Board of Visitors Meeting April 27, 2018 - Board of Visitors - Christopher Newport University

Board of Visitors

Board of Visitors Meeting April 27, 2018

The Board of Visitors met on April 27, 2018 in the Board Room of the David Student Union with Rector Scott Millar presiding.

Present from the Board

  • Lindsey A. Carney, Esq.
  • Mr. William R. Ermatinger
  • Mrs. Vicki Siokis Freeman, Vice Rector
  • Robert R. Hatten, Esq.
  • Mr. C. Bradford Hunter, Secretary
  • Mr. W. Bruce Jennings
  • Mr. Steven S. Kast
  • Ms. Terri M. McKnight, CPA
  • Mr. N. Scott Millar, Rector
  • The Honorable Gabriel A. Morgan, Sr.
  • Kellye L. Walker, Esq.
  • Ms. Judy F. Wason
  • Mr. Junius H. Williams, Jr.

Absent from the Board

  • Dr. Ella P. Ward

Present from the University

  • Paul Trible, President
  • Mr. William Brauer, Executive Vice President
  • Mrs. Cynthia Perry, Chief of Staff
  • Dr. David Doughty, Provost
  • Mrs. Jennifer Latour, Vice President for Strategy and Planning
  • Mrs. Adelia Thompson, Vice President for University Advancement
  • Mrs. Beverley Mueller, Executive Assistant
  • Dr. Brian Puaca, Faculty Senate President
  • Dr. Lisa Duncan Raines, Vice President for Enrollment and Student Success
  • Dr. Kevin Hughes, Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Mr. Tom Kramer, Director of External Affairs
  • Mr. Kenneth Kidd, Student Assembly President
  • Maureen Matsen, Esq., University Counsel


  • Ms. Rachel E. Coltharp, Student Speaker
  • Ms. Rachel Whiteman, Student Speaker
  • Mr. Emmet Aylor, Incoming Student Assembly President
  • Ms. Jane Hammond, The Daily Press

Rector Scott Millar welcomed everyone present and then called for approval of the February 23, 2018 meeting. Mr. Kast provided the motion which was seconded by Mr. Jennings and the minutes were approved by unanimous vote of the Board.

Rector Millar reminded the Board that there was a discussion in closed session at the last Board of Visitors meeting to award John Lawson an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree at Commencement and that a vote is required at this meeting. President Trible said that we would honor Mr. Lawson in recognition of his extraordinary leadership in our community and Commonwealth and for his strong and generous support of Christopher Newport. Rector Millar called for a motion to award Mr. Lawson an honorary degree. Sheriff Morgan provided the motion which was seconded by Ms. Freeman and passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

Rector Millar said that two students had been asked to address the Board to share their study abroad experiences. Dr. Kevin Hughes introduced Rachel Whiteman. He said she is a member of Honors and President’s Leadership Programs, will graduate magna cum laude with a degree in Chemistry and she will remain at CNU as a University Fellow. Rachel had study abroad experiences in England, Germany and Scotland. He also introduced Rachel (Aree) Coltharp who entered CNU as a Presidential Scholar and interned in Alaska at a science center. Later she studied at Harris Manchester College, Oxford and attended the International Leadership Association Conference in Atlanta as part of the Undergraduate Case Study Competition.

President’s Report

President Trible said that applications for admission continue to go well and we are expecting the incoming class to have 1,225 to 1,250 freshmen. He noted that the common reply date is May 1st and we will know exactly the size of our freshmen class at that time. He said our student athletes continue to excel and many teams play this weekend in conference championships, several of which CNU will host.

President Trible then shared a very moving message that he received from Mr. Bob Aston, President of TowneBank, following the funeral of Mr. John Lawson’s father, Mr. Bob Lawson. Mr. Aston’s message said that TowneBank would increase their current commitment to CNU with an additional pledge of $500,000 to establish a scholarship fund in Mr. Lawson’s name “to bring good to the life of worthy young students representing the values practiced during his life.” President Trible then announced that he and Rosemary would add $25,000 to that scholarship fund and he would like to see the scholarship grow to $1 million.

Finance and Audit and Committee Report

Chairman Ermatinger said the Committee reviewed the financial statements which are provided in the Board notebooks and determined that the finances were in order and compared favorably to the prior year. He then went through the revenues and expenditures with the Board.

In addition, the Committee reviewed the SWaM report and Chairman Ermatinger said he was pleased that CNU continues to exceed the SWaM goals and performs exceptionally well compared to the Commonwealth and higher education. This year $24 million was awarded to SWaM businesses. He noted that if our capital projects were removed from these numbers, CNU would still be at 42% .

He said the new Debt Management Policy was discussed by the Finance Committee and it comes to the Board as a recommendation from the Committee. Chairman Ermatinger explained that this new policy is basically replacing the policy the Board approved in 2007 and bringing it in line with our actual practices.

