Board of Visitors Meeting May 4, 2012 - Board of Visitors - Christopher Newport University

Board of Visitors

Board of Visitors Meeting May 4, 2012

The Board of Visitors of Christopher Newport University met on May 04, 2012 in the Board Room of the David Student Union with Rector John Conrad presiding.

Present from the Board

  • Mr. Carlos Brown
  • Mr. Gary C. Byler
  • Mr. John A. Conrad
  • Ms. Jane Susan Frank
  • Ms. Ann N. Hunnicutt
  • Ms. Frances P. Luter
  • Mr. Michael C. Martin
  • Mr. Scott Millar
  • Ms. Delceno C. Miles
  • Mr. W. L. Thomas, Jr.
  • Mr. Preston White

Absent from the Board

  • Ms. Vicki Siokis Freeman
  • Mr. Bryan K. Meals
  • Ms. Margo D. Taylor

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
  • Ms. Adelia Thompson, Vice President for University Advancement
  • Mr. William Thro, University Counsel
  • Dr. Scott Pollard, Faculty Senate President
  • Ms. Beverley Mueller, Executive Assistant
  • Ms. Lori Jacobs, Director of Public Relations
  • Dr. Kevin Hughes, Dean of Students


  • Mr. Robert Brown, Chair of the CNU Real Estate Foundation
  • Mr. James Haggard, Chair of the CNU Education Foundation
  • Ms. Palmer Garson, Cary Street Partners
  • Mr. Marshall Acuff, Cary Street Partners

Rector Conrad welcomed everyone and then called for a motion to approve the minutes of the last meeting. Ms. Miles provided the motion, seconded by Mr. Martin and the minutes were approved by unanimous vote of the Board.

President's Report

President Trible reported that over 1,400 students have paid their deposit for the freshman class making this the largest and best qualified class in the history of CNU. In addition, he noted that almost 90% of the current freshmen have registered for classes next year and a freshman to sophomore retention rate of nearly 90% is expected -- the highest in the history of CNU - which will place CNU in the ranks with the best universities in America.

In response to Governor McDonnell's strong support of higher education and his request that costs be restrained, President Trible said that a 3.5% increase to the cost of attending CNU is recommended for next year. He noted that this will be the smallest increase since 1999-2000 and is the second smallest increase at the state schools that have reported the actions of their boards.

He said that the recommendation provides for an increase of in-state tuition of 4.98%, an increase of 4.64% in the comprehensive fee and a 2.10% increase in room and board -- making the overall increase 3.5% in the total cost of attending CNU.

President Trible pointed out that CNU's 6-year plan - approved by the State and the Board of Visitors - calls for an increase in tuition of 9% in order to implement the approved plan of action for the next academic year. A 4.98% increase in tuition alone only provides half the funding for the things we have collectively determined to be important to CNU. Fortunately, the good work in improving student success and retention and the increase in enrollment by 100 plus students will help generate additional revenues and will help us move forward to honor the commitments to our students.

He reminded the Board that graduation is one week from Saturday on May 12 and he encouraged all Board members to attend. He said that it will be the first commencement on the Great Lawn and the beginning of a tradition that will carry on for hundreds of years.

Rector Conrad reviewed briefly Resolution 1: By-Law Change relating to the election of officers and the selection of members to the Executive Committee. He noted that this Resolution was presented at the last Board meeting and is presented today for ratification. He called for a motion to approve Resolution 1 and Mr. Martin provided the motion, seconded by Mr. Millar and it was adopted by unanimous vote of the Board.

Ms. Hunnicutt, Chair of the Development Committee, presented Resolution 4: Changes to the By-Laws which proposes to change the name of the Development Committee to the Committee on University Advancement. This change will make the name of that Board committee the same as the department at the University. The Board will vote on this By-law change at the next Board meeting.

Rector Conrad reminded the Board there would be an Executive Committee meeting following the full Board meeting. He said that this would be his last year on the Board and the terms for Ms. Frank and Ms. Luter also come to an end. Since the By-laws provide that officers are to be elected at the annual meeting of the Board -- which is the September meeting -- on even number years, he was asking the Executive Committee to serve as a nominating committee to determine a slate of officers to be elected at the September meeting. The By-laws state that any member of the Board may attend Executive Committee meetings with full voting privileges and he invited everyone to attend if they so desired.

Finance and Audit Committee Report

Mr. Martin, Chairman of the Finance and Audit Committee, asked Ms. Perry to give an overview of the Tuition and Fee recommendation which had been presented at the Committee meeting.

Ms. Perry reviewed the details of the proposed tuition and fees and room and board recommendation. With an overall increase of 3.5%, the in-state tuition rate will be $20,300 and the out-of-state rate will be $29,850. She noted that in previous years a $500 discount had been given to students who are tripled and this year the recommendation is a discount of $1,000. Because juniors will be required to live on campus this upcoming year, there are some rooms that were to be singles which must now accommodate two students and those students will also receive the $1,000 discount.

She noted that the General Assembly and Governor recommended $1.45 million in additional funds for CNU however there are guidelines on the use of those funds. The new funding provides funds for base operating support to improve retention and graduation rates through student success initiatives and to achieve the goals of the six-year plan, including expansion of the President's Leadership Program and new academic STEM programs consistent with our liberal arts and sciences mission. The appropriation also includes a general fund increase in student financial aid of $160,000. She also reviewed with the Board the state-mandated priorities that the 5% tuition increase must cover, the CNU priorities that are underway which will be supported by the increase as well as those priorities and commitments in the 6-year plan that are outside of the 5% increase. It is anticipated that the priorities not covered by the increase in tuition, will be supported by the increased revenue generated by the larger incoming freshman class and the higher retention rate.

