January 14, 2014

SUNY Empire State College One of Six SUNY Colleges To Debut Open SUNY

B.S. in Business Management and Economics and B.S. in Science, Math and Technology Selected To Answer New York’s Workforce Needs, Expand Access, Completion and Success

President Hancock and SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher are all smiles after the announcement of Open SUNY and Open SUNY+.

President Hancock and SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher are all smiles after the announcement of Open SUNY and Open SUNY+. (Photo/Empire State College)

(ALBANY, N.Y. – Jan. 14, 2014) State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher today announced that SUNY Empire State College will play a leadership role in the system’s introduction of Open SUNY, offering one of the first degree programs to be powered by this signature initiative. Two of the college’s degrees, the B.S. in business, management and economics, with a concentration in human resource management, and the B.S. in science, mathematics and technology, with a concentration in information systems, now will be offered to students with a comprehensive suite of supports and services to aid in degree completion.

Zimpher introduced the new "Open SUNY+" degree programs during her annual State of the University Address today in Albany.

“Open SUNY will provide our students with the nation’s leading online learning experience, drawing on the power of SUNY to expand access, improve completion and prepare more students for success,” said Zimpher. “In addition to these new, fully online degree programs, Open SUNY will take every online course we offer at every SUNY campus—now upwards of 12,000 course sections conducted by 7,000 faculty—and make them easy to find and accessible for every SUNY student and prospective learners around the globe.”

“Empire State College has been SUNY’s open institution of higher education for more than 40 years,” said Merodie A. Hancock, president of the college. “We are proud to play a leading role in advancing Open SUNY and to have two of our high-quality, online bachelor’s programs selected for the Open SUNY+ launch. We are excited that SUNY, and Chancellor Zimpher in particular, is strongly embracing nontraditional students, access and innovative learning.”

Across New York, 6.9 million adults have a high school degree, but no college degree. Many want to pursue a degree, but life commitments such as jobs, children, aging parents, financial limitations and community ties limit their access to higher education. Open SUNY aims to reach these nontraditional students as well.

“Open SUNY will completely redefine access to a college degree in our state, reaching every child and adult in every school and home in New York,” added Zimpher, “reaching them on their terms—in their homes and communities, and on their time, adapting to their schedules.” 

Included as part of Open SUNY are built-in supports for students and faculty, such as 24/7 assistance for students, whether they need technical help, tutoring, financial planning, or academic advisement services; and a Center for Online Teaching Excellence where faculty can opt in to training programs and online fora to broaden their knowledge about developing effective online courses, or share best practices and learn directly from colleagues across SUNY.

For more than two decades Empire State College faculty and staff have accommodated students’ individual circumstances by providing robust online courses and programs in areas of high need for the student and the state.

Today, about half of the college’s 20,000 students study online and many of the college’s 70,000 alumni have earned their associate, bachelor’s and master’s online.

The college continues to collaborate with other institutions to build high-quality and innovative online programs to meet the rapidly changing needs of students and the demands of the global economy.

The eight Open SUNY+ degree programs to debut in January were chosen based on a number of factors, including student interest, accreditation and their capacity to meet current and future workforce demand throughout New York state. They are:

About SUNY Empire State College

SUNY Empire State College was established in 1971 to offer adult learners the opportunity to earn associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the State University of New York.

The college serves more than 20,000 students worldwide at more than 35 locations in the state of New York and online. Its 70,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more. More information about the college is available here.

About the State University of New York

The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive university system in the United States, educating nearly 463,000 students in more than 7,500 degree and certificate programs, and more than 1.8 million NYS citizens in professional development and personal enrichment programs, on 64 college and university campuses. There are nearly 3 million SUNY alumni worldwide. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit www.suny.edu.


Media contact: David Henahan, director of communications

518-587-2100, ext. 2918


SUNY media contact: David Doyle; David.Doyle@suny.edu; 518-320-1311