• September 3, 2015

Christopher Newport University: A Pre-Eminent Liberal Arts University

Outstanding teaching and a strong commitment to undergraduate education and the liberal studies core are the hallmarks of CNU. A dramatic transformation spanning the past decade has placed CNU among the outstanding liberal arts universities in the United States. As the youngest university in Virginia, CNU has become better, not bigger.

Word of our transformation has spread far beyond campus as the University draws top students from Virginia, 40 other states and the world. The Princeton Review, Forbes and U.S. News & World Report have all praised Christopher Newport. U.S. News has selected CNU as one of America’s “schools to watch” for making the “most promising and innovative changes in academics, faculty, students, campus and facilities.”

Over the past decade, applications have increased by more than 600 percent, and SAT scores have soared by more than 200 points. More than 8,000 students applied for a place in the fall 2011 freshman class of 1,200. The middle 50 percent of freshman SAT scores is 1050-1230 (Critical Reading and Math), and the average freshman has a 3.7 grade-point average.

A commitment to academic excellence
Quality teaching and learning remain the University’s top priority. CNU offers baccalaureate programs through its College of Arts and Humanities, College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences, and College of Social Sciences. The Joseph W. Luter, III School of Business is accredited by the world’s top business school accrediting organization — the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Other CNU programs recognized by top accreditation associations include computer engineering, music, social work, teacher preparation and theater. Through the five-year bachelor’s to master’s program, students can earn a master’s degree in one of three fields by completing just one additional year beyond their senior year. Those disciplines include teaching, applied physics and computer science, and environmental science.

CNU also offers graduate programs in applied physics and computer science and environmental science.

In small-class settings, CNU faculty challenge students to think critically and imaginatively, to strive for intellectual excellence, and to assume an active role in their education. Nearly half of all CNU classes have fewer than 19 students, and very few courses have an enrollment of 50 or more. Nearly 90 percent of faculty have earned a PhD or terminal degree in their field. The University is in the midst of a 10-year plan to hire 100 new full-time faculty members and offers a teaching load of three courses per term to all tenure-stream faculty. This teaching load allows faculty the time to balance inspired teaching with research and intellectual renewal. CNU’s teacher-scholars also play active roles in campus life, engaging students outside the classroom. Academic programs are being developed within and between all three colleges.

An energetic, fulfilled faculty
Our faculty enjoy an atmosphere of collegiality and mutual respect. Such an environment rewards outstanding teaching and fosters active intellectual and creative engagement. Faculty members have the opportunity to share their scholarly, creative or pedagogical projects with each other in campus settings, such as “Scholarship Matters,” a series of faculty research and creative activity presentations. The University’s beautiful 260-acre campus integrates CNU’s liberal arts vision as it nurtures mind, body and spirit and inspires scholarly and social connections among the CNU community.

Productive scholars and researchers, our faculty receive support through summer stipends and yearlong internal grants programs. CNU faculty are also Fulbright scholars, National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship winners and National Science Foundation grant recipients. Our proximity to national research laboratories such as the NASA Langley Research Center and the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility enables world-class faculty-student collaborations. Nearly 70 percent of our faculty have worked with undergraduates on a research project.

Faculty and administrators actively consult and collaborate as the University forges a culture of scholarly inquiry, informed debate and civic action. The result is a supportive, cohesive academic setting in which the University cultivates and carries forward its mission. New faculty members praised CNU’s academic departments for their collegiality and support of pre-tenure faculty in a recent survey conducted by the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Beyond the classroom, faculty enjoy a lively local arts and music scene and a family-friendly central location on the eastern seaboard near oceanfront resort beaches, significant historical landmarks and popular theme parks. The state capital, Richmond, is but an hour’s drive, and the nation’s capital is just three hours away. The area’s transportation needs are served by three international airports, including one in Newport News, Amtrak train service and an interstate. Faculty easily travel to collaborate with peers at other universities and attend academic conferences held locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

Attractive salary, health and retirement benefits packages, plus a well-designed family leave policy, further enhance our workplace.

New, state-of-the-art facilities
Matching CNU’s academic success is the physical transformation of our campus. New academic buildings, including a $35 million humanities and social sciences complex and an $80 million integrated science center, join Trible Library, the intellectual center of campus, around the elegant Great Lawn. Trible Library houses The Mariners’ Museum Library, which contains the Western Hemisphere’s largest maritime collection.

