Nancy L. Zimpher Announces Future Plans To Follow Eight Years As SUNY Chancellor

July 13, 2017

Zimpher to Lead Nation’s First “Center for Education Pipeline Systems Change” at SUNY’s Rockefeller Institute of Government

As Faculty, Zimpher Will Serve As Chief Adviser to University at Albany President Havidán Rodríguez for Cradle-to-Career Partnerships

Albany, NY – Nancy L. Zimpher, Chancellor Emeritus of The State University of New York, today announced her plans for the future, which include carrying on the work she has been most passionate about over the course of a more than 40-year career in education. Chancellor Zimpher will step down from her current role at SUNY at the end of August; and officially launch the nation’s first “Center for Education Pipeline Systems Change” as senior fellow at SUNY’s Rockefeller Institute of Government (RIG) in January.

Additionally, as a member of the University at Albany faculty in the School of Education, Chancellor Zimpher will serve as chief adviser to President Havidán Rodríguez and his staff for cradle-to-career partnerships, ensuring that the university’s national leadership in this area continues to build.

“Together with my colleagues across SUNY and New York State, we have become a model for what public education can and should be in service to all students,” said Chancellor Zimpher. “We need to continue to use what we know works and take it to scale to keep the dials moving in the right direction, from student achievement in early education, to college readiness, to college completion, to career success. This data-based, collective impact approach is the only way we will truly be able to educate more people and educate them better.”

“It’s difficult to remember a time when SUNY operated as 64 individual colleges and universities rather than the powerhouse of ‘systemness’ that we are today,” said SUNY Chairman H. Carl McCall. “Nancy’s decision to stay in New York and continue this work through the Center for Education Pipeline Systems Change is a big win for generations of students as well as our university system, our state, and the entire country.”

Chancellor Zimpher will create and lead the Center for Education Pipeline Systems Change, where initiatives she introduced during her SUNY tenure will be further explored and taken to scale, namely the idea of “systemness,” the collective impact approach to education and community building, and the importance of approaching education policymaking and funding across the full continuum, from cradle to career.

The Center will initially focus on creating a statewide education data system, identifying evidence-based policies that could be adopted at scale, and creating a “train the trainer” certification program aimed at the continuous improvement of New York’s work to establish a seamless education pipeline to better serve all students. In addition, further development of TeachNY and the New York State Master Teacher Program will be moved from SUNY System to the Center as excellence in teaching is a critical component to ensuring a seamless education pipeline.

In anticipation of the Center’s launch, Chancellor Zimpher has begun coordinating efforts to elevate the teaching profession with the College Football Playoff Foundation through Extra Yard for Teachers, as well as the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). These organizations, along with RIG, will work together to build a new coalition of diverse stakeholders to address key challenges related to recruitment and retention of teachers and leaders at both the national and state level—with educators leading the way.

In addition, Chancellor Zimpher will contribute to the development of a new leadership institute for college and university presidents for the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB)/AGB Search drawing on her experience in recruiting and developing top-tier talent to institutions of public higher education throughout the country.

Finally, the Center will also seek to identify and promote local, state, and policy models for cradle-to-career communities across the country, an objective Chancellor Zimpher will carry out in tandem with her previously announced appointment as chair of the StriveTogether Board of Directors.

“One of the nation’s greatest challenges is improving our education system. There are few leaders with the vision, know-how, and tireless energy to implement a transformative idea to improve the system, rigorously evaluate its effectiveness, and then adapt and improve accordingly. If anyone can do it, it’s Nancy Zimpher,” said Jim Malatras, President of the Rockefeller Institute of Government. “Once promising state and federal efforts around data transparency and education accountability have stalled, so the Center for Education Pipeline Systems Change is precisely what our country needs to ensure more effective investments in P-20 education. In times of fiscal restraint, it is critical that funding and policy decisions are informed by data, so that investment is made only in what works. This evidence-based approach is one Nancy has implemented throughout her career in New York and nationally.”

“I cannot express how elated I am to know that Nancy Zimpher’s work on behalf of New York’s students and teachers will continue,” said State Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. “When I came to New York, I was immediately drawn to Nancy’s vision for education, one where P-12 and higher ed are closely intertwined to ensure that we are meeting the needs of all students from early education all the way through college and into career. We both share the belief that there is nothing more meaningful in a child’s life than having a high-quality and well-trained teacher. As we have put this vision into action together, we have accomplished a great deal, but there is more to be done. I look forward to our continued partnership in service to students and teachers in every region.”

“The University at Albany’s commitment to community outreach and engagement is one of its major strengths, and a very important characteristic that attracted me to pursuing the role of president,” said UAlbany President-elect Rodríguez. “Chancellor Zimpher’s leadership of SUNY has lifted the University at Albany’s partnerships within the local community to unprecedented heights, all to benefit not only our students but those in schools throughout the city of Albany and the Capital District. I look forward to continuing this important work together.”

Chancellor Zimpher will also continue her national engagement on federal policy issues as a member of the Knight Commission, the College Promise Campaign Board, the President’s Council of the Alliance for Excellent Educators, the Board of Governors of the New York Academy of Sciences, the Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development, and co-chair of Higher Education for Higher Standards.

About The Rockefeller Institute of Government
The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government is the public policy research arm of The State University of New York. The Institute conducts fiscal and programmatic research on American state and local governments. To learn more, visit

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York 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 2023, 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

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