SUNY Chancellor to New Yorkers: “Hold Us Accountable”; Report Card to Transparently Measure Strategic Plan Progress

ALBANY, N.Y. – Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher and the State University of New York today launched the SUNY Report Card, an exclusive evaluation tool that will publicly track the university’s system-wide work as an educator, job creator, community partner, and generator of boundary-breaking research.

With the release of its report card, SUNY takes the unprecedented step of measuring the university system's performance against New York’s greatest social and economic needs, including the alignment of SUNY's research capacity to statewide job growth and the state's ability to capture a greater share of the global green energy market, among other measures.

The full report is available online.

“Part of what makes the Report Card unique is that it doesn’t merely measure SUNY’s value in terms of the number of degrees it bestows or the breadth of its curricula, but by the tangible, long-term impact SUNY will have on the economy and quality of life in New York State,” said Zimpher. “No other university system in the country is doing this. We are thinking outside of the SUNY box – inviting the public to measure the system’s actions against its ability to address our State’s greatest needs.

“We are asking New Yorkers to hold us accountable,” Zimpher continued. "We want the public to know where we succeed and where we may fall short. It’s a level of accountability that many would consider a gamble, but the risks are outweighed by the opportunity to present all New Yorkers with SUNY’s advancement and our impact on the economic revitalization of New York State.”

SUNY Board Chairman Carl T. Hayden said, “The Report Card provides us with a unique opportunity to measure our own success against some of the most important issues facing SUNY, higher education, and New York State today. The SUNY metrics within the Report Card will enhance our academic mission for access, quality, and diversity and lead to greater completion among all students. Because it also ties these SUNY metrics to state-wide measures for economic development and quality of life indicators first identified in our strategic plan, the Report Card will be an informative and valuable tool for all of SUNY and New York in the coming years.”

The inaugural SUNY Report Card is a starting point – establishing a baseline – to provide the public with a comprehensive look at the status of SUNY’s goals and initiatives across a broad spectrum of critical areas, including:

• On student diversity and creating greater access to higher education: In 2008, SUNY campuses received 39,000 applications from historically underrepresented populations, out of a system-wide total of 143,000. By the fall of that year, SUNY enrolled 22,000 students from historically underrepresented populations, out of 122,000 total new enrollments.

• On SUNY’s impact on the state economy. Research expenditures at all SUNY campuses total just under $850 million and support more than 5,300 jobs statewide. SUNY also contributes to the state economy as a mass purchaser of goods and services. SUNY’s annual purchasing power exceeds $2.8 billion.

• On “energy smart” policy and reducing energy consumption. As one of the largest energy consumers in New York State, SUNY is determined to be a leader in energy conservation. SUNY system consumption currently stands at 140,565 BTUs per square foot.

In addition, the Report Card establishes measures for data that SUNY is in the process of compiling, such as the number of SUNY graduates represented in New York State’s workforce and the median income of SUNY graduates employed in New York. This information will help advance SUNY’s goal to produce graduates in support of the state’s current and future workforce needs.

These and the more than 90 other performance measures featured in the Report Card stem from SUNY’s strategic plan – The Power of SUNY – released in April 2010 and reflect the university’s ambition to enhance its status as one of the nation’s leading providers of public higher education and improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers.

To those ends, the SUNY Report Card released today provides baseline data on performance areas from academic year 2008-09, as well as specific metrics that SUNY will use to measure its progress over the next five years. Subsequent Report Cards will be published by SUNY annually, with the first due for release this September, allowing all New Yorkers and interested parties outside the state to track SUNY’s progress.

This effort is the culmination of intense discussion and research over the past year by more than 300 scholars, experts, and other stakeholders who comprised The Power of SUNY Innovation and Transformation Teams, one of the central implementation mechanisms for The Power of SUNY.

"With its strategic plan, SUNY pledged to leverage its scale and capabilities as the state's university system to create jobs, drive business activity, and raise revenue in New York State,” said Zimpher. “The SUNY Report Card will provide a yearly, vivid snapshot of where SUNY stands on its pledge to build a better SUNY and a stronger New York. It's a level of accountability New Yorkers – and most Americans – have never seen from a college or university, public or private."

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive university system in the United States, educating more than 467,000 students in more than 7,500 degree and certificate programs on 64 campuses with nearly 3 million alumni around the globe. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit

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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940