What Does the Public Want in SUNY’s Next Chancellor?

By SUNY BLOG

November 17, 2016

Chancellor Article Chancellor Nancy Zimpher announced she will be stepping down from her role on June 30, 2017. After eight years of dedication that has led to many changes, advancements, and improvements, she will be leaving some very large shoes to fill for the University.

Under the leadership of Board of Trustees Chairman H. Carl McCall, the process to find SUNY’s next Chancellor has already begun. In June, he announced an international search, comprised of students, faculty, leadership from across SUNY, and other critical stakeholders who value the impact our campuses have on New York and the communities we serve. But finding the right leader for this role is no easy task, which is why Chairman McCall has made efforts to ensure that so many voices are heard.

What is the public seeking in the next chancellor?

It’s not just leadership that has a voice in selecting the next chancellor for The State University of New York. A major effort toward this was McCall’s decision that the SUNY Board of Trustees would hold a hearing during their meeting on Thursday, November 3rd, to ask the public for their input into what they wanted to see in the next Chancellor. Among those who shared their thoughts, here are some examples of what they had to say:

“Being Chancellor is far more than academic. Students need a leader who realizes that other elements are at play,” said Nicole Pereira, SUNY Student Assembly. Representing the student voice, Nicole wants to see someone who understands the SUNY budget process, affordability, and accessibility resources for students. She also highlighted other important factors, such as a focus on debt-free education for students, a focus and knowledge of shared governance in higher education, and a value of the strong student voice at SUNY.

There are many different sectors in public higher education. Blake Moore of the SUNY Student Assembly said that students hope for someone who “recognizes that fact and is eager to progress all of the sectors equally, but not identically. I know firsthand the unique struggles of community colleges, chief among them is having our own identity. We’re looking for a chancellor who recognizes the distinctions in those four-year schools, and understanding the varying need of community college students.”

Stephen Acquario, Executive Director of the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC), emphasized the importance of the individual’s personality, not just their resume. “Critical for the next chancellor is a certain type of character to carry out the mission of SUNY. The next leader must be able to act decisively to the events that affect our state. Out state is in a constant state of change. Or perhaps gender identity, or hate crimes. These types of events will require decisive action from the next leader.”

And Kenneth O’Brien, Provost Fellow and past president of the University Faculty Senate, emphasized how the new Chancellor affects the entire state, not just our 64 campuses. “As leader of the largest comprehensive public system of higher education, the chancellor of SUNY speaks for the people of New York too. So in the process to select our next leader, the voice of New York is needed.”

Your voice can be heard too. The Board of Trustees has created a website for you to submit your own ideas of what qualities and qualifications they should be looking for in a new Chancellor. Perhaps you even know someone who should apply! 

Let us know what YOU want to see in the next chancellor of SUNY!

This article was originally published on SUNY BLOG.

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