. The vote was unanimous in favor of the resolution.


Executive Session

Donna Holley moved with a second from Tim Sease 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, Caroline Overcash and Kimberly Faust were invited to remain for portions of the executive session.

Jane LaRoche moved with a second from Janet Smalley to end the executive session and return to public session. The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.


Honorary Degrees

Tim Hopkins made a motion with a second from Robby Sisco to bestow an honorary bachelor’s degree on Mary Spann Richardson. Her contributions to her field are meritorious because she sacrificed so much for her children in education and community involvement. These contributions are relevant to the

University's academic mission, due to the fact that she promoted higher education for her children by sacrificing her own education. Her children are proud to honor her with an endowed award for a faculty or staff member at Winthrop University that recognizes outstanding service to our state, nation and our world.

The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.

Tim Sease made a motion with a second from Donna Holley to award an honorary doctorate to Representative Gary Simrill. Representative Simrill’s longtime support of higher education in general and Winthrop specifically has positioned him as a strong supporter for education in South Carolina.

His work to ensure Winthrop continues to receive both recurring and non-recurring funding has had a profound and enduring impact on Winthrop University. Beyond our campus, Representative Simrill is known as a leader in the state. He has a unique ability to build consensus and is known for his skill in getting things done. Friends and colleagues refer to him as a man of integrity and character.

The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.

Both of these honorary degrees will be bestowed at the commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 4, 2019.

At 12:06 p.m. the Board recessed for lunch.

The Board resumed its meeting at 1:07 p.m.


Retreat Session # 3

Finance and Business

Vice President Justin Oates reported on the status of the FY2019 budget year. Financial personnel have collaborated to identify budget reductions to cover the drop in revenue related to the decline in enrollment this academic year. In addition to the drop in revenue, budget reductions have been identified to support a majority of the $1.6M efficiencies that were built into the original budget. Leadership continues to evaluate both the revenue and expense portfolio to make certain we end the year on a positive note while ensuring we meet the mission of the University.

As we prepare to build the FY2020 Budget, the Division of Finance has created multiple tools to support the campus in building up their FY2020 requests and to support the in-year monitoring. The key tool is the new Monthly Budget vs. Actual Reporting Tool (BvA). The purpose of the tool is to enable staff to quickly analyze data across all levels of the University (90+ files). Data used to develop the tool includes FY15 through FY18 actual expenses and FY19 original and revised budgets, actuals, & encumbrances. Predefined pivot table will allow users to quickly analyze data across various dimensions.

Although the tool has data down to the Account detail level, there is also an Account Hierarchy to allow data to be analyzed at key levels. Moving forward, including for FY2020, budget will be identified at these key account category levels. End users can also query on the data by the various dimensions.


Long Range Capital Planning

Campus leadership continues to evaluate the short & long term Facility needs on campus, but the 10 year plan presented in Summer 2018 is still an accurate picture of the major needs to be addressed. Facilities is moving forward with the approved FY2019 Capital Budget. We are still waiting on notice from the Federal Government on the status of our EDA grant proposal. We have advertised, interviewed and selected three firms for building envelopes (i.e., roofing & windows), advertised & short listed firms for electrical engineering, advertised & short listed firms for architects, and finalizing A1 request for State approval for State Funded projects as well as Joynes Alumni & Admissions Center.

The Finance & Business Affairs Facilities team has been working on a new process to capture and track facility related projects. The process started for Summer 2019 project requests and will be incorporated into the annual budget and planning process moving forward. Each division work to identify and prioritize facility project needs. Divisions submit budget request through a ‘Project Request Form’ designed by Facilities. This form includes required signatures by requestor, Dean/AVP, & VP of Division. Project request forms will be reviewed by Facilities to determine estimated cost & feasibility. Senior Leadership will review and prioritize request based on available funding.

VP Oates asked the Trustees to establish a FY2019 summer projects funding amount. The Trustees declined to set an amount due to inadequate supporting information listing the projects under consideration for funding. In the future, requests like this should be handled through the Committee on Finance and from there, moved to the full Board for consideration. It is incumbent upon the staff to send funding requests to the Committee on Finance with time for ample consideration.


Retreat Session # 4


Vice President Evan Bohnen began his presentation with a report on gifts received to the Foundation for calendar year 2018. Total cash gifts received and pledged was $3,923,062. A bequest of real estate property was appraised at $565,000. Additionally, the endowment was reduced by a total of $270,000 for pledges made but not collected.

Current market value of the Winthrop Endowment is $51,191,914. This total results from a negative 6% return in 2018 plus a 16.98% return in 2017. In December 2016 Vanguard assumed investment management of the Winthrop Endowment. Management fees were reduced from .26% to the current .10%. The fee savings has been directed to endowment earnings and the corpus.

In academic year 2018-19, there are 408 endowed funds with 47 (or 12%) underwater. The endowment market value of those funds is $53,828,912. The spend rate is 4%.

There are currently five frontline development officers with a prospect portfolio of 720 people.

Two new Foundation Board members have been added in the past few months. One is Helen Nugent, (1982) and the second is Peter Moroni, (2007). Ms. Nugent is the National Director of Sales for BNY Mellon Wealth Management. In this role, she is responsible for the leadership and direction of BNY Mellon Wealth Management’s new business strategies and practices globally. Helen joined the firm in 2013 bringing over 34 years of financial service experience.

Mr. Moroni is a Director of Defined Contribution strategy for Russell Investments’ Americas Institutional business. Based on the East Coast, Peter is responsible for designing and communicating retirement solutions to plan sponsors throughout the country, acting as a subject matter expert on Defined Contribution investment management.


Division of Athletics

Athletic Director and Vice President of Athletics, Dr. Ken Halpin, addressed the Board’s concerns regarding the decision to sell alcohol at campus baseball and softball games. He stated the decision to sell alcohol has been under consideration for over one year. Conversations had originally begun with Aramark and had to be re-started when Sodexo was awarded the food service contract at Winthrop. Trustees expressed unease that alcohol sales had been under consideration for over a year yet they were not briefed on the possibility of the idea moving forward.

Dr. Halpin reviewed Sodexo’s alcohol sales guidelines. Sodexo will obtain a Temporary Special Event License from the Department of Revenue. Each license is for a specific location. If there were both a baseball game and a softball game playing on the same day, individual licenses are secured for both facilities and displayed on site. Beer and wine are offered only at games. The beer and wine pricing is based on wholesale pricing and commission structure. $5.00 for domestic 16 oz. and $7.00 for import/microbrew 16 oz. Wine is $7.00 for 9 oz. serving. The product is ordered at wholesale in bottles and poured into clear cups at the time of purchase.

State or Federal Picture ID is required at point of sale by Sodexo employee. A school ID is not an acceptable form of ID. Once age is verified, the patron will receive a wristband they can display during future purchases. There are several factors in determining if someone is or would be overserved. All Sodexo employees that serve alcohol must be T.I.P.S or Serv-Safe Alcohol Certified.

Alcohol sales will stop at the end of the seventh inning for Men’s Baseball and the end of the fifth inning for Women’s Softball games. In addition to the event liquor license, Sodexo carries event insurance with a limit of up to $2,000,000. Winthrop University is seeking secondary insurance for all alcohol related events (not just athletics) for any costs that might not be covered by primary insurance policy. Winthrop’s tort policy specifically excludes alcohol liability.

Students who are over 21 years of age and provide proper identification will be served alcohol if requested, no different than any other patron. When researching other institutions that sell alcohol at athletic events, all reported that sales to students are rare simply because of the price point. The typical student is more likely to purchase domestic beer at lower price points from grocery or convenient stores than from concession stands at entertainment events. For those who do purchase at athletic events, they are doing so in a controlled environment where servers are trained not to overserve.


