Board of Visitors

Board of Visitors Meeting April 16, 2021

Present from the Board

  • Ms. Regina P. Brayboy
  • Mr. William R. Ermatinger
  • Robert R. Hatten, Esq.
  • Ms. Maria Herbert
  • Mr. W. Bruce Jennings
  • Mr. Steven S. Kast
  • Ms. Terri M. McKnight, CPA
  • The Hon. Gabriel A. Morgan, Sr.
  • Ms. Christy T. Morton
  • Dr. Ella P. Ward
  • Ms. Judy Ford Wason

Absent from the Board

  • Mr. C. Bradford Hunter
  • Lindsey Carney Smith, Esq.
  • Mr. Junius Williams

From the University

  • Dr. David Doughty, Provost
  • Mrs. Jennifer Latour, Vice President for Finance and Planning and CFO
  • Mrs. Adelia Thompson, Acting Chief Executive Officer and Chief of Staff
  • Mrs. Beverley Mueller, Executive Assistant
  • Maureen Matsen, Esq., University Counsel
  • Dr. Lisa Duncan Raines, Vice President for Enrollment and Student Success
  • Dr. Kevin Hughes, Vice President of Student Affairs
  • Mr. Robert Lange, Dean of Admission
  • Mr. Keith Roots, Vice President for University Advancement
  • Ms. Christine Ledford, Vice President for Administration and Auxiliary Service
  • Mr. James Hanchett, Chief Communications Officer
  • Dr. Tatiana Rizova, Faculty Senate President
  • Ms. Lauren Janes, Student Government Association President
  • Ms. Cynthia Allen Whyte, Alumni Society President
  • Ms. Amie Dale, Executive Director of University Events and Special Projects
  • Ms. Michelle Erhardt, Associate Professor in Fine Art and Art History Department
  • Ms. Holly Koons, Executive Director of the Torggler Fine Arts Center
  • Ms. Sarah Herzog, Director of Planning and Budget
  • Matt Jones, Daily Press

Rector Hatten welcomed everyone present.

Rector Hatten called for a motion to approve the minutes of the February 12, 2021 meeting. Sheriff Morgan provided the motion, which was seconded by Ms. Wason and the minutes were approved by a unanimous vote of the Board. He then reviewed briefly the by-laws change that was presented at the last Board meeting regarding the Board’s Committee structure. Rector Hatten called for a motion to approve Resolution 1: Revisions to Board of Visitors By-Laws. Mr. Jennings provided the motion which was seconded by Ms. McKnight and it was approved by unanimous vote.

Rector Hatten then called for a motion to approve Resolution 2: Resolution of Appreciation for Douglas G. Davis. He reminded the Board this was also previously discussed at the last Board meeting. Mr. Kast provided the motion, seconded by Dr. Ward and it was passed by unanimous vote.

University Report

Ms. Thompson welcomed everyone – as the first official visitors – to the Mary M. Torggler Fine Arts Center. She announced that there would be a soft opening for the Center next Friday and then, in mid-September, we will launch our 60th anniversary year and hold the official gala opening of the Center. Next, she introduced the new Executive Director of the Torggler Center, Holly Koons, who shared her enthusiasm for the center and her gratitude for being given the opportunity to be a part of this marvelous institution.

Ms. Thompson then recognized Dr. Michelle Erhardt, Associate Professor in Fine Art and Art History. She said that Dr. Erhardt, in addition to her teaching and research, has served with the President and Mr. Brauer full-time on envisioning and planning the Fine Arts Center. She thanked her for her enthusiasm and tireless commitment.

Ms. Thompson provided an update on Mrs. Trible stating that she continues to battle her autoimmune muscular disease and they are encouraged by her response to her infusions thus far. She told the Board how much President and Mrs. Trible appreciate the outpouring of support from the Christopher Newport family and beyond.

On topic of COVID-19, Ms. Thompson was pleased to report that our numbers have dropped since the last Board meeting and continue to remain low. She said that the vaccine clinic which has been running on our campus since January will continue through the end of April at which time more than 25,000 members of the Peninsula community will have received the vaccine. That number includes members of our faculty and staff and plans are in place to vaccinate our students. She thanked Ms. Amie Dale, Executive Director of University Events and Ms. Tammy Sommer, Director of Emergency Management, for their extraordinary operational leadership of this clinic.

