Press-Republican

Local News

August 6, 2009

Chancellor wants united SUNY image

PLATTSBURGH — The State University of New York is an accessible, affordable route to quality, says its new chancellor, Dr. Nancy Zimpher.

The problem, or at least one of them, is that there appears to be a scattered view among the public of what SUNY is.

During a visit with the Press-Republican's Editorial Board, Zimpher said she is examining what can be done to create a SUNY message that supports the Plattsburgh mission.

"How can we find the sweet spot between SUNY and Plattsburgh that is going to serve the state of New York and the Plattsburgh region and put it all together?"

'THE WHOLE'

SUNY's first female chancellor is on a 64-campus tour during her first 100 days in office as a first step to create a SUNY-wide strategic plan that is expected to be completed in the spring.

She and her team will gather suggestions, ideas and comments from stakeholders to help draft "the most comprehensive, inclusive and transparent strategic planning process in SUNY's 60-year history," she said.

Perceptions about SUNY are mixed, Zimpher said, and her intuition is "we have not said enough about what the whole is about.

"I want to see what Plattsburgh does for this area," she added.

ECONOMIC ANGLE

So far, Zimpher said, SUNY's efforts to convince the State Legislature of its importance have failed.

She said SUNY must be clear about what it will do for the state's economy instead of trying to wrestle control from one hand to another.

"We need a better mechanism for showing the state what we are doing for economic growth and what we will do in the future."

Better-educated people means healthier children, more civic citizens and less reliance on social services, she noted.

RESEARCH

As part of her efforts, Zimpher plans to place some of her focus on science. SUNY will receive more federal dollars by increasing dialogue between medical schools and research centers in the fields of medical science and energy.

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