Meeting of the Winthrop University Board of Trustees

Meeting of the Winthrop University Board of Trustees

Friday, September 25, 2020 | 1:00 p.m.
Richardson Ballroom| DiGiorgio Campus Center
Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC

Members present: Glenn McCall, Gary Williams, Kathy Bigham, Robby Sisco, Isaiah Venning, Jane LaRoche, Janet Smalley, Tim Hopkins, Randy Imler, President George W. Hynd (ex-officio) / Ed Driggers, Ashlye Wilkerson, Julie Fowler, Tim Sease, Sandra Stroman, John Brazell via Zoom

Members absent: Representative present: Adolphus Belk, Jr. via Zoom / Brandon Jackson

Others present: Adrienne McCormick, Tim Drueke, Lars Larsen, Kimberly Faust, Caroline Overcash, Eduardo Prieto, Tammie Phillips, Leigh Crain, Jamie Cooper, Jack DeRochi, Scott Huffmon, Frank Pullano, Patrice Bruneau, Lars Larsen, Judy Longshaw, Ellen Wilder-Byrd and others from the Winthrop faculty and staff. Media representatives included Alex Zietlow and Caitlyn Derickson from the Herald, Olivia Esselman and Bryan Smith from the Johnsonian.


The Board of Trustees met on Friday, September 25, 2020 on the campus of Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC.


Call to Order

Chair McCall called the meeting to order at 1:15 p.m. He welcomed all present. Mr. Gary Williams delivered an invocation.


Approval of Minutes August 25, 2020

Gary Williams moved to accept the minutes as written. Isaiah Venning seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous in favor of the minutes as written.


Executive Session

Randy Imler moved with a second from Tim Hopkins to move into executive session pursuant to South Carolina Ann. §30-4-70(a)(1) and (2) for the purpose of discussions of proposed contractual arrangements and personnel issues. The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.

Dr. Adolphus Belk, Jr, Brandon Jackson, Amanda Maghsoud, Kimberly Faust and Lars Larsen were invited to remain for portions of the executive session.

Jane LaRoche moved to end executive session with no report. Sandra Stroman seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous to end executive session.


Consideration of President Hynd’s Agency Head Goals AY2021

Per South Carolina Agency Head Salary Commission requirements, annually, the president meets with the Executive Committee to propose the objectives and standards for success he will meet in the upcoming year. The objectives must be categorized in the five standardized areas per Agency Head Salary Commission direction. When acceptable objectives are identified, the planned objectives are entered into the evaluation document, reviewed, edited if needed, and voted upon by the full Board.

The evaluation of the proposed goals is completed in June. At that time, each trustee will be asked to complete an agency head evaluation survey and submit it to the Secretary to the Board to compile.

Specific goals for the upcoming academic year include:

  • Examine the Winthrop Strategic Plan to assess progress to date
  • Determine how to improve key metrics and make changes in the Strategic Plan in the face of the new reality
  • Prepare Academic Master Plan for program refresh, development, and/or elimination
  • Capture $3 million in salary savings via a furlough plan
  • Campus-wide identification of key priorities to direct goals of a Campus Master Plan
  • Facilitate ongoing conversations with Board of Trustees and Foundation Board to identify and strengthen shared goals
  • Capacity and readiness audit of division of University Advancement and Alumni Relations
  • Continue SACSCOC Reaffirmation Process

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


Consideration of Resolution to Continue Adjusted Admissions Criteria for the 2021-22 Academic Year

Winthrop University, until the April 2020 Board resolution approving temporary admissions criteria, has traditionally utilized the SAT and ACT standardized tests as part of the first-time freshman evaluation process for admittance. However, testing opportunities continue to be limited for prospective students due to the on-going challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, in an effort to remain accessible to and competitive for prospective students from South Carolina and non-residents, The Committee on Enrollment and Retention met on September 21 to consider the continuation of the temporary suspension during the 2021-22 academic year of the university’s requirement that applicants must provide standardized test results to be considered for admission as well as financial aid.

At that meeting, the Committee decided to not endorse the resolution to continue the temporary suspension of the SAT and ACT tests. Likewise, the Committee did not endorse the ability to award financial aid in the absence of test scores. Instead, the Committee decided to move the resolution to the full Board for its deliberation and vote.

