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Statewide Plan for Higher Education 2004-2012

State University of New York (SUNY)

Created in 1948, SUNY has 64 campuses across the State. Thirty-four are fully State-operated; 13 of them offer study through the doctorate level (including four comprehensive universities); 14 offer undergraduate and master's degree study; seven offer programs to the baccalaureate level. The other 30 are community colleges, sponsored by local governments (usually counties) under SUNY's supervision. One community college offers baccalaureate and master's degree programs; the other 29 are two-year colleges. The State-operated and community colleges operate on 76 main and branch campuses and at more than 790 other locations. In the fall of 2004, SUNY had a total headcount enrollment of 413,218 students, with 204,205 students at State-operated campuses and 209,013 at community colleges. Based on 2001-02 enrollments, this Plan projects that SUNY's State-operated and community colleges will enroll 432,267 students in 2013. In its plan, SUNY expects total headcount enrollment to reach approximately 435,000 students in 2008-09; its enrollment projection does not extend to 2013.  

A 16-member Board of Trustees governs SUNY. The Governor appoints 15 members, with the consent of the Senate, and the student body chooses one student. SUNY's State-operated campuses derive almost 40 percent of their income from direct State appropriations; the balance is from tuition and fees, federal funds, and other sources. Its community colleges are funded under a system that shares expenditures among the State, the local government sponsor, and tuition and fees. Under that system, they derive almost 30 percent of their operating income from direct State appropriations. Normally, State aid may not exceed about 40 percent of operating income and tuition revenue may not exceed one-third of operating income; the local sponsor provides the remainder. Each community college has its own nine-member board of trustees. The local sponsor appoints five members and the Governor, four.

Mission of SUNY  SUNY's mission is set forth in §351 of the Education Law:

§ 351. State university mission

The mission of the state university system shall be to provide to the people of New York educational services of the highest quality, with the broadest possible access, fully representative of all segments of the population in a complete range of academic, professional and vocational postsecondary programs including such additional activities in pursuit of these objectives as are necessary or customary. These services and activities shall be offered through a geographically distributed comprehensive system of diverse campuses which shall have differentiated and designated missions designed to provide a comprehensive program of higher education, to meet the needs of both traditional and non-traditional students and to address local, regional and state needs and goals. In fulfilling this mission, the state university shall exercise care to develop and maintain a balance of its human and physical resources that:

  1. recognizes the fundamental role of its responsibilities in undergraduate education and provides a full range of graduate and professional education that reflects the opportunity for individual choice and the needs of society;
  2. establishes tuition which most effectively promotes the university's access goals;
  3. encourages and facilitates basic and applied research for the purpose of the creation and dissemination of knowledge vital for continued human, scientific, technological and economic advancement;
  4. strengthens its educational and research programs in the health sciences through the provision of high quality general comprehensive and specialty health care, broadly accessible at reasonable cost, in its hospitals, clinics and related programs and through networks and joint and cooperative relationships with other health care providers and institutions, including those on a regional basis;
  5. shares the expertise of the state university with the business, agricultural, governmental, labor and nonprofit sectors of the state through a program of public service for the purpose of enhancing the well-being of the people of the state of New York and in protecting our environmental and marine resources;
  6. promotes appropriate program articulation between its state-operated institutions and its community colleges as well as encourages regional networks and cooperative relationships with other educational and cultural institutions for the purpose of better fulfilling its mission of education, research and service.

SUNY Master Plan

§354 of the Education Law governs the development of SUNY's master plan. It requires that the plan include:

  1. plans for new curricula; 
  2. plans for new facilities; 
  3. plans for changes in policies with respect to student admissions; 
  4. projected student enrollments; 
  5. comments upon its relationship to other colleges and universities, public, independent and proprietary, within the State; and 
  6. for informational purposes only, projection standards and overall expenditure projections of capital and operating costs.

The Regents approve the long-range master plan of the State University of New York and incorporate it into this Statewide Plan.

Summary of the State University of New York Master Plan 2004-2008

  1. SUNY's Strategic Planning Efforts - A Commitment to Excellence

    SUNY has begun an ongoing strategic planning process that will set goals for the system to move it to the forefront of higher education and give each campus a framework to specify how it can contribute to them. The current draft goals of this process include:

    • access and success for students; 
    • academic programs that are recognized for quality, accredited, and responsive to local, State, and national needs, including enhancement of international activities; 
    • increasing numbers of outstanding faculty to carry out teaching, research, and service; 
    • state-of-the-art technology, infrastructure, and facilities to support mission; 
    • a sufficient and growing resource base to support excellence; 
    • administrative effectiveness to ensure efficiency, productivity, and quality; 
    • optimal system-ness while ensuring campus distinctiveness and excellence; 
    • strong partnerships with business and industry, communities, and the State; 
    • accountability to stakeholders; and 
    • State, national, and international reputation for excellence.

