Board of Visitors Meeting September 16, 2022 - Board of Visitors - Christopher Newport University

Board of Visitors

Board of Visitors Meeting September 16, 2022

Present from the Board

  • The Hon. Richard S. Bray
  • Ms. Regina P. Brayboy
  • Lindsey Carney Smith, Esq.
  • Mr. Robert R. Hatten, Esq.
  • Mr. Steven S. Kast
  • Mr. John R. Lawson, II
  • Ms. Terri M. McKnight, CPA
  • Ms. Kelli Purdy Meadows, CPA, CCIF
  • Ms. Christy T. Morton
  • Mr. C. Larry Pope
  • LTC (R) Boris G. Robinson
  • Dr. Lee Vreeland
  • Ms. Judy Ford Wason

Absent from the Board

  • Mr. Sean D. Miller

Present from the University

  • Mr. Bruce Bronstein, Interim Chief Communications Officer
  • Dr. Bob Colvin, Interim Chief of Staff
  • Ms. Amie Dale, Liaison to the Board of Visitors
  • Dr. Rachel Holland, Faculty Senate President
  • Dr. Kevin Hughes, Vice President of Student Affairs
  • Dr. Quentin Kidd, Provost
  • Mr. Tom Kramer, Government Relations Liaison
  • Mr. Rob Lange, Dean of Admission
  • Ms. Jennifer Latour, Vice President for Finance and Planning and CFO
  • Ms. Christine Ledford, Vice President for Administration and Auxiliary Service
  • Mr. Brandon Jones, Director of Community Captains and Program Outreach
  • Maureen Matsen, Esq., University Counsel
  • Ms. Kelley McGee-Sousa
  • Michelle Moody, Esq., Director of Title IX and EO
  • Dr. Lisa Duncan Raines, Vice President for Enrollment and Student Success
  • Mr. Keith Roots, Vice President for University Advancement
  • Ms. Celine Rosario, Student Government Association President
  • Ms. Adelia Thompson, Interim President

Call to Order and Welcome: Rector Bobby Hatten

At 12:07 p.m., Rector Hatten welcomed everyone present and introduced new Board members Richard Bray, John Lawson, Kelli Meadows, Larry Pope and Boris Robinson and he then called on each new member to introduce themselves to the Board. He continued the introductions by calling on the rest of the board, faculty and staff at the table.

For the first order of business, Rector Hatten began the process of electing the new officers. The nominating committee, made of up of Rector Hatten, Judy Wason, Steve Kast and chaired by former board member Bill Ermatinger, recommended the following slate of officers to serve for the 2022-2024 term pursuant to the By-Laws of the Board of Visitors, Article V, Section 1:

  • Rector: Lindsey Carney Smith, Esq.
  • Vice Rector: Ms. Terri M. McKnight
  • Secretary: Ms. Christy T. Morton

The Rector called for nominations from the floor. Upon hearing no other nominations, he called for a motion to elect the slate of officers by acclamation. Ms. Judy Wason provided the motion and the officers were elected unanimously.

The Rector offered congratulations to the new officers and provided a heartfelt thank you to the administration, faculty, students and all of who have been a great source of inspiration. He reflected on the successes and challenges during his rectorship and ‘specifically’ thanked Interim President Thompson for answering the call to serve both during the President’s sabbatical and now, in the transition year.

Following his closing remarks as Rector of the Board, Rector Bobby Hatten officially turned the gavel over to the new Rector, Lindsey Carney Smith to assume her duties as Rector. Rector Carney Smith graciously accepted the gavel and offered thanks and kind words to Mr. Hatten in honor of his faithful service to Christopher Newport. Rector Carney Smith provided a welcome to the board noting how humbled and honored she is to serve with and beside everyone in the room.

On behalf of everyone at Christopher Newport, Interim President Thompson offered deepest thanks for Mr. Hatten’s service to the University during some of the most challenging years the University has ever faced. She continued that we are also grateful that he will continue to serve on the board for the final year of his term and lead the Presidential search efforts. She then asked Board Liaison Amie Dale to present Mr. Hatten with a plaque commemorating his service as Rector.

