Board of Visitors Meeting June 11, 2021 - Board of Visitors - Christopher Newport University

Board of Visitors

Board of Visitors Meeting June 11, 2021

The Board of Visitors met on June 11, 2021 at noon in the Ballroom of the David Student Union with Rector Bobby Hatten presiding.

Present from the Board

  • Ms. Regina P. Brayboy
  • Mr. William R. Ermatinger
  • Robert R. Hatten, Esq.
  • Ms. Maria Herbert
  • Mr. C. Bradford Hunter
  • Mr. W. Bruce Jennings
  • Mr. Steven S. Kast
  • Ms. Terri M. McKnight, CPA
  • The Hon. Gabriel A. Morgan, Sr.
  • Ms. Christy T. Morton
  • Lindsey Carney Smith, Esq.
  • Ms. Judy Ford Wason
  • Mr. Junius H. Williams, Jr.

Absent from the Board

  • Dr. Ella P. Ward

From the University

  • Mrs. Adelia Thompson, Acting Chief Executive Officer and Chief of Staff
  • Dr. David Doughty, Provost
  • Mrs. Jennifer Latour, Vice President for Finance and Planning and CFO
  • Ms. Christine Ledford, Vice President for Administration and Auxiliary Service
  • Mr. Keith Roots, Vice President for University Advancement
  • 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
  • Ms. Mary Romanello, Student Government Association President
  • Dr. Rachel Holland, Faculty Senate President
  • Ms. Amie Dale, Executive Director of University Events and Special Projects
  • Ms. Jane Heeter, University Storyteller/Writer

Rector Hatten welcomed everyone present and introduced the new Faculty Senate President, Dr. Rachel Holland and the new Student Government Association President, Ms. Mary Romanello.

Rector Hatten announced the following appointments: Lindsey Carney Smith and Judy Wason will serve on the Real Estate Foundation, Terri McKnight and Brad Hunter will serve on the Education Foundation, Terri McKnight and Judy Wason will serve on the Investment Committee and Maria Herbert and Christy Morton will serve on the Alumni Society Board.

Rector Hatten called forward Drs. Jana Adamitis and Rachel Holland and Director of Human Resources, Ashleigh Andrews, and Dr. Tatiana Rizova joined by phone--for the presentation of RESOLUTION 1: Resolution of Appreciation to the faculty and staff of Christopher Newport for their work, dedication and commitment during the pandemic (Voted for and unanimously approved at the April 16 Board meeting). He read the resolution and presented a framed copy.

Rector Hatten called for a motion to approve the minutes of the April 16, 2021 meeting. Sheriff Morgan provided the motion and it was seconded by Ms. Christy Morton and the minutes were approved by a unanimous vote of the Board. He then reviewed the actions of the Executive Committee’s May 27, 2021 meeting and called for a motion to approve the minutes. Sheriff Morgan provided the motion and they were approved by unanimous vote of the Board.

University Report

Ms. Thompson greeted everyone and began with an update on Rosemary Trible’s health condition. Mrs. Trible is making good progress and Ms. Thompson noted that both President and Mrs. Trible are excited to return in mid-August to lead the University into its 60th year.

Ms. Thompson provided an update on COVID-19 mitigation and vaccinations noting that due to the new student vaccination requirement and that 90% of our faculty and staff have been vaccinated, we will be able to resume many, if not most, of our normal operations for the fall semester. She noted that currently, we have been able to adjust our protocols so that vaccinated individuals no longer have to wear masks indoors, or out on campus or remain physically distanced, that campus will re-open to the public on July 6, and that our plant operations teams will begin “re-densifying” all of our classrooms once our summer term classes are complete.

She said life is returning to normal with the admission team traveling, the Torggler Center and athletics programs are hosting summer camps for kids, the Ferguson Center is operating once again at full capacity and our staff and faculty are now meeting in person again.

Ms. Thompson reported that enrollment is close to normal levels for academic year 2020-2021, and we celebrated record numbers of students in our summer programs for both last summer and this year. As of today, there are 1,056 new student commitments and that number is climbing. Of those students, 25% are students of color; 8% are black or African American – both of those percentages are increases over last year’s freshman class – and nearly 400 of our freshmen are in the President’s Leadership Program. Ms. Thompson said that 1,200 students graduated in May and for those who graduated in 2002, 93% are either employed full-time or enrolled in graduate school.