    This master plan generally addresses these goals as part of this strategic planning process.

  2. Mission Review II (2005-2010): Building an Expectation of Excellence

    Since 1998, Mission Review (SUNY's academic strategic planning process) has included all SUNY institutions, both individually and as part of geographic regions and campus type groups. With its second cycle launched in February 2004, Mission Review attempts to:

    • ensure the highest level of academic quality across SUNY; 
    • focus on the fundamental aspects of campus missions; 
    • encourage campuses to think strategically about their roles within SUNY, New York State, and the nation; 
    • enhance campus distinctiveness and differentiation; 
    • enhance the reputation of each campus relative to regional and national peers; 
    • increase opportunities for and support of inter-campus cooperation; and 
    • identify goals and benchmarks to monitor success.

    Mission Review's theme will continue to be academic quality. In collaboration between campuses and the System Administration, Mission Review II (2005-2010) will continue to focus on institutional improvement and accountability and to emphasize campus-based planning. It will pay greater attention than the first cycle to the physical facilities, resource, and infrastructure implications of campus plans. Efforts to measure student outcomes will be of central importance. An explicit goal will be to measure SUNY's economic impact, as a whole, by sector and region, and at each constituent campus, so that its power as an economic engine is fully demonstrated.

    Within the context of Mission Review II, SUNY will undertake:

    1. Plans for Strengthening the Quality and Diversity of the Student Body

      SUNY will continue to seek to attract and educate a stronger, more diverse student body. Explicit campus-driven selectivity goals, informed by State and national peer comparison data, will be updated in Mission Review II.

      SUNY Enrollment 

      Projections for 2008-09 are for 182,842 annual average full-time equivalent (AAFTE) students at State-operated campuses (a 7.5 percent increase over 2004-05) and 170,421 full-time equivalent (FTE) students at community colleges (a 5.5 percent increase over 2004-05), for a total of 353,263 FTE students (a 6.5 percent increase over planned enrollment for 2004-05 and a 16.4 percent increase over 2000-01). With a current total headcount of about 410,000 students, enrollment has grown by more than 35,000 since 2000-01. SUNY expects total headcount to reach some 435,000 students in 2008-09, roughly 25,000 more than are now enrolled.

      Access and Opportunity

      SUNY will give particular attention to:
      • building on existing programs that ensure access; 
      • expanding efforts to reach and support populations under-represented in higher education; 
      • supporting early intervention initiatives, in collaboration with middle and secondary schools, that seek to increase student preparedness; 
      • increasing diversity among graduates in fields of State needs (e.g., teaching); 
      • increasing access to and support for graduate level study; 
      • developing greater levels of diversity among faculty, staff, and students, particularly in positions affecting governance and policy; and 
      • identifying factors that support or diminish successful student outcomes among various populations and promoting greater levels of success in all sectors of SUNY.

    2. Plans for Strengthening the Quality, Diversity, and Reputation of Faculty

      SUNY will continue to attract, engage, and support a diverse faculty of leading teachers and scholars, while advancing the frontiers of knowledge and practice appropriate to each SUNY campus type. Its campuses will remain places where leading faculty can create outstanding programs of instruction and research and serve effectively. Mission Review II will see greater emphasis on faculty development, including recruitment and retention plans (consistent with academic program development plans), strengthening promotion and tenure processes, and ensuring that the work of the faculty is supported and recognized appropriately. Campus goals for faculty teaching, research, and scholarship productivity will be set in the context of national peer performance; plans to support those goals with adequate infrastructure, resources, and facilities also will be discussed. Implications for SUNY policy will emerge during the dialogue with campuses; there will be broader participation from System Administration during Mission Review II to explore such implications.

      During Mission Review's first cycle a system-wide goal was set to reach $1 billion in externally sponsored research activity per year. Mission Review II will articulate a new goal, consistent with campus missions and aggregate plans, to increase research and other sponsored activity beyond the $1 billion mark.