Approval of Minutes: Rector Lindsey Carney Smith

Rector Carney Smith called for a motion to approve the minutes of the June 29, 2022 board meeting. Vice Rector McKnight provided the motion, which was seconded by Secretary Morton and the minutes were approved by a unanimous vote of the Board.

Rector Carney Smith called for a motion from the new board members to approve the minutes of the August 8, 2022 new board member orientation. Mr. Lawson provided the motion, which was seconded by Mr. Robinson and the minutes were approved by a unanimous vote of the new board members.

The Rector concluded her opening remarks and called on Interim President Adelia Thompson to give her report.

President's Report: Interim President Adelia Thompson

Interim President Thompson welcomed everyone into the new academic year, offered another word of thanks to former rector Hatten and congratulated Rector Carney Smith, Vice Rector McKnight and Secretary Morton and the new board members on their new positions noting that the dedication, strength and vision that they will bring to this board is critical as it makes the most important decision for this University in more than two and a half decades by choosing a new president.

She also offered a word of thanks to, and for, now Chancellor Paul Trible commenting that the University is grateful that he remains engaged with us as we work with the leaders in Richmond, recruit new students for PLP, celebrate the 25th anniversary year of the PLP program, and continue to work to strengthen our NCAA Division III athletic conference.

Interim President Thompson then invited Athletic Director Kyle McMullin, Head Softball Coach Keith Parr, and Assistant Coach Savannah Couch to stand to be recognized and show off their hard-won NCAA Division III Softball championship trophy. The Board offered their congratulations and applause.

Interim President Thompson continued with University updates announcing the latest rankings and covering key areas of focus at the University:


  • Princeton Review – Christopher Newport is ranked among the nation’s elite universities in four important areas:
    • Making an Impact - #4
    • Internships - #5
    • Best College Dorms - #7
    • Most Engaged in Public Service - #13
  • The Chronicle of Higher Education Almanac – Ranked 12th in the country among public colleges and universities for best 4-year graduation rates.
    • 12 out of over 100 highly residential 4-year public institutions in the mix.
  • U.S. News and World Report – Ranks Christopher Newport #5 among all the public AND private southern universities, and #2 among Public Regional Universities in the South.
    • The only school ahead of Christopher Newport is the Citadel.

Admission: The incoming first year class has 1,161 students – ahead of the projected class size, 15% ahead of last year, and beating the class in 2020. The incoming class is composed of students from 22 states and 2 foreign countries, 28% of the class are students of color – making them the most racially diverse class in the modern Christopher Newport era – and 153 students are legacies. Interim President Thompson offered thanks to Dean Rob Lange and the incredible team in Admission for the amazing job they have done reclaiming our Admission footing after COVID’s slippery slope.

Enrollment and Student Success: The findings of the annual survey of recent graduates showed one of the highest post-graduation outcomes ever reported–for the class of 2021, after being out of school for six months, over 96% of our students reported a post-graduation outcome of either full time employment or graduate school. The good news continued with an update on the Community Captains programs noting that Cohort 1 has had a 95% retention rate, Cohort 2 has begun their first year as college students, Cohort 3 is in their senior year of high school, Cohort 4 are juniors and recruitment of the fifth cohort has begun. She thanked the Commonwealth of Virginia, Mr. Hatten, the City of Newport News, An Achievable Dream, under Dr. Lee Vreeland’s leadership, and the many other private donors who have stepped forward to make sure the Community Captains are successful.

Academic Affairs: On the accreditation front, this is the year for the 5th Year Interim Report for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and work is well under way for that process. The Interim President also highlighted a key structural change over the summer in academic departments: the department of Theater and Dance and the department of Music have integrated into a single Department of Performing Arts.

Athletics: In addition to two national championships, two Elite Eight appearances, and two sweet sixteen appearances, CNU finished in the top 4% of all Division III institutions last year and nearly 60% of all student-athletes earned a GPA of 3.0 or better and half of those had better than a 3.5.

