Board of Visitors Meeting September 24, 2010 - Board of Visitors - Christopher Newport University

Board of Visitors

Board of Visitors Meeting September 24, 2010

The Board of Visitors of Christopher Newport University met on September 24, 2010 in the Board Room of the David Student Union with Secretary Ann Hunnicutt presiding.

Present from Board

  • Mr. Carlos Brown
  • Mr. John A. Conrad
  • The Hon. Flora Crittenden
  • Ms. Jane Susan Frank
  • Ms. Vicki Siokis Freeman
  • Ms. Ann N. Hunnicutt
  • Ms. Frances Luter
  • Mr. Michael C. Martin
  • Mr. Lewis A. McMurran
  • Mr. Brian K. Meals
  • Mrs. Margo D. Taylor
  • Mr. Preston White
  • Mr. W.L. Thomas, Jr.
  • Mr. Veasey Wilson

Present from the University

  • President Paul Trible
  • Ms. Cynthia Perry, Chief of Staff
  • Mr. William L. Brauer, Executive Vice President
  • Dr. Mark Padilla, Provost
  • Mr. Maurice O'Connell, Vice President for Student Services
  • Dr. Elizabeth Taraski, Vice President for University Advancement
  • Mr. William Thro, University Counsel
  • Dr. Peter Carlson, President of the Faculty Senate
  • Ms. Beverley Mueller, Executive Assistant
  • Ms. Lori Jacobs, Director of Public Relations
  • Dr. Kevin Hughes, Dean of Students
  • Mr. Jeff Brown, Chief of Police
  • Mr. Ross Snare, President of the Student Assembly


  • Mr. Jason Houser, President of the Alumni Society
  • Ms. Sameih Shalash, Daily Press

Secretary Ann Hunnicutt called the meeting to order and welcomed the guests to the meeting. Ms. Hunnicutt introduced the new Board members, Ms. Vicki Freeman, Mr. Bryan Meals and Ms. Margo Taylor and returning Board members Mr. Lewis McMurran and Mr. Bill Thomas. She also welcomed the new Alumni Society President Mr. Jason Houser, Vice President of Legal Affairs at Riverside Health Systems and thanked President and Mrs. Trible for hosting the dinner the evening before. Secretary Hunnicutt then asked Ms. Luter to proceed with the election of officers.

Ms. Luter stated that Rector Joseph asked her to chair the nominating committee which consisted of Ms. Hoinkes, Mr. Heath, and Mr. Martin. The committee presented to the Board the following slate of officers: Rector - John Conrad, Vice-Rector - Jane Susan Frank and Secretary - Ann Hunnicutt. Ms. Luter then asked for any other nominations. There being none Ms. Luter asked for a motion to waive the election by secret ballot and Mr. Martin provided the motion, seconded by Ms. Crittenden and passed by unanimous vote of the Board. She then called for a motion to elect the slate of officers as presented. Mr. Martin provided the motion, seconded by Mr. McMurran and passed by unanimous vote of the Board. Ms. Luter congratulated the new officers of the Board.

The meeting was turned over to Rector Conrad who expressed his appreciation for the support of the Board and welcomed everyone to the meeting. Rector Conrad called for a motion to approve the minutes of the last meeting. The motion was provided by Ms. Hunnicutt and seconded by Ms. Frank. Ms. Taylor asked for a correction on page two to read "GPA of 3.6" as opposed to "SAT of 3.6." Rector Conrad called for approval of the minutes as amended and the motion was passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

Rector Conrad asked President Trible's for his report. President Trible said that it is exciting to welcome a new class and the faculty back to campus. He then shared the sad news of the death of faculty member Dr. Tracey Schwarze and commented on her outstanding professional accomplishments. He also reported that Mr. Doug Gallaer, Vice President of Human Resources will be retiring after 22 years at CNU. He told the Board that John Krikoiran has been hired as the successor to Coach C. J. Woollum and said he is off to a great start.

President Trible reported that Chief Brown had been appointed to serve on the Governor's Criminal Justice Service Board stating that Chief Brown is the only representative for higher education within the Commonwealth appointed to the Board.

President Trible recognized Ross Snare, President of the Student Assembly and asked him to introduce himself. Mr. Snare told the Board that he is a sophomore and a political science major. He reported that the Student Assembly had been working hard on the election of officers and the goal of the student assembly is to create a greater student life vision for the university and that he is excited about the upcoming year.

