Board of Visitors Meeting April 26, 2019 - Board of Visitors - Christopher Newport University

Board of Visitors

Board of Visitors Meeting April 26, 2019

The Board of Visitors met on April 26, 2019 in the Board Room of the David Student Union with Rector Robert R. Hatten presiding.

Present from the Board

  • Ms. Maria Herbert
  • Robert R. Hatten, Esq.
  • Mr. C. Bradford Hunter
  • Mr. W. Bruce Jennings
  • Mr. Steven S. Kast
  • Ms. Terri M. McKnight, CPA
  • Mr. N. Scott Millar
  • Hon. Gabriel A. Morgan, Sr.
  • Kellye L. Walker, Esq.
  • Dr. Ella P. Ward
  • Ms. Judy Wason

Absent from the Board

  • Mr. William R. Ermatinger Lindsey A. Carney Smith, Esq.
  • Mr. Junius H. Williams, Jr.

Present from the University

  • Mr. 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. Lisa Duncan Raines, Vice President for Enrollment and Student Success
  • Dr. Kevin Hughes, Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Maureen Matsen, Esq., University Counsel
  • Dr. Brian Puaca, Faculty Senate President
  • Mr. Emmet Aylor, Student Assembly President
  • Mr. Jim Hanchett, Chief Communications Officer
  • Mr. Tom Kramer, Director of External Affairs
  • Ms. Alexis Helmer, Student Speaker
  • Mr. Henry Womble, new Student Assembly President


  • Mr. Matt Jones, Daily Press

Rector Hatten welcomed everyone present. He reported to the Board that the Executive Committee met on April 5, 2019 and approved the recommendation to freeze tuition for all students, both in state and out-of-state. Rector Hatten then called for a motion to approve the minutes of the Board meeting held on February 15, 2019 and the Executive Committee meeting on April 5, 2019. Mr. Morgan provided the motion, seconded by Mr. Jennings and the minutes were approved by unanimous vote of the Board.

Student Presentation

Dr. Hughes introduced Alexis Helmer and said that she exemplifies what it means to live a life of significance. He told the Board that Alexis is a senior majoring in Psychology with a minor in Leadership Studies. She is a member of the President’s Leadership and Honors programs. She has also received a number of honors and recently received the Dean’s Service Award. Dr. Hughes said Alexis will remain on campus for another year serving as a University Fellow.

Ms. Helmer shared with the Board her many experiences on campus serving in 15 leadership positions, performing 200 community service hours, performing undergraduate research and traveling to three different countries. She said she intentionally became involved in as many activities as possible including Greek Life and these experiences shaped and defined her life. She said she looks forward to being a University Fellow next year and is a Captain for Life.

President’s Report

President Trible reported to the Board that the admission process for the upcoming class is coming to a close and we expect to have a freshman class of 1,225 and these students have an average GPA of 3.8 and SAT score above 1200.

He said our athletic teams continue to excel with baseball being ranked second in the nation and softball ranked ninth in the nation. He said that men’s and women’s lacrosse and tennis and women’s golf have had a very strong year and are ranked in the top 25 in the nation.

President Trible reported on recent events on campus. He said that Mr. Kast was a President’s Leadership Program speaker and that he did a superb job. He said that the annual Scholarship Luncheon was a huge success and that there was a marvelous presentation by Rector Hatten. Ms. Gabby Olivera was the student speaker and told her story of coming to the United States from Bolivia and how meaningful her time at CNU has been to her and her family making her dreams come true. He said the Service Awards Luncheon was held recently honoring employees for their years of state service.

President Trible was pleased to report that 84 sophomores from three Newport News Public Schools are participating in our Community Captains program and they came to campus for the first time earlier this month. He said he is excited about this initiative and believes it is the beginning of something extraordinary and significant for CNU and our community and will make a real difference in the lives of these students.

Finance and Audit and Committee Report Chairman Bruce Jennings said that the Committee reviewed the revenues and expenditures as of February 28 and noted that all the variances are within reason when compared to the prior year.
He reported that most of the revenue has been collected for the year but expenses will continue through the end of the year, however, ending balances are looking very good. He mentioned that the negative balance of the Ferguson Center continues to be reduced. He said there is a total reserve balance of $20.4 million. Our SWaM participation remains strong at 48% on $13.8 million in expenditures against a goal of 42%.

Chairman Jennings said that the audit plan has been adjusted based on a re-evaluation of the resource estimates required to meet the engagement objectives, scope and audit work program for the Admission audit. He told the Board that the cash handling audit report on the Business Office was presented and that the Clery and University Bookstore audits were complete. The 16 remaining open audit reports are targeted for completion by October 1st. Mr. Jennings said there was a quality assurance review follow up and the audit report and executive summary format have been revised based on recommendations of the audit report audience committee. He also said the communication of results process has been streamlined.

