SUNY schools are looking toward the future following the chancellor's State of the University Address this week. Chancellor Nancy Zimpher outlined a number of new initiatives. Our Melissa Kakareka tells us what some schools in the Binghamton region have to say about her plans and making them a reality.
BROOME COUNTY, N.Y. -- Ambitious and challenging. Those are the words that officials at Binghamton University and Broome Community College are using to describe Chancellor Nancy Zimpher's State of the University Address.
Under the plan, students will be able to take online classes at any SUNY campus and can even earn entire degrees online. Other goals include developing a three year Bachelor's degree program, expanding the SUNY Smart Track Financial aid program and developing a SUNY Plus Diploma Designation to reflect out of the classroom learning experiences.
"The chancellor thinks really big and I like that because we like to think big here as well," said BCC President Kevin Drumm.
"There's some interesting and difficult things that she's challenged the presidents to do," said Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger.
Officials at both institutions say their schools are already on the right track to achieving these goals and they say they look forward to continuing down the path that the chancellor has laid out.
At Binghamton University, President Harvey Stenger favors the traditional classroom environment, but acknowledges that online classes can be a big help to students.
BU's Center for Community Engagement is already moving ahead on software for the Plus Diploma designation. And President Stenger says the university plans to study how to implement the early graduation initiative.
"Her agenda is great, I think Binghamton already has a head start on a lot of them and I think she's challenged us in the right direction," said Stenger.
BCC President Kevin Drumm believes the new online system will help fill the holes in SUNY's online classroom system.
Drumm also says the school is already getting ready to launch a one year Associate's diploma and says the school has a head start when it comes to the SUNY Plus Diploma Designation.
"We're pleased that really what the chancellor is doing is taking all these things to the next level as far as Broome Community College is concerned and we're happy to go there," said Drumm.
The chancellor also wants to develop SUNY Innovation hubs in cooperation with each regional economic development council. Both BU and BCC have already partnered with other county officials to bring a high tech incubator to downtown Binghamton.
Now both schools just have to build upon that and all of the initiatives they already have in place in order to achieve the chancellor's goals.