How was the semester, challenges and achievements included, for you and Winthrop?
Mahony: It was a good semester! The class I’m teaching is fun. It’s the first class I’ve taught in a couple of years, so it was good to get back to that. It was a good semester for the university in a lot of ways. Some athletic successes, some student successes, some students winning national awards in the last couple weeks. That’s exciting. Recruiting seems to be going well for next year, so that’s real positive.
Going back to recruiting, how do you feel about the new employees coming in, like the Dean of the College of Business Administration?
Mahony: Yeah, that is one of the challenges. You don’t want to lose all that history and the knowledge of those people, but I knew when I came in, looking at all of our staff, we have a lot of people near their retirement years. We knew that this was going to come, so I hope that some of them stick around for a little while longer to help with that transition. But it also helps having new people come in, new ideas, and new energy. That’s what I hope is created from the new deans, new faculty, new vice-president.
Based off your 10-year plan, do you think that you met any of your goals?
Mahony: We won’t know that until the fall. Most of the data that we will look at is fall-to-fall data. So when you look at retention rates, graduation rates, enrollment rates — all that stuff we will be able to measure around September. I’ll do another State of the University address in September or October once we have that information. We’ll talk about what we achieved, what we didn’t achieve, and what we have to work on for next semester.
Were there any difficulties for you this semester?
Mahony: There’s always challenges, but I don’t think there was anything particularly hard to deal with besides a normal semester.
What are your goals for next semester?
Mahony: Just keep building on that strategic plan. Once we go through the process of how we did in the last year, which is what we’ll do when we get back in the fall, I think then we’ll start to say “Okay, what are those next steps?” There’s a lot of things going on, some of which we’ll finish this year. Some will flow into next year. We’re developing new online programs, for example, new degree programs that get done in one semester. That’s usually a multiple semester thing.
What are your comments about “We Are Winthrop” celebration?
Mahony: I think it’s a nice opportunity to bring everyone together at the end of the semester. It’s a first step to try to do something new. We hope to build on it, maybe do something bigger next year, but we got to the point where we at least want to get something started. We’ll see how it goes and adjust as we go forward. We like to do something new and big at the end of the semester. Commencement is there, but it does not necessarily include the entire community. It’s mostly focused on graduating seniors. It’s nice to bring everyone together for something at the end of the semester.
Do you have anything students should know about upcoming programs and features, such as tuition and housing?
Mahony: New programs we’re working on, such as graduate programs and graduate certificate programs. Some of that will be online. For students who are undergraduates and are looking to continue on at Winthrop, some of them may leave and continue their education here through their online program. We’re still working on the budget. It’s been a little challenging of a year. We don’t know what the legislatures are going to do, what the governor is going to do. The House has their version, the Senate has their version and the governor has his stance. And none of those are the same. So, we don’t know where state funding is going to go. We’re hoping we have some clarity about that within the next month or so, and then we’ll have a discussion about the next budget and tuition.
How will the Knowledge Park area affect Winthrop?
Mahony: It’s all positive. The athletic facility — that will bring in junior Olympics and gymnastics, most of whom are pre-teens and teens who have not enrolled in college. And they’re a mile from our campus. That’s a great opportunity for us. I think the whole development of our area will be a nice place to go to. There will be restaurants, retail, different facilities there. Plenty of internship opportunities for students.
If they add the bus system, all of that together will be a great benefit for Winthrop.
It’s good for our community, too, because it will get our students out there.