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Board of Visitors

Board of Visitors Meeting June 20, 2014

The Board of Visitors of Christopher Newport University met on June 20, 2014, at 12:30 p.m. in the Board Room of the David Student Union with Rector Preston White, presiding.

Present from the Board

  • Mr. Bill Downey
  • Ms. Vicki Siokis Freeman
  • Mr. Andy Hughes
  • Ms. Ann N. Hunnicutt
  • Mr. Bruce Jennings
  • Mr. Bryan Meals
  • Ms. Delceno Miles
  • Mr. Scott Millar
  • Mr. Mark Rodgers
  • Ms. Margo D. Taylor
  • Mr. W. L. Thomas, Jr.
  • The Hon. Ronald Tillett
  • Mr. Preston White

Absent from the Board

  • Mr. Gary Byler

Present from the University

  • Ms. Cynthia Perry, Chief of Staff
  • Mr. William L. Brauer, Executive Vice President
  • Dr. David Doughty, Provost
  • Ms. Adelia Thompson, Vice President for University Advancement
  • Ms. Maureen Matsen, University Counsel
  • Ms. Beverley Mueller, Executive Assistant
  • Dr. Lisa Duncan Raines, Vice Provost for Enrollment Services
  • Dr. Kevin Hughes, Dean of Students
  • Dr. Jana Adamitis, Faculty Senate President
  • Ms. Faith Belote, Internal Auditor
  • Mr. Rich Charles, Alumni Society President
  • Ms. Lori Jacobs, Director of Public Relations
  • Mr. Josh Reyes, Captains Log
  • Mr. Conner Trebour, Student Assembly President

Rector White welcomed everyone present at the meeting. He thanked Mr. Bill Thomas, Ms. Margo Taylor, Ms. Delceno Miles and Mr. Bryan Meals for their service on the Board. He then announced the new Board of Visitors appointments of Mr. Brad Hunter, Mr. Gabe Morgan, Dr. Ella Ward, Mr.Bill Ermatinger and was happy to report that Ms. Vicki Freeman had been reappointed.

Rector White then called on Mr. Bill Thomas, Chair of the Nominating Committee. Mr. Thomas reported that the Rector had appointed a Nominating Committee which included Mr. Bill Downey, Ms. Margo Taylor and himself to propose a slate of officers. The election will take place at the next meeting of the Board which is the first annual meeting as required in the by-laws. The Nominating Committee put forth the following slate of officers for consideration at the September meeting: Rector, Preston White; Vice-Rector, Scott Millar; and Secretary, Vicki Freeman.

Rector White called for a motion to approve Resolution 1: Ratification of By-Laws Changes noting that this was presented at the last meeting and only required approval. There was no discussion and Ms. Miles provided the motion to approve Resolution 1, which was seconded by Ms. Taylor and passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

Rector White then called for a motion to approve the minutes of the two meetings held in May - the regular full Board of Visitors meeting and the meeting for the President's annual evaluation. Mr. Thomas provided the motion, seconded by Ms. Hunnicutt and the minutes were approved by unanimous vote of the Board.

Report of the President

In the President's absence, Executive Vice President, Mr. Bill Brauer, was asked to provide the President's Report.

Mr. Brauer reported that the Investment Committee of the Education Foundation which includes Rector White, Mr. Tillett, Mr. Martin, Mr. Haggard and Mr. Rauch, had begun the process of reviewing the university's endowment and how those monies were invested. With the loss of the current financial advisor, Cary Street Partners, a search for a new firm took place. Four firms were interviewed and the Committee has made a final selection which will be announced once the contract has been finalized. The committee believes they have found the best firm possible that will take our endowment to the next level.

Capital Projects: Mr. Brauer reported that construction of the Student Success Center is well underway and will provide an impressive back drop for next year's graduation. He told the Board that the Governor's budget did not provide any general fund money which will delay Phase 2 of the Library project as well as the Fine Arts Center for at least a year. However, there were a number of auxiliary non-general fund projects approved. Construction will begin on a new residence hall located next to James River residence hall -as well as Phase 1 of Greek Village. These projects will add another 272 beds. Construction of the Alumni House will begin in March with a ceremonious ground breaking to take place this fall. The Alumni House will be built behind the David Student Union and along Shoe Lane. Regattas Dinning Hall will be expanded to accommodate the additional residential students and construction will be completed by Summer/Fall 2016.