President Trible reported that the freshman class is very strong and that CNU has received 8,443 applications. The quality of students applying is outstanding with an average GPA of 3.64 and SAT of 1200. Applications of students of color have increased to a record total of 2,772 and the number of enrolling minority students is up to 24% of the freshman class. He noted it is a campus-wide effort to engage students of color and these efforts will continue. He noted that the number of out-of-state students is down reflecting the status of our economy -- seventy-six students of 1,150 freshmen. He noted that CNU is mindful of the importance for attracting students out of state so CNU will expand its recruiting efforts to North Carolina and will continue to recruit in the states to the north as well.

President Trible said that CNU has received almost 200 transfer students applications and 70% of these students are from Virginia Community Colleges. The number of transfer students has increased from 50 last year to 175 this year with a goal of 200 students for next year.

President Trible reported that on the athletic front CNU has 3 teams ranked nationally in top 10. Men's soccer is ranked 2nd in the nation and volleyball and field hockey are ranked 8th in the nation. Also, CNU will host the national championship of field hockey.

He reported that the emergency system was put to use recently during the robbery of the credit union on Warwick Blvd. Within minutes of the incident, an alert went out and he said the notification and response was executed very well. He noted that the system will be tested on a regular basis in the days ahead.

The Higher Education Commission appointed by the Governor is meeting regularly and President Trible said that he serves on that Commission along with the Presidents of JMU and Virginia Tech. The Commission will make recommendations this fall to the Governor who will in turn make recommendations to the General Assembly. President Trible said that the Commission will continue its work into the next year.

Rector Conrad noted that committee assignments had been distributed (and are attached) and the committees met accordingly, however, he asked the Board members to let him know if there was a desire to serve on a different committee and he would be happy to accommodate their wishes. Rector Conrad then called on Mr. Martin for the Finance and Audit Committee Report.

Finance and Audit Committee Report

Mr. Martin thanked everyone serving on the Committee and asked Mr. Brauer to report on their committee meeting. Mr. Brauer said that CNU finished the year in good standing. Due to the difficult economic times, The Ferguson Center made some important changes in their scheduling of performances as well as addressing their expenditures. Accordingly, Mr. Bill Biddle and his staff put together a schedule that produced a season which resulted in a surplus and provided $250,000 in future operating maintenance and operating needs.

Mr. Brauer reported that the University had initially looked at contracting out the bookstore to a national retailer which would be located across Warwick Blvd. and one that would serve the community and our students. Upon further research, it became clear that this was not the right direction and now CNU has hired Follett to operate a website on CNU's behalf where books can be purchased on line. CNU learned that the majority of students buy their books on line for a cheaper price. He noted that this is the last semester for a bookstore presence but spirit wear would still be sold. He also said that CNU will get a 10% commission on all sales up to $3 million and 12% on sales above that amount.

President Trible noted that with the elimination of the bookstore, that location will now become the admissions welcome center where tours will originate and engagement with prospective students will take place. The second floor will become an area where students can gather in large numbers for social events and this area will be called the Crows Nest.

Mr. Martin reported that there was a presentation at the Committee meeting by the Internal Auditor and he wanted the Board to understand that the Internal Auditor works with management and for the Board.

The Committee also had opportunity have an in-depth review of SWaM initiatives as well as review of the annual debt service report. He noted that the Committee felt very comfortable and in compliance with both of these. Mr. Brauer gave a SWaM year-end report and said CNU did very well overall but identified ways to do better and directed the Board to the reports provided.

Mr. Brauer distributed an overall SWaM report and some of the best practices at some schools that have achieved a high minority percentages in SWaM. In total SWaM CNU places 3rd in thestate; 4th in the state for small business; 17th in the state for women owned business; and 32nd in state for minority business all in the higher education category. The University also took a look the total dollars expended and CNU moved up substantially from 32nd in terms of percentage of discretionary funds to 15th.. CNU will continue to increase their efforts in this area and will look into putting SWaM percentage requirements into construction contracts for projects on campus.

The Finance Committee reviewed the annual debt service report which showed all of CNU's debt, how it is structured, interest rates, etc. As a requirement of the Board, the University must report on the current debt ratio which should be at no more than 10% and currently the debt ratio is 6.9 %.

