Chancellor Zimpher Delivers State of the University Address; Urges New Yorkers to "Stand with SUNY"

By Suzanne Lazar, student, SUNY Empire State College; editor, The Student Connection

January 29, 2016

Stand with SUNY Logo, state of new york is shaped out of blue arrows pointing up, with the "Stand with SUNY" phrase aligned on the rightI had the pleasure of attending this year’s State of the University Address and listening to an amazing speech by Chancellor Zimpher and being a part of what is sure to be a successful long-term goal of positive changes for students in the SUNY system.  Many students, faculty and staff from all over NYS gathered together to take part in reflecting on 2015 goals and to hear the plans and strategies for more SUNY success.

Delivering her sixth annual State of the University Address today (Jan. 11) in Albany, Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher urged all New Yorkers to “Stand with SUNY(link is external)” as the university system continues to let systemness and data drive its performance in service to students, faculty, staff and the state of New York.

“Systemness—working together toward shared goals with shared vision—is the only way to ensure that higher education in the 21st century is doing its job,” said Zimpher. “That we are truly preparing students for work and for life. That we’re making sure they finish school with the right skills and knowledge. That they are equipped to be critical thinkers, good decision makers, creators and communicators. That they can be leaders.”

SUNY Empire President Merodie Hancock said, "“SUNY Empire State College is proud to stand with Chancellor Zimpher, the SUNY Board of Trustees, all campuses and citizens throughout the state to help to achieve the systemwide goal of awarding 150,000 degrees every year by year 2020.

“Community college graduates working in health-care professions across the state will have greater access and opportunity for degree completion through SUNY Empire’s new bachelor’s program in health science, which is modeled on the college’s successful RN to B.S. in Nursing degree.

“SUNY Empire will be able to offer this new evidence-based program, and bring it to scale, thanks to a $400,000 award from SUNY’s new investment and performance fund.

“For radiologic technicians, emergency medical technicians, dental hygienists, physical therapy assistants and so many others, completing a bachelor’s means more and better job prospects for them and their families. It also means better health care for New Yorkers.

“The positive momentum in achieving the completion agenda now underway at SUNY Empire, and across the system, can be dramatically increased, and I join the chancellor, members of the board, my fellow presidents and citizens across the state in urging the governor and the state Legislature to expand the state’s investment in SUNY.”

A transcript of the speech is available online(link is external).

“Chancellor Zimpher’s vision for SUNY and its ‘systemness’ has far exceeded our expectations. SUNY’s amazing progress in recent years to become New York state’s greatest economic asset and the nation’s premier, most inclusive system of public higher education is evidence of that,” said SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall. “As I have come to do every January, I look forward to working with my colleagues on the board to keep SUNY’s momentum moving forward and implementing new initiatives to increase access, completion, and success for our students.”

Under Zimpher’s leadership since 2009 and through the implementation of its strategic plan, SUNY has identified the evidence-based programs and initiatives that are most effective in increasing access, completion and success for students. As the university system continues to implement a completion agenda that aims to award 150,000 degrees annually by 2020 through the scale up of these programs, Zimpher said that SUNY’s commitment to data as the driving force behind its performance is unwavering.

“There is no other system like SUNY, in scale, scope, and opportunity,” said Zimpher. “Maximizing our data capabilities will lead to discoveries that transform public higher education and research in New York, across the country and the world.

“This is what you get when you .Stand with SUNY',” she said, highlighting milestone achievements from the past year, including landmark new policies to ensure seamless transfer(link is external) and diversity,(link is external) as well as enhanced degree auditing(link is external) and financial planning(link is external) services for students and advancements in research(link is external) and business development(link is external) as an economic driver for New York. “We are methodically figuring out what works, and we know how to grow the best ideas so they reach every single student.”

Zimpher introduced several new initiatives for SUNY in 2016, including:

  • SUNY Path, (Predictive Analytics Transforming Higher Education), which will aim to be the most comprehensive set of data analytics on teaching and learning in the world. The goal of SUNY Path will be to identify at-risk students and guide them to the supports and interventions that will keep them on track toward completing their degree. The tool will also be used to enrich SUNY’s diversity, measure and strengthen its economic impact, and inform its reinvention of teacher preparation.
  • InternShop,a cutting-edge database that matches employers with prospective student interns who meet their expressed criteria. InternShop is the result of a historic SUNY alliance with the The New York State Business Council and was created with the help of Accenture. It will be offered exclusively to SUNY students and Business Council member companies for the spring 2016 semester.
  • Open SUNY 2.0, which will take the university system’s signature online teaching and learning initiative to the next level. Open SUNY 2.0 will go beyond traditional degree and certificate programs to meet the evolving needs of students and employers, offering new strategies, such as prior learning assessment, adaptive learning platforms, competency-based education and stackable micro-credentials that can be recognized for credit.

“We are intent on ensuring that every student’s college experience is meaningful and useful,” said Zimpher. “Every program we are bringing to scale is riveted on ensuring that every student has the chance to succeed. Maybe a college degree won’t be the end game for everyone, but it can’t be for lack of opportunity and it’s certainly not going to be for lack of our trying to get it right. This is the responsibility of public higher education in 2016 and 2017 and 2030 and 2050. And it is what SUNY will keep doing—innovating and adapting to reach every student and give him or her the chance to succeed.”

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