Board of Visitors Meeting October 3, 2013 - Board of Visitors - Christopher Newport University

Board of Visitors

Board of Visitors Meeting October 3, 2013

The Board of Visitors of Christopher Newport University met on October 03, 2013 in the Board Room of the David Student Union with Secretary Ann Hunnicutt presiding.

Present from the Board

  • Mr. Gary C. Byler
  • Dr. Debbie DiCroce
  • Mr. Bill Downey
  • Ms. Ann N. Hunnicutt, Secretary
  • Mr. Bruce Jennings
  • Mr. Bryan K. Meals
  • Mr. Scott Millar
  • Ms. Delceno C. Miles
  • Ms. Margo D. Taylor
  • Mr. W. L. Thomas, Jr.
  • Mr. Ronald Tillett
  • Mr. Preston White, Vice Rector

Absent from the Board

  • Ms. Vicki Siokis Freeman
  • Mr. Andy Hughes

Present from the University

  • President Paul Trible
  • Ms. Cynthia Perry, Chief of Staff
  • Mr. William L. Brauer, Executive Vice President
  • Dr. David Doughty, Interim Provost
  • Ms. Adelia Thompson, Vice President for University Advancement
  • Ms. Maureen Matsen, University Counsel
  • Ms. Beverley Mueller, Executive Assistant
  • Dr. Kip Redick, Faculty Senate Secretary
  • Mr. Robert Brown, CNU Real Estate Foundation
  • Ms. Lori Jacobs, Director of Public Relations
  • Ms. Sally Grace Holtgrieve, Captains Log
  • Ms. Marie Albiges, Captains Log


  • Ms. Sarah Pawloski, Daily Press Reporter

Secretary Ann Hunnicutt called the meeting to order and asked Mr. Thomas, Chair of the Nominating Committee, to conduct the election of officers for the 2013-14 academic year. Mr. Thomas thanked the other members of the Nominating Committee - Mr. Downey, Mr. Tillett and Ms. Taylor. He stated that the election this year is necessary in order to fill the office of Rector since Mr. Mike Martin's term has ended. The Nominating Committee recommended the following slate of officers noting that the nominations for Vice Rector and Secretary are necessary to fill positions that will be vacated if Preston White is elected Rector and if Ann Hunnicutt is elected Vice Rector: Rector: Mr. Preston White; Vice Rector: Ms. Ann Hunnicutt; Secretary: Mr. Scott Millar. Mr. Thomas called for other nominations and there were none. He then called for a motion to waive the election of officers by secret ballot and to elect the slate of officers as presented. Ms. Miles provided the motion seconded by Dr. DiCroce and the motion carried by unanimous consent of the Board.

Mr. White thanked the Board for their confidence in him and stated that he is honored to serve as Rector. Rector White stated that he has appointed Dr. Debbie DiCroce and Mr. Ron Tillet as At-Large members of the Executive Committee. In addition, Ms. Hunnicutt and Mr. Downey would serve as the Board representatives on the CNU Real Estate Foundation and Mr. Scott Millar and Mr. Preston White would be the Board representatives on the CNU Education Foundation.

Rector White then called for a motion to approve the minutes of the June 21, 2013 meeting. Ms. Hunnicutt provided the motion, seconded by Ms. Miles and the motion passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

President's Report

President Trible welcomed everyone present including the newest Board member Mr. Bruce Jennings. He reported that again this year we are welcoming a very strong freshman class. The students in the entering freshman class have an average GPA of 3.71 and 25% of the class has earned a GPA above 4.0. He noted that these students are not only successful in the classroom but they are involved in activities beyond the classroom. At CNU there are over 260 organizations, clubs and activities and for a school of our size, this is an extraordinary number.

President Trible said that Forbes Hall and Luter Hall are now complete and there was a formal dedication of Luter Hall on Tuesday. The newest residential complex, Rappahannock River Hall, is also complete and accommodates 460 students. CNU requires freshmen, sophomores and juniors to live on campus and currently we are unable to honor the request of every senior and transfer student who wish to live on campus. Therefore, we will create 500 more beds to meet that demand. He noted that this year CNU admitted 200 transfer students.