Mr. Brauer explained the following debt issuance resolutions and reviewed the analysis of the debt ratios. He explained that these Resolutions are issued in accordance with the Attorney General's office and the State Treasurer and authorizes CNU to issue debt this fall for the projects specified in each Resolution.

Resolution 1: Authorization for the Issuance of Debt for Capital - Residence Hall Roof Replacement Project 17873

Resolution 2: Authorization for the Issuance of Debt for Capital - Construct Residence Hall V, Project, 17359

Resolution 3: Authorization for the Issuance of Debt for Capital - Land Acquisition Project 17633

Mr. Brauer explained that Resolution 3 is for the purchase of University Suites which the Foundation currently owns and houses 80 of our students.

Resolution 4: Declaration of Official Intent to Reimburse Expenditures for Capital Project from the Proceeds of 9(D) Bonds - Renovate Santoro Residence Hall - Project #17837

Resolution 4, he explained, allows CNU to spend its own money prior to issuance of debt and then allows the University to be reimbursed by tax exempt debt and this is action is in compliance with IRS rules.

Mr. Martin said that the Finance and Audit Committee recommended the adoption of these resolutions and consequently, Rector Conrad noted it would not be necessary to have a second to the motion. He then asked for further discussion and then called for approval of Resolutions 1, 2, 3 and 4 as presented. The Resolutions were passed unanimously by the Board.

Mr. Martin asked President Trible to update the Board on the capital projects. President Trible reported that the science center is moving forward and will be ready for the start of the next academic year. In addition, the Freeman Center expansion will be completed during the summer. The State has given CNU the authority and most of the funding to plan and design the next academic building -- the Luter College of Business -- and that project will be ready to go by next summer. It is the first among five projects that is being given priority by the Commonwealth and it is hopeful that the General Assembly will find capital monies to support it.

The President reported that CNU will break ground next spring on another residential complex to be built between the campus and Prince Drew. It will accommodate 430 to 500 sophomores allowing CNU to move from 3,000 residential students to 4,000 residential students and it will be completed in two stages. President Trible told the Board that CNU has also received authority from the State to begin the design of the successor to the Administration Building. That building will become the Student Success Center which will be a one-stop center for student success. From the time students apply CNU until their graduation, all services to support them will be in one building. It is a priority for the University to enhance the retention from freshmen to sophomores and increase the graduation rates. He noted that those numbers continue to improve. The graduation rate currently is 60% and next year that percentage will be much higher. The retention rate last year was 80% and has increased to 81.5% this year. President Trible spoke about the implementation of important initiatives for student success. Faculty core advisors have been designated to work with students for their first two years ensuring their success and the learning communities have been expanded. Two outstanding faculty members have been given authority to oversee the core advising program on day to day basis. It was noted that 25% of those students who did not return to CNU was due to academic trouble and this program is designed to catch academic problems early on.

Academic Affairs Committee Report

Provost Padilla reported that the semester started off well. The Provost reported that the university is looking at class spaces, class size and class curricula. He said there is a very clear understanding of class configuration, but then need to look at class sizes. The budget difficulties have required larger class sizes. The goal is to bring class size back down and the university is implementing a plan to do so. Class curricula is also very important. Students are more and more interested in the sciences and it is necessary to have the correct number of faculty and labs available for those classes that are in high demand. It is important to have the right size classes, right spaces for those classes and right faculty teaching those courses. Today's students have demonstrated academic success and demand the sciences more and more and as we look to future, we need to allocate faculty resources to meet that demand.

President Trible noted that as class size is reduced and with the recognition of the emphasis on the sciences, the University needs to look at all areas of coursework and have the appropriate faculty for those required courses. President Trible said that CNU needs to use its facilities more fully and intensively. More classes will be offered in the summer. The Higher Education Commission is advancing the idea to reduce the time it takes students to graduate. He said that too many students take 5 and 6 years to complete their studies and it is the goal to have them graduate in 4 years. Summer school is a very good way to cut down on the time it takes to graduate.

Student Life Committee Report

Ms. Crittenden said there were three items on their Committee agenda. The admissions report had already been shared by the President. The second item was a report by university police of a robbery of the credit union on east campus. Within two minutes of the incident, a text message had been sent notifying the CNU community of the robbery and, within 1½ hours, the incident had been taken care of. There was very positive feedback on the time of the response and how well the situation was handled. The university identified one area which could be improved and that is to provide more information to the faculty teaching students at the time of an incident. Mr. Martin stated that he had an employee whose daughter is at CNU and she already had two text messages within minutes of the robbery and commended the University for being proactive and on how well the system worked. It was suggested that the entire Board be added the CNU Alert system.