    3. Plans for Strengthening the Quality and Reputation of Academic Programs

      During Mission Review II campuses will be encouraged, once again, to focus on their strengths and sharpen and build on institutional differentiation in setting academic program direction, including development of new programs, revision of existing programs, and elimination of outdated/moribund programs. At the same time, the SUNY program review policies and procedures, focusing on mission, market, and quality, will continue to provide ways to monitor and prevent unwarranted duplication of programs and to maintain each campus' distinctive academic mission. Changes to the SUNY graduate program proposal review process, including new guidelines, are planned for introduction in 2004-05. To strengthen the reputation of individual campuses and SUNY as a whole, SUNY also plans to continue to increase the number of programs that are nationally recognized and, where appropriate, ensure that programs are nationally accredited.

      Academic programs are being launched or strengthened in conjunction with the research activity at the Centers of Excellence in bioinformatics at SUNY Buffalo, nanotechnology at Albany, and wireless communication at Stony Brook.

      While campuses update curricula to meet changing demographics, Mission Review II will include focused discussion of campus academic plans and priorities for addressing the State's aging population, consistent with SUNY's participation in Project 2015 (a Gubernatorial initiative to meet the needs of an aging New York). In particular, it will explore plans for relevant new or expanded programs and to use technology-mediated learning.

      General Education

      During Mission Review II, SUNY will explore with campuses the results of Campus-based Assessments of General Education, with attention on how they use assessment results to improve programs and student learning.

      Teacher Education

      The plan notes that SUNY's 2001 teacher education reform initiative, A New Vision in Teacher Education, set the following goals:

      • to improve the preparation of new teachers;
      • to address New York State's needs for K-12 schools; and
      • to assure continuing excellence and improvement of teacher preparation.

      New Vision has:

      • fostered development of a universal transfer template in teacher education that has been adopted by 33 associate-degree campuses and 12 baccalaureate campuses;
      • resulted in the establishment of SUNY's Urban Teacher Education Center in New York City; and
      • supported a number of campus developments, including the Alternative Teacher Preparation program at Empire State College.

      The initiatives which began through New Vision will continue. In addition, many of the initiatives proposed in other sections of this chapter of the plan apply to teacher education programs equally with other programs of study.

      Academic Technology

      System Administration will continue to work with campuses to strengthen technology-based learning environments, including online course delivery, and ensure that SUNY faculty have access to the full range of tools and practices to achieve excellence in teaching and learning. SUNY will also work to promote the potential that online learning holds for inter-campus academic collaboration in developing degrees and programs, in teaching, and in research, which it is just beginning to explore. SUNY seeks to identify where System Administration's role can most add value and quality and support campus efforts without unnecessarily duplicating infrastructure. A shared commitment to academic technology is a key component of each institution's Mission Review Memorandum of Understanding (MOU); Mission Review II will explore future plans and goals to be described in updated MOUs.


      During Mission Review's first cycle, campuses made commitments to participate in SUNYConnect, electronically linking all SUNY libraries. By 2005, all campuses will be operating the common library management system, giving every student and faculty member on every campus full access to SUNY's entire holdings (over 18 million volumes). In Mission Review II, SUNY will explore opportunities to enhance library resources further and to generate additional long-term cost savings through such mechanisms as unified subscriptions to electronic databases and regional storage facilities.

      Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes

      In Mission Review II, campuses will describe how they use assessment results to improve program quality, teaching effectiveness, and student learning, and will share their plans.

      New Programs of Study

      In an appendix, the plan identifies 311 programs of study tentatively planned for introduction, 2004 - 2008, by 50 State-operated campuses and community colleges.

    4. Plans for Enhancing Student Outcomes/Success

      Successful student outcomes depend on several factors, including the quality of instruction, students, and faculty and the quality and availability of student support services and co-curricular activities. During Mission Review II, SUNY will seek to better understand the relationship between these factors and student success at each campus and to facilitate sharing of good practices. National and system-wide surveys may be useful in elucidating this relationship. System Administration will work with campuses to measure, track, and benchmark postgraduate success and identify good practices.

      Retention and Graduation

      SUNY views retention and graduation as important indicators of academic quality. During the first cycle of Mission Review, campuses set three- and five-year retention and graduation rate goals. In Mission Review II, campuses will update goals and reaffirm commitments to enhance student success; SUNY will continue to benchmark student outcome data, including retention and graduation rates, against appropriate peer institutions. SUNY will continue to seek adequate levels of financial support from federal, State, local, and private sources so that students can stay in school and graduate in a timely manner, consistent with individual educational goals. Mission Review II will pay attention to ethnic, geographic (in-state, out-of-state, international), economic, age, gender, and disability status of students. Mission Review II will also see more focused attention on students' economic diversity.

