SUNY Forms Campus Alliance Network

Zimpher helped create the SUNY Campus Alliance Network.
Zimpher helped create the SUNY Campus Alliance Network.

SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher announced last month that SUNY campus presidents and System Administration will collaboratively develop and implement regional SUNY Campus Alliance Networks to expand academic resources and course availability to students.

This new system will call for two or more SUNY colleges in a region to share administrative functions in an effort to redirect limited funding toward academic instruction and other student-support services.

“As we implement a rational tuition policy that requires students and their families to make a greater financial commitment to SUNY, it is…crucial that we make good on their investment by ensuring that their education experience is not only protected but also enhanced” said Zimpher. “Financial constraints in recent years have resulted in less course availability on our campuses.”

According to a press release, Zimpher will recommend to the SUNY Board of Trustees that President of SUNY Institute of Technology Bjong Wolf Yeigh also serve as president of Morrisville State College. The former Morrisville President Raymond Cross resigned from the position in February.

In a similar situation, SUNY Delhi President Candace Vancko was appointed to serve as officer-in-charge at SUNY Cobleskill following the retirement of Donald  P. Zingale who stepped down Aug. 3.

“Shared leadership between these campuses will best serve current and future students enabling campuses to enroll more students, hire more full-time faculty and increase course offerings,” said Zimpher. “Strategically aligning our campuses where appropriate and implementing a rational tuition policy across the system puts SUNY in a stronger position to reverse this trend [of less course availability on SUNY campuses].”

Zimpher said she does not want the Campus Alliance Networks to be confused with a consolidation or merger. All 64 SUNY campuses will remain open and they each will retain their individual identity such as name, academic specialties and school colors. This union will enable students to gain access to the academic resources of a second campus in the region.

Andrew Pletch, chair of the Computer Science Department, thinks that the SUNY Campus Alliance Network is a logical solution to save and relocate money to improve public higher education institutions given these circumstances.

“We’re getting less and less money from the state,” said Pletch. “We’ve replaced it with tuition increases.”

According to the SUNY website, SUNY campus presidents will develop plans to “employ available resources more efficiently by sharing services on a sector, regional or mission basis.”

The SUNY Board of Trustees encouraged presidents to promote campus-to-campus collaboration and carry-out strategies to generate cost savings, build capacity and expand student services. Students will have access to academic resources, courses and programs at additional campuses in the region.

SUNY Plattsburgh will be linked to Albany and New Paltz in this cost cutting plan.

“SUNY Campus Alliance Networks will expand access for students by making available to them academic resources, courses, and programs at additional campuses in the region,” said Zimpher in a press release.