Ms. Thompson said that the University continues to be in a sound financial position due to the support of the Commonwealth and federal government. She said that the General Assembly appropriated a 5% pay increase for all faculty and staff staring July 1. She said that since last summer we have received nearly $10 million to address the impact of COVID-19 and are expecting to receive another $7 million from the Biden American Rescue Plan Act. Most of that money will go to our students who have been affected by the virus and the remaining funds have been utilized for housing and dining rebates, increased sanitation supplies, technology hardware and some of those monies will be used to offset the losses in revenues for housing and dining. Ms. Thompson said that due to these state and federal infusions, the University will recommend to the Board that tuition, fees, room and board for all undergraduate and graduate students be frozen.

She said that our Chief Officer for Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Dr. Angela Spranger has worked hard to begin programming and Ms. Thompson thanked Sheriff Morgan, Chair of the President’s Council for Diversity and Inclusion and Ms. Maria Herbert, who also serves on the Council for their support of the University’s strategic plan for Diversity and Inclusion.

The admission deadline is May 1 and predictions are difficult this year, reported Ms. Thompson. However, the academic profile of our applicants and admitted students is strong. She said the first cohort of Community Captains will graduate in June and out of the 79 students in this group, 50 have applied to Christopher Newport.

Massive testing protocols have been in place since January for our athletes required by the NCAA and our students have been competing this spring. In February we began offering practice and competitions for all of our student-athletes. Also, our conference, Coast-to-Coast and the NCAA will sponsor championships for Division III this spring. Ms. Thompson said that we hope to return to a full athletic schedule in the fall.

Ms. Thompson was pleased to report that according to new rankings the Trible Library is the best college library in Virginia and the Luter School of Business has been ranked among the best in the nation. The Luter School was also ranked 19 in the nation in a list of the Best Bachelor’s Degrees in Business. She also reported that our students have done well this year. Emily Hewett was named Bachelor of Social Work Student of the Year and physics majors, Audrey Lawton and Zach Meador, have been awarded fellowships with the Center for Nuclear Femtography.

Ms. Thompson told the Board that plans are underway for Commencement celebrations – in-person – for both the class of 2020 and 2021. She also said that the Ferguson Center is beginning to book single artists for the fall and expects to have a full spectrum of shows for the holidays and Broadway shows return in January.

CNU Day 2021 was a huge success as it was our first $1 million CNU Day, Ms. Thompson said. Also, she shared we are getting close to our fundraising goal and that our alumni participation climbed by more than 2%.

Rector Hatten thanked Ms. Thompson for her audacious and competent leadership and said that, as Rector, he was very proud of the accomplishments that she is achieving for the University and thanked her for her skills as she is assuming her responsibilities.

Sheriff Morgan added that Ms. Thompson did a fantastic job of delivering her report. He said that tuition is going to be held and that a great deal of effort from the entire staff to try to make tuition affordable where other schools have raised tuition and he thanked Ms. Thompson, Ms. Latour and the entire team for their efforts.

Finance and Audit and Building and Grounds Report

Rector Hatten called on Chairman Jennings for the committee meeting report. Mr. Jennings noted that this was a joint meeting of Finance and Audit and Building and Grounds. Ms. Latour provided the committee with the FY21 budget updates and reported that all fund sources are stable and the University is in a sound financial position. Ms. Latour reviewed the actions of the General Assembly and said that approximately $4.5 million will be received by the University. In addition, the University has received significant federal COVID relief funds.

Ms. Ledford gave an update on current capital projects and said that all is going well on the construction front. Mr. Jennings said that the search for an internal auditor is going forward and interviews will be conducted soon. Ms. Belote reviewed the admission audit report and the 13 open audit points will be completed in the near future. He said that the auditors were pleased with the alignment of our new committee structure and complimented all of our efforts.

Mr. Jennings said the committee reviewed the tuition and fees resolution and the recommendation of a zero increase in tuition, fees, room and board. Although these are difficult times, it is the right thing to do this year. Mr. Jennings said that Resolution 3: FY22 Tuition and Fees and Room and Board comes to the full Board at the recommendation of the committee.

