Student Housing Business

JUL-AUG 2018

Student Housing Business is the voice of the student housing industry.

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VIE W FROM THE ACADEME July/August 2018 42 Public Partner The University of Kentucky entered into a large public-private partnership with EdR in 2011 to build thousands of student housing beds. Dr. Eric Monday leads the public side of that equation. Here, he discusses the ins and outs of a good partnership. Interview by Randall Shearin I In 2011, the University of Kentucky (UK) entered into the largest public-private partner- ship to date to develop student housing with EdR. Today, the university's campus stands transformed, not only through the EdR part- nership, but with other public-private part- nerships that the university's board of trustees entered as well. Through its partnership with EdR, UK has opened nearly 7,000 new beds on-campus, many replacing older, outdated housing stock. Leading the charge for the university is Dr. Eric Monday, executive vice president for finance and administration for the University of Kentucky. Monday is a pro- ponent of strong facilities for better education, and recently spoke to SHB from his office on campus in Lexington. SHB: Tell us about the path that led you to the University of Kentucky. Monday: I've been in higher education now 21 years. I worked for nearly 16 years at Louisiana State University (LSU). I was a very involved student and student body president at LSU in my undergraduate days. I built a relationship with the chief student affairs offi- cer, a gentleman named Norman Moore. I got to spend some time with him and really learn about higher education. We had many conver- sations and I had an interest in spending time with students and focusing on student suc- cess. So, I started in student affairs. That was my first job back in the 1990s. I transitioned to finance. Then several years later, we had some challenges at LSU, and I went back to student affairs and was the interim chief stu- dent affairs officer at LSU. I did that for about 18 months and transitioned to become the chief business officer at LSU. Six years ago, the University of Kentucky was going through a recruiting process for its next chief business officer, which is called executive vice presi- dent for finance and administration. I had some great conversations with the president, Eli Capilouto. He shared a vision for how he wanted to transform the campus and improve levels of student success in an institution that was really growing. I had been in my previous place for nearly 16 years and it was a great opportunity. Our kids were at the right age where we could move. We moved here almost six years ago and we've had a lot of growth and opportunity and change at the university in that short time. At LSU, we did a student center project, some housing projects, a book- store project, and a lot on dining proj- ects. I think about creating the best environment for our students' suc- cess and how facili- ties play into that. So, we think about quality of life spac- es. Those include housing, dining, student centers, recreation centers, athletic facilities and transportation. Those are the six areas we focus on. To me, those are all woven together. They are linked and, done right, they support and enhance student suc- cess, specifically, how they create the best physical environment to support the outcome of more students crossing the stage. SHB: Do you think housing is more impor- tant today than it was in the past for students when they're selecting a college or university? Monday: No doubt. The number one factor in student surveys is the academic program reputation of the institution. Our degree offer- ings have to match or meet your qualifications academically. I believe housing becomes the second most important factor after academics because it's where students are going to live. We do not have a mandatory live-on require- ment. We're a little bit unusual for freshmen in the SEC for that, and across the country actu- ally. But we'll voluntarily capture this year with our new housing nearly 89 percent of our freshman class. They are interested in where they're going to live and then next, of course, where they're going to eat. I think it is more important today. I really do. We surveyed our students a few years ago and 93 percent of our students had never shared a room with anyone in their life. So that individual room component is so important to them as well. SHB: What is the state of the University of Kentucky's facilities on-campus now versus six years ago when you arrived? What was the goal when you arrived? DR. ERIC MONDAY Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration University of Kentucky The Woodland Glen area of the University of Kentucky houses five residence halls built under the public-private partnership with EdR.

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