When looking into student affairs professionals to interview, I came across an area I had never even thought about being a part of the higher education community. Jamie Mancine introduced me into the world of public-private partnerships (P3s). What intrigued me about the P3s were their backgrounds of being highly affiliated with a university and the fact that Mancine’s company had 100% of their communities located on-campus with active university participation. Mancine spoke a lot about working with stakeholders within the University of Florida’s campus and also balancing working with stakeholders from her company, Capstone on Campus Management (COCM).
For the purpose of this interview assignment, I find it important to define what COCM does and values. Their management services range from turn-key to custom arrangements in which they share roles and responsibilities with university clients (shared governance). Their commitment to the students and the university often show improved operations and greater affordability to the students, housing programs that enhance recruitment and retention, and increased student satisfaction. COCM currently has 34,119 residents at 38 different campuses.
Mancine’s first look into higher education was during her undergraduate career at Buffalo State College. She started out as an education major, but as she became more involved on campus she decided to go in a different direction. She received a Bachelor of Science in Individualized Studies from 2004-2008. Wanting to combine a bunch of different major areas, she focused on leadership development. Mancine took classes in leadership, psychology, development, and education. While an undergraduate student she participated in several different activities and societies like orientation, first year mentor, college senate, and more. Describing herself as the typical “commuter” student, it was her Resident Director that encouraged her to dive into the field of higher education. Starting in 2008, Mancine began her master’s degree in Student Personnel Administration at Buffalo State as well and completed it in 2010. Lastly, Mancine received her Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership in Higher Education Administration from the University of Rochester in 2011.
While receiving her master’s degree, Mancine served as the Resident Director and then moved into the Assistant Director of Residence Life from June 2010-January 2013 for the Collegiate Village of Potsdam. While serving in this role, Mancine supervised staff of Resident Assistants, Resident Directors, and Graduate Interns while completing many other tasks. In January of 2013, Mancine shifted to become the Director of Residence Life and Community Manager. Shortly thereafter, she joined COCM’s team and became the Director of Operations in Cleveland, Ohio before moving to become the Director of Operations in Gainesville, Florida.
As mentioned before, Mancine was the Assistant Director of Residence Life for the Collegiate Village of Potsdam. During this position the building was a new property being built, so she got to oversee the construction and opening of the building which gave her a unique perspective in working with the university stakeholders. We talked a lot about why she moved from working for a university into the private sector. The first private company she worked for while in Buffalo was the first of its kind. She felt like working with so many different schools and student affairs professionals, that she would not be bored. She was intrigued by the networking and challenges. For universities that cannot afford student housing, or need an option while redoing a building, private housing is a great option. The company Mancine works for now strives to make sure students are engaged, building community, and developing as students.
The stakeholders are very different when it comes to working for a private company. When Mancine worked for a university, she spoke about how at a university, everyone has the same goals, missions, and values to follow. However, now there are many different hands in the pot. You now have the people who built the property, the ownership maintaining the property, and the university. As a higher education person, Mancine feels that she does not lose sight of the students and that they are there to learn. She feels as though she knows how to work with the university and make every stakeholder happy. Because she is the director of her community, she is the one with the feet on the ground making decisions every day. Besides the university, the other stakeholders are in another state.
One of my main questions for Mancine was about how decisions were made and how that involved the university. She spoke about shared control and how COCM determines how themselves and the university partners can each participate in management roles and responsibilities. Before going into partnership, they make sure to clearly outline a plan to work together. The shared governance practice is in place at 27 of heir 30 campus partnerships and is a standard for them. Mancine said, “The result has been custom agreements for each campus, leveraging the best of our university partner and COCM, and highlighting resident life and student services.” Communication is also a priority for COCM as they make sure to place high priority on frequent communication and interaction with the community owners, as well as the numerous university departments at each of the campuses they serve. They strive to connect with the entire campus by supporting and being supported by each area of academic and student services.
I learned a lot from this interview assignment. I think it more than applies to what I have read, learned, and heard in the program so far. University stakeholders are mentioned a lot in whatever we talk about. Constant communication is important along with understanding and meeting goals. Mancine holds monthly and quarterly meetings with key stakeholders and also has weekly meetings with the student affairs team on her campus. She makes sure to collaborate on recruitment events, community tours, marketing initiatives, orientation events and parent programs, new student welcome, staff training, conference presentations, community programming, and campus events. I found it really fascinating that universities are now recognizing that there are new solutions to funding shortages and it connected very well with budgeting and budgeting processes in the university setting.
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