President Trible told the Board that he and Mrs. Trible invited all the freshmen to the President's House for dessert receptions as they do each year and over 1,000 students attended. Recently, on a beautiful Saturday evening, the Virginia Symphony performed on the Great Lawn. This is an annual event which we host free of charge for the local community as a way of showing our appreciation for their support. There have been two home football games attended by over 6,000 Captains fans and the football team is undefeated and ranked 22nd in the nation. All of the sports teams continue to excel - field hockey is ranked 9th in nation and volleyball is ranked in the top 20. Men's and women's soccer and cross country teams are also off to a great start.

President Trible asked Provost Doughty to report on our STEM programs. Provost Doughty said that CNU has become a "go-to" place for the STEM disciplines - science, technology, engineering and math. He stated there are several reasons for our success. CNU has great faculty who truly engage our students in and out of the classroom. We have increased our faculty size which allows for smaller classes. The facilities in Forbes Hall and Luter Hall are state-of-the art. We offer many fields of study in the sciences and have added a lot in the last few years including molecular biology, neuroscience, biochemistry and we will soon add electrical engineering. Provost Doughty reviewed the number of students in each major over the last five years showing that we have gone from 1,116 in 2008 to 1,505 in 2013. The growth has been dramatic and is a reflection of the quality of our students, our extraordinary facilities, superb faculty and small classes.

Rector White then asked University Counsel Maureen Matsen to review the new requirements for the Board of Visitors. Ms. Matsen first stated that following the Board meeting she would conduct the mandatory FOIA training for Board members. She explained that the necessary changes to the By-Laws are fundamental and will bring CNU into compliance with the new laws enacted by the General Assembly. She reported that every Board member is required to attend training sessions provide by SCHEV in their first two years after appointment. Ms. Matsen also said that an additional Board meeting will be required for the purpose of evaluating the President's performance. There is also a list of new duties of the Executive Committee. Mr. Tillett and Dr. DiCroce worked with her to develop the proposed amendments to the By-Laws. The By-Laws changes will be reviewed at this meeting and voted on at the next Board meeting.

Mr. Tillett said that they had worked 6-8 weeks on the changes to the By-Laws and they tried very hard to only make the changes that were required by the new legislation. With a few minor editorial changes the proposed revisions are in accordance with the legislation of the General Assembly.

Rector White then asked Ms. Cindi Perry to review with the Board RESOLUTION 1: Crisis and Emergency Management Plan and Emergency Operations Plan. Ms. Perry explained that the Code of Virginia requires all public universities to adopt and keep a current crisis and emergency management plan and emergency operations plan. The plans outline strategic policies and operational procedures to respond to an emergency or disaster on campus. Rector White called for a motion to approve RESOLUTION 1: Crisis and Emergency Management Plan and Emergency Operations Plan. Ms. Miles provided the motion, seconded by Ms. Hunnicutt and it passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

Finance and Audit Committee Report

Ms. Hunnicutt reported that the Finance and Audit Committee heard from the internal auditor Ms. Faith Belote at its committee meeting and the committee reviewed all of the financial statements. Mr. Brauer reviewed the Debt Service Report stating that this report is provided to the Board on an annual basis. CNU is required by the Board not to exceed a 10% debt service ratio and our debt service ratio is currently just above 7%. Ms. Hunnicutt reported that CNU is meeting its SWaM goals and continues to make improvements in this area and that CNU will once again hold a SWaM fair. Mr. Brauer reviewed with the Board the Capital Projects which have recently been completed or are under construction.

Ms. Hunnicutt said that the Finance and Audit Committee had three resolutions to bring to the full Board for approval. Mr. Brauer explained that these are reimbursement resolutions which allow us to reimburse ourselves from tax exempt bonds. The first Resolution is for construction of Residence Hall VII and the second is for the construction of Phase 2 of the Library. Following discussion, Rector White called for a motion to approve RESOLUTIONS 2 and 3. Mr. Jennings provided the motion which was seconded by Ms. Taylor and passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

Ms. Hunnicutt asked Ms. Perry to review RESOLUTION 4: Six Year Plan 2014-2020. She explained this is a requirement of the Code of Virginia and the Higher Education Opportunity Act. The intent of the plan is to identify the strategies and goals that each institution will undertake over the next 6 years to meet the objectives of the higher education legislation. Ms. Perry reviewed the plan in detail and Ms. Hunnicutt said that this Resolution comes to the Board at the recommendation of the Finance and Audit Committee. There was no discussion and Rector White called for approval of RESOLUTION 4 and it was approved by unanimous vote of the Board.

Academic Affairs Committee Report

Ms. Margo Taylor said that Provost Doughty, deans Dr. Lori Underwood and Dr. Robert Colvin were introduced at the Academic Affairs Committee meeting. One of the highlights from the meeting was that the faculty received a substantial raise this year and faculty response was very positive and has been a huge morale booster.

She reported that currently there are 267 full-time faculty members and the goal is to reach 300. Dr. Doughty suggested that we slow down the rate of growth to six new faculty members next year and then 4 -6 the years after that and Dr. Doughty explained asymptotic planning in an effort to reach the 300 faculty member goal.

Ms. Taylor shared some interesting data: the freshman retention rate is 84%; the six year graduation rate 65.5%; our PLP students have a four-year graduation rate of 72% and honors students have a four-year graduation rate of 78%; the percentage of classes with under 20 students is 47% and the percentage of classes with over 49 students is 4% and 82% of our classes are taught by full-time faculty members.

She noted that 30% of adults today have a four-year degree and CNU is trying to help our students stand out among other graduates. We suggest that our students earn a 3.0 GPA; take math; sample computer programming and sample economics as a potential business minor.

Student Life Committee Meeting

Mr. Thomas said the committee discussed student success initiatives and the upward trend of campus engagement of our students. Through the Student Success Fellows and the Center for Academic Success, 175 at-risk students were contacted prior to the start of class and an additional 129 students on academic probation were contacted. Already 226 students have had one-on-one coaching appointments which is an increase of 400%. The athletic department is also investing heavily in success initiatives with over 300 students participating in study hall and academic support mentors meet regularly with at-risk student athletes.

More and more students are becoming engaged in the life of CNU. During Welcome Week we transitioned 1,277 freshmen and 150 transfer students culminating with the Honors Convocation. In the first month of classes the Campus Activities Board has already offered eleven events attended by 3,800 students. With the opening of Rappahannock River Hall, the campus residential population is up to 75% of the undergraduate enrollment. Greek membership continues to grow and Greek Village Phase I is scheduled to open in the Fall 2015 with 4 Greek Houses. There was further discussion about the need for student engagement reaching beyond CNU to other local communities.

Faculty Senate Report

Dr. Kip Redick, Faculty Senate President, asked the Board for a moment of silence to remember Dr. Edward Weiss, a beloved faculty member who recently passed away. Dr. Redick, on behalf of the faculty, thanked the Board and administration for the very generous salary increases. He then explained to the Board the Senate's priorities for the year: service expectations, child care, curricular changes and a teaching award for adjunct faculty.

At 2:00 p.m. Rector White 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. Ms. Taylor provided the motion, seconded by Ms. Hunnicutt and it passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

The Board returned to open session at 2:45 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 Ms. Hunnicutt, Mr. Thomas, Ms. Taylor, Mr. Tillett, Mr. Meals, Mr. Downey, Ms. Miles, Mr. Millar, Mr. Byler, Mr. Jennings, Dr. DiCroce and Rector White certified to the above.

Rector White called for a motion to approve RESOLUTION 5: Award of Emeritus Status. Ms. Taylor provided the motion, which was seconded by Mr. Tillett and passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

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