Chairman Jennings said that the Executive Committee approved a revised Captains Commitment freezing tuition for all students and setting a modest increase in the comprehensive fee of 3%. He said the resolution today has a detailed breakdown of tuition and fees, including room and board fees for all students. The recommendation is for a small increase of $300 in the room fee in order to build reserves for the anticipated increase in the lease payment for the new CNU Crossing residence hall. Revenues from this increase will also be used to support staff salary and fringe benefit increases and reinvestments in building infrastructure and equipment. Mr. Jennings said that Resolution 1: Tuition and Fees and Room and Board for Academic Year 2019-2020 comes before the full Board at the recommendation of the Finance and Audit Committee. Rector Hatten called for discussion and questions and a vote on Resolution 1. The Resolution passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

Academic Affairs Committee Report

Chairman Brad Hunter reported that by the end of next year we should reach our goal of having 288 faculty members and about 25% of our faculty are on a non-tenure track, which is in line with the goals that have been set.

He told the Board that we recently hosted the students who will be participating in the Community Captains Program. The day included presentations, an extensive tour of campus and lunch in Regattas. It was strongly suggested to engage the parents as a part of this program and the parents have now been invited to campus for a similar visit.

Mr. Hunter noted that the number of students in our study abroad program continues to grow. He said that this year there will be 300 students graduating with Service Distinction which means they have performed a minimum of 140 hours of community service. Provost Doughty noted that the average number of service hours is actually much higher and President Trible said that the total number of hours is well over 100,000.

He reported that CNU’s research programs are flourishing. This year our faculty have received over $2.5 million in research grant awards. He said the “Bounty” program which rewards faculty with a small stipend if they win a significant external grant has been working well. Mr. Hunter reported that the participants in our Summer Scholars program has increased and one in five faculty will be working with students on research projects this summer.

Chairman Hunter asked Provost Doughty to share with the Board the state’s “Tech Talent Pipeline” initiative which is a result of Amazon locating in Virginia. Provost Doughty said that the state promised to support increased degree programs in the STEM disciplines, especially in computer science and computer engineering. The state has asked the universities to make proposals on how they plan to increase graduates in these disciplines. He said that we produce about 66 per year and are doing very well but we can increase the number of graduates. Provost Doughty said that we have proposed that we will increase our computer science and computer engineering graduate numbers by about 25 students per year. He said a number of initiatives are underway to achieve this goal including, among other things, targeted scholarships for incoming freshmen and VCCS transfer students, a new major in Cybersecurity and working with Newport News Shipbuilding to enhance internship possibilities.

Mr. Hunter also reported to the Board on the activities of the Council on Diversity and Inclusion. He said at their last meeting they reviewed the racial and ethnic demographics of our students, faculty and staff and how we compare to our peers. It was deemed that CNU is comparable to the institutions that we compete with for students, however, we want to do better and the rest of the meeting was spent working on the strategic plan and goals. He thanked everyone who worked on the Council for all their efforts.

Student Life Committee Report

Chairman Morgan reported that efforts to recruit, care for and retain the best and the brightest students continue and he thanked Dr. Lisa Duncan Raines, Dr. Kevin Hughes and Mr. Rob Lange for their efforts. He said that currently there are 1,141 students enrolled, with overall goal of incoming freshmen of 1,225. He noted that May 1 is the national enrollment deadline.

Sheriff Morgan asked Dr. Duncan Raines to comment on the recent activities in the office of enrollment and student success. She said that the spring semester started with planning and programming to have students prepared to get to graduation. She told the Board that in order to help our students, changes have been made in the tutoring center. Tutoring services covered more than 25 different disciplines and the number of students who participated in the group/test review sessions was up by 82%. She noted that the number of individual tutoring sessions is also up. When students finish with their tutoring plan they are asked to complete a survey and 85% indicated that the session exceeded or significantly exceeded their expectations. She said there have been over 300 Captains Care referrals, nearly a 40% increase over last spring.

Dr. Duncan Raines announced that CNU was named to the Peace Corps TOP COLLEGES list of highest volunteer producing schools.

She told the Board that the Center for Career Planning is focusing on encouraging our students to take advantage of internship opportunities. From surveys of recent graduates who had internships, the average starting salary of students with at least one internship was higher.

Dr. Hughes highlighted how our students – orientation leaders, resident assistants and other leaders -- are cultivating the CNU culture and passing it down so that it will be sustained for generations to come.

Dr. Hughes shared with the Board the concerns about the increase in mental health issues not only at CNU, but nationally. He said that there was an undergraduate research project led by one of our faculty members and a couple of students which created a group called WATCH (Wellness Action Team for Captain’s Health). This is a program that promotes wellness and mental health and builds a sense of caring on our campus.

Chairman Morgan report that Christopher Newport is joining forces with two prominent organizations, the Coalition for College and Strive for College, which helps students from diverse backgrounds, especially first-generations students, learn about, prepare for and apply to college. Student Assembly Report

President Aylor updated the Board of the Student Assembly’s recent activities this spring. He thanked President Trible and the other administrators for their participation in the Executive Leadership Forum which was hosted in February. He said the Student Assembly held its first Staff Appreciation Day where 30 faculty and staff members were recognized for their support. He also reported that the 2019-2020 Student Assembly elections were held and announced that Henry Womble will be next year’s President and asked him to say a few words.

