SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher visited Monroe Community College Tuesday to discuss details of the new SUNY strategic plan with stakeholders from local institutions.
Zimpher outlined the six points of the plan and detailed how it would be used to further economic development in the state. The plan focuses on boosting entrepreneurial efforts on campuses and partnerships between SUNY colleges and their local business communities.
It also calls for SUNY to better develop teachers who can bridge the learning gap many high school students in the state face, and places SUNY as a driver of innovation in energy and health care. SUNY colleges would strengthen their ties to surrounding communities and become more globalized.
The event drew more than 200 attendants, including leaders of local SUNY colleges. Christopher Dahl, SUNY College at Geneseo president, said the plan will help unleash the power of one of the largest state college systems in the nation.
Dahl also tied the plan with support for the Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act, an initiative included in Gov. David Paterson’s state budget that would allow SUNY greater control over the tuition it raises and allow for funding through partnerships with private businesses.
Zimpher said the plan is in part a response to the economic crisis and the need for SUNY to act as a cohesive unit in its plans.
“We found ourselves in this economic crisis and now commit to the most audacious goal imaginable, to be the leader of economic development in New York state,” Zimpher said.
The plan was praised by local leaders of economic development. Steven Hyde, president and CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center, said being on the front lines of economic development is not easy and welcomes the efforts of SUNY. His group works directly with Genesee Community College on health sciences issues, which provides a benefit to the local economy and work force, he said.
Mark Peterson, president of Greater Rochester Enterprise Inc., said the strategic plan offers the state a path back to prosperity.
“This will increase our ability to grow our own students, strengthen the businesses that are here while growing new ones,” he said.
For more information on the SUNY plan see the April 23 print edition of the Rochester Business Journal.
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