Chancellor King Outlines Far-Reaching Vision in Inaugural State of the University Address, Announces Major Investments in Student Success

May 31, 2023

Celebrating SUNY's 75th Anniversary, Chancellor Draws on Legacy of Achievement and Lessons from 64-Campus Tour to Define SUNY's Future

Chancellor King: ‘I pledge to always endeavor to ensure our campuses are places of excellence, of safety and support, empowerment and belonging, and paths to opportunity, just as public education was for me'

Full Transcript, Policy Book, Video, and Photos Available Here

Albany, NY – State University of New York Chancellor John B. King, Jr. today delivered his inaugural State of the University Address, announcing plans for SUNY's first major investments in student success from the historic commitment to public higher education in this year's state budget – informed by his recently completed 64-campus tour.

Joined by Governor Kathy Hochul, Chancellor King spoke in Albany to an audience of the SUNY Board of Trustees, government officials, distinguished guests, and members of the SUNY community – including students, faculty, staff, campus leadership, and employer partners.

"New Yorkers deserve the best public higher education system in the country, and since I took office I've been working to ensure the SUNY system delivers on that promise," Governor Hochul said. "I worked with the legislature to pass a budget that invests millions to accelerate research, innovation and student success across all 64 SUNY campuses and I look forward to seeing Chancellor King and his team utilize these resources to make SUNY stronger than ever."

"For students to succeed, we must employ every ounce of our passion and missionary zeal to show every New Yorker there is a place for them at SUNY," said Chancellor King. "From microcredentials and certificate programs teaching marketable skills to associate degrees delivering foundational skills, on to traditional four-year degrees and through masters and PhDs, not to mention degrees in law, medicine, and optometry, SUNY's 64 campuses truly offer a program for everyone."

Full Transcript, Policy Book, Video, and Photos Available Here

In keeping with his top priorities and the vision set forth by the SUNY Board of Trustees, Chancellor King outlined an ambitious agenda rooted in the experiences of students, staff, and faculty to ensure SUNY's place as the nation's leading system of public higher education:

Student Success: SUNY will invest to help campuses replicate the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) and Accelerate, Complete, Engage (ACE) programs, which randomized controlled trials show have a dramatic and cost-effective impact on improving college completion. SUNY also proposes to make historic first-ever sustainable ongoing investments in mental health and wellness services – including hiring more counselors – and in addressing food insecurity at all state-operated campuses. In addition, SUNY will require campuses to identify a Homeless Liaison with clearly defined responsibilities to identify and support students who are unhoused or at risk of housing insecurity.

Chancellor King said, "In the coming year, we will leverage the state's new SUNY transformation fund and the historic operating aid increase in this year's budget to redouble efforts to ensure student success by introducing academic supports that enhance student learning and utilize proven, cost-effective methods to help students stay on track, addressing housing and food insecurity, and helping campuses eliminate transportation barriers."

Research & Scholarship: Chancellor King described specific action steps to advance Governor Hochul's goal to double SUNY research expenditures, including a proposed new ongoing investment in campus research. SUNY will also set a goal for every student to have the opportunity to complete a paid internship before they earn their degree, supported by new ongoing funding from this year's state budget.

Chancellor King said, "Even as we celebrate SUNY's legendary legacy of research, we will fight to double the number of research dollars we receive. Even as we revel in the fact that SUNY's scholarship is world-class, we will raise that bar even higher, a goal Governor Hochul set out in her State of the State address last year and empowered us to reach with the inclusion in this year's budget of a $1.5 billion state-matched endowment fund and critically needed capital investments in new labs."

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: SUNY proposes new ongoing funding to expand services and accessibility for students with disabilities. SUNY will also appoint 15 Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice Faculty Fellows to help faculty incorporate DEI content into existing courses as part of SUNY's new general education requirements that were adopted in 2021 and take effect this fall. Finally, SUNY will launch the Black Leadership Institute, following enactment by the legislature, to complement the successful Hispanic Leadership Institute, created in 2017.

Chancellor King said, "Today, when these bedrock principles of fairness and justice are under attack across the nation, along with the free speech and quality scholarship they support and allow, SUNY is proud to say diversity, equity, and inclusion are a part of everything we do, a factor in every aspect of our operations, and a crucial piece of every student's education. As we celebrate 75 years of SUNY, nothing makes me prouder of that heritage than the inclusive goals that were present on the day of our creation and served as a primary justification for our founding."