      Transfer and Articulation

      SUNY continues to encourage the best possible communication between associate and baccalaureate institutions, with strong articulation and seamless transfer the desired outcome. Many campuses have worked particularly hard over the last two or three years to strengthen articulation agreements and communication with other SUNY campuses. SUNY seeks to enhance campus-to-campus relationships further and to ensure that students wishing to transfer receive excellent advisement and are well prepared for academic work at the receiving institution.

    5. Plans for Ensuring Technology Infrastructure Supports Academic Quality

      During Mission Review II, SUNY will give added attention to plans to ensure robust technology infrastructure and explore opportunities to expand collaborative activity.

    6. Plans for Ensuring Facilities Support Academic Quality

      Mission Review II will emphasize both short- and long-term plans to ensure that SUNY's facilities support academic quality and enhance prospects for favorable student experiences. SUNY will seek consistency between academic plans and priorities and facilities planning. In addition to academic, clinical, and residential facilities, plans will be discussed to develop and equip research facilities essential to attracting federal funding. As these areas are explored, implications will emerge for SUNY policy and procedures that put it in the strongest position possible to attract competitive funding.

    7. Plans for Administrative Structure and Resource Support to Ensure Academic Quality

      SUNY is committed to distributing its resources efficiently and effectively, ensuring its resource allocation is closely linked to and supportive of campus mission, with appropriate performance measures defined and applied. SUNY's budget allocation process is currently under review to determine how best to support the University's academic priorities. SUNY is committed to developing a resource allocation model that encourages excellence and rewards quality.

      A goal of Mission Review II will be to ensure that timely and accurate institutional data are available to support decision-making, at both the campus and system level.

    8. Contributions to Community Ensuring a Vibrant Environment to Support Academic Quality

      As an outgrowth of SUNY's commitment to service, all campuses endeavor to build strong and productive partnerships with their communities, to the benefit of students, faculty, and programs. SUNY campuses make significant contributions to the communities they serve - as cultural centers where art, theater, athletic and other such activities occur regularly; as educational centers where credit and noncredit instruction, and continuing education is offered; and in public service, where faculty, staff, and students share knowledge and expertise.

      In Mission Review II, SUNY will expand the description of these activities and, to the extent that service and other contributions can be quantified, for example by describing the economic impact of the campus and/or system, SUNY will capture the data and clearly demonstrate the value of such contributions.

    9. SUNY and Higher Education in New York - The Larger Context

      Coordinated inter-institutional activities have long had a place in SUNY. It seeks opportunities to expand them. Mission Review II will explore such opportunities further.

      Mission Review II and the strategic planning process will address the initiatives identified above, campus by campus, and will hold campuses accountable to meet their targeted goals. SUNY expects that Mission Review II Memoranda of Understanding will be completed and signed by the end of 2005. SUNY will be asked to include an update on Mission Review II in its 2006 progress report on this Plan.

  3. Service to Local Regions, the State, and the Nation

    This chapter addresses research; business, industry, and economic support; community college workforce development; and charter schools. It includes current information and reviews the services of the New York State Small Business Development Center and of the Strategic Partnership for Industrial Resurgence developed by SUNY's schools of engineering. During Mission Review II, SUNY will set a new five-year goal for total sponsored activity based on campus-specific goals found in MOUs. To ensure campus success in reaching research goals, SUNY will continue to provide support for research.

  4. A Stronger Financial Foundation for the State University - Providing and Managing the Resources to Support Excellence
    1. Securing SUNY's Financial Future

      In recent years, SUNY has made significant gains in attracting revenues from sponsored research and philanthropy. Accordingly, a key element of SUNY's plans will be to strengthen efforts to secure additional funding from these and all other sources. 

    2. Linking Budgets to Campus Mission and Performance

      Since 1997-98, SUNY has used an allocation of operating budget support model that allows campuses to retain the tuition revenue they generate and that allocates State support according to a formula that recognizes enrollment, program costs, faculty workload among discipline groups, sponsored research, campus missions, and other factors. When the model was implemented, SUNY expected that discrete, additional funding would be distributed to campuses in recognition of academic performance. No additional funding was forthcoming. The model has been used for six years. During this time, SUNY has experienced periods when resources were made available to fund the formula fully, periods when no new funding was available to fund growing budgets, and a period when tuition was increased to offset reduced State support. This experience has prompted SUNY to review the budget allocation process and identify ways to revise it to reflect emerging fiscal realities more appropriately and tie funding levels more directly to campus missions and performance. This effort will be linked closely to the Mission Review II process being undertaken over the same period. 

