Winthrop President

Winthrop names presidential search committee members

Seven Winthrop University trustees and the school’s top elected faculty representative will serve on a committee charged with finding the college’s next president.

The university announced its search committee recently after playing host last week to the search consultant hired to help recruit and narrow down applicants. Job postings for the Winthrop presidency are expected to be placed in national publications soon.

Winthrop’s search committee – led by Board of Trustees Chairwoman Kathy Bigham and English professor John Bird – will work with Bill Funk, a higher education executive search consultant, during the next six months. Last week, Funk said three or four finalists for the Winthrop job could have campus visits and final interviews by March.

Chosen for the Winthrop search committee are trustees Karl Folkens, Tim Hopkins, Glenn McCall, Janet Smalley, Sue Smith-Rex, and Scott Talley. The makeup of this year’s committee is different from the group appointed in 2012 during the school’s last presidential search.

Then, the board selected some community members and one student to serve on the search committee in addition to some trustees and a faculty representative. Bigham also led the 2012-2013 search committee.

The school’s trustees hope to pick a new president – Winthrop’s 11th – by mid-summer. Currently, Winthrop’s Provost and vice president for academic affairs, Debra Boyd, is acting president.

Boyd was tapped to serve in the president’s office after trustees unanimously fired President Jamie Comstock Williamson in June. The former president has threatened to sue the university, claiming that trustees violated some terms of her employment contract. Before any legal claim can move forward, Williamson and the university’s attorneys will meet for mediation.

Legal mediation or arbitration could settle any claims without a lawsuit. School officials said this week that mediation has not yet been scheduled.