SUNY Excels

SUNY believes that by acting as a system and by adopting evidence-based best practices, colleges and universities can operate at peak performance, and, by channeling our collective power, we can more effectively address our nation’s most pervasive challenges. We also seek to demonstrate our accountability and performance in a way that more effectively advances SUNY's mission and tells our story, with the goal of attracting increased external investment.

Systemness is defined as “the coordination of multiple components that, when working together, create a network of activity that is more powerful than any action of individual parts on their own.” By holding ourselves accountable with performance metrics identified collectively but implemented locally, we harness SUNY’s ability to improve the lives of every New Yorker in more meaningful and impactful ways than ever before. In essence, we harness The Power of SUNY.


Through an inclusive process, SUNY has identified five priority areas that we can improve by channeling systemness:

  1. Access – to provide the people of New York with educational services of the highest quality, with the broadest possible access, fully representative of all segments of the population in a complete range of academic, professional and vocational postsecondary programs.
  2. Completion – we recognize the fundamental role of our responsibilities in undergraduate education and aim to provide a full range of graduate and professional education that reflects the opportunity for individual choice and the needs of society. Also, SUNY promotes appropriate program articulation between its state-operated institutions and its community colleges.  Our goal is to increase degree/award production, non-degree completion, and services that support student completion, as well as enable those we serve to achieve their goals.
  3. Success – SUNY encourages regional networks and cooperative relationships with other educational and cultural institutions for the purpose of better fulfilling its mission of education, research, and service. With our robust system and campus supports for student success, students are prepared for the most successful possible launch into further education, career, and citizenship.
  4. Inquiry – We encourage and facilitate basic and applied research for the purpose of the creation and dissemination of knowledge vital for continued human, scientific, technological and economic advancement. As a result, SUNY seeks to increase external investment in SUNY research in order to continue to increase the level of confidence external entities have in SUNY as a system, its institutions, faculty, and programs.
  5. Engagement – our economic, societal, and cultural impact on New York State, and beyond is a direct result of our engagement and sharing of expertise with the business, agricultural, governmental, labor, and nonprofit sectors of the state.  We strengthen and grow these relationships in order to enhance the well-being of the people of the state of New York, the health of local economies, and quality of life for New Yorkers.  By translating innovation into new ideas, products, devices, services, and businesses, New York’s communities and society at large will benefit.

Because our work occurs locally, system-level metrics will be translated by campus leadership into campus-level metrics appropriate to the mission and vision of each SUNY campus. Each of these will be supported by a series of measures. The SUNY Excels Matrix below outlines each of the five priority areas and the metrics intended to move the dial in those areas.

SUNY Excels Matrix

SUNY Excels Measures

SUNY Excels Steering Committee Members

SUNY Excels Resolution

Guiding Principles

All metrics and indicators should:

  • Identify metrics and indicators that are mission critical, understandable, and widely inclusive.
  • Select measures that are easy to track on a regular basis and aligned with existing assessments.
  • Maintain sensitivity to external conditions and mission.
  • Drive continuous improvement.
  • Be ambitious and visionary.‌


Measures are SUNY’s way of holding itself accountable for making progress in each of the five priority areas. SUNY campuses have begun this process of accountability by each electing to participate in the Student Achievement Measure (SAM). Participation in SAM is an important step forward in fulfilling our promises of accountability and openness to SUNY students and their families, and it supports our ongoing efforts to increase completion and success. Many of our campuses also participate in the Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA) and the Voluntary Framework of Accountability (VFA). Measures are the system’s gauge of progress and performance. 

As a system, SUNY will set targets for each of the metrics across the five priority areas. Each of these metrics will be affected by the work of the individual campuses to improve against themselves over time. While each campus will ultimately set the targets that best fit their unique mission, improvement in any of these areas will drive the system-level metrics toward our targets. Campuses are encouraged to track both system- and campus-level metrics in more depth and/or report additional measures as is appropriate to their campus mission and strategic activities.