Retreat Session # 5

University Relations

Katie Price, director of marketing at Winthrop, reported on the growing area of digital marketing. Digital marketing is more affordable, flexible, and engaging than traditional marketing methods. It is more affordable because of fewer hard costs and waste, it allows more efficient audience targeting, clients can choose customizable, scalable spending and it is possible to easier analyze what ads are working and to identify use patterns through advanced analytics. It is flexible because clients can quickly and easily change the text and images in the advertisements and A/B testing, the testing of different versions of ads to learn what approach is more effective, is possible. Digital marketing is more engaging because targeted ads tend to be more relevant and interesting to users therefore, they are more likely to engage. It allows clients to meet users where they are – online, and there is greater potential for personalization with strong calls to action like “Register” and “Apply”.

In 2015, a dedicated marketing budget was created. The current budget is $96,000 with approximately 75% spent on digital marketing. Winthrop is now in the process of soliciting a digital partner agency using the State’s RFP process. Digital marketing is complex and highly competitive, requiring vast expertise and daily maintenance to ensure the effectiveness of your campaigns. Having a partner agency will provide improved tracking & ROI analytics, in-depth tracking software and reporting dashboards allow for more precise analysis of results, better results for the money we spend.

Agencies (especially Google Partners) often get better pricing and priority placements for ads, digital strategy expertise to help optimize campaigns and website content to get the best possible results, Google Partners get specialized training and support directly from Google, the ability to utilize more sophisticated digital tactics such as Geofencing, Rooftop Targeting, and IP Targeting as well as the use of alternative digital platforms (i.e. internet radio, video games, OTT or “Over The Top” mediums like Roku, AppleTV, FireTV and Smart TVs).


Board Self-evaluation Discussion

The Trustees discussed findings of their self-evaluation survey with plans to continue the conversations at future meetings.

Chair McCall recessed the meeting at 5:00 p.m.

The Board reconvened at 8:30 am on Saturday, February 23, 2019.


Saturday, February 23

Session # 6

Enrollment/financial aid

Educational Advisory Board (EAB) Financial Aid Principal Consultant, Brett Schraeder, presented his company’s work with Winthrop regarding enrollment and financial aid strategies. They are assisting Winthrop in constructing financial aid models, designing financial aid policy strategies, and monitoring award and yield activity. EAB is helping Winthrop to strategically leverage and award $364,000 in institutional funding utilizing advanced data analytics to comprise aid packages that maximize opportunities to enroll new students at the appropriate price point.

Vice President of Access and Enrollment, Eduardo Prieto, reviewed his divisional goals with the Board. In order to increase first time freshmen enrollment, he has hired a Digital Content Strategist who focuses on creating graphics and videos, working closely with University Communications and Marketing to ensure consistent branding and updated designs, and to manage the Office of Admissions social media pages. Additionally, they are revamping Daily Campus Tours and events including Open House, 1st Look Friday, Kaleidoscope, and Winthrop Day with the goal of improving yield, involving the community, and ensuring targeted messaging. Likewise they are making changes to the Winthrop Ambassador program. The organization has more than doubled in the past year with the addition of 67 new Junior Ambassadors.

Former CSL president, Tadean Page has been hired as the Community Outreach Coordinator to focus on representing Winthrop University at College and Career Fairs, building relationships and increasing Winthrop’s presence in local middle and elementary schools, fostering relationships with the homeschool and private school populations in South Carolina and revamping and growing the Winthrop Alumni Ambassador Volunteer Program in collaboration with the Office of Alumni Relations with a goal of 50 new members by August 2019.

To date, total applications have increased by 21%, or approximately 1,000 more compared to same time last year and total admits have increased by 21%, or 636 more admits compared to same time last year.

Out-of-State applications have increased by approximately 40%, or 151 compared to same time last year and out-of-State admits have increased by approximately 35%, or 87 more compared to same time last year.


Continuation of Self-study Discussion

The Board continued their discussion from Friday evening by considering a number of ways they could increase Trustee engagement with the campus community.


New Business

There was no new business.



Hearing no objections, Chair McCall adjourned the meeting at 1:35 p.m.

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