Thirdly, a report was given by Dr. Kevin Hughes discussing the student success initiative. He noted that a successful program had been implemented to identify students who are at risk. This program involves University fellows and student affairs professionals and the director of first-and second-year success. Referrals are made for students at risk and they are able to who get support in their area of difficulty. In addition, workshops on academic skills is offered monthly. Dr. Hughes said 77 students have been a part of this program and have been connected with a University Fellow to help them be successful in studies at CNU.**

Ms. Crittenden said that campus engagement has become a priority. An extra two days was added to orientation to increase the strong connection to the university, outline academic expectations and get them involved in residential life. The Blue Crew is a spirit initiative led by five upper class students. The Blue Crew has about 250 students who regularly attend football games, tailgating and other sports activities. They provide energy and enthusiasm and paint themselves blue. She said that a late night program had also been created with student activities beginning at 10 p.m. Lastly, Ms. Crittenden reported that ten outstanding students who graduated from CNU last year are now employed by the University and are working in student success areas at the University.

Faculty Senate

Dr. Pete Carlson, President of the Faculty Senate reported that one-third of the semester is over and it is time for the core advising group to meet with all first year students to assess their performance thus far as part of the student success initiatives. The Senate is working on a number of new initiatives but the core advising program is of utmost importance. In addition, the Senate is working hard on search committees for the hiring of new faculty. Dr. Carlson also said that as a part of Family Weekend, for the first time, parents and families are invited to sit in on classes with their son or daughter. He concluded with expressing the appreciation of the faculty to the President and Provost in their shared governance activities and regular meeting with the Faculty Senate.

Alumni Society

Mr. Jason Houser, Alumni Society President, reported that chapter development continues in the areas of Northern Virginia, the Peninsula, Richmond and Southside. Recently the Alumni Society sponsored its 10th annual 5K run in which 150 runners participated. All proceeds from that event go to scholarships. He also indicated the alumni are enthusiastic about the upcoming homecoming activities and the 50th anniversary celebration of the University.**

Development Committee Report

Ms. Hunnicutt noted that there was good discussion in their meeting about cultivating alumni and then she asked Dr. Taraski to give the development report. Dr. Taraski reviewed the recent fundraising performance and said the CNU is following current national trends. Currently pledges are slightly down however, the amount of cash donations this year is up 25% higher than last year. The development office is continuing its efforts to increase alumni participation and giving. She reported that currently 9% of our alumni are contributors and this year it is expected to increase to 12% with the ultimate goal of 25%.

Dr. Taraski reported that this year a comprehensive fundraising program for faculty, alumni, staff and businesses and national foundations was implemented. Also, as part of the kick-off of the 50th anniversary, alumni in leadership roles in their professions have been asked to host events at their homes for alumni identified in those particular professional areas. Thus far, alumni receptions have been hosted by TowneBank, Alan Witt for accounting alumni and Riverside Health Systems hosted by Jason Houser and others. A teacher alumni event is scheduled next and these activities will continue throughout the spring semester. She thanked Mr. Martin and Mr. Conrad for agreeing to host alumni events at their homes as well.**

Dr. Taraski reported on efforts to obtain funding from national foundations. She told the Board that she and Provost Padilla and Professor Brunke met in New York with the

Directors of the Dreyfus Foundation and the Clare Boothe Luce Foundation in order to increase the awareness of CNU. Provost Padilla made an impressive presentation on the academic programs and they spoke about the dramatic transformation of CNU under President Trible's leadership.

At 2:00 p.m. Rector Conrad called for a motion to enter closed session under Freedom of Information Act Section 2.2.3711A(1) Personnel; A(2) Real Estate, A(3) Litigation and A(8) Gifts, Bequests and Fundraising. Ms. Frank provided the motion, seconded by Mr. Wilson and passed by Unanimous consent of the Board. At 2:30 p.m. the Board returned to open session and Vice-Rector Frank 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. Martin, Ms. Hunnicutt, Ms. Crittenden, Mr. Wilson, Rector Conrad, Ms. Luter, Mr. Thomas, Mr. McMurran, Ms. Taylor, Ms. Freeman, Mr. White, Mr. Brown, Mr. Meals and Ms. Frank certified to the above.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

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