    3. Improving Administrative Systems

      In 2002, SUNY initiated a five-year effort to transition system-wide administrative computer systems to modern technology in support of campus business requirements and to take advantage of the efficiencies inherent in such a common effort. The project's objectives included standardization of business processes, data terminology, and technology while meeting the local needs of the campuses; streamlining of business functions; greater reliance on electronic versus paper processes; greater functionality for campus user departments; improved reporting and access to information; enhanced security of systems and information; and less expensive and easier maintenance of systems. This initiative will be complete in 2007. 

    4. Strengthening Hospital Finances and Operations

      In 2003-04, the Governor and Legislature enacted capital financing authorizations totaling $350 million to enable SUNY's three hospitals to upgrade and expand their facilities and infrastructure. These initiatives will be implemented over the 2004-05 through 2009-10 period and will enable the hospitals to meet new service needs and maintain economic viability. 

    5. Managing Energy Consumption Cost Effectively

      Over the next five years, SUNY will improve and expand its electricity and natural gas procurement efforts to provide campuses reliable energy supplies at the lowest cost. 

    6. Enhancing Residence Halls

      Over the next five years, SUNY will continue implementation of its 2004 through 2008 capital plan for residence halls. It consists of $338.7 million in new construction and improvements, of which $227 million will be funded with bond proceeds. Among the priorities for this and the subsequent five-year capital planning periods will be upgrading fire safety systems at existing residence halls in accordance with the Governor's Task Force on Campus Fire Safety's recommendations and requirements. They require all newly constructed residential facilities to be equipped with a fire sprinkler system protecting all areas of the building, as well as a completely integrated fire/smoke detection and alarm system, and that existing residential facilities be equipped with completely integrated fire/smoke detection and alarm systems by the summer of 2010. 

    7. Strengthening Campus-Related Entities

      SUNY will monitor the strength and operations of these entities to ensure their continued alignment with, and support of campus and system mission and direction. 

    8. Historical Financial Results

      This section refers to SUNY's Annual Financial Report (2003) and does not identify specific initiatives to be taken during the period of the Master Plan.

  5. State University of New York Capital Facilities and Capital Plan

    This chapter provides a summary of the current SUNY Five-Year Capital Plan. Two related appendices, one for the community colleges and another for the State-operated campuses, provide campus-specific information.

    As SUNY capitalizes on investments made to date and embarks on new multi-year programs for funding projects to improve facilities, the demands of the University's aging infrastructure require a continued policy emphasis on critical maintenance.

    The capital program for SUNY's hospitals ($350 million) for fiscal year 2003-04 through 2007-08 supports initiatives contained in the University hospitals' five-year strategic plans to ensure continuation of core education, research, and patient care missions, including capital projects for basic facility modernization, utility upgrades, technology advancements and redesign of service delivery configurations to meet evolving quality requirements. Examples of major capital initiatives include construction of a new facility to house the Cancer Treatment and Cardiology Surgical Units of the Downstate Medical Center at Brooklyn; major modernization of hospital facilities at Stony Brook, with renovations to support expanded Neonatal Care, and Labor and Delivery operations; and the vertical expansion of the main hospital building of the Upstate Medial Center in Syracuse by nearly 25 percent.

    The Community College capital plan ($420 million) will be allocated to campuses on the basis of student enrollment, measured by Annual Average Full Time Equivalents (AAFTE). More than half of the campus-identified outstanding needs are critical maintenance in nature. Student AAFTE and corresponding campus allocations are detailed in an appendix. While the multi-year community college capital plan continues the pace of progress established in 1998, SUNY continues to survey its community colleges and examine additional capital investment needs and opportunities in support of the University's long-term goals.

    SUNY's multi-year capital plan for its State-operated campuses ($1.8 billion) focuses on critical maintenance, with more than 80 percent of new State funding allocated for this purpose. Plans for campus-specific critical maintenance funding allocations reflect the gross square footage (GSF) of academic space at each campus. Campus GSF figures and corresponding funding allocations are detailed in an appendix.  All projects, including critical maintenance, are targeted to the highest priority campus requirements. Specific project examples include $15 million for a new biotechