SUNY Board Calls for Expanded Applied Learning Opportunities for Students

May 6, 2015

Albany – The State University of New York Board of Trustees, in accordance with the 2015-16 New York State Budget, today adopted a resolution calling for SUNY to collaboratively develop a plan to ensure that all students enrolled in an academic program have access to an applied or experiential learning opportunity, such as co-operative education, internships, service learning, research, community service, study abroad, and clinical placements.

Applied learning is one of several tools SUNY is expanding as it implements a completion agenda first outlined by SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher in her 2015 State of the University Address. SUNY aims to increase the number of SUNY graduates from 93,000 to 150,000 annually by bringing evidence-based programs to scale across its 64 campuses. 

“By providing our students with hands-on workforce and community experiences, we enhance the value of a SUNY education and give our graduates a competitive edge in today’s job market,” said SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall. “We know that there is great power in learning by doing, and we are thankful to the Governor and Legislature for supporting Chancellor Zimpher’s vision for applied learning at the broadest possible scale. Thank you as well to our business partners across the state who will help us achieve this ambitious goal.”

“Applied learning is one of the most valuable experiences we offer students,” said Chancellor Zimpher. “These opportunities have proven to increase student engagement and success during college and result in a higher rate of job placement following graduation. Applied learning is truly college and career preparation at their very best. Thank you to the many campus representatives and shared governance leaders who have already begun to develop a framework that will enable SUNY to bring applied learning to more students.”

A SUNY Provost’s Applied Learning Advisory Committee comprised of representatives from every campus was empanelled in October 2014, and has since established an Applied Learning Team on each SUNY campus. The Provost will appoint a steering committee comprised of representatives from the University Faculty Senate, Faculty Council of Community Colleges, Student Assembly, Distinguished Faculty appointees, and other stakeholders to work with the Advisory Committee to develop and ultimately implement SUNY’s plan.

“SUNY faculty are already leading the way in identifying and overseeing countless applied learning experiences for our students,” said Alexander N. Cartwright, SUNY Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor. “I look forward to working with them to bring their already outstanding efforts to scale as part of meeting Chancellor Zimpher’s goals and the high expectations now set forth in the statute.”

Applied learning opportunities at SUNY already include but are not limited to:

  • SUNY Works – clinical placements, in which more than 20,000 SUNY students are already enrolled; internships, in which more than 21,000 students participate; and cooperative education programs (“co-ops”), in which SUNY faculty and area employers have jointly developed curricula that integrate classroom instruction and on-the-job experience. Approximately 1,740 students are currently enrolled in co-ops across SUNY.
  • SUNY Serves – service-learning, community service, civic engagement, and volunteerism. More than 30,000 SUNY students are currently engaged in formal service-learning programs for which they earn college credit, while tens of thousands more participate in community service and volunteer locally, nationally, and around the globe.
  • SUNY Discovers – student research, entrepreneurial ventures, field study, and international experiences. While SUNY research has a proud history of breakthrough discoveries, inventions, and startups, our increased focus on applied learning has led to an unprecedented level of collaboration between SUNY students, faculty, and industry experts to enable commercialization of the best ideas and innovations born at our campuses.

To further enhance college and career success for students and support the expansion of applied learning at SUNY, Chancellor Zimpher recently announced a partnership with the Business-Higher Education Forum to add 100,000 new opportunities.

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

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