This week, State University of New York Chancellor Nancy Zimpher delivered her third annual State of the University Address, highlighting the value of a college degree, and setting an aggressive agenda for the year ahead.
SUNY is on course to become a national model for higher education in the United States. Chancellor Zimpher is at the helm: she has developed goals and strategies designed to move the 64 college system to the head of the educational pack: she says this year's State of The University Address targeted increasing access to the system.
Zimpher has come up with a three-year program to graduate students faster than the traditional four-years of study - she is enthusiastic about it and expects "Smart Track" to soon be available to 25 per cent of the University's students.
Zimpher says that when her "Open SUNY" initiative rolls out in 2014, SUNY will use online instruction - including 10 online bachelor's degree programs - as the main tool to ease transfer, lessen the time needed to obtain a degree, and lower the cost of a degree. Zimpher anticipates Open SUNY enrollment will reach 100,000 students within three years, making it the largest online education presence of any public institution in the country.
Robert Jones is the President of The University at Albany - he encourages students to take as many credits as comfortably possible to get the 120 or 130 necessary to graduate. He emphasizes that a college education is "definitely worth it."
Among other new SUNY initiatives Chancellor Zimpher outlined in her address : implementing Common Data Systems across all SUNY campuses in 2014 - and - the establishment by 2015, of a SUNY "Innovation Hub" - which will combine next generation research, along with academic and workforce training, put together with input from the state’s Regional Economic Development Councils.