The $35 million David Student Union opened in 2006, housing meeting and conference spaces, along with myriad dining options for students, faculty and staff. The Freeman Center, a $16 million sports and convocation facility, opened in 2000. Named the outstanding sports facility in the United States by the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association, the center has recently undergone a 70,000 square-foot expansion that doubled the size of the health and fitness pavilion and added a new auditorium and meeting and office space.

Nearly 3,000 students live in state-of-the-art residential facilities, and our four new residence halls and two new apartment complexes have won raves from students and parents alike. New residential living areas include CNU Village, a unique mixed-use development that also houses restaurants and retail stores.

World-class Ferguson Center for the Arts
The $60 million Ferguson Center for the Arts is the crowning jewel of Christopher Newport University. Here we celebrate teaching and learning in the 1,700-seat Concert Hall, 500-seat Music & Theatre Hall, 200-seat Studio Theatre, classrooms, sound-isolated music practice spaces, rehearsal halls, dance studios, costume shops, lighting labs and set design studios.

The Ferguson Center Concert Hall opened in September 2005 and has hosted such extraordinary talents as Itzhak Perlman and Tony Bennett. Its amazing annual performance schedule typically includes more than 40 attractions, featuring artists from around the world in genres ranging from symphony and opera to modern dance and ballet; from jazz, gospel, blues, pops, country and western to Broadway and children’s theater. The Virginia Symphony Orchestra regularly plays at “the Ferg” and has performed for the community on the Great Lawn.  The Ferguson Center makes possible exciting and challenging educational opportunities. Students work with, and learn from, the world’s finest artists. One student even received the experience of a lifetime when he sang alongside opera sensation Andrea Bocelli for a sold-out Concert Hall performance.

A vibrant campus life
From lecture series and artistic performances to athletic contests and symposia, CNU provides a wealth of activities and programs. Students participate in more than 200 clubs and organizations, along with dozens of recreational and club sports. Student organizations reflect a variety of interests, including community service, academic and cultural enrichment, student leadership, religious pursuits, athletics, and international or ethnic ties. Whether a student is interested in biology field trips to the ocean or in becoming a leader in campus government, an array of activities makes life beyond the classroom productive and memorable.

Learning beyond the classroom
Education extends beyond campus as students and faculty engage the surrounding community in service learning partnerships initiated by our new Center for Community Engagement. Students also study abroad with increasing frequency, either accompanied by CNU faculty or through independent programs. These rich cultural experiences are as unique as the destinations chosen, and what students learn overseas enhances their education immeasurably.

Faculty members accompany select students to The University of Oxford’s Harris Manchester College each summer to teach alongside Oxford dons. Also each summer, a CNU faculty member is selected as a visiting fellow at Harris Manchester College, enriching his or her scholarship by completing research in Oxford’s Bodleian Library.

CNU enjoys partnership or exchange agreements with nearly a dozen overseas institutions or organizations, providing students from all majors and programs with rich opportunities. Students spend semesters or full academic years in Japan, Costa Rica, India, Russia, Mexico, England, Scotland, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Greece and Australia. Depending on the program, students engage in lectures, seminars, tutorials, language immersion and internships.

Located near the ocean and mountains in a history-lover’s paradise
Located in Newport News, Virginia, on the Virginia Peninsula, CNU is in the heart of Hampton Roads (a top tourist destination). It is a three-hour drive south of Washington, D.C., plus a three-hour drive from Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Less than an hour’s drive away is Virginia Beach, a classic American beach resort and the world's longest pleasure beach, offering 35 miles of beaches along the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean, a three-mile boardwalk, adventure sports, dolphin/whale-watching, and more. Busch Gardens and Water Country USA amusement parks are also nearby.

Minutes from campus are the attractions of the Historic Triangle: Colonial Williamsburg, the restored 18th-century capital of colonial Virginia and the largest living history museum in the United States; Yorktown, site of the last major battle of the American Revolutionary War; and Jamestown, the site of the first permanent English settlement in America. Christopher Newport University is named for the leader of the expedition to Jamestown, and the University played a pivotal role in “Jamestown 2007,” the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the settlement.

The Hampton Roads region is a military and high-tech development leader as well, home to Naval Station Norfolk (the world’s largest naval base), as well as many Army, Air Force and Coast Guard installations. The University enjoys strong ties with nearby NASA Langley Research Center and the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Labs), one of the world’s premier physics research facilities.

Within walking distance from campus is a peaceful, 550-acre woodland park with a five-mile running and hiking path that offers majestic views of the James River. The park also houses The Mariners’ Museum, one of the world’s largest maritime history museums, and the Peninsula Fine Arts Center.

  • 1255 Twenty-Third St, N.W.
  • Washington, D.C. 20037
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