Human Resources: In updating the Board on the comprehensive compensation study of Classified and Wage employees, Interim President Thompson shared that the study found that we are competitive with the majority of our positions, but we still have work to do in some targeted areas and that work has already begun. As of the September 16 paycheck, those whose salaries fell below the market rate have been adjusted. The next initiative for Human Resources is to conduct the same type of Compensation Study for our Administrative Professional staff. And, giving thanks to the General Assembly, she announced that full-time employees (faculty and staff) who receive a positive performance evaluation for this cycle and have begun working with us on or before August 10th and remain employed with us through November 10th, will receive a $1,000 bonus on December 1. She also thanked the General Assembly for the 5% salary increase for all state employees that was received on July 1 and reported that there is a third 5% increase programmed for July 2023, budget permitting.

Capital Projects: The two current capital projects are moving along. The old Post Office building has been demolished and the sitework preparations are underway for the new University Administration Building. The addition to Luter Hall, providing much needed space for our fast-growing STEM programs, is moving along apace in its planning phase.

The Arts: The Ferguson Center has a fabulous season full of all kinds of shows and performers lined up for this year. Sponsorships and donor support for the Ferguson continue to be strong and allow new opportunities to be explored that will put the Ferguson, and the University, on the map in new ways. Interim President Thompson provided an example of the New Musicals Lab that was hosted over the summer with six different professional creative teams from New York and beyond – all of whom are developing new Broadway musicals and came to the Ferg this summer to “workshop” their shows. They got to create and experiment – rewrite, perform and test again – and they hired our students and recent graduates as their cast. As a result of last summer’s program several Captains made their New York debuts and received performing and management opportunities. And this summer – two of the production teams liked it here so much they wanted to come back and launch their pre-Broadway tours at the Ferg too.

The Mary M. Torggler Fine Arts Center had a glorious inaugural year. Under Executive Director Holly Koons’ leadership, the Torggler has become a serious presence on the fine arts landscape. Interim President Thompson highlighted that the main gallery exhibits will always be free and open to the public, student, faculty and community work fill the satellite galleries, the academic programs in the fine arts have settled into their beautiful new home, and once again this summer, hundreds of little arts patrons attended summer campus. The second exhibit is now in place at the Anne Noland Edwards Gallery at the Torggler and will be there through October and the next exhibit which will open in late October will feature works by the legendary photographer Ansel Adams.

Advancement: Last fiscal year ended on a high note with many people saying “thank you” to Paul and Rosemary through generous gifts to priorities across the board, and the opening of the Torggler brought a marvelous new wave of generous friends into our family. The University received over $8.4 million in new gifts and pledges – well surpassing the $6 million goal and bringing in more new support than in any year since the close of our comprehensive campaign five years ago. She also highlighted a new and important gift from last fiscal year–the Reiff-Santoro Professorship in History, established with a gift of $1 million from Dr. Ted Reiff – the largest single gift in support of a professorship in our history. Looking ahead, this fiscal year is already off to a strong start with one of our major motivators being the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the President’s Leadership Program that will include many events that will allow us to reconnect 25 years-worth of PLP alumni to one another, their alma mater and the students who now follow in their footsteps.

In closing her report, Interim President Thompson proudly proclaimed that the best days for Christopher Newport lie ahead and that although this may be a time of interim – there is not a pause button. She vowed that the faculty and staff of Christopher Newport are here to support students through every step of their educational experience and that the campus will live into the values that are at the heart of this place – honor, service, and academic excellence. She rallied all present behind the ‘students first’ mantra and thanked everyone for stepping forward together.

The Rector thanked Interim President Thompson and called on Mr. Hatten to give the Finance and Facilities Report.

Finance and Facilities Report: Mr. Bobby Hatten

Mr. Hatten thanked the Rector and reported on the activities of the Finance and Facilities Committee. He noted that in the committee meeting they reviewed the University’s updated Six Year Plan, the unaudited financial statements for the fiscal year that just ended, and the annual debt service report. They also received an update on the active Capital Projects, as well as other smaller projects, from Ms. Christine Ledford and a legislative report from Ms. Jennifer Latour and Mr. Tom Kramer.