Admissions: This year CNU had a record number of visitors to campus -- over 22,000 people. CNU received 7,500 applications for the freshman class and admitted 64% . Currently 1,245 students have indicated they will attend CNU in the fall, and which will yield a class of approximately 1,200. Almost one-quarter of the freshman class has been filled by students applying early decision. The average GPA is 3.73 and average SAT is 1153.

Athletic summary: Mr. Brauer reported that this had been one of the best years ever and it was our first year competing in the Capital Athletic Conference. For the sixth year in a row, CNU took top honors in the annual Virginia Sports Information Directors College Division All-Sports Survey. The survey ranks the overall winning percentages of all non-Division I schools in the Commonwealth. This year CNU's overall winning percentage was 70% and CNU teams won six CAC titles and made five NCAA Division III National Championship tournament appearances. He commented on the outstanding performances of our teams highlighting the accomplishments of field hockey, volleyball, women's basketball, softball, golf and cheerleading.

Finance and Audit Committee Report

Ms. Hunnicutt reported that the Auditor of Public Accounts reviewed CNU's audit report and issued a clean opinion and was very complimentary of the staff at CNU. She said there were only two recommendations by the Auditor and there were no incidents of fraudulent transactions and no audit adjustments were necessary. Ms. Hunnicutt recognized Ms. Faith Belote, CNU's Internal Auditor, for her good work and reported that an assistant auditor has now been hired. She directed the Board to the reports in the notebook and said she would be happy to answer any questions.

Ms. Hunnicutt said the Finance and Audit Committee had a thorough presentation and review of the proposed Budget and asked Ms. Cindi Perry to provide a general overview to the Board.

Ms. Perry told the Board that the Governor had just approved the budget for next year and there was no funding for higher education in the next biennium. Any new money that is proposed is a result of the tuition and fee increase that the Board approved at the May meeting. No salary increases or bonuses were provided but the State did fund its share of the cost of rate increases for medical and retirement benefits.

Ms. Perry said that a budget of $144.9 million is recommended for 2014-15. This amount includes $65.4 million for educational and general programs; $5.7 million for student financial assistance; $71.2 million in auxiliary enterprises, $1.5 million for financial assistance and $1.1 million for the unrestricted contributions account. She noted that the proposed budget supports the goals of the university. Rector White recognized the hard work of Ms. Perry particularly in light of the budget cuts. He noted that in May a number of priorities were outlined for the University and Ms. Perry managed to include 18 of those with no additional funding. Ms. Hunnicutt said Resolution 2: Budget Resolution for Fiscal Year 2014-15 comes to the Board at the recommendation of the Finance and Audit Committee. Rector White called for discussion and questions. Ms. Miles provided the motion to approve Resolution 2, seconded by Ms. Freeman and the budget passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

Ms. Hunnicutt said that the Finance and Audit Committee reviewed Resolution 3: Audit Committee Charter, and it comes to the Board for approval at the recommendation of the Committee. Rector White called for a motion to approve Resolution 3, which was provided by Ms. Miles, seconded by Mr. Meals and passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

Although there is no resolution, Ms. Hunnicutt asked for approval of the audit plan for next year which was approved by the Finance and Audit Committee. Mr. Tillett moved for approval of the audit plan, seconded by Ms. Freeman and the audit plan was passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

Ms. Hunnicutt asked Mr. Brauer to review Resolution 4: Declaring the Intention to Reimburse Cost of Certain Expenditures. Mr. Brauer explained that this Resolution
allows CNU to begin construction of certain projects with our own funds and then be reimbursed from proceeds of a future tax exempt debt issuance. The two projects identified in this Resolution are the expansion of the tennis facility and improvements to the softball facility. Rector White called for a motion to approve Resolution 4, Mr. Millar provided the motion, seconded by Ms. Miles and passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

Academic Affairs Committee Report

Ms.Taylor said that the Committee welcomed Dr. Harry Grau as the faculty representative in their meeting. Ms. Taylor reported that currently there are 273 faculty members and a search is underway to replace four faculty who recently left. She reported that this fall no classes have more than 100 students and currently 53% of classes have less than 20 students, 4% only have 50 or more students and approximately 30 classes have about 90 students. Enrollment in the STEM classes is up by 35%. Ms. Taylor noted that all our classes are taught by professors, not teaching assistants and the goal is to stay below 20% adjunct faculty members. Ms. Taylor was pleased to announce that the semester long study abroad program at Glasgow had been approved for Spring 2015. She enumerated the many good reasons why Glasgow was chosen for our students and noted that the cost to attend Glasgow is virtually identical to the in-state cost for tuition, room and board at CNU. Students are responsible for airfare and meals. This study abroad opportunity is available for any student with a 3.0 GPA. Lastly, She reported that CNU had been recognized by SCHEV for our increase in the six-year graduation rate from 59% to 70%.

Ms. Taylor said the Committee reviewed and recommended approval of Resolution 5: Awarding Academic Credit to Students for Educational Experience gained during Service in the Armed Forces of the United States. Institutions are required to review transcripts of military personnel for the purpose of determining if credit can be awarded for educational experiences gained from service in the armed forces. Mr. Jennings provided the motion to approve the resolution, seconded by Mr. Downey and passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

Student Life Committee Meeting

Mr. Bill Thomas reported that their meeting started with a presentation by Dr. Lisa Duncan Raines, Vice Provost for Enrollment Services and Student Success on our student success initiatives. She said that the main reason we lose students is because of academic rigor and she explained the many ways in which we reach out to our students to ensure their success at CNU. She was proud to state that for the Class of 2013 more than 85% of our graduates are employed or are in graduate schools. Mr. Thomas said that the Dean of Admission Mr. Rob Lange reported that the fall 2014 projections suggest that the goal of downsizing the freshman class from 1276 last year to 1200-1250 this year will be met. Applications have increased by 6% and admit offers decreased by 1% compared to last year. He also noted that out-of-state and minority numbers have increased. Mr. Thomas said that there were a number of events for the students during Welcome Week and this year there was a large parent participation as well.

Rector White introduced Mr. Conner Trebour, the new student representative to the Board. Mr. Trebour said he was looking forward to being a part of the Board and thanked the Board members for their support of the student body.

Rector White introduced Dr. Jana Adamitis, the new Faculty Senate President who said the Faculty Senate appreciates the support of Board on academic and compensation matters and looks forward to working together in the days ahead.

Mr. Rich Charles, President of the Alumni Society was asked to update the Board on the Society's recent activities. He said that the Alumni Society had conducted 33 events over the last year with approximately 5,500 people in attendance noting that one major event had a 50% increase in attendance over last year . He told the Board that currently there are 9 alumni chapters and we expect to add 5 next year. Mr. Charles said that the alumni magazine has received much positive feedback and social media has exploded. Attendance at Board meetings has increased dramatically and 8 new board members have been added. He announced that the new Alumni Society President will be Mr. Mark Bernecker who has served in this capacity once before.

Rector White thanked Mr. Charles for his service as President of the Alumni Board. Mr. Millar also expressed his appreciation to Mr. Charles and applauded his efforts at getting the alumni so engaged and announced that Mr. Charles would be the Chair of the newly formed Past Alumni Presidents Council.

Mr. Millar reported that efforts continue to locate our alumni and to obtain their contact information. Ms. Thompson explained that it is important to locate our alumni as we move through the comprehensive campaign. The national average rate for lost alumni is 5% and we have gone from 11% down to 1% this year!

At 1:55 p.m. Secretary Scott Millar called for a motion to enter closed session under the Freedom of Information Act Section 2.2-3711(a)(1) Personnel and (a)(8) Gifts, Bequests and Fundraising. Ms. Taylor provided the motion, seconded by Ms. Miles and it passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

The Board returned to open session at 2:10 p.m. and Rector White asked for a roll call certifying that only public matters were discussed that were identified in the motion by which the executive or closed meeting was called. Board members Mr. Downey, Mr. Thomas, Ms. Taylor, Mr. Tillett, Mr. Millar, Mr. Jennings, Mr. Hughes, Ms. Miles, Mr. Meals, Mr. Rodgers and Rector White certified to the above.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.


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