The number of returning students thus far is encouraging, however, it is uncertain if the vaccine requirement will have any negative impact. She also said that freshman retention is strong, our graduate enrollment is running about even with last year, and our new transfer numbers are tracking close to the past.

Ms. Thompson also provided an update on the Community Captains program noting that 19 of the students from the first cohort will be attending Christopher Newport this fall and there was a celebration of their completion of the program. She offered special thanks to Rector Hatten who was the keynote speaker, and to Provost Doughty who helped forge ahead on this amazing partnership. She further said that work is underway by Dr. Spranger and Mr. Jones to welcome Cohort 2 to the campus and recruitment of the third cohort is underway.

Ms. Thompson said that due to a number of factors including COVID that impact our recruitment effort, Christopher Newport has engaged the service of an outside agency to help us revisit and refresh our enrollment marketing efforts.

Ms. Thompson reported that throughout fiscal year 2020-2021, CNU maintained fiscal strength in spite of the financial effect of the pandemic, thanks to the consistent enrollments, holding tight on hiring and expenses, the successful mitigation of the virus on campus and to federal and state emergency financial assistance, however, the building and balancing of next fiscal year’s $178 million-dollar budget is unlike any in our recent history.

Ms. Thompson said that will achieve $5 million in fundraising this year, far surpassing the goal of $4 million. She also said that alumni participation is at 14% and the goal is 15%.

Dr. Angela Spranger, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, is completing her first year of working with colleagues across the campus to ensure that inclusive excellence is embraced by all of us. Partnership with area corporations have led to new internship, scholarship and job opportunities for our students. Launching in the next few days – a series of four “ramp up” messages will be sent to faculty and staff to help prepare us all for the new education program beginning in the fall through LinkedIn Learning. Ms. Thompson thanked Sheriff Morgan, who chairs the Council on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Ms. Herbert for their leadership and time investment serving on this Council. 

Ms. Thompson said that that construction of the fine arts center is complete and a new Executive Director has been hired and plans for a grand opening are underway. In addition, the fountain between the DSU and Trible Library will be complete by the start of classes and the renovation of Ratcliffe is underway.

Ms. Thompson reported that the first class from the Masters in Financial Analysis program graduated in May 2021, we remain dedicated to our Tech Talent Investment Program (TTIP) commitment, our STEM graduation rate increased from 29 percent in 2020 to 32 percent in 2021. Additionally, our students continued to serve our community in remarkable ways. In spite of the limited in-person opportunities they provided nearly 60,000 hours of support for non-profits organizations throughout Hampton Roads, the Commonwealth and around the country.

Ms. Thompson complimented and thanked Ms. Dale and her University Events team for successfully implementing creative commencement celebrations for the Classes of 2020 and 2021 which made our graduates and their families feel celebrated and honored.

Ms. Thompson highlighted recent athletic accomplishments and noted that CNU was able to compete in every sport this spring and six programs advanced to tournament play.

The Ferguson Center is now being fully utilized with the Virginia Symphony holding performances this spring, musical labs taking place and a series of Broadway bound shows in development where professional teams from New York will work with our students and our friends and supporters can see the shows in progress and meet the New York guests.

The Mary M. Torggler Fine Arts Center is preparing for nearly 300 children to attend six weeks of summer camps, the inaugural exhibition is in the final planning stages – installation will begin mid-August and sponsorships are being sought now for this exhibit and for the Center’s programs moving forward.

Ms. Thompson brought her remarks to a close with a special thank you to Rector Hatten, and to the Board for their support over the last 18 months especially since President Trible’s sabbatical. Rector Hatten gave his thanks and praise to Ms. Thompson for stepping into her role as Acting President and for the very good job that she is doing.

Finance and Facilities Report

Chairman Jennings reviewed the FY22 Budget Presentation that Ms. Latour provided in the committee meeting. He said that the budget is $178.1 million and balances several key revenue and cost drivers and is slightly higher than our current year's budget due to the net effect of a significant infusion of state general funds, federal stimulus funds, the retirement restructuring of debt service and a reduction in student enrollment. He noted that this is the fourth year that the University has held tuition level.

Chairman Jennings said the Commonwealth’s share of the university’s budget is approximately $49 million and the General Assembly provided more one-time funds of nearly $1 million for next year to address cost increases and the state’s share of the 5% salary increases. He also said that President Trible had great success in Richmond obtaining monies to operate the Torggler Fine Arts Center.