Rector Hatten joined Sherriff Morgan in congratulating the University for being able to present this recommendation to provide education to our students with no additional cost. He also thanked President Trible for his efforts earlier in the year working with the members of the General Assembly to advocate for the University so that we received millions of dollars to make sure the needs of CNU were met.

After calling for discussion, Rector Hatten called for a vote on Resolution 3 and it was approved by unanimous vote of the Board

Academic Affairs

Rector Hatten asked Ms. Herbert to provide the Academic Affairs Committee report. Ms. Herbert said that in spite of COVID-19, many milestones had been reached this year. She reported that there are currently 286 faculty members and 23% of those are not on the tenure track and our long term goal is 25%. She said that several new areas of study have been added to the curriculum. Provost Doughty reported that the major in kinesiology has begun and this is the first year for the leadership major. Provost Doughty also reported that our first class of Masters of Financial Analysis students will graduate this May. He said that 4 new labs were created to support our students study and research.

Dr. Doughty reported that the College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences has signed four new agreements. Two are 4+1 programs with Virginia Tech where our graduates can move into their Masters of Engineering Programs in Computer Engineering and Computer Science. The other two are with VCU. One is for admission to the medical school and a second is for two interns a year to work with the Pauley Heart Center. He also said our research programs continue to flourish and the current total for grants awarded is $2.4 million, with $3.6 million still pending even during this pandemic.

He reported to the Board that faculty member Ryan Fisher won the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development award. He said this is the most prestigious award to support the early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education.

Provost Doughty said the new name – The Wason Center for Civic Leadership – reflects our additional focus on civic leadership. The Wason Center has been ranked the best polling center in Virginia. Harry and Judy Wason encouraged the University to expand the role of the Wason Center to encourage students to pursue a major in adjunct leadership and create scholarships for these students. Scholarships have been added for incoming freshmen and the new center will bring in distinguished and emerging leaders to talk to our students and work with our students through some of the controversial issues of the day.

Dr. Doughty said that obviously our study abroad programs were struck hard by the pandemic but we still hope to be able to send our Presidential Scholars to Oxford late this summer. However, next year, during the spring and summer terms, there are 20 trips planned for our students to the UK, South Africa and Iceland to mention a few.

In addition, he said that our student’s community service hours are also down due to the pandemic. Typically, our students amass over 100,000 service hours with about 250 students graduating with Service Distinction. He is proud to say, that during this difficult and challenging year, we will still have 230 students graduating with this honor. He thanked the staff in the Center for Community Engagement for their hard work creating virtual service opportunities for our students.

Rector Hatten said that the service component of the students’ experience speaks volumes about the University and applauded Dr. Doughty, the faculty and students for providing such a good example.

Student Life

Chairman Morgan said the committee had a very good meeting and he can’t say enough about the student life team of student Kevin Hughes, Rob Lange and Lisa Duncan Raines. He said they are phenomenal at what they do to bring and keep these students here even in the times of COVID.

Mr. Lange, Dean of Admission, said that we are approaching the May 1 application deadline and we are experiencing a delay in applications and enrollment, as are all universities due to the pandemic. He said that each and every application is cause for celebration. The admissions office has been creative in providing ways to engage prospective students and their families virtually and in-person. For example, the admission team and others across campus hosted a drive-in movie style admission presentation in Northern Virginia with over 200 participants. He said it has been very helpful to be able to expand in-person visits to 10 people. Mr. Lange reported that the academic profile of our applicants and admitted students to date, are very strong and almost all of these students were interviewed. He reported recruitment for the 2022 class has already begun.

Dr. Lisa Duncan Raines reported on student support services offered this semester and plans for the summer. She said students are taking advantage of the resources we are offering in-person and virtually and tutoring was up 5% this semester. There will be summer tutoring with limited offerings in the language and STEM areas. Also, this summer, a pilot program for new first generation college students will in in place. It will span 6 weeks and will focus on acclimating those students to the college environment. She said there has been concern about job opportunities and internships because of COVID but employers are hosting more virtual opportunities and student participation is increasing. To enhance internship and career opportunities, a micro-internship pilot program has been created and currently 329 applications have been received. Dr. Raines reported that over 1200 degrees will be awarded this academic year and we will be hosting commencement experiences for both the class of 2020 and 2021. She said that in preparation for summer and fall enrollment, advising is being finalized and we are in the midst of summer and fall registration.

