Canton, Potsdam SUNYs at forefront of state plan to create regional partnerships
The SUNY colleges in Canton and Potsdam will be at the forefront of a plan outlined today by the State University of New York creating partnerships among schools in a number of regions to share resources for efficiency and improved course offerings.
SUNY administration and campus presidents will collaboratively develop and implement regional SUNY Campus Alliance Networks, according to an announcement today by SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher outlining the plan.The idea is to "expand academic resources and course availability for students while increasing efficiency in the SUNY system," the announcement from SUNY said.
“As we carry out the SUNY mission to educate tomorrow’s workforce – the business owners, industry leaders, and employees that will lead New York’s economic recovery – it is critical that we increase efficiency within SUNY and maintain access to the most affordable public higher education in the northeast,” Chancellor Zimpher said.
“We are very sensitive to the fact that SUNY campuses are deeply embedded within communities across New York. The SUNY Campus Alliance Networks allow us to maintain that presence while improving upon the education we are providing our current and future students,” the chancellor said.
SUNY Canton President Joseph Kennedy was recently the focus of rumors that he was ordered to resign immediately while SUNY Potsdam President John Schwaller would run both schools and begin consolidation efforts.
But SUNY In Albany subsequently announced that Kennedy would remain at the school until the end of the next school year, at which point he will join SUNY administration Albany to advise the chancellor.
The new emphasis on sharing administrative functions among area colleges will redirect existing funding to "enhance learning opportunities and access for students. All of SUNY’s 64 campuses will remain open, and each campus will retain its individual identity (name, unique programs, colors and insignia, etc.)" the statement said.
The program also aims to share faculty and teaching resources, resulting in more course offerings at SUNY units.
“In the fall, as we implement a rational tuition policy that requires students and their families to make a greater financial commitment to SUNY, it is absolutely crucial that we make good on their investment by ensuring that their education experience is not only protected but also enhanced,” Chancellor Zimpher said. “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.”
Cost savings generated by administrative reorganization are intended to be redirected toward instruction and other student support services. The extent to which services will be shared among alliance partners is expected to vary by campus and region, and will follow discussions between campuses and the Office of the Chancellor.
Assemblywoman Addie Russell, representing northern St. Lawrence County including Canton and Potsdam as part of the 118th “River” District, says she happy with the plan.
“Our SUNY system provides a unique opportunity to create these Campus Alliance Networks that will provide for sharing of academic resources, courses, and programs while preserving the identity of each SUNY school,” Russell said. “This is exactly the kind of forward thinking that we need throughout state government.
“In the North Country, we are already seeing the beginning of this collaborative approach between SUNY Canton and SUNY Potsdam. I am confident that the unique relationship shared by these institutions will help build a model for collaborations among other SUNY institutions in the state without resorting to mergers or loss of identity of any school,” the assemblywoman said.
A map of the proposed regions and alliances can be found at http://www.suny.edu/Files/sunynewsFiles/Pdf/ProposedSharedServicesMap.pdf.