ALBANY, N.Y.—Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher delivered her fourth annual State of the University Address on Tuesday.
She announced that the system will build on SUNY's progress over the past four years and take successes to scale with innovative new programs that will expand access to SUNY's top quality, affordable education and continue to prepare all students for success in today's global economy.
Chancellor Zimpher launched Open SUNY, the system's comprehensive online learning platform, which is now offering eight degree programs through six campuses, with plans to grow its portfolio in 2014 and beyond.
Additionally, the chancellor announced an expanded SUNY Works program for which a new task force of business leaders will help SUNY engage Fortune 500 CEOs throughout the state in an effort to get 100-percent sign on to SUNY Works, which encompasses the system's experiential learning initiatives such as co-operative education, internships, service learning, community service, and clinical opportunities.
"There is simply nothing like SUNY anywhere else in the world," said Chancellor Zimpher. "Our unprecedented, innovative partnerships with government, business, education, and New York's communities—pulling together everyone who has a stake in the quality of education—is enabling SUNY to increase access to college exponentially, help more students complete their degrees on time, and ensure that every student in the state has the experience he or she needs to succeed in the world."
Chancellor Zimpher announced the following new initiatives:
The chancellor introduced Open SUNY with the launch of eight online degree programs, highlighting this signature initiative's potential to vastly increase access, speed degree completion, and increase success among students and graduates. In addition to the eight new programs unveiled today, Open SUNY will take every online course offered at every SUNY campus—now upwards of 12,000 course sections conducted by 7,000 faculty—and make them easy to find and accessible for every SUNY student. The initiative also aims to reach the 6.9 million adults in New York who have a high school diploma but no college degree.
"Open SUNY will completely redefine access to a college degree in our state, reaching every child and adult in New York, and reaching them on their terms—in their homes, schools, and communities, and on their time, adapting to their schedules," said Chancellor Zimpher. "By vastly increasing access in this way, we are speeding completion and cutting costs for our students like never before."
"Open SUNY+" degrees carry unique student and faculty supports that go beyond SUNY's existing online offerings, and they are closely aligned with the state's workforce needs. The Open SUNY+ programs announced today are:
SUNY Works Expansion to All Fortune 500 Companies in New York
To promote the expansion of SUNY's successful cooperative education and paid internship initiative, Chancellor Zimpher will engage the CEOs of every Fortune 500 company with a presence in New York and other large employers with the goal of 100 percent participation in SUNY Works. Additionally, the chancellor will establish a Co-Op Task Force comprised of business leaders from across the state to recruit new businesses to the program, with a focus on regional Chambers of Commerce and companies coming to New York as part of Governor Cuomo's START-UP NY economic development plan.
"The value of experiential learning is simply too good to pass up, and we want to ensure that every SUNY student—whether they attend on campus or online—has an opportunity to gain hands-on workforce experience in their career field prior to graduation," said Chancellor Zimpher.
New Network of Excellence
Chancellor Zimpher announced that a fifth SUNY Network of Excellence will be launched this year to focus on the Arts and Humanities. The networks, introduced in 2013 with a $4 million commitment from the Research Foundation, bring together SUNY's top scholars and scientists and industry experts to spur research and commercialization in Energy, Healthcare, Neuroscience, and Manufacturing. As SUNY continues to support these networks with the goal of making them self-sustainable within five years' time, the Research Foundation will measure outcomes achieved by each network and invest additional funding—at least $1 million more per network this year—to support workshops, collaboration, and proposal development for external funding.
Diversity Task Force
To ensure that SUNY's student, faculty, and administrative populations continue to reflect the unique diversity of New York State, Chancellor Zimpher will establish a special Task Force on Diversity to evaluate SUNY's diversity and make strategic recommendations for its effective expansion.
College Readiness Initiatives
As SUNY continue its comprehensive efforts to prepare more of New York's children and youth for college and decrease the state's excessive reliance on remedial education, SUNY will engage state education officials and K-12 educators and administrators on several new initiatives to:
Better communicate to high school students the academic skills they need for college-level Math and English;
Incentivize high school students to take more Math by offering college credit in the fourth year; and
Develop a universal diagnostic, taken by students in the 10th grade, to assess their pathway toward college readiness.
Incentivizing STEM Careers
Beginning this year, in continued partnership with Governor Cuomo, the State Education Department, and school districts across the state, SUNY will introduce new incentives for students who choose teaching careers in the STEM fields. In his State of the State Address, Governor Cuomo proposed providing full tuition scholarships to the top 10 percent of high school graduates if they pursue a STEM career at a SUNY campus and then work in New York for five years.
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