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SUNY strategic planning enters new phase

SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher and SUNY Board Of Trustees Chairman Carl Hayden will introduce the draft report across New York state to inform and educate the public on the strategic plan that will guide the institution for the next five years and its development for the next 10. Photo by The Legislative Gazette.
April 12, 2010
Phase II of SUNY's strategic planning process concluded after a series of "conversations" at campuses across the state with the production of a draft report that will guide the next phase of developing the plan.

The next phase, phase III, will be a series of strategic plan launch events led by State University of New York Chancellor Nancy Zimpher to announce and educate the public about the six main ideas in the draft report for enhancing the vitality and quality of life at SUNY schools and their surrounding communities and SUNY's role in supporting economic revitalization efforts statewide.

The first event is being held today in New York City at the New York Academy of Science from 8 a.m to 11:30 a.m. On Wednesday, the Albany launch will take place in the Center for the Performing Arts at the Empire State Plaza from 8 a.m to 11:30 a.m

"We believe in New York state's potential to be one of the most vital, resilient, and inclusive economies in the global market. And we believe that the 64 campuses of SUNY can drive that ambition and make it a reality," said Zimpher in the introduction of the report.

The remaining phase, phase IV, will be the assessment and implementation of the final plan. The strategic plan is expected to guide the State University of New York for the next five years and its development over the next 10.

"With this plan, we are pushing the reset button on SUNY — preserving our strengths as places of learning, searching and serving, but at the same time introducing a new way forward, one that will align our purposes with New York state's needs and opportunities," said Zimpher.

The draft report, The Power of SUNY: Strategic Plan 2010 and Beyond, is the culmination of information and ideas gathered at seven statewide conversations where information on various themes were presented and debated. The themes were: ensuring economic vitality and quality of life; education pipeline, which dealt with schooling from kindergarten through college; arts and culture; diversity; energy and sustainability; quality of place; and health affairs.

The conversations were conducted at different campuses across the state by Zimpher campus presidents and a group of 200 delegates consisting of college students, faculty and staff, along with community members and guest speakers.

The results of these discussions were handed over to a strategic planning steering committee that was charged with the task of taking the information gathered at the conversations and integrating them into a draft plan.

The steering committee incorporated the information collected on each of the six themes into "six big ideas" where SUNY could make a difference for the state. The main goal of this plan is to create a more unified SUNY system where resources and research from each of the 64 campuses can be combined in an effort to better the quality life in New York.

The "six big ideas" are:

- Research and innovation: According to the report, nationally, 43 percent of startup founders establish their companies in the same state where they received their academic degree, while only 21 percent of New York's graduates start their business in the state. SUNY has come up with ideas to give those interested in starting a business in the state the research and advice they need. SUNY would also share its research among campuses and send students and researchers out to local communities to disseminate the information.

- Educational attainment: According to the report, 45 percent of job openings require at least some college experience, and the 30 fastest growing fields already demand a minimum of a bachelor's degree. The report also says a third of New York's students never graduate high school and another third who do graduate lack the skills needed to succeed in college. Using its resources, SUNY would get involved in the education pipeline to prepare students of all ages for a college career, reach out to those who have limited access to higher education and educate people in the community to help them achieve a better quality of life.

- Health and well-being: SUNY would use its extensive resources to continue to generate new research in all different aspects of the medical field and continue to treat New Yorkers. "Our four academic health centers alone treat more than 1 million patients annually — including the sickest, the most vulnerable, and the most diverse populations. We see firsthand where and how the safety net is fraying or failing, and we can bring about pragmatic, fundamental reform," reads the report.

- Energy and sustainability: The report states that New York's energy costs have increased 50 percent above the national average, creating a burden for both businesses and households. SUNY would develop and implement energy efficient ideas that would then be shared among campuses, the state, and nationally. SUNY is currently the second largest energy consumers in the state.

"We will reduce SUNY's system-wide energy consumption by at least 30 percent over the next decade by becoming the nation's first system of "energy smart" campuses…and if our campuses get it right, our communities will too," read the report.

- Quality of Place: SUNY is looking to not only create a sense of community on its campuses, but extend it out to the local communities. The plan is to foster a sense of cooperation between community representatives, students, faculty and staff. The SUNY community exchange program will allow students and faculty to work in the community and the community to work on the campuses.

- Global: According to the report, in the global economy, students with different backgrounds and different international perspectives have a bigger advantage while working internationally. SUNY plans to build a global talent pool by not only bringing in students from all over the world but keeping them in the state after they graduate.

The strategic plan will also be discussed during the following events: April 15 at Binghamton University and SUNYIT in Utica; April 16 at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse; April 22 at Purchase College; April 23 in Old Westbury College; April 27 at Monroe Community College in Rochester; April 28 at HealthNow New York Inc. in Buffalo.

The draft plan and details on the events can be found online at www.suny.edy/strategicplan/.

To send comments and recommendations on the draft, and to participate in the launch events people can e-mail

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