He said that student financial aid continues to grow with fund sources from the state, the university and federal stimulus funds bringing the financial aid program’s budget for FY22 to over $13 million. He noted this does not include monies from private sources.

Christopher Newport has received more than $17.5 million in federal stimulus funds with $11 million allocated for institutional use and the remainder to student aid. The institutional funds are used for partially offsetting the housing and dining rebates last spring and for housing and dining revenue shortfalls this year. A portion of the funding is being used to partially allocate to the E&G budget in FY22.

Chairman Jennings referenced the committee report given by Ms. Ledford on operations, capital projects and the status of our SWaM efforts. Mr. Jennings was pleased with the performance of our SWaM program noting we are 41.2% of our 42% goal, far exceeding the Commonwealth at 29.6%.

Chairman Jennings said that Resolution 2: FY22 Operating Budget came to the Board at the recommendation of the committee. After calling for discussion, Rector Hatten called for a vote on Resolution 2 and it was approved by unanimous vote of the Board.  

Audit, Operations and Risk

Chairwoman McKnight provided an overview of the responsibilities of this newly formed committee and reported that the committee received the results of the FY20 audit from the Auditor of Public Accounts (APA). She said the auditors were complimentary of our finance and IT teams and how well the audit process went. Ms. McKnight said that the AP issued an Unqualified Opinion on our FY20 financial statements which will be emailed to the Board.

The APA will also issue a separate report on internal controls and compliance and it will state that they were able to obtain a sufficient understanding of the internal controls and the audit to determine the nature, timing and extent of the substantive test work. The audit did not identify any material weaknesses within the design of internal controls. She noted that the one significant deficiency regarding information system access removal for terminated employees had seen progress and improvement. In regard to the internal control over financial reporting there were no significant audit adjustments, no evidence of fraud or illegal acts or unusual transactions and no material adjustments to accounting.

Chairwoman McKnight said the Committee received a report from Internal Auditor, Ms. Faith Belote, who reviewed the annual risk assessment and risk-based audit plan.

The Committee also received a report from Mr. Andrew Crawford, Chief Information Technology Officer, who reviewed the IT organizational structure, cybersecurity efforts and controls against malware and ransomware. She also thanked the IT department for how they seamlessly were able to help pivot the university to work in a remote environment and keep everybody safe.

Academic Affairs

Chairman Hunter began by announcing that three-degree programs -- Sociology, Communication, and Biology -- were all ranked in the top 35 in the nation by, with Biology being ranked eighth overall and number one in Virginia. He also shared other good news that two CNU students are recipients of scholarships from the National Honor Society.

With regard to faculty, Chairman Hunter reported that the faculty searches are trending toward 283 faculty members, which is right on target with our new adjusted goals for faculty size for this year.

Chairman Hunter said there is also good news to report on the Amazon initiative. This year 80 students graduated with degrees in Computer Science and Computer Engineering, well ahead of the commitment that we made.

He reported that Barbara Kellerman, a distinguished scholar, author and speaker will serve as a visiting leadership scholar for the spring. She will meet with small groups of students and will give a series of lectures on leadership and followership.

Chairman Hunter said the Study Abroad Program was rebounding with a group going to Italy this summer and the Glasgow program will return in the spring.

Also rebounding, he noted is the Summer Scholars program which has 60 students assisting faculty members with their research and summer enrollment has increased by almost 60% when compared to FY19.

Chairman Hunter reiterated the Committee’s delight at the success of the Community Captains program and gave a special thanks to Provost Doughty and the rest of the team that has been supporting this effort.

Student Life

Sheriff Morgan applauded Ms. Amie Dale for the amazing job she did with the two commencement ceremonies.

Chairman Morgan said that Mr. Lange was doing an excellent job at recruiting new students and asked him to provide an admission report. Mr. Lange said that currently there are 1,057 admitted freshmen and the class has an average GPA of 3.8 and SAT of 1220. He reported that almost 400 students are in the President’s Leadership Program, 103 in the Honors Program, 83 of which are also in PLP. The academic profile of these students is an average 4.0 GPA and 1300 SAT for PLP and 4.3 GPA and 1395 SAT for Honors.