After discussion regarding the concern by the Board that clear criteria for awarding financial aid was not included in the resolution nor the accompanying presentation, Gary Williams moved to accept the resolution as written. Isaiah Venning seconded the resolution. The resolution was approved with 12 votes in favor and three votes against.


President’s Report

Dr. Hynd began his report by sharing the latest accolades received by Winthrop. U.S. News and World Report recently recognized Winthrop with the university's highest ranking in the guidebook's 2021 "Best Colleges" edition. The university's 6-year graduation rate, commitment to undergraduate teaching, assistance to veterans and the social mobility of its graduates contributed to the university's climb from eighth to sixth place among public universities in the South. Additionally, the university was recently included in the Princeton Review's “Best in the Southeast” online feature, Money Magazine's “Best Colleges for Your Money” rankings and Washington Monthly's Student Voting Category for efforts in encouraging students to vote.

More locally- SC Human Affairs Commission ranked Winthrop #2 for the second year in a row for meeting and surpassing our goals in recruiting, retaining and promoting minorities and women among the state’s 10 top universities – Previously we were ranked #4 for two years before climbing to #2.

Winthrop recently received its fourth round of INBRE funding. INBRE grants are intended to enhance the caliber of scientific faculty at research institutions and undergraduate schools who can attract more talented students to augment the science and technology knowledge of the state's workforce. This cycle’s funding totaled $920,000. Robin Lammi (chemistry) serves as Principle Investigator and Jay Hannah (chemistry) and Kristen Abernathy (math) serve as CoPrinciple Investigators. They will head up a team of cohort of faculty members across multiple disciplines to mentor 32 research students each year through the 2025 grant cycle.

Associate Dean Lisa Johnson and the Richard W. Riley College of Education’s Rex Institute were honored by Rock Hills Schools with the 2020 Outstanding Partner Award for their work with Ebenezer Avenue Elementary School.

Professor of Fine Arts Shaun Cassidy will serve as the university’s 2020-21 Thompson Scholar, an initiative made possible through the generous giving of former Board of Trustees’ Chair Bob Thompson and his wife, Norma.

Brandon Jackson, Chair of CSL and the new leadership of the Council of Student Leaders were inducted on September 14th. One of their first initiatives this year is to promote Safety Week – a week to learn about safety practices on campus including in the new COVID environment.

NCAA Guidelines are redefining of start dates moving fall sports to the spring. Each conference will now be permitted to try and execute a season inside of these dates. Our first start date is Men’s and Women’s basketball set to begin in late November. Other sports will follow in January.

As of today, total headcount population (including non-degree seeking) = 5,388 (4,260 undergraduate, 1128 graduate) with a decrease currently standing at -5%, or -295 students. Total degree-seeking students, largely due to in the increase in graduate students, is currently down only -1.3%, or -69 total students when compared to last year. Graduate student population with 986 degree seeking students in the categories of 407 online and 579 campusbased.

At the undergraduate level, this year’s freshmen class is approximately 50% Pell-eligible students.

Housing waivers reduced numbers living on campus resulting in 1,628 students in residence halls (includes 320 in Courtyard) as compared to the approximately 2,400 beds available.

The new COVID-19 Dashboard on our website continues to be updated every Tuesday morning. Total cases reported = 27 (last week – 3 students; 3 employees.) We continue to work with the guidance from the Medical University of South Carolina who reviewed our campus spaces and protocols this summer.

We are collaborating with The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control to offer free COVID-19 testing to the Winthrop, and surrounding, community at the North parking lot of the Winthrop Coliseum.

President Hynd concluded his report by commenting on the work to be done for the remainder of the fall semester as well as the spring semester including continuing to address uncertainty and challenges related to COVID-19, working on a campus master plan, reviewing progress on five goals the Winthrop’s Plan, engaging in a review and reset of Winthrop Budget plan, and working to establish solid foundation in Development.


Ad hoc Committee to Review Bylaws

Aware of the need to periodically review the Board’s bylaws, Chair McCall appointed an ad hoc committee led by Dr. Julie Fowler. Also serving with Dr. Fowler will be Robby Sisco, Ed Driggers, Tim Hopkins, and Kathy Bigham.



Hearing no objections, Chair McCall adjourned the meeting at 4:04 p.m.