Board of Visitors Meeting October 2, 2015 - Board of Visitors - Christopher Newport University

Board of Visitors

Board of Visitors Meeting October 2, 2015

The Board of Visitors met on October 2, 2015 in the Board Room of the David Student Union with Rector Preston White presiding.

Present from the Board

  • Mr. William B. Downey
  • Mr. William R. Ermatinger
  • Mrs. Vicki Siokis Freeman, Secretary
  • Robert R. Hatten, Esq.
  • Mr. S. Anderson Hughes
  • Mr. C. Bradford Hunter
  • Mr. W. Bruce Jennings
  • Mr. Steven S. Kast
  • Mr. N. Scott Millar, Vice Rector
  • Hon. Gabriel A. Morgan, Sr.
  • Hon. Ronald L. Tillett
  • Hon. Ella P. Ward
  • Mr. Preston M. White, Jr., Rector

Absent from the Board

  • Mr. Mark Rodgers

Present from the University

  • Mr. William Brauer, Executive Vice President
  • Ms. Cynthia Perry, Chief of Staff
  • Dr. David Doughty, Provost
  • Mrs. Adelia Thompson, Vice President for University Advancement
  • Mrs. Beverley Mueller, Executive Assistant
  • Dr. Jana Adamitis, Faculty Senate President
  • Mr. Tom Kramer, Assistant Director of Wason Center
  • Dr. Lisa Duncan Raines, Vice Provost
  • Dr. Kevin Hughes, Dean of Students
  • Ms. Lori Jacobs, Director of Public Relations
  • Mr. C.J. Cahill, Student Assembly President
  • Mr. Robert Macklin, Alumni Society President

Captains Log Reporters

  • Captain's Log: Mr. Joshua Reyes and Mr. Jack Jacobs


  • Daily Press: Mr. Peter Dujardin

Rector White welcomed everyone present and recognized and welcomed our new Board members Mr. Robert Hatten and Mr. Steven Kast and said he was pleased that Mr. Scott Millar had been reappointed to serve on the Board.

He then brought the Board's attention to a recent article in the Virginian Pilot which featured Dr. George Ebbs, the Dean of the Luter School of Business as well as the ODU Dean Jeff Tanner regarding their visions for change in business schools. He also told the Board that recently the Beazley Foundation committed $500,000 in scholarships. President Trible hosted a lunch for the Beazley Foundation Board which included faculty and staff and the discussion was on the importance of a liberal arts education. Christopher Newport is the only school in the country to earn a perfect "A" for the strength of its curriculum in the liberal arts and sciences.

Rector White called for approval of the minutes of the Executive Committee meeting on June 18, the Board of Visitors Meeting on June 19 and President's Annual Performance Review meeting on June 19, 2015. The motion was provided by Mr. Jennings, seconded by Mr. Tillett and the minutes were approved by unanimous vote of the Board.

President's Report

In addition to Rector White's comments, President Trible also mentioned how pleased he was that Christopher Newport had received a perfect "A" from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni for having the most rigorous academic core curriculum of any public university in America.

President Trible told the Board that every year soon-to-graduate seniors in business schools across the nation take a national major field test - 90,000 students - and our seniors finished in the top 2% in the nation which underscores the rigor of our academic programs, the quality of instruction and the academic strength of our students.

He noted that the freshman class is outstanding with over 7,500 applications for a class of 1,225. The average high school GPA is 3.8 and the SAT middle 50% range is 1070-1250, among the highest in the state. He said that Christopher Newport has the 3rd lowest admit rate in the state.

The retention of freshmen to sophomores is now approaching 90% (88%) which is among the highest in the nation. He told the Board that U.S News and World Report ranked CNU number 5 among the regional public universities in the South and 14th among nearly 200 public and private colleges and universities.

President Trible encouraged the Board to attend the many events scheduled for Family Weekend. Over 1,000 parents and friends will be attending and activities which will include a performance by the Virginia Symphony, a marvelous musical showcase and exciting football game, He said that he is scheduled to speak to approximately 200 parents who support CNU at a breakfast and over 1,000 people have signed up to attend the conversation with the President.

Next Monday, he said, the Joint Committee of the House and Senate will meet at Christopher Newport followed by a debate between the two leaders of the Senate Tommy Norment and Dick Saslaw, and invited the Board to attend. He also invited the Board to come to Ireland in March and hear the CNU Marching Band who will performing the St. Patrick's Day Parade.

President Trible reported that this past week the accreditation team for the computer engineering program - ABET--was visiting CNU and we were given a great report. He said this is due to the extraordinary group of faculty and staff who have developed an excellent academic program of superior content and quality.

Proposed By-Laws Change

Rector White discussed the need for the establishment of a Building and Grounds Committee. He said this committee will consider and make recommendations to the Board concerning the development, maintenance and preservation of the physical facilities and grounds of the University. He has asked Mr. Tillett to Chair the committee. The committee met today as an ad-hoc committee. Mr. Tillett said the committee would work with the Finance Committee and staff involved in these types of decisions. Rector White noted this is brought to the Board today for discussion and the Board will be asked to vote at the next meeting.

Mr. Brauer gave an overview of the capital projects and directed the Board to the report in the Board notebook listing all projects contemplated and underway. He said the cost to construct the library is currently being negotiated with the Capital Outlay Committee in Richmond and that all work on the Fine Arts Center was on hold until funding became available. The expansion of the Regattas Dining Hall has been bid and is over budget. Value Engineering efforts are underway to bring this project in line with the budget. Phase I of Greek Village is underway and the goal is to be completed by August 1st for students to move in prior to the start of classes in the fall. Greek Village Phase II is currently on hold. The Alumni House project has been bid and is $1.2 million over budget. Value Engineering efforts are underway to bring this project in line with the budget as well.

Finance and Audit and Committee Report

Chairman Millar reported that the Committee met and reviewed revenues and expenditures for fiscal year 2015 and the report has been provided in the board notebooks. He said that the Internal Auditor Ms. Faith Belote reviewed the audit plan and current activities of that department. An audit was conducted on the Study Abroad Program to determine whether the internal controls are adequately designed and operating effectively in compliance with federal and state laws, and university policies. It was noted that when studying abroad, the rules and regulations of the University apply.

The Finance Committee reviewed the amendment to the internal audit charter and recommended to the full Board. He explained that the amendment to the Charter was necessary because the international Professional Practices Framework has been enhanced by the Institute of Internal Auditors and requires additions to be made to the original charter. Mr. Jennings provided a second to approve RESOLUTION 1: Amendment to Internal Audit Charter. There was no discussion and the resolution passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

Mr. Brauer said that our SWaM numbers continue to look favorable when compared to peer institutions, the Education Secretariat and the Commonwealth of Virginia with particularly good results in the area of minority businesses. He noted that last year CNU hired a SWaM coordinator and will again be hosting a SWaM fair in the DSU Ballroom on November 10th.

The Debt Service report was presented to the Board as required each year. Mr. Brauer said that the calculation of debt to operational revenue should be less than 10% as mandated by the Board and is the NACUBO standard. All debt issued to date and any debt anticipated places us at 9% and that percentage will decline upon the retirement of debt. He noted that the Board is always informed prior to the issuance of debt.

Mr. Brauer said the Committee reviewed the recommendations of JLARC and also briefed the Board on these recommendations. The Board directed the administration to take any necessary actions to comply with the recommendations and to report to the Board on a periodic basis the progress towards achieving these objectives.

Six-Year Plan

Chairman Millar said that the Higher Education Opportunity Act requires submission of a Board-approved 6-year academic, financial and enrollment plan and asked Ms. Perry to review the plan with the Board. Ms. Perry explained that the plan was submitted in July and in late August a meeting was held with state officials and no revisions to the plan were required. The plan assumes no additional General Fund support over the next six years, identifies academic strategies of 2016-22 and projects tuition and fees and room and board increases for the 2016-18 biennium. A detailed description of the 24 strategies and a summary of capital projects underway or in the planning phase was included with the materials in the Board notebooks.

Chairman Millar thanked Ms. Perry for her hard work and that of her team. He said that RESOLUTION 2: Six-Year Plan 2016-22 comes to the Board at the recommendation of the Finance Committee. Mr. Downey provided a second to the recommendation and RESOLUTION 2 passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

Academic Affairs Committee Report

Chairman Hughes said the committee had a very good meeting. It was reported that CNU is gaining in the rankings of U.S. News and World Report. Christopher Newport is now ranked 5th among public regional universities in the South and 14th among all regional universities.

There was a discussion about faculty size and salaries noting that the objective is to grow faculty to 300 from our current 275 members, the number of non-tenured track faculty, class sizes and the percentage of classes taught by adjuncts was also discussed.

It was reported that CNU received a glowing report from ABET, the accrediting body for engineering programs around the world, this past week when they visited CNU. In addition, the Committee learned that a Study Abroad Fair was taking place on campus and the program is making good progress. There are 20 places for students to study in Glasgow and 17 are already filled. The goal is to have 400 students studying abroad next year.

Chairman Hughes said the Committee was briefed on the results of our students' performance on the Collegiate Learning Assessment test. The skills the CLA+ tests for include analysis and problem solving, scientific and quantitative reasoning, critical reading and evaluation, and critiquing an argument. The findings show that CNU students have a value-added investment of 85%.

The university is embarking on the reaffirmation of its regional accreditation by SACS. The process takes about two and one half years and includes the development of a Compliance Certification Report and Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) for continuous institutional improvement. The university must illustrate compliance with over 90 standards associated with the general operation of the institution. For the QEP a topic must be selected for an appropriate focus for the university and the topics being considered are diversity, research literacy and knowledge of national and international events. Once a topic is selected, a plan will be developed by QEP Development Committee and submitted to SACS in January.

Student Life Committee Report

Chairman Morgan said the committee is outstanding due to the extraordinary collaboration with Mr. Robert Lange, Dean of Admission, Vice Provost Lisa Duncan Raines and Dr. Kevin Hughes, Dean of Students. He said that C.J. Cahill is the Student Assembly President and is the representative to the Board. President Trible introduced Mr. Cahill stating he is heavily involved in campus life, is in Sigma Phi Epsilon and is a Resident Assistant. He has been accepted to Eastern Virginia Medical School. Mr. Cahill expressed his gratitude to be a representative to the Board.

Chairman Morgan stated that we are on target for our freshman class of 1,200 students with a maximum of 1,225. He said that our admit rate this year is 60%. He said there is a lot of competition as a result of fewer high school graduates, other schools admitting more freshmen and CNU has less money to offer for scholarships. He stated that CNU needs to be sure to price ourselves appropriately so that we will be able to insure our continued success.

He noted that CNU is among the lowest in Virginia on how many students are admitted. Our retention rate is currently 87.5% and our graduation rate is at 70% with a goal of 80% and we are moving toward that goal. By May of this year the graduation rate will be 75%.

Chairman Morgan said the Committee was advised that the Virginia Senate has mandated the creation of a Model Hazing Policy. CNU currently has a policy but it will be revised and brought before the Committee and full Board at the February meeting.

Faculty Senate Report

Dr. Jana Adamitis, President of the Faculty Senate, said that this year the Senate will focus on faculty performance review rules and regulations of the Handbook and to make sure everything is in compliance. She is expecting another productive and successful year.

Alumni Society Report

Mr. Millar introduced the new Alumni Society President Mr. Robert Macklin who has served on the alumni board for 12 years. In the spring the alumni board became structured like the Real Estate Foundation and Education Foundation with ex-officio representatives on the committee, President Trible, Adelia Thompson and Amie Dale and two members of the Board of Visitors - Mr. Brad Hunter and Mr. Steve Kast.

Mr. Macklin said he is looking forward to serving and engaging alumni. He said that this year the Board will be focusing on strategic planning. At Homecoming there will be a luncheon for the past Presidents to ask for their insights and suggestions. The Society will also be looking at ways to support the Alumni House. The Society will continue to grow the number of alumni chapters with a particular focus on out-of-state chapters. They are working with Advancement on a participation rate plan and ways to bring more alumni back to campus.

At 1:50 p.m. Rector White called for a motion to enter closed session under Freedom of Information Act Section 2.2-3711(a)(1) Personnel (a)(6) investments and (a)(8) Gifts, bequests and fundraising. Dr. Ward provided the motion, seconded by Mr. Millar and passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

At approximately 2:30 p.m. the Board returned to open session and Secretary Freeman 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. Tillett, Mr. Millar, Mr. Jennings, Mr. Hughes, Mr. Ermatinger, Mr. Morgan, Mr. Hunter, Dr. Ward, Mr. Hatten, Mr. Kast, Ms. Freeman and Rector White certified to the above.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

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