Board of Visitors

Board of Visitors Meeting September 14, 2012

The Board of Visitors of Christopher Newport University met on September 14, 2012 in the Board Room of the David Student Union with Secretary Ann Hunnicutt presiding.

Present from the Board

  • Mr. Carlos Brown
  • Mr. Gary C. Byler
  • Dr. Debbie DiCroce
  • Ms. Vicki Siokis Freeman
  • Ms. Ann N. Hunnicutt, Secretary
  • Mr. Michael C. Martin
  • Mr. Bryan K. Meals
  • Mr. Scott Millar
  • Ms. Margo D. Taylor
  • Mr. W. L. Thomas, Jr.
  • Mr. Ron Tillett
  • Mr. Preston White

Absent from the Board

  • Mr. Bill Downey
  • Ms. Delceno Miles

Present from the University

  • President Paul Trible
  • Ms. Cynthia Perry, Chief of Staff
  • Mr. William L. Brauer, Executive Vice President
  • Dr. Mark Padilla, Provost
  • Ms. Adelia Thompson, Vice President for University Advancement
  • Mr. William Thro, University Counsel
  • Dr. Stephanie Bardwell, Faculty Senate President
  • Mr. Robert Lange, Dean of Admission
  • Dr. Kevin Hughes, Dean of Students
  • Dr. Lisa Duncan-Raines, Dean of Enrollment Services
  • Ms. Beverley Mueller, Executive Assistant
  • Ms. Lori Jacobs, Director of Public Relations

Secretary Hunnicutt called the meeting to order and welcomed everyone. She immediately asked Mr. Millar to conduct the election of officers and once elected, the new Rector will be asked to preside over the meeting.

Mr. Millar informed the Board that Rector Conrad had convened the Executive Committee for the purpose of recommending a slate of officers and the slate presented was as follows: Rector - Mike Martin; Vice-Rector - Preston White and Secretary - Ann Hunnicutt and there were no other nominations from the floor. Mr. Millar then called for a motion to waive the election of officers by secret ballot. Ms. Taylor provided the motion which was seconded by Ms. Freeman and passed by unanimous vote of the Board. Mr. Millar then called for a motion to elect the slate of officers as presented and Ms. Taylor provided the motion, seconded by Ms. Freeman and passed by unanimous vote of the Board. He then congratulated the new officers and turned the meeting over to Rector Martin.

Rector Martin called for a motion to approve the minutes of the June 22, 2012 Board meeting. Ms. Hunnicutt provided the motion, seconded by Mr. Millar and passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

Mr. Martin asked that a copy of the last state auditor's report be sent to all Board members for their review and noted that the report was outstanding.

He then recognized and welcomed the new Board members -- Mr. Ron Tillett and Dr. Debbie DiCroce and mentioned that the third new Board member Mr. Bill Downey was unable to attend. Mr. Tillett and Dr. DiCroce each introduced themselves to the Board.

He told the Board that Committee assignments would be distributed in the near future. Rector Martin said that President Trible had an orientation session with the new Board members which he and Mr. White attended.

Rector Martin thanked the Board for his election and said that he is proud to be Rector.

President's Report

President Trible also welcomed the new Board members. He reported that this year there are a record number of incoming freshmen and they are the best qualified class to ever matriculate at CNU. He said that CNU did not have to go to the waiting list and was oversubscribed by nearly 200 students. Also, this year we have the largest number of new faculty coming close to a total of 300. President Trible said that a new residence hall was just completed and he thanked Mr. Brauer for a job well done on all the capital projects on campus.

He told the Board that many efforts have been made to improve student success and we have come a long way in short period of time. Based on current numbers, the freshman to sophomore retention rate this year will be 85%, which places CNU in the ranks of the very best schools in the country. President Trible said that about 90% of the President's Leadership students graduate and the retention and graduation rates for PLP students is generally higher than that of other students.

CNU's reach and reputation is spreading and is being noticed by U.S. News and World Report, Kiplinger's, Forbes and Princeton Review. The most recent U.S. News and World Report ranked CNU 3rd in the list of schools in the South as one of "those institutions that have made the most promising and innovative changes in the areas of academics, faculty, student life, campus and facilities." Among the public institutions in the South, CNU was ranked 8th and 23rd overall.

President Trible said the athletic teams continue to do well and that volleyball is ranked 4th in nation and field hockey is ranked in the top 15. He also mentioned that the Virginia Symphony would be performing on the Great Lawn this evening and this event is open to the public and is our way to say thank you to the community.