Mr. Lange continued by outlining the challenges presented by yield and is thankful that we are back to doing what we do best by showing off our campus and culture. Admission is opening for more in-person tours, interviews and events and is hitting the road again to recruit in person. He also reported on a new initiative with 3E that will provide external expertise to modernize our comprehensive marketing communication plan and is looking forward to being able to report on that progress in the next meeting.

Dr. Kevin Hughes continued the student life report with an update on COVID. The last positive case on campus was reported on April 11 and since that time, our numbers have remained at zero. He unscored that we're prepared to respond to COVID-related situations during the summer months and will respond to changing conditions on campus and in the Commonwealth.

Dr. Hughes said there have been mixed reactions to the vaccination requirement but many have been positive. For those with concern, it has been explained the decision stands. For the unvaccinated student, they must wear masks indoors and be subjected to up to two COVID tests per week.

Dr. Hughes continued his report by talking about the magical commencement experience. He recognized the University Events team for the special experience that they created and said the general sentiment is, please don't go back to the old way. Dr. Hughes finished by reporting that they are excited to welcome the Class of 2025 for Setting Sail and the Leadership Adventure Program.

Dr. Lisa Duncan Raines began her report reiterating their process of continuous improvement and reviewing the metrics of the graduating class. The class of 2020 had almost 1,200 graduates and the class of 2021 was right at 1,200 graduates. For the Class of 2021, a third were Latin Honors, 13% were legacies and that number has been steady, if not increasing. For the Class of 2020, at their six month survey, over 93% reported that they were employed full time or in graduate school.

Dr. Raines said that faculty and staff have put in extra effort and commitment to support and encourage our students during this unique time. She said preparations are underway to assist our freshman class and welcome the returning students. Many support programs are in place including the Launch program for freshmen, programs to transition first generation college students to the university environment and training of our tutors, among other initiatives.

Dr. Raines finished with a report on the vaccine portal for students and said 20% are now in compliance.

Chairman Morgan congratulated the University team on the amazing job they have done to meet and exceed their goals.  

Faculty Senate Report

Dr. Rachel Holland, the incoming Faculty Senate President, introduced herself to the Board of Visitors giving a brief biographical overview, introduced the members of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee. Dr. Holland thanked the Board of Visitors for the incredible commitment, supporting and encouraging faculty endeavors and their recognition and commendation of the incredible work during the pandemic. She also noted that they were incredibly grateful for the salary increases.

Looking forward, Dr. Holland reports that the Senate Executive Committee is working on crafting their agenda for the upcoming year incorporating lessons from the past year, moving forward and forging a community that supports and embraces diverse experiences and perspectives. They are committed to understanding how the pandemic has impacted work life for faculty, particularly in areas of service and research and the disparate impact on primary caregivers.

She said the Senate will gather and examine data to ascertain the extent of the impact and reimagine ways to encourage contributions of our faculty. Furthermore, the faculty are committed to understanding the changing needs of our students and helping them move forward after 18 months of adjusted experience.

In addition to the other reports given, Rector Hatten gave an overview of what happened at Commencement and offered his perspective into the unique experience noting that the reason that all the parents and students want us to repeat this style in the future instead of the traditional format is that it was so personal.

Student Government Report

Ms. Romanello thanked the Board for having her at the meeting and began by addressing the general student response to the vaccination requirement. She said that the students are appreciative of it and largely believe that it is necessary for the safety and wellbeing of our Captains and our local community.

She provided several announcements about upcoming campus events, and said that the Residence Hall Association is working with the administration to improve campus safety by improving the lighting on campus. She said the SGA is continuing their efforts for having an open dialogue across departments and organizations and placing students on important councils and boards.

Rector Hatten asked Secretary McKnight to read the language for closed session. 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. Sheriff Morgan provided the motion, seconded by Mr. Jennings 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. Mr. Williams, Ms. Lindsey Carney Smith, Ms. Herbert, Mr. Jennings, Ms. McKnight, Sheriff Morgan, Ms. Morton, Mr. Kast, Ms. Ford, Rector Hatten, Mr. Hunter, Mr. Ermatinger and Ms. Brayboy certified to the above.

Rector Hatten concluded the meeting by thanking Mr. Jennings, Ms. Wason, and Mr. Williams for their service on the Board over the past four years.

There being no further business the meeting was adjourned.

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