Learning to live and work with people of different cultures is critical for today’s college students and an integral part of the Winthrop University experience.
Here at Winthrop, we pride ourselves in the fact that the makeup of the student body closely matches the state’s demographics. For example, the percentage of African-American students is similar to the 28 percent of S.C. residents.
Moreover, we rank second in the country in graduating black students. An Education Trust national report, “A Look at Black Student Success: Identifying Top- and Bottom-Performing Institutions,” found that Winthrop’s black students had a graduation rate that exceeded the university’s overall graduation rate.
The same is true for Latino students.
But we’re not done. We intend to build on Winthrop’s success and become a national model. This demands that we complement our success with a diverse student body by attracting more diverse faculty and staff. So that’s part of our five-year strategic plan.
Winthrop’s five-year strategic plan, called the Winthrop Plan, includes increasing the number of diverse faculty and staff members. Members of our Board of Trustees support infusing diversity and inclusion efforts into every aspect of campus life, and they have wholeheartedly endorsed this particular goal.
As part of that effort, I have made it a point for the past three years to attend the annual Compact for Faculty Diversity Institute on Teaching and Mentoring Conference, sponsored by the Southern Regional Education Board. It is the largest gathering in the country of minority doctoral candidates. I think it is important as president to attend this event, and I have found that I am the only president to attend. I hope other presidents join me at future conferences.
We are also seeking more people of color in professional and managerial positions, and we are making progress here as well. Winthrop moved from fifth place in 2015 to second in 2016 among the state’s 10 public higher education institutions in meeting its affirmative hiring goals. These hires include key professional positions such as executive director of sponsored programs and research, director of technology services, director of residence life, head women’s basketball coach and associate athletic director for internal operations. Second place is great, but we’re determined to be No. 1.
Winthrop prides itself on being an institution of choice for groups traditionally under-represented on many college campuses and for being a model for inclusive excellence. We take this goal seriously, and we are seeing positive results.
Daniel F. Mahony
President, Winthrop University
The State publishes a cross section of the letters we receive from South Carolinians in order to provide a forum for our community and also to allow our community to get a good look at itself, for good or bad. The letters represent the views of the letter writers, not necessarily of The State.