Finance and Audit Committee Report

Mr. Brauer said the Finance and Audit Committee reviewed in detail the financials for the year ending June 30th and explained the variances which were caused by the increase in tuition and fees and the increase of the number of students in the freshman class. He said that the capital appropriation was larger due to the increased expenditures for the seven ongoing capital projects. He noted that on the expense side, more positions were filled and some new positions for key areas were in the process of being filled.

He noted that in 2012, there was a base salary increase to offset the contribution employees are now required to make to the Virginia Retirement System for their participation in that program. He said that it was a very good year that ended in gross revenues of $211.9 million and net income of $5.4 million that was deposited in various reserve accounts. He said that auxiliary services also did well and all debt service payments had been made before the end of the year. As required by the Board, a debt reserve balance of $1.2 million was maintained.

The committee had an Audit report from CNU's auditor Ms. Faith Belote and there was a review of the audit plan.

The Committee reviewed the annual debt service report showing the principal and interest balances on all debt through FY 204l. It is important to note that the Board has required CNU to not exceed 10% of non-revenue producing capital projects. The current debt service ratio is 7.98%. Mr. Brauer went into further detail and then reviewed the report on student grants, scholarships and loans which was broken down by federal, state, University and private funds.

In addition, he said the Committee reviewed the SWaM report. The University finished the year ahead of most statewide indicators. There was also a discussion on setting goals for fiscal year 2013 to increase minority business to 4% at the state level and internally to try and reach a 5% goal. Mr. Brauer reported that CNU is hosting an all-day SWaM fair on November 15 which is being co-sponsored with Whiting Turner and W.M. Jordan.

Mr. Brauer said that that the Committee discussed three resolutions and asked Ms. Perry to review Resolution 1: 2012 Six-Year Plan. Ms. Perry explained that this resolution comes to the Board in compliance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2011 requiring higher education institutions to develop and submit an academic, financial and enrollment plan for a six-year planning period. This was done last year. The Board is asked to review and revise this plan as necessary on an annual basis.

Ms. Perry said that the updated plan includes general fund numbers to reflect the appropriation from the General Assembly in 2012. Also the revenue numbers are updated to reflect tuition rates approved by the Board last year for the current year and we are asked to revise the estimates for tuition rates for next year as well as the revenue estimates. Finally, the plan must indicate compliance with the legislative intent of the appropriation and the general fund appropriation. These monies are to be spent in the areas of student success, the President's Leadership Program, retention and graduation, and base operations. Ms. Perry said the plan reflects all of these revisions.

Rector Martin noted that the Resolution comes to the Board at the recommendation of the Finance and Audit Committee and called for discussion and questions about the six-year plan.

There was discussion about the measurements of student success by using retention and graduation rates. The retention rate goal is 90%. The graduation rate is currently close to 70% and the goal is to bring that to 80%. It was noted that ambitious goals had be set and even if the State does not provide any additional funding all of these goals can be reached with a 4.9% tuition increase.

Mr. Thomas expressed his hope that there would be some way to help the students who are struggling in America and find a way to help them obtain opportunities to attend CNU and other institutions. Provost Padilla said that the Department of Mathematics was sponsoring an aggressive tutoring program and there was a discussion of further outreach initiatives. It was noted that there is a new award at graduation for service with distinction in leadership, honor and civic engagement. In order to receive this award a student needs to perform requisite number of community service hours. Large numbers of CNU students are working hands on with students in the middle and high schools in the math and sciences areas.

Rector Martin called for a vote on Resolution 1: 2012 Six Year Plan and the Board passed the resolution by unanimous vote.

Mr. Brauer explained Resolution 2: Virginia College Building Authority Financing Authorization for Parking Deck II and Surface Parking - Project 17046. He said that CNU has the authorization from the General Assembly for $10 million for parking which has been spent a little at a time. This Resolution is for the next installment for adding 300 more parking spaces in the amount of $1.1 million. The resolution provides authorization from the Board for the Virginia College Building Authority to issue the debt for the university. Rector Martin explained that this Resolution comes to the Board at the recommendation of the Finance and Audit Committee and he then called for questions and discussion following which the Board voted unanimously to adopt Resolution 2.

Mr. Brauer explained Resolution 3: Declaring the Intention to Reimburse the Cost of Certain Expenditures for Parking Deck II and Surface Parking - Project 17046. He said that this is a reimbursement resolution which allows CNU to spend its own money to start the project in advance of the debt being issued and then allows CNU to reimburse itself when the debt is issued. Rector Martin again advised the Board that this Resolution comes at the recommendation of the Finance and Audit committee and called for questions and discussion. The resolution was then passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

Academic Affairs Committee Report

Provost Padilla said that the semester was staring off great with wonderful students. He said many faculty positions have been filled and there is the right mix of faculty on tenure track and renewable term positions. He said that the Commonwealth is putting a strong emphasis on STEM and a number of faculty in those disciplines have been hired. He noted that class sizes are being kept under control with 50% of classes with 19 students or fewer and no more than 4% of the core courses have over 50 students.