After a brief explanation and overview of the six-year plan, Mr. Hatten then brought forward RESOLUTION 1: 2022 Six-Year Plan Update for 2022-2028 to the Board at the recommendation of the Finance and Facilities Committee.

Rector Carney Smith called for any discussion, there being none, Ms. Brayboy provided the motion and the Board voted unanimously to approve.

The Rector thanked Mr. Hatten and called on Vice Rector McKnight to give the Operations, Audit and Risk Report.

Operations, Audit and Risk Report: Vice Rector Terri McKnight

Vice Rector McKnight greeted the board and before giving her report introduced and invited Michelle Moody, the Director of Title IX and Equal Opportunity, to provide the board with her annual report.

Ms. Moody began her report by offering the board insight into her background, the responsibilities and function of the Title IX office, and the law surrounding Title IX. She gave a comprehensive overview of the evolution of the policies and procedures related to Title IX at Christopher Newport noting the significant changes under both the Obama and Trump administrations, some of which are still being worked through. She underscored the office’s commitment to provide clear and easy to understand guidance and education to the campus community, as well as connecting our community to resources and support. Ms. Moody closed her report by thanking the administration and the board for their commitment for their strong support of Title IX and their dedication to ensuring that the campus understands the importance of embracing a community of dignity and respect.

Vice Rector McKnight thanked Ms. Moody and continued her report with an update on Internal Audit noting that Faith Belote and her team are making good progress on the 2023 audit plan, the budget had been allocated to purchase an audit management software program, the Laboratory Safety audit is progressing well, the Disaster Recovery Planning audit is a work in progress and that that the final NCAA audit point has been closed. She also reported that Ms. Belote confirmed with the committee the statement of organizational independence: The Office of Internal Audit is independent and objective in performing its audit work, maintaining an impartial, unbiased attitude. There has been no personal conflict of interest or restrictions of access to functions, records, personnel, properties and systems.

After explaining that revisions were recommended for an amendment to the Internal Audit Charter to align with practices of the International Professional Practices Framework supplemental guidance modeled by the Institute of Internal Auditors, Vice Rector McKnight then brought forward Resolution 2: Revisions to the Internal Audit Charter to the Board at the recommendation of the Operations, Audit and Risk Committee.

Rector Carney Smith called for discussion, there being none, Mr. Hatten provided the motion and the Board voted unanimously to approve.

Vice Rector McKnight concluded her report by giving an overview of updates on two annual reports: Agency Risk Management and Internal Control Standards (ARMICS) and the Workforce Management and Succession Planning report. For the ARMICS report, she noted that there were no significant weaknesses identified and there was one insignificant internal control weakness that was found, but the dollar amount involved is considered immaterial such that it will not affect the financial statements.

Rector Carney Smith thanked Vice Rector McKnight and Ms. Moody and called on Provost Quentin Kidd to give the Academic Affairs report.

Academic Affairs Report: Provost Quentin Kidd

Building upon the report given by Interim President Thompson, Provost Quentin Kidd brought more good news in his Academic Affairs report:

  • The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) has been ranked by the National Council on Teacher Quality among the best in the country noting two key accomplishments:
    • One of only 89 programs in the country to have test takers of color achieve above-average first-attempt pass rates on elementary licensure test AND for having little to no disparity between test takers of color and white test takers.
    • Elementary mathematics program named one of best in country for meeting 90% or more of the instructional goals across elementary mathematics topic areas.

Provost Kidd then provided further detail into the SACSCOC 5th Year Report noting that we have 22 out of the full 74 standards to respond to and that the review process is being led by the 5th Year Interim Committee, chaired by Associate Provost for Assessment and Accreditation Jason Lyons. In another area of accreditation, Provost Kidd announced that the university received the official notification from ABET that our Electrical and Computer Engineering programs once again have been found to be in full compliance with the ABET criteria and will continue to be accredited until the next regular review cycle in six years. Both programs received a perfect score: no deficiencies, weaknesses, or concerns were found. He continued that during the recent NAST (theater accreditation) visit, Christopher Newport was advised that our current Bachelor of Arts in Fine and Performing Arts may be confusing to students who wish to pursue a degree in art and art history, theater, or music as the program of study has no common core representing all disciplines and is not, in fact, an integrated degree with all three disciplines represented equally. As a result of this feedback we are pursuing the separation of these disciplines into stand-alone academic degrees wherever possible. We will continue to work with SCHEV in 2023-2024 to determine how to proceed with a more appropriate degree name for theater and dance.

In response to the changing educational landscape, program demand and to be competitive in recruitment, Provost Kidd announced the following new programs:

  • Global Commerce and Culture (MCLL)
  • Criminology (SSWA)
  • Anthropology (SSWA)
  • Journalism minor (English and COMM)
  • Health, Medical and Wellness Studies minor (Interdisciplinary)
  • Geography minor (SSWA)

Provost Kidd proudly reported that so far this year the university has received $2 million in new awards, had $2.6 million in expenditures, and has $8 million in total active awards.

Provost Kidd then brought forward RESOLUTION 3: Appointments to the Instructional Faculty. Rector Carney Smith called for any discussion. There being none, Mr. Bray made a motion, it was seconded by Mr. Pope and passed by a unanimous vote of the Board.

The Rector thanked Provost Kidd and called on Dr. Lee Vreeland for the Student Life Report.

Student Life Report: Dr. Lee Vreeland

Dr. Vreeland began her report with an Admission statistics recap and expanded that the average high school GPA of the incoming first year class is 3.8, with an average SAT score of 1191, and that 417 students are in the president leadership program and 103 are honor students. She noted that Admission has resumed its first full travel recruitment cycle in almost three years and will be visiting over 500 schools.

In the area of student success, Dr. Vreeland also referenced the success of the findings in the Career Outcomes report and shared more in-depth information on the activities and upcoming events for Career Services this year. Dr. Vreeland relayed that the Community Captains program continues to learn and improve its offerings for workshops, individual appointments, and success, coaching sessions, tutoring, peer mentoring, supplemental instruction, formalized study groups and tradition, transitional courses.

In the area of student life, Dr. Vreeland celebrated that student life and activities were back in full force with campus events, day of service, orientation, light the night, the block party, IFC Greek stock and a variety of campus activities. While activities have resumed normally, Dr. Vreeland noted that it is not without challenges: students are underprepared for college because of the pandemic learning environment, they are struggling with anxiety, requests for accommodations have doubled since last year and academically they are struggling with being held to standards. Dr. Vreeland called on Dr. Hughes to clarify the definition of an accommodation. Dr. Hughes responded with the legal definition and noted that even beyond what the law requires, faculty and staff are working hard to overcome barriers and help students successfully navigate transition into college.

Dr. Vreeland concluded her report by stating that the university has updated its hazing prevention and response policy to reflect recent changes to the Virginia code stemming from the passage of Adams law. Training requirements have been implemented for all incoming students and current members of fraternities and sororities are undergoing training this month. She also noted that an additional reporting requirement was written into the revised university policy as was a limited amnesty requirement.

Rector Carney Smith thanked Dr. Vreeland for her report and Dr. Kevin Hughes, Dr. Lisa Duncan Raines and Dean Rob Lange for all they do to take care of students. She then called on Ms. Judy Ford Wason to give the Advancement Report.

Advancement Committee Report: Judy Ford Wason

Ms. Wason opened her report by congratulating University advancement on the strong start to the fiscal year with new gifts, new pledges and cash received equal to last year and ahead of pace toward the $6 million goal. She highlighted several other first quarter successes including parent giving, alumni giving the arts and return of the Wason Center’s Insider’s Breakfast featuring Governor Youngkin. Ms. Wason thanked Mr. Kramer for his creative and dedicated leadership to the Wason Center.

Ms. Wason concluded her report by asking everyone to save the date for homecoming weekend, October 21 - 22, and thanking all the board members for their support of the activities on campus, for their generous giving and for helping us increase our number of donors and the amount of funds we raise for the university.

Rector Carney Smith thanked Ms. Wason for her report, recognized Mr. Keith Roots for the success of advancement and called on Dr. Rachel Holland for the Faculty Senate Report.