Chairman Ermatinger then summarized the tuition and fee proposal which was discussed at the Committee meeting. He explained that the State, by its own formula, should be providing $43.2 million for our Educational and General program but we are only receiving $29.1 million, a $14.1 million shortfall. With that challenge, a 5.4% total increase in costs for room, board, tuition and fees is recommended. That is an 8% increase in tuition and fees which is the middle of the projected fee range of 6% to 10%. Mr. Ermatinger commended the President and his staff for putting together a fee proposal under these challenging conditions and for funding the priorities of the university. He said that the tuition increase will generate $4.4 million which will fund, among other things, the Funds for Excellence Program which was established by the Board to fund scholarships, undergraduate research, foreign study and service. He noted that if any additional monies are provided by the State, those dollars would be allocated to scholarships and to funds to maintain the infrastructure of our campus.

Rector Millar said both the Debt Management Policy and Resolution 1: Tuition and Fees 2018-19 come as recommendations from the Finance and Audit Committee. He then called for a second to the Debt Management Policy which was provided by Mr. Jennings and was then passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

Rector Millar called for a second to the motion to approve Resolution 1. Ms. Freeman provided the second to the motion. He called for a discussion on the tuition and fees proposal.

Mr. Hatten pointed out that the administration is sensitive to the fact that whenever there is an increase in tuition it affects certain students who have financial need and their needs have been taken into consideration. He noted that a percentage of this increase would be added to scholarships which will increase the total funds available each year to $2.9 million.

Sheriff Morgan said that he is not pleased with the increase but he understands the need for the increase and said this provides an opportunity for advocacy. He said the State has failed to do their part putting the burden on the Board to make up the difference. He asked everyone to help get the students’ voices heard in Richmond that these increases cannot continue if public education is to be affordable.

Rector Millar commended President Trible, Ms. Perry and Ms. Latour for their hard work and for making difficult decisions in a very challenging financial situation. Rector Millar then called for a vote on Resolution 1 and the Resolution was passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

Academic Affairs Committee Report

Chairman Hatten said the Academic Affairs Committee received a very good report from Provost Doughty. He said we currently have 282 faculty members and our goal is to have 300 faculty. The faculty retention rate is very high and only fifteen faculty positions needed to be replaced last year. The number of adjunct professors is declining and the number of tenure and tenure tack professors is increasing. Chairman Hatten also said that the faculty salaries are virtually right on par with nationwide salaries. He noted that salaries had increased five out of the last six years which a criteria considered for Phi Beta Kappa status. The average salary for our faculty next year is $78,391 which is about a 2-2.5% increase over the current year.

Chairman Hatten reported that there are 21 study abroad programs offered to our students at extraordinary places around the world. All departments at the university are participating in these programs. This year we are expecting 315 students to take advantage of these opportunities which is up from 273 students last year.

Provost Doughty said that CNU is currently working with the University of West Indies at Cave Hill in Barbados for a second place to have a permanent relationship similar to the agreement we have with Glasgow. Cave Hill is highly rated and has a similar liberal arts curriculum, is about the size of CNU and Barbados is one of the safest places.

Student Life Committee Report

Chairman Morgan said the Student Life Committee had a very good meeting and he praised the good work of Mr. Robert Lange, Dr. Lisa Duncan Raines and Dr. Kevin Hughes.

He said this is a precarious time of year leading up to the May 1st national enrollment verification deadline. After having a large freshman class last year, we are aiming for 1,225 students this year. He said that as of today 7,607 applications have been received. He added, that over 3,500 interviews have been conducted since Easter.

Dr. Lisa Duncan Raines reported that most of this semester has been getting students ready for graduation in a variety of ways such as tutoring, academic coaching, personal outreach and referrals to different resources on campus. She said that 70% of the freshmen class has been assisted in some way. She noted that tutoring sessions had doubled, academic coaching was up 20% and our overall outreach was up 10%. Not only are the number of freshmen taking advantage of student success resources, the same is true for our overall student body. Dr. Duncan Raines also said that the freshmen are very interested in major and career exploration. Career networking continues and the Career Centers partners with the Alumni to engage our students. Lastly, she said that approximately 1,200 students will participate in commencement this year.

Dr. Hughes said that this summer is focused on preparing for our incoming freshmen. He explanined that we have a custom built system for our students to accept their offer of admission where they must complete different modules on their tasks list to help prepare them for orientation in June. The most important is the academic module which allows the registrar’s office to create a custom schedule putting the student on track to graduate. He noted that the individual interaction and attention continues with our students and there is a system in place to identify students who we are most concerned about academically or personally. Twice monthly a cross-section of the university meets to determine who is on the radar, how can we help, what is their issue, and then someone is designated to follow up with those particular students. Mental health and academic struggles are the biggest concerns.

Building and Grounds Committee Report

Chairman Hunter reviewed the Capital Project Report which continues to get smaller and is narrowed down to one project. He said that Mr. Brauer shared with the Committee the rendering of the new fine arts center which is still in the budgeting phase and construction should begin in December. He noted that the expansion to the Trible Library will be completed in August. The Committee toured the library expansion and everyone is very excited for the additional space for our students.

Mr. Hunter also updated the Board on the work of the Council on Diversity and Inclusion. He said that a working group had been established which meets once a month. They are currently working on a strategic plan for the Council. The full Council is meeting quarterly and will meet the month prior to the Board of Visitors meeting.

