"Working together is the answer for us," Zimpher said. "I think we might be a new model because we are a collaborative model."
She wants to create collaborations around key disciplines.
"With SUNY, we will be highly focused and selective about the disciplines we pursue, and we will work to break into the top echelons of those disciplines."
During her SUNY-wide tour, Zimpher has seen some "extraordinary" environmental initiatives on individual college campuses. She thinks SUNY could be the "green machine" of New York.
"I think we are more exemplary than people realize, and we are doing it not just for our campus but our community."
She doesn't think SUNY is getting the message out to the public about its environmental initiatives.
While universities such as Plattsburgh State excel at attracting underrepresented populations from around the state and globe, SUNY as a whole lacks diverse leadership, Zimpher said.
"We are much more challenged at faculty levels and administration" than with the student body.
The university system must also improve its data system and better track students, though Zimpher said efforts there are already under way.
Overall, she's been impressed by what she has seen.
"I have been especially encouraged by the role SUNY campuses are playing in the economic and cultural revival of the state of New York. Something really powerful is happening here for this part of the North Country."
E-mail Stephen Bartlett at: email@example.com