Economic Development & Upward Mobility: SUNY will build on its role as an engine of economic mobility by partnering with employers, labor unions, and communities to support New Yorkers in the semiconductor industry, advanced manufacturing, green economy jobs, health care, and other emerging and high-demand fields. This includes expanding efforts to award college credit for prior learning through industry certifications, apprenticeships, and military experience. In addition, SUNY will continue to lead on climate action through campus sustainability, research innovation, and workforce development.

Chancellor King said, "In the realm of careers and industry, SUNY's work to develop the state as a hub of advanced manufacturing, and most particularly, a source of prime employees for the semiconductor industry, promises to lift our colleges, our students, and our state immeasurably."

Chancellor King's State of the University address also kicks off SUNY's celebration of the 75th anniversary of its founding. Throughout the year, SUNY will highlight stories of excellence, inclusion, and achievement across the System and throughout its history, driving home the fact that at SUNY, everyone has a place.

"To be truly successful, SUNY must be a place of welcome for all, for 18-year-olds and 48-year-olds, for parents returning to school and young people cheered on by parents sacrificing for their educations, for new immigrants and students who are the first in their families to go to college, for military veterans and graduate students and prospective doctors who want to implant new-age medical devices and prospective engineers who want to design them," said Chancellor King.

NY State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, Chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, said, "As Chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, I am extremely proud of the historic funding we secured for public higher education in this year's budget. In times of financial uncertainly and declining enrollment we made sure we would not be passing the financial burdens of a quality higher education onto our students. Our 2023-24 fiscal year budget increases operating aid, secures increased capital funding, restores funding for opportunity programs and avoids cuts to our public community colleges. This will enable Chancellor King and his administration to use this funding to grow and improve our nationally recognized SUNY system."

NY Assemblymember Patricia Fahy, Chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, said, "The future of SUNY could not be more bright – with historic investments in higher education secured in this year's budget, SUNY and Chancellor King are charting a new path forward. Following his 64-campus tour, Chancellor King has a unique understanding of what SUNY has to offer our students and New Yorkers as they pursue their dreams of higher education. We will continue our important work on ensuring students have the skills and experience necessary to succeed in their careers, can access wraparound services that help provide a holistic life on campus, and investing in our SUNY system so that state-of-the-art facilities and campuses can continue providing a world class-education. I look forward to seeing Chancellor King's vision unleash the potential of our students, faculty, and more broadly, New York, as we continue to invest in the future of the nation's largest public institution of higher education."

Mental Health Association in New York State Chief Executive Officer Glenn Liebman said, "We strongly support the Chancellor in his recognition of the importance of mental health on college campuses. Earmarking funding for mental health on college campuses is a significant step in addressing the mental health crisis."

No Kid Hungry New York Director Rachel Sabella said, "We applaud Chancellor King for the meaningful commitment to fighting hunger in the SUNY community. Two years ago, No Kid Hungry was proud to partner with SUNY to address campus food insecurity, and I am thrilled to see anti-hunger initiatives have become part of the fabric of the state university system so that every student can focus on their academic goals rather than where their next meal is going to come from."

CEO and Co-Founder of Results for America Michele Jolin said, "We are excited that Chancellor King and SUNY are expanding these evidence-based student success strategies to serve even more students across the State of New York. By replicating and scaling these effective programs, SUNY will help ensure that more students receive the services and supports they need to graduate and succeed in the workforce."

Young Invincibles Northeast Regional Director Sean Miller said, "Investing in the students at SUNY is investing in a strong New York. As the nation's largest state university system, SUNY plays a vital role in educating hundreds of thousands of students – many of whom are from working-class families, first-generation college students, parenting students, and/or immigrants. Students cannot succeed in their programs without having their basic needs met – finding affordable housing, having food security, and getting access to mental health services."

"These new policies signal a fundamental understanding of the services that our state's working-class and marginalized students need. This announcement sets a historic precedent for prioritizing the ‘whole student,' taking a community schools approach in higher education, and financing life-saving student services through the university system's budget. Today's announcement shows that SUNY is ready to be a leader in ensuring all its students thrive. Young Invincibles and our partners are proud to commend Chancellor King and the leadership of SUNY for using their budget to prioritize the needs of students first," added Miller.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2022, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit suny.edu.


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