Faculty Senate Report: Dr. Rachel Holland

Dr. Holland greeted the board and opened her report by underscoring the importance of hiring the right next President by the Faculty. She noted that she is honored by being a part of the process and underscored her commitment to bringing her best effort to secure a leader who will be dynamic, and one who will protect and defend the very identity of this place as a beacon for the liberal arts and sciences and a student-centered community where teaching excellence is at the core of the mission and vision.

She continued her report by outlining the priorities and goals of the Faculty Senate’s agenda for this academic year noting that the Senate is looking at things such as systems for faculty review and evaluation, processes for hiring, and faculty committee structures to ensure that these systems are still the most efficient and transparent way to operate. To accomplish this, the Senate has established several small working groups to evaluate Annual Review processes, the Standards Document, Student Evaluations of Teaching, and Faculty Hiring in hopes of presenting recommendations for consideration.

She concluded her report filled with optimism that the important work of the faculty will continue to make a positive impact on the legacy of Christopher Newport.

The Rector thanked Dr. Holland for her report and called on Ms. Celine Rosario to give the Student Government report.

Student Government Report: Celine Rosario

Ms. Rosario enthusiastically began her report by sharing with the Board how happy students are to be back on campus, noting that campus is very lively and events are happening almost every day. Early successes include a great turnout at Light the Night, Greek Stock and the Involvement fair, recruiting 15 new delegates to the Student Government, welcoming Pi Kappa Phi back to campus and educational programming surrounding hazing prevention. She reported that over a variety of signature events, in less than one month, the Campus Activities Board (CAB) has served over 1,300 students and they are busy planning for the rest of the semester, including a haunted house. Other organizations like the Student Diversity and Equality Council, Alpha Phi Alpha, Incorporated, the Resident Hall Association, and the Student Honor Council are all working on signature programming to bring back this fall semester.

Focusing on ongoing initiatives of the Student Government Association, Ms. Rosario reported that students have been pushing for better wifi bandwidth and a solution to the poor cellular coverage across campus. Working with the Information Technology department it was determined that students were not using cable anymore, so that service should be canceled and funds redirected to bandwidth solutions, and that Verizon is able to put microtowers on campus to help extend coverage.

Concluding her report and on behalf of the student body, Ms. Rosario thanked the Board for their support.

Rector Carney Smith thanked Ms. Rosario and called on Mr. Hatten to give the Presidential Search report.

Presidential Search: Mr. Robert R. Hatten, Esq.

Mr. Hatten began his report by reminding the Board of the importance of confidentiality during this process and the purpose of conducting a closed search. He continued that the search is progressing very nicely. The Search Committee met on September 1st with Martin Baker to review and discuss potential candidates. At that meeting an Announcement Committee, consisting of Ms. Judy Wason, Dr. Rachel Holland and himself, was appointed pursuant to the Code of Virginia for the express purpose of publicly announcing that interviews will be taking place within 15 days. He clarified that the announcement will not identify the specific dates nor will it disclose the location for the interviews. The announcement committee is scheduled to meet on September 27. He then shared that he had recommended to Rector Carney Smith that a Special Meeting of the Board be called on October 21 so that Martin Baker and he, as Search Chair, can provide the Board with details of the candidates who will be moving forward in the search.

Rector Carney Smith thanked Mr. Hatten for his report and reiterated to the Board that they need to hold the date of October 21 for a special meeting of the Board of Visitors and that the only business that will be discussed at that meeting will be to receive and discuss the list of the finalists and to identify the timeframe for the board to conduct interviews. No other business will be considered and the board will maintain the regularly scheduled meeting for November 18.

Rector Carney Smith then announced that she would need to appoint an Announcement Committee of the Board of Visitors pursuant to The Code of Virginia and it will include herself, Mr. Larry Pope and Dr. Lee Vreeland.

Rector Carney Smith called for discussion or questions. There being none, she called for any new business to be considered. Hearing none, the Rector called for a motion to adjourn the meeting.

There being no further business the meeting was adjourned. Vice Rector McKnight called for a motion to adjourn, it was seconded by Mr. Pope and approved by a unanimous vote of the Board.

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