Provost Padilla gave a detailed presentation about the Liberal Learning Core at CNU. He noted that CNU offers a four-year general education program with a liberal learning core curriculum. He said he had formed a task force to measure its success and to determine how it could be improved. There were meetings throughout the year which involved focus groups of faculty, students and staff and a report was submitted in the spring. He noted that that the liberal learning curriculum is in good shape and allows our students to have a broad liberal learning experience, however there were a few areas for improvement. Changes will be submitted to the Liberal Learning Council for consideration. He said the heart of the changes were to shift the emphasis on areas of greater importance in 21st century. There is a need to have a greater focus on civic and democratic engagement and exposure to economic theory. Provost Padilla shared his views and some research on the importance of a liberal arts education and a lengthy discussion followed.

Student Life Committee Report

Dean Robert Lange reported that this year CNU will enroll 1376 freshmen - the largest class in CNU history -- and that this is the first time in a decade that freshman enrollment increased in consecutive years. The academic profile also went up with the SAT middle 50% range of 1090-1240 over 1050-1230 last year. The high school GPA middle 50% range was even with last year -- 3.4-3.9 - although the average GPA increased from 3.67 to 3.68. Three major initiatives were implemented this year to help in the predictive modeling of freshman offers and will help bring the freshman class closer to the 1250 goal. This year the admission team has begun marketing to rising juniors in the spring semester. Dean Lange also reported that the number of daily campus visits has increased and there have been more admission interviews conducted and more applicants have started their CNU profile for the Common Application. Dean Lange also reported that a concerted effort has been made to increase out-of-state enrollment, including the hiring of two additional University Fellows, the purchase of additional prospect names from out-of-state markets and participation in regional school counselor conferences and regional college fairs. He noted that the President's Leadership and Honors programs remain the best recruitment tools.

Dean Kevin Hughes reported on student success initiatives and the emphasis placed on the importance of the first six weeks as a freshman. During Welcome Week the freshmen meet with core advisors, attend workshops on honor, student success and study abroad programs and this year the academic deans spoke to the students explaining academic expectations at CNU.

Also, learning communities are created where students live together and take class together. He also said there are academic programs in residence halls which include tutoring and time management sessions. A pre-intervention system has been formed to target students prior to their arrival at CNU and the Fellows contact these students for one-on-one meetings. CNU makes it clear that we expect our students be engaged in the many programs, clubs and activities on campus and Dean Hughes reported that the Greek population continues to grow very rapidly.

Lastly, Rector Martin commented on the CNU Emergency Alert System and requested that at some future meeting a presentation be made to the Board about CNU's preparedness.

Dean Lisa Duncan-Raines

Dean Duncan-Raines reported on the initiatives of the Center for Career Planning and efforts to maintain good relationships with our students and to help them lead a life of significance.

This past year there was a 53% increase in the number of students who interacted with the Center for Career Planning through appointments, interviews, workshops and employer information sessions. Alumni and parents have been helpful in participating in recruitment opportunities on and off campus. Every effort is made to educate the students on how to explore their interest and use their liberal arts education and values and to contribute to society in meaningful ways.

A major initiative is underway to assist our students with resume writing. CNU parents, alumni and recruiters come to campus and review the students' resumes and offer recommendations. In addition this fall will be the largest Career and Graduate School Fair with over 80 organizations participating providing an extraordinary opportunity for students to engage with potential employers.

Dean Duncan-Raines reported that there was a post-graduation survey in 2011 requesting information about what students were doing after they graduate and there was a 69% response rate. The survey indicated that 83% of our graduates were either employed full time or going to graduate or professional school.

Rector Martin called on the Faculty Senate President Stephanie Bardwell who said that she is thrilled to be at CNU and is looking forward to moving into the new Luter School. She also looks forward to working with the Board of Visitors.

At 12:30 p.m. Rector Martin called for a motion to enter closed session under the Freedom of Information Act Section 2.2-3711(a)(1) Personnel, (3) Real Estate, (6) Investments and (8) Gifts, Bequests and Fundraising. Mr. Byler provided the motion, seconded by Mr. Millar and passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

The Board returned to open session at 1:25 p.m. and Rector Martin 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. Brown, Rector Martin, Ms. Freeman, Ms. Hunnicutt, Mr. Meals, Ms. Taylor, Mr. Millar, Mr. Thomas, Mr. White, Mr. Byler, Dr. DiCroce and Mr. Tillett certified to the above.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

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