Mr. Martin noted that the Board wanted to continue to focus on the need for financial aid. He said that the Finance Committee discussed with the President ways to recruit more of out-of-state students. He asked for volunteers to serve on a task force to enhance the efforts of out-of-state recruiting.

Mr. White noted that the State provides funding for the construction of buildings on campus and, in the past, has provided funds to maintain those buildings. This year, however, the State did not provide operating funds for new buildings at CNU or any other university. Mr. White said if this is going to be the case in the coming years, the budget needs to reflect this estimated cost which could be huge. He also said that it is important to let the General Assembly know of our concern about the lack of this funding.

Mr. Martin said that Resolution 2: Tuition and Fees and Room and Board comes to the Board at the recommendation of the Finance and Audit Committee and therefore does not require a second. Following discussion and comments, Rector Conrad called for a vote of the Board and Resolution 2 passed unanimously.

Mr. Martin stated that the final report of the state auditor will be available at the June meeting. He said his committee had a good discussion on SWaM initiatives and discussed ways to challenge ourselves to continue to excel in SWaM as well as improve in the other areas identified.

Academic Affairs Committee

Ms. Frank, Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee, first reported on the proposed new degree program for electrical engineering. She said that it is believed that the addition of this degree will bring some of the finest students in the state and around the country to CNU and she then asked Provost Padilla to elaborate on this proposal.

Provost Padilla explained the process for offering a new degree program and stated that if the Board approves the Resolution, then it is presented to SCHEV for final approval. He explained the many benefits of offering electrical engineering and said that CNU currently has a successful computer engineering program and electrical engineering is the natural extension of that program. He noted that state universities have been encouraged to increase the number of STEM graduates and CNU is in a unique position to attract students to the STEM fields.

Mr. Millar commented on the benefits to the business industry. Graduates with electrical engineering degrees are highly sought after and this is a highly competitive field. Offering this degree would be outstanding for our students and for the local business community. He said that our graduates would be poised to support electrical engineering jobs at not only Canon, but NASA Langley, Jefferson Lab, Huntington Ingalls, etc. In addition, he said that the Bureau of Labor and Statistics have indicated that the demand for electrical engineers in the region, state and nation is expected to continue to rise in the coming decades.

Ms. Frank said that RESOLUTION 3: New Degree Program - The Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering comes to the Board as a motion, Rector Conrad called for a second to the motion which was provided by Ms. Miles. Rector Conrad called for discussion and vote on Resolution 3 which then passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

Ms. Frank said Dr. Tina Reuter and Dr. Quentin Kidd gave a very informative presentation on the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Workshop that was attended by our students. The students had a wonderful opportunity to tour and meet political leaders and to gain a better understanding of a major international area of concern. President Trible noted that this trip to Israel was made possible through a private contribution to the University and is an example of how the academic experiences can be enriched for our students at CNU.

Faculty Senate Report

The President of the Faculty Senate, Scott Pollard, thanked the Board for allowing the faculty liaisons to participate in committee meetings and for the Board's support through the year. He said the Senate's work this year was primarily in response to the Faculty Senate Review Report of last year and the result of a good meeting during Getting Started Week. There were seven recommendations which he detailed in his written report and said the main issues this year were the quality of faculty life and child care. The other important issue for the faculty was SB 104 -- 50% tuition remission for faculty dependents which came before the General Assembly. He noted that the Bill was passed by the Senate but not the House because there was no funding but the recommendation will be continued to next year. Mr. Byler said he thought the idea of child care on campus was a good idea at some point in the future and expressed that he believed that if a tuition reduction was offered for faculty dependents it should be offered for all full-time university employees.

President Trible thanked Dr. Pollard for his support and high level of communication with the faculty and administration and applauded his leadership this year.

Student Life Committee Report

Mr. Brown reported that this year would be largest class ever accepted at CNU which is partly a result of the new and more rigorous on-line application process. He reported that the President's Leadership Program will have 400 students and 35 students will be in the Honors Program. Some concerns were expressed on how to deal with such a large incoming class but he said the concerns will be identified and addressed and plans will be put in place to alleviate any problems prior to the students' arrival on campus.

Mr. Brown said that there is $1.9 million in financial aid which is a mixture of need and merit and is approximately the same amount as last year. He said the Finance Committee will continue to monitor financial aid in the future to make sure there are proper funds available for financial assistance where it is needed. He noted that the national average debt load for students in public universities is $22,000 over four years and CNU's average is lower at $18,000.

There was a discussion about general concerns of the incoming students as CNU continues to grow in popularity and how that affects the student experiences at the university. For example, he mentioned that although some students are concerned about housing and being tripled, other students actually prefer that housing scenario.

The Committee heard from students about several recent initiatives one of which was the safe ride transportation program. The safe ride program provides transportation back to campus for students at no cost and with no questions asked. Mr. Brown also said that the University is moving to make the honor system a student-run program and this effort is being coordinated with the student life office. The idea for this initiative is that it will provide more opportunities for the students to take ownership of the program and improve the overall student experience and hopefully increase alumni giving in the future.

At 1:45 p.m. Ms. Hunnicutt called for a motion to enter closed session under the Freedom of Information Act Section 2.2.3711-A(1) personnel, A(8) gifts, bequests and fundraising and A(10) honorary degrees. Mr. Brown provided the motion and it was seconded by Ms. Miles and the motion was passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

At 2:15 p.m. the Board returned to open session and there was 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. Brown, Mr. Byler, Ms. Frank, Mr. Martin, Mr. Millar, Ms. Miles, Mr. Thomas, Mr. White, Ms. Luter, Ms. Hunnicutt and Rector Conrad certified to the above.

Rector Conrad called for a motion to approve the awarding of an honorary degree to the first CNC graduate Lois Wright at commencement. Mr. Millar provided the motion, seconded by Ms. Miles and the motion passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

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