Watson Chronicle


Education Updates and Features

WCE Faculty Author ACUHO-I Research Report on Public-Private Partnerships

Friday, September 01, 2017

WCE Higher Education faculty members Kevin McClure, Andrew Ryder and James DeVita collaborated on a study of public-private partnerships in college student housing. Their report, titled Forging Partnerships and Avoiding Pitfalls: Evidence-Based Insights for Establishing Effective Public-Private Partnerships was released by the Association of College and University Housing Officers International in August.

McClure, Ryder and DeVita presented their research at the ACUHO-I Annual Conference & Exposition in Providence, RI, in June and hosted a webinar on the topic on May 23. The research study was also featured in ACUHO-I’s Connections Newsletter in August. An ACUHO-I research grant funded the study.


Public-private partnerships (PPPs) have become a ubiquitous feature of the college student housing landscape. Despite the increasing popularity of this approach to financing, constructing, and/or managing college student housing, research about the origins, forms and long-term outcomes of PPPs is scant. Using a multi-site case study, the researchers sought to fill the void in available research on PPPs. Their primary aim was to examine the experiences of housing department staff to glean lessons for practice and help housing professionals as they navigate whether and how to effectively partner with private developers.

The report, titled Forging Partnerships and Avoiding Pitfalls: Evidence-Based Insights for Establishing Effective Public-Private Partnerships, provides a brief literature review on public-private partnerships, information about the study’s methodology, and the key research themes that emerged. Additionally, this report includes recommendations for the profession based on this research.

About the Research Team

The researchers are all assistant professors of higher education at the Watson College. This is the first time the team has collaborated on a research project.

Kevin R. McClure’s teaching and research focuses on higher education finance, leadership and administration. He previously served in professional roles in academic and student affairs, including time as a hall director and living-learning program director.

Andrew J. Ryder’s teaching and research focuses on assessment, professional practice in student affairs and campus climate. Prior to earning his Ph.D., he worked for 10 years in housing and residence life as a hall director for a living-learning center, assistant director responsible for professional staff training and assistant dean.

James M. DeVita’s teaching and research focuses on student development theory, social justice topics in education and research methods. He serves as the program coordinator for the master’s program in higher education at UNCW (2013-18), and previously served as a residential education coordinator at Colgate University.

The research report is available through ACUHO-I.