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Public-Private Partnerships for Debt & Asset Management with Matt Dull

Where Public Finance Works

Episode 9 Show Notes

“If students feel connected, they'll stay. If students feel like they have a place here and people care about them, they're going to stay and they're going to graduate. That's why housing is that essential.”

- Matt Dull, Associate Vice Chancellor for Finance and Operations at Appalachian State University 

Episode Summary

In this episode of Where Public Finance Works, we’re joined by Matt Dull, the Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs at Appalachian State University, where he details the complexities of university finance and infrastructure.

Join our host, Tyler Traudt, as he guides listeners through Matt's two decades of innovative leadership, which has significantly shaped the University's living spaces and financial strategies. Matt recounts his efforts in elevating student living standards through creative public-private partnerships (P3). These initiatives have helped redefine residential life on campus by fostering environments conducive to academic success and personal growth. He shares the careful process of increasing campus housing capacity, achieving the addition of over 2,300 beds, while emphasizing the need for affordability and quality.

Through Matt’s narrative, we gain insights into the holistic impact of well-designed living spaces on student retention and satisfaction. His commitment to balancing cost-efficiency when creating vibrant communities shows the far-reaching benefits of strategic planning in higher education.

“It’s a big operation. You're running a small town within a college campus. You're doing everything from trash and recycling pickup to fixing utility issues. You're really kind of the landlord. But you're also running the city that the students are living in. So running a university is a pretty complex organization that maybe folks don't think about.”

- Matt Dull, Associate Vice Chancellor for Finance and Operations


Featured Guest

Matt Dull is the Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, holding a diverse portfolio that includes Administrative Services, the Child Development Center, Electronic Student Services, University Housing, Staff Development & Strategic Initiatives, Student Affairs Assessment, and Student Affairs Capital Projects.

With a distinguished career in higher education administration, Matt has served in pivotal roles, including Director of Administrative Support Services from July 2010 until his promotion to Assistant Vice Chancellor. His extensive experience extends internationally, having held positions such as the Senior Associate Director of Admissions at Appalachian and Director for the University of North Carolina System Office at Fudan University in Shanghai, China.

Top Takeaways From Episode Eight

  1. Strategic Expansion through P3s: Matt discusses the successful expansion of Appalachian State University’s housing system, achieving a remarkable feat of adding over 2,300 beds, and highlights the value of Public-private partnerships in this process.

  2. The Importance of a Quality Student Environment: Emphasizing the necessity of creating an inviting and conducive living environment, Matt shares the university's dedication to constructing living spaces that do more than just house students; they play a pivotal role in their college experience, significantly influencing both their sense of belonging and their academic success.

  3. Adaptive Finance Models in Higher Education: Exploring the nuances of educational finance, Matt explains how Appalachian State University has adapted to various financing models, including traditional bond issuance and more flexible P3 arrangements to meet the evolving demands of their growing campus.

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