A close examination of the history, accomplishments, and potential of the State University of New York system.
The State University of New York is America's largest comprehensive public university system, with sixty-four campuses, including community colleges, colleges of technology, university colleges, research universities, medical schools, academic medical centers, and specialized campuses in fields as diverse as optometry, ceramics, horticulture, fashion, forestry, and maritime training. Despite its reputation for wide access, demanding academic programs, vital public services, and cutting-edge research, little has been written about its fascinating history.
Originating in a lively conference held in spring 2009 to mark SUNY's sixtieth anniversary, the book's authors examine SUNY's origins, political landscape, evolving mission, institutional variety, international partnerships, leadership, and more. Taking its place alongside studies of state systems such as those in California, Michigan, and Texas, this book is a long overdue effort to return SUNY to the national conversation about public higher education during the last half century. Edited by a former interim chancellor of the system and two SUNY history professors, and with a foreword by current Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher, this book is essential reading for anyone interested in the problems and promise of public higher education in New York State, or, indeed, anywhere.
Chancellor Zimpher met with SUNY faculty members, staff, students, alumni groups, affiliate organizations, and community and business leaders during her visits to each of the campuses constituting Phase I of the strategic planning process. In addition, she met with congressional and legislative representatives, the SUNY Board of Trustees, the SUNY campus presidents and members of the media. The Campus Tour provided the Chancellor and her team with an invaluable perspective on the current state of SUNY and an initial understanding of SUNY's most pressing issues and possibilities from the ground up. Information collected from these activities along with responses submitted to Share Your Ideas and firstname.lastname@example.org was compiled. Sixteen preliminary themes and several core infrastructure issues emerged to serve as a foundation for Phase II development activities.
To begin Phase II of the Strategic Plan, SUNY formed a Strategic Planning Steering Committee comprised of campus presidents, staff, students and community members. This Committee vets and prioritizes themes and objectives for SUNY's statewide conversations and frames strategic actions necessary to realize the full dimensions of the plan. The Steering Committee regularly provided updates to the Strategic Planning Task Force of the SUNY Board of Trustees.
During Phase II of the Strategic Plan, SUNY conducted eight statewide conversations at regional locations selected to maximize outreach and participation. Sessions were held in New York City, Albany, Buffalo, Delhi, Stony Brook, Plattsburgh and Syracuse. Campus presidents and SUNY affiliates nominated two hundred people to participate in these conversations. These individuals represent a cross section of key SUNY stakeholders and include faculty, system administrators, staff, students, alumni, foundation staff, community leaders and others linked to our campuses. These SUNY representatives were expected to participate in at least five of the eight statewide conversations.
Each day-long conversation had a structured dialogue, organized in a way for participants to consider, evaluate, and prioritize the challenges and opportunities facing SUNY. The meetings' format includes a guest speaker, opportunities for full group Q&A, a break-out session for small groups to work on the development and prioritization of themes and goals, and an open forum session. Portions of the statewide meetings were webcast. During Phase II, Chancellor Zimpher continued to meet with SUNY campus presidents, the SUNY Board of Trustees and other key stakeholder groups to seek their collective input and brief them on our progress.
In addition, teams of distinguished experts from within and outside of SUNY comprise the working groups. Each working group is assigned a theme or infrastructure issue. These working groups reviewed ideas and suggestions from the stateside conversations, feedback from meetings of the Steering Committee and input from the SUNY campus presidents. In the spring of 2010, the working groups completed reports that provide a high-level summary of SUNY's strengths, capabilities and key challenges it faces, and recommended initiatives by which SUNY can provide transformative solutions to meet these challenges.
You may visit our archived Schedule page for additional information on SUNY's Strategic Planning Phase II activities and on the statewide conversations.
For Phase III, in conjunction with SUNY partners and campuses, Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher conducted a series of SUNY Strategic Plan launch events at several locations throughout New York State in April 2010.