Mr. Womble told the Board that he is a rising senior from Lancaster, Pennsylvania and is majoring in Finance with a minor in Economics. He said he is a member of the varsity sailing team, a student ambassador in Admission, chairman of Sigma Phi Epsilon and an active member of Campus Crusade. Mr. Womble said his goals include improving campus activities and making the Student Assembly a more prominent and influential organization on campus.

Faculty Senate Report

Faculty Senate President Dr. Puaca updated the Board on the activities of the Faculty Senate. The Senate began the year with a number of goals on its agenda and they have accomplished many of those. The Senate has continued to support the University’s diversity and inclusion initiative with members of the faculty on the Council as well as his participation on the Strategic Work Group. He said the faculty support this work through the courses they teach, events they organize, the speakers invited to campus and the interdisciplinary programs they direct.

Dr. Puaca said that the Senate created a new Faculty Excellence Award in Interdisciplinarity to go along with the others in Teaching, Scholarship and Service. He said the Faculty Senate organized an impressive showcase of scholarship in the library that includes the work of more than 60 faculty members.

A third effort this year was to examine the instrument for student ratings of instruction – the IDEA. The Senate published a wide-ranging report in which it responded to more than two dozen questions from faculty and identified areas of significant concern. Now that a number of significant problems have been identified, the Senate will work to find ways to correct them.

Dr. Puaca reported that the Administrator Review process is complete and ready for the faculty to offer their comments on the respective deans and the provost. He thanked President Trible for his support of this effort and Ms. Perry for helping to execute the process.

Dr. Puaca reported on his project to recognize the University’s past. With President Trible’s support, he worked on a project to recognize a remarkable community leader who also served Christopher Newport College. William Walker, Jr. lived on the land on Shoe lane where the Alumni House currently is situated. The area was home to a growing middle-class African American community that was dislocated by the decision of city officials to place CNC on this land. Mr. Walker represented the property owners and challenged city officials to locate the college elsewhere. Although he lost his battle, he eventually came to recognize the extraordinary contributions of the college to the local community and ending up serving on our Board of Visitors. In Mr. Walker’s honor, the lawn next to the Alumni House will be named Walker’s Green and a plaque will be installed on the site.

Dr. Puaca said that, although this is his last meeting as President of the Senate, he will continue one more year on the Faculty Senate. He announced that Dr. Tatiana Rizova has been elected the new Faculty Senate President. He thanked the Board for all of their work on behalf of the faculty and for making CNU such a special place.

Alumni Society Report

Ms. Terri McKnight was pleased to report that with a lot of hard work, the new simplified by-laws were successfully passed and they are now in line with the by-laws of the other foundations. She told the Board that a student alumni society had been created and they have planned the first Half-Way There pinning ceremony signifying that the sophomores are half way to becoming Captains for Life. Ms. McKnight said the senior class committee is hard at work planning for senior week and three reunions are planned this spring. There is also a memorial golf tournament to honor Mike Hogg just prior to the 10 year reunion and Sigma Pi is hosting a gathering at the Alumni House. Welcome Home events are scheduled throughout the summer to welcome the Class of 2019 to the regions they will now call home. Roanoke and Charlottesville recently held alumni leadership dinners as they start the process to become alumni chapters. Ms. McKnight said that the Lois Wright Cup award has been created which will be presented to the class with the highest annual giving percentage over the last five years. The cup is named on behalf of our first graduate, Lois Wright.

Mr. Millar said that the by-laws reflects a change in the alumni community from a decade ago. Now there are 60-80 applicants every year for few spots on the Board. In the early days there were no alumni chapters and alumni giving has risen from 7% participation to well over 20% participation. President Trible added that there is an exploding participation of our alumni in the life of the university and they are great champions and supporters. Scholarships remain the most important need of the university to help students who cannot afford to attend college. He acknowledged the strong support CNU received from Huntington Ingalls and Newport News Shipbuilding and Canon because of the leadership of this Board and said we are very grateful and those scholarships are going to extraordinary young people.

Rector Hatten asked Ms. McKnight to entertain a motion to enter closed session under Freedom of Information Act Section 2.2.3711(a)(1) Personnel, (a)(8) Gift Bequest and Fundraising and (a)(10) Honorary Degrees. Dr. Ward provided the motion, seconded by Mr. Morgan and the motion passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

The Board returned to open session and Secretary McKnight 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, Mr. Scott Millar, Ms. Terri McKnight, Mr. Brad Hunter, Mr. Bill Ermatinger, Mr. Steve Kast, Ms. Maria Herbert, Dr. Ella Ward, Sheriff Morgan, Ms. Wason, Ms. Kellye Walker and Mr. Bobby Hatten certified to the above.

The Board returned to open session and Chairman Hunter explained that Resolutions 2-7: Award of Emerita and Emeritus Status were reviewed and discussed by the Committee and are recommended to the Board for approval. Rector Hatten called for approval of Resolutions 2-7: Award of Emerita and Emeritus Status and the resolutions were approved by unanimous vote of the Board.

Sheriff Morgan made a motion to award an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree to our commencement speaker Suzanne Scheuble, as was discussed in closed session. Dr. Ward seconded the motion and the Board unanimously approved.

There being no further business the meeting was adjourned.

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