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Shaping SUNY Into A Whole Greater Than Its Parts

April 19, 2010

The Chronicle of Higher Education

Nancy L. Zimpher admits to being infatuated with self-help books, especially those about corporate leadership. As chancellor of the State University of New York, she may need all the help she can get as she tests her own management theories in an effort to bolster the image and quality of the nation's largest system of public higher education.

During the past decade, SUNY has been plagued by frequent turnover in leadership and hampered by limited cooperation among the system's 64 campuses, which are mired in competition for sparse resources and hamstrung by state regulations.

Like several previous chancellors, Ms. Zimpher has an ambitious goal: to unite the system's two year colleges, regional universities, and major research institutions around a common set of goals. A strategic plan she unveiled this month seeks to redefine the role of the system, coordinate the focus of its campuses, and raise its profile both in New York and across the nation.

While the system's larger universities have little incentive to go along with the plans, several campus leaders say the depth of the state's economic and political crises may force them to cooperate to a new degree. And higher-education leaders who know the chancellor say her tenacity and ability to build consensus may help her succeed where others have failed.

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State Must Help Its Universities

April 14, 2010

Assembly should pass SUNY reforms that would advance UB 2020 plans

Buffalo News Editorial

April 14, 2010

Pieces of the University at Buffalo’s future are falling into place. If UB’s plans for growth and greatness unfold in ways that create jobs and boost the regional economy—part of the UB 2020 vision—that prospect will be bright.

But unless the State Legislature acts, the future remains clouded.

One piece of the plan advanced recently was the announcement of the possible sale of the McCarley Gardens low-income housing development along Goodell Street and Michigan Avenue to UB for $15 million. Although that was understandably upsetting to residents, the sale would give UB room for medical campus expansion and allow the church selling the property to invest in more housing nearby.

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Under Fiscal Pressure, SUNY Unveils Strategic Plan

Newsday

April 14, 2010

The State University of New York Tuesday unveiled a strategic plan that calls for boosting scientific research, improving health care in the state, and expanding teacher training programs, but Chancellor Nancy Zimpher acknowledged those goals will be difficult because the state is cutting $210 million in funding to the 64 campuses.

The plan - after nearly a year of meetings across the state - directs campuses to train students for "green" jobs, conserve energy and join forces with local businesses to provide internships as well as economic development.

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SUNY Plan Aims at Encouraging Entrepreneurship

Associated Press

April 14, 2010

The State University of New York, the nation's largest public university system, has a new roadmap for the future that aims to encourage entrepreneurship that officials say would create jobs and stem an exodus of young New Yorkers.

Chancellor Nancy Zimpher said Tuesday the strategic plan, 10 months in the making, will enable SUNY to help drive New York's economy and create jobs through innovation. She called for an "entrepreneur mindset" and "cradle to career" programs that would connect the 64 campuses to bring new ideas to market.

The plan also calls for revamping teacher education and making it easier for community college students to transfer to SUNY schools.

But how much will the "Power of SUNY" strategic plan cost, when the state's lingering fiscal crisis has prompted two years of cuts to SUNY aid?

"We have the capacity already," Zimpher said in an interview. "Connecting the dots and making the systemwide effort is not, in itself, expensive. It's a different way of doing business."

She said, however, that greater investment by government and through philanthropists would speed her promised results of jobs and other improvements for New York's economy. Accountability measures will show if the benefits are being realized.

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Legislation Will Create Jobs and Investment in Buffalo

April 05, 2010

Buffalo News
Op-Ed by Jonathan Dandes

April 4, 2010

Much has been written lately about UB 2020 and the proposed Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act. The Buffalo Niagara Partnership has been an avid supporter of UB 2020 for a number of years now; in fact, passage of the act has been identified by our members as our No. 1 state advocacy issue.

Why? For Buffalo Niagara, the act will be instrumental in allowing UB 2020 — the most aggressive economic development plan our region has seen in a half-century — to progress. The promise of UB 2020 is substantial: tens of thousands of jobs, badly needed public and private investment in downtown Buffalo and an economic impact to our region of more than $2.6 billion. This is an opportunity we cannot afford to delay, or worse, pass up.

In the midst of a growing state budget deficit, now more than ever Albany should be focused on short-and long-term economic development and job creation. The act is practical and timely. It is a no-cost, high-impact economic development initiative that the Legislature can move forward immediately.

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