Dr. Kevin Hughes said that although it has been a difficult year, it has been one of our finest years. He said that we adopted a very conservative yet balanced approach to our response to the pandemic and are poised to successfully complete the 2020-2021 academic year and he credited the students for this result.

After the highest surge of positive cases in February (125 students), within two weeks we were in the single digits in the number of cases and have remained in single digits for 4 of the last 5 weeks. He said that we are making testing modifications and embarked on screening for athletes and enhanced testing through the on-campus clinic. We are not going to require everyone to get tested before they leave campus and they will have options if they wish to do so and we will assist.

He said that President Trible was very clear about wanting to be a good community partner and about helping the Christopher Newport family to become vaccinated. He said that over 2000 students have now received at least one vaccination through the clinic on campus and over 900 faculty and staff have received at least one dose. Dr. Hughes said that Ms. Amie Dale and Tammy Sommer are to be given a huge credit for their efforts in establishing and running this clinic. He said that although many people are being vaccinated, CNU is still taking a conservative approach and continues to require masks, social distancing and limits the numbers for social gatherings. Dr. Hughes said that even with the pandemic, because of the efforts of our faculty and staff, our students have been able to have the CNU experience and engage in key events and leadership and service opportunities.

Dr. Hughes said that the events team was putting forth very creative ways to hold our 2020 and 2021 commencement experiences. Dr. Hughes explained how our key traditions will be celebrated in-person and the graduates will have their names called and will walk across the stage and their families can participate in these events as well.

Ms. Lauren Janes, Student Government President, said that she was very excited about the vaccination clinic being held on campus and that our students would be able to participate. She said the SGA was engaged in plans for the upcoming year and there was a successful election and that Ms. Mary Romanello is the incoming President.

Ms. Cynthia Allen Whyte, Alumni Society President, said that CNU Day was a huge success and that every state was represented. This year, special items were designed and sold for the CNC-era graduates. She was pleased to report that the alumni chapters are making plans for in-person gatherings in the upcoming year. The alumni social media pages highlighted a number of our alumni during Black History Month and Women’s History Month. She announced that Dr. Kip Redick won the 2020 Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring Award.

Dr. Tatiana Rizova, Faculty Senate President, said that the faculty appreciates the extraordinary work of everyone during the very difficult conditions during the pandemic. She said that the faculty continue to work, conduct research, engage and inspire our students. Dr. Rizova said the faculty are very appreciative of the support for faculty research and were grateful for the granting of 4 sabbaticals this year. She said they are reviewing applications for faculty development grants for this semester and have a number of applications for the faculty excellence award. She expressed the faculty’s gratitude for being included in multiple working groups to take part in discussions and collaborate with the administration during this crisis. Dr. Rizova said the faculty are also appreciative of the discussions regarding the modifications to the annual evaluations. And, the lesson she has learned from this past year is that the level of forming trust has been amplified as we work together during challenging times.

Rector Hatten said that on behalf of the entire Board, the faculty has earned their trust and expressed the Board’s appreciation to all of the faculty for their quick response to the COVID crises and their willingness to engage our students in person and for their extraordinary efforts to keeping our campus safe. He then called for a motion to recognize the faculty with a resolution from the Board to be presented at a future date. Sheriff Morgan provided the motion which was seconded by Dr. Ward and passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

Secretary McKnight called for a motion to enter closed session under Freedom of Information Act Section 2.2-3711(a)(1) Personnel; and (a)(9) Gifts, Bequests and Fundraising. Mr. Jennings provided the motion, seconded by Ms. Wason and the motion was 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. All Board members present, certified to the above by roll call.

Rector Hatten called for a vote to approve Resolutions 4-10 Award of Emerita and Emeritus Status which all come as a recommendation of the Academic Affairs Committee and Resolutions 4-10 were passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

Rector Hatten called for a motion to increase President Trible’s state salary to $149,825 due to Governor Northam unfreezing a previously appropriated state increase and to increase the corresponding non-state salary supplement to $301,109, for a total of $450,934 effective April 1, 2021 as discussed. Mr. Jennings provided the motion, seconded by Ms. McKnight and the motion passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

There being no further business the meeting was adjourned.

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