Meeting of the Winthrop University Board of Trustees

Friday, February 25, 2022 | 10:15 a.m.
Gold Room | DiGiorgio Campus Center
Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC


Members Present: Kathy Bigham, John Brazell, Ed Driggers, Tim Hopkins, Randy Imler, Jane LaRoche, Glenn McCall ,Robby Sisco, Tim Sease, Janet Smalley, Sandra Stroman, Isaiah Venning, Ashlye Wilkerson, and Gary Williams

Members Absent: Julie Fowler

Others Present: Representative Gary Simrill and various members of the faculty, staff, and students of Winthrop University; Tyler Cupp, WRHI.


The Board of Trustees met on Friday, February 25, 2022, on the campus of Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC.


Call to Order

Chair McCall, called the meeting to order at 10:15 a.m. He welcomed all present.


Approval of Minutes from October 29, 2021, November 9, 2021, November 17, 2021, December 9, 2021, January 20, 2022, February 6, 2022, February 8, 2022, February 11, 2022,
February 12, 2022 and February 18, 2022

Robby Sisco made a motion to accept the minutes of the following three meetings, October 29, 2021, November 9, 2021, November 17, 2021, December 9, 2021, January 20, 2022, February 6, 2022, February 8, 2022, February 11, 2022, February 12, 2022 and February 19, 2022 as written. Gary Williams seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.


South Carolina Higher Education Future Landscape Discussion with Representative Gary Simrill, House Majority Leader, Ways and Means Committee, 2nd Vice-chairman; Higher Education Sub-Committee Chairman

Representative Gary Simrill spoke to the Board about the history of public funding for higher education in South Carolina. Historically, financial support for higher education was strong and bond bills were regularly used by universities to cover capital costs. However, by the late 1990s, state funding to institutions began to decline. At the same time, funding given directly to students increased with lottery proceeds via need-based grants and merit aid. And, capital improvement bonds ended entirely by 2004.

Starting in 2019, the state appropriations to higher education institutions were increased in order to offset necessary increases in tuition and fees. Those tuition mitigation funds continue and are expected to again be offered in next year’s budgeted appropriations.

Moving forward, Representative Simrill urged all public universities to find ways to collaborate. Higher education institutions cannot afford to remain in individual silos. He cited the collaboration between South Carolina State University and Francis Marion University as an example of the kind so joint efforts needed to solidify the future of higher education in South Carolina.


Executive Session--pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. §30-4-70(a)(1) and (2) for the purposes of discussion of employment matters and contractual items related to Winthrop University

Ashlye Wilkerson 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 purpose of discussions of personnel issues and legal matters. The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.

Jennifer Jordan and Kimberly Faust were invited to remain for the executive session.

Tim Hopkins made a motion to end executive session with no actions. Janet Smalley seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.



The Board recessed for lunch at 12:02 p.m. with plans to reconvene at 1:00 p.m.



The Board reconvened the meeting at 1:03 p.m. in the Gold Room.


Report from the President

President Hynd began his report with an update on the SACSCOC reaccreditation process. Under the leadership of Dr. Noreen Gaubitz, we recently submitted three important documents: Compliance Certification Report, Focused Report and Quality Enhancement Plan. The Focused Report responds to the Off-Site Committee’s compliance concerns, while the Career Readiness focus of the QEP is an exciting undertaking for the university. During the third week of March, the on-site visit team will arrive and hold interviews with multiple groups on campus including the Board of Trustees. The president thanked all of our employees for their contributions of time and expertise over the last two years as we have working toward the conclusion of the process.

Regarding COVID-19 on campus, President Hynd reported declining numbers of cases. But, we do believe there may be an uptick of cases as students return from spring break. At the same time, DHEC is actively closing a number of testing sites and will stop daily case reporting this month. At the Winthrop Coliseum, DHEC will soon end funding but supports the continuation of this community testing site. As a result, testing contractor Genetworx will shift to requesting insurance information for testing beginning March 15 that will cover testing for COVID-like symptoms and being a close contact, but not for surveillance. Likewise, our remaining spring on-campus testing options will change with DHEC now making rapid and PCR self-administered tests available and having individuals mail their PCR swabs for test results. The president urged everyone to take advantage of the upcoming free DHEC vaccine and testing events scheduled for March 23, April 20, and May 2 on campus. As a result of these changes, Winthrop will continue to require masks to be worn indoors. We will revisit this requirement in early April once we know the impact of cases following spring break.

To conclude his report, President Hynd congratulated the Board on its naming of Dr. Edward Serna and president-elect. He looks forward to meeting Dr. Serna and assisting with a smooth transition for the new president.


Status Report on Campus Projects

Mr. James Grigg, Associate Vice President for Facilities, updated the Board on a number of campus projects including the Cherry Road signs that are nearly completed, the Coliseum roof replacement work that will begin next week, new swings planned for Scholars Walk, the slate tile replacement in front of the DiGiorgio Center, and the near completion of the planning stage for the Joynes renovation work.

Planning and design work is starting on the fountain in front of Tillman, architects have been hired to review roof and building envelope needs, and an environmental consultant has been hired to address the removal of the obsolete oil storage tank. The Byrnes fire and renovation project approvals are moving through the state processes, Wofford demolition abatement plan is with the State Engineer, and an ADA study of buildings is being finalized.

The City of Rock Hill has agreed to add an additional streetlight by the Legion parking lot.


Enrollment Fall Forecast and Spring Actual Enrollment

Vice President of Enrollment and Marketing Joseph Miller reported the current information regarding student enrollment. Current enrollment is down by 342 undergraduate students and 65 graduate students for a total decline of 407 students. Most concerning to the Trustees was that we are down 97 freshmen as compared to last year at this time. As the students move toward their senior year, a smaller than average cohort will cause continuing declines. Likewise, applications are down considerably as compared to fall 2020. Admits have declined from 3,910 year to date in 2020 to 3,272 year to date in 2022. On the other hand, enrollment deposits are up as compared to 2020. Currently we have received 201 deposits as compared to 46 at this same time in 2020. This may be in part due to a much earlier date for financial aid notification.


Marketing Plan Update

VP Miller updated the Board on the status of the $500,000 designated for additional marketing efforts. Phase 1 consisting of billboards, postcard-email campaigns, videography, digital campaigns, and a personalized video platform has been completed. Phase 2 consisting of branding and messaging, high touch yield mailer, graduate program billboards, academic program campaigns, and a teacher affinity campaign is underway. Phase 3 consisting of search engine optimization, student video project, yield push campaign, and travel recruitment is scheduled to begin in May 2022.


Laptop Campus Progress Report

President Hynd reviewed the progress to date in the move to be a laptop campus. For new incoming FR and TR Students, the costs for the purchase of a personal laptop computer are included in the estimated “Indirect Costs” of attendance. Winthrop University estimates $6,194 per year in Indirect Costs at part of our total cost of attendance. Students can apply a portion of the $6,194 (as either “Personal” expenses or “Books and Supplies”) for the purchase of a personal laptop computer.

Classroom redesigns using HEERF funding will optimize Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and advance digital instruction approaches (some supply chain delays), model classrooms are planned in Kinard and the Center for Professional Excellence as training sites, with vendors scheduled to be on campus doing install on Tuesday, March 1, 2022, WiFi upgrades in residence halls and academic buildings are underway, minimum technology specifications are articulated on the IT website, new students are being informed of the laptop requirement through orientation messaging, University Communications and Marketing will create a FAQ website for returning students, plans are underway to provide purchase opportunities with Dell and/or Apple through campus bookstore, and finally, the existing loaner laptop programs through Dacus Library will remain in place for students who may need extra support or time before purchasing a laptop.



Hearing no objections, Chair McCall adjourned the meeting at 4:14 p.m.


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