He said at the last meeting the group broke into smaller groups and there were very good and robust conversations. Among other initiatives, the Council is developing a university diversity statement. He said they have learned that across the whole university there are a lot of individual initiatives and the Council wants to capture all of that information and put it into one place and streamline the University’s efforts. Mr. Hunter said they are working on preparing a comprehensive training plan, strengthening community engagement and continuing to increase efforts around the recruitment of faculty, staff and students for under-represented groups. Mr. Morgan said that the voice of our students is extremely powerful and we need to put forth our best efforts to support their needs. Mr. Hunter said the Council consists of 22 members with representation from different departments at the University, the Board, students and community leaders and a Charter has been adopted which identifies term limits.

Student Assembly Report

Mr. Kenneth Kidd told the Board he will graduate with no regrets and these four years have been the best of his life. He thanked everyone for their support and encouragement along the way.

Mr. Kidd reported that the Campus Activities Board hosted countless events throughout the year. The two popular events are the Intercultural Festival and Springfest which is held the last day before classes. The “Where Is The Line” Club which supports victims of sexual abuse hosted their Celebration Event and had representation from all across campus and there were over 500 people in attendance. Additionally, the Colleges Against Cancer’s Annual Relay for Life event raised $56,000.

Mr. Kidd reported that the Student Diversity and Equality Council conducted a survey asking students to share their concerns or to identify areas they felt needed the most attention. The top three responses were focused on sexual identity and gender, racial diversity and socioeconomic status.

He also reported that the Student Assembly held the first ever joint meeting with alumni from the Board of Visitors and it was a big success. Mr. Kidd thanked the members of the Board of Visitors Alumni Leadership Panel for sharing their thoughts on leadership and what it means to be a Captain for Life.

Mr. Kidd said the Student Assembly had conducted its elections for the upcoming year and then introduced the new Student Assembly President Mr. Emmet Aylor.

Mr. Kidd expressed his sincere thanks to the Board for allowing him to serve as the student representative.

Faculty Senate Report

Rector Millar congratulated Dr. Puaca on being re-elected as President of the Faculty Senate. Dr. Puaca reported that the Senate just completed its review of applications for the Faculty Development Grants and Faculty Excellence Awards. Dr. Puaca said the Senate completed its recommendations for the criteria for the promotion to Full Professor and the Senate is optimistic these proposed changes will be in effect for the 2018-19 academic year. He said the Senate has worked to support and promote the university’s diversity and inclusion initiatives and they are working with the Advancement Office to establish a Create-A-Captain Scholarship and their diversity efforts will continue next year.

Dr. Puaca said the Senate completed a comprehensive survey of the faculty and had a response rate of 70% . They were able to obtain some excellent data on the concerns of the faculty, their view on Senate initiatives and offer suggestions on how the Senate can better serve their needs. Dr. Puaca said the Senate also had worked on the University EVAL-4 which guides faculty work efforts with regard to teaching, scholarship and service. The Senate is responsible for proposing updates and revisions to this document annually.

Dr. Puaca reported that the Senate elected a new Executive Committee and is pleased that three of the four colleges are represented. He expressed his gratitude to the Board and said he is looking forward to returning next year as President.

Alumni Society Report

Rector Millar provided an update on the activities of the Alumni Society. He said that in June there will be a vote to add a 6th regional chapter in the triangle area of Raleigh-Durham in North Carolina. At graduation, the Alumni House will host a program for graduating seniors to provide an opportunity for them and their parents and friends to write a letter that will be kept until their 50th reunion. He noted that the Class of 2008 will have their 10 year reunion on campus in June. He told the Board that the football chapter is sponsoring a golf tournament and this summer regional chapters will host welcome home events for 2018 graduates who have moved into their chapter regions. In addition, he noted that a number of seniors are going on an Alumni sponsored trip to Europe and chapters will be having their annual elections of officers in the coming month.

Rector Millar asked Secretary Hunter to entertain a motion to enter closed session under Freedom of Information Act Section 2.2.3711(a)(1) Personnel and (a)(8) Gifts, Bequests. Ms. Walker provided the motion, seconded by Ms. Wason and the motion passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

The Board returned to open session and Secretary Hunter 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. Bruce Jennings, Rector Scott Millar, Ms. Vicki Freeman, Mr. Junius Williams, Ms. Terri McKnight, Mr. Brad Hunter, Mr. Gabe Morgan, Ms. Lindsey Carney, Mr. Steve Kast, Ms. Kellye Walker, Ms. Judy Wason, Mr. Bill Ermatinger and Mr. Bobby Hatten certified to the above.

Rector Millar called for a motion to approve Resolutions 2-5: Awarding Emerita and Emeritus Status. Mr. Williams provided the motion, which was seconded by Mr. Hunter and Resolutions 2-5 passed by unanimous vote of the Board. Also, in closed session the Board approved a sabbatical for President Trible from May 15 to August 15, 2018.

There being no further business the meeting was adjourned.

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