Meeting of the Winthrop University Board of Trustees

Friday, October 29, 2021 | 10:15 a.m.
Zoom Meeting Originating in Thompson Conference Room | Tillman Building
Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC


Members Present: Kathy Bigham, John Brazell, Ed Driggers, Julie Fowler, Tim Hopkins, Jane LaRoche, Randy Imler, Glenn McCall, Robby Sisco, Janet Smalley, Isaiah Venning, Ashlye Wilkerson, and Gary Williams, Interim President George Hynd (ex-officio)

Members Absent: Tim Sease, Sandra Stroman

Others Present: Various employees and students of Winthrop University


The Board of Trustees met on Friday, October 29, 2021 on the campus of Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC.


Call to Order

Chair Glenn McCall called the meeting to order at 11 a.m. He welcomed all present.


Executive Session

Julie Fowler moved with a second from Janet Smalley to move into executive session pursuant to South Carolina Ann. §30-4-70(a)(1) and (2) for the purpose of discussions of employment matters involving certain present university employees and contractual items related to Winthrop University
Kimberly Faust was invited to remain for the executive session.

John Brazell moved to end executive session. Ashlye Wilkerson seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous to end executive session.


Approval of Board Minutes

Gary Williams made a motion to accept the minutes of the following three meetings, August 23, 2021, September 17, 2021, and October 11, 2021 as written. Isaiah Venning seconded the motion.


Report of the Executive Committee and Chair of the Board

Chair McCall welcomed Mr. Kevin Sheppard as the new Title IX Coordinator and ADA Compliance Officer. He also thanked Dr. Jennie Rakestraw for her many years of service to Winthrop as the Dean of the Riley College of Education and wished her well as she begins her retirement from the university in January 2022.


Resolution Regarding Laptop Campus

Chair McCall asked for a resolution for Winthrop to become a laptop campus. Tim Hopkins made a motion for the university to develop a robust laptop program that includes adequate Wi-Fi and technological support while minimizing the financial impact to the University with the stipulation that the university begin this program in Fall 2022. Ed Driggers seconded the motion. Chair McCall called for the vote. It was unanimous in favor of the motion.


Report from the President

President Hynd began his address by discussing the challenges to the university.

Enrollment – Nationally U.S. colleges and universities are experiencing a drop of nearly 500,000 undergraduate students this fall. That reflects a reduction of 3.2% in undergraduate enrollment nationally this year which follows a 3.4% reduction last year. Clearly, there are fewer high school students pursuing higher education as an option once they graduate high school. Per Vice President Miller’s report, our enrollments are down again this year reflecting regional and national trends.

This means that the decrease in our enrollments will impact our budget going forward for at least the next three to five years while at the same time we need to build back with new and innovative academic programs that will attract new students. I am confident that our new leadership in enrollment and the development of a strategic marketing plan will move us forward so that we can achieve our ideal, and realistic, enrollment targets over the next three to five years. Already, we have instituted new practices in enrollment that we think will positively impact our application yield and consequent enrollment for next year.

Budget – The impact of past budgeting practices and our current enrollment downturn have required us to take measures to align our resources with our expenditures. As part of our three year plan to right size our budget we have pulled many levers over the course of my year and a half here including a continuing strategic hiring freeze resulting in eliminated positions, furloughs, a voluntary retirement program, a reduction in force and continued efforts to reduce our expenses. At this point in our FY22 I feel confident that we will achieve our budget target while at the same time we will continue our work to reduce expenses with new budget targets for FY23 and FY24. Our leadership understands the need to identify and pursue new and innovative approaches to controlling our budgets.

COVID & Vaccinations – About 67% of our students are vaccinated as are 81% of our athletes. However, when President Biden signed Executive Order 14042 directing federal contractors and their subcontractors to comply with COVID workplace guidance issued by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force, things changed. On September 24 the task force issued their guidance mandating vaccinations for federal contractors and subcontractor employees. OSHA then developed an Emergency Temporary Standard requiring large employers over 100 employees under OSHA’s jurisdiction to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or subject to weekly testing if not fully vaccinated. At this point, we do not know how this Executive Order and related guidance will impact us.

While the challenges noted above will continue to draw our attention and daily focus, it is very important to not lose sight of the many positive and potentially transformative efforts currently underway.

  • A number of completed or in-progress capital projects
  • A balanced FY22 budget with carefully considered budget plans and targets for the next two fiscal years
  • A completed campus facilities master plan
  • A completed review of the Winthrop Plan
  • A portfolio of possible new academic programs to consider - which may include opportunities to pursue professional doctoral programs
  • The benefits of a $2.8 million investment in our campus WiFi in support of our becoming a “laptop” campus
  • A beautiful campus significantly enhanced by the collaborative work of volunteers and facilities personnel as part of the very successful Campus Beautification Initiative


Report from Committee on Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and Enrollment

Chair Janet Smalley began her report by thanking Dr. Jamie Cooper for sharing actual numbers on retention data. The Committee was surprised to learn over 300 students left the university (non-graduates) last year but we do not know why they left. The Committee felt more attention needs to be paid to ascertaining why students are leaving.

Ms. Smalley continued her report with an update on the Quality Enhancement Project (QEP), a requirement of the upcoming Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) accreditation. The committee working on the QEP is focusing on career-readiness. As the same time, we are implementing a new career management platform called Handshake, in the office of Career Services.


Report from Committee on External Engagement and Athletics

Tim Hopkins reported on data received in the Committee meeting including the $3.4M that was raised in cash, pledges, planned gifts and realized planned gifts from a total of 3,330 donors. Of those 3,330 donors, 2,270 were Winthrop alumni. As of September 30, 2021, over $1.9M has been raised.

Our development office is using social media and crowdfunding pages to raise money for specific funds or initiatives. Our software provider, Blackbaud is in the process of launching giving through Venmo or Paypal which should appeal to the younger demographic. Likewise, our Phonathon software was upgraded and pledge fulfillment is at an 84% return rate.

As of October 27, the Foundation endowment value is over $82M. The endowment was valued at $46.8M in 2016 and $79.6 at the end of the third quarter of 2021. This gain is due to more donations, the lowering of management fee on endowments from 6% to 1.5% and great market returns with Vanguard.

There are currently twenty-five Name, Image and Likeness deals among our student-athletes which are product sponsorships where the athlete earns products and merchandise through their social media presence and marketing. No Winthrop students have signed NIL contracts for cash at this time nor are they expected to as that typically happens at the power 5 schools.

US Disc Golf Championship (USDGC) held their 23rd annual tournament at Winthrop University, which was promoted nationally through social media, radio and TV channels. Over 64k people visited the website during the tournament. All faculty, staff, and students received free tickets to the event. The USDGC spent $42k in grounds and course preparation before the tournament, which Winthrop did not have to pay. They also gave a gift of $2,400 to the Eagle Club. Winthrop made $9,650 in revenue on food and beverages by using Sodexo rather than an outside vendor.


Report from Committee on Strategic Planning and Facilities

Chair Imler reported on the first meeting of this new Committee. As such, the Committee spent time focused on defining their roles and responsibilities. They discussed the bylaws including any long range integrated and strategic plans and the supporting data, the goals and objectives of those plans, development and maintenance of capital improvement projects/plans, the location of new building structures, identification of building needs, and maintenance and improvement plans for buildings and grounds all fall under the purview of this committee.

Dr. Randy Imler outlined the process for review/approval: Any capital improvement project over $250,000 has to be in the capital improvement plan. Any change in the scope to any capital improvement plan that exceeds $100,000, and any new capital project over $250,000 needs to be reviewed and approved. Issuance of bonds will be reviewed by this committee initially and then sent to the Finance Committee for approval.

Dr. Randy Imler noted that there are 16 capital improvement projects in process.

The legislature was very generous with us this year in awarding us $10 million for capital improvement projects, $9.2 million for repairs/maintenance and HEERF funding for the expansion of WiFi on campus.

Winthrop is currently in Phase 1 of the Campus Master Plan which is to collect information. Phase 2 will be the analysis of documents and scenario planning. Phase 3 will be action plans/final plan. The entire process should be completed by June 2022.


Report from Committee on Finance

In the absence of Chair Tim Sease, Mr. Ed Driggers chaired the meeting and presented the Committee report. The Committee heard from Mr. Ben Kochenower of Cline Brandt Kochenower & Co. with an update on the FY2020-2021 audit of which Winthrop received an unmodified opinion on compliance relative to federal funding and internal controls with no findings.

On behalf of the Committee, the following action items were introduced:

Resolution regarding enrollment deposit and associated fees. This resolution would reallocate the $300 Enrollment Deposit to fund the New Student Fee—$210 for Freshmen and $85 for Transfers and a one-time, non-refundable $50 housing application fee which will accompany all first time housing applications commencing in Spring and Summer 2022 for the 2022-23 Academic Year. Needing no second as the resolution was from a Committee, Chair McCall called for the vote. It was unanimous in favor of the resolution.

The second resolution recommended a reduction in tuition for the Master of Arts - Arts Administration online graduate program for the 2022-23 Academic Year. The new tuition will be set at $699 per credit hour. Needing no second, Chair McCall called for the vote. It was unanimous in favor of the resolution.

The next item was a motion to approve the state-funded capital projects including roof replacements for Dacus Library, West Center, Joynes roof & brickwork, Central Energy/Piano Lab, and Facilities Operations. Also included are building boxing repairs for Bancroft, Johnson, McLaurin, Sims, Joynes; oil tank removal, and Joynes mechanical renovation. Needing no second, Chair McCall called for the vote. It was unanimous in favor of the resolution.

Mr. Driggers brought forth, on behalf of the Finance Committee, a motion to approve course fee changes. The courses affected are CSCI 101S Microsoft Certification, EXSC 493 Certification, PESH 151X Taekwondo, PETE 223 Adventure Facilitation and Leadership, PETE 380 Professionalism in Physical Ed, and SPMA 390 Research & Data Analysis. Needing no second, Chair McCall called for the vote. It was unanimous in favor of the resolution.

A motion to accept the recommendation of President Hynd to appoint Dr. Beth Costner as the Interim Dean of the Riley College of Education was presented to the Board on behalf of the Committee. Needing no second, Chair McCall called for the vote. It was unanimous in favor of the resolution.

The final motion presented by the Committee was to designate $500,000 from the Net Position to be used in support of marketing and enrollment. The Committee further instructed that a spending plan be presented at the November 9, 2021 meeting. Needing no second, Chair McCall called for the vote. The motion passed with 9 votes in favor, 3 against, and 1 abstention.



Hearing no objections, Chair McCall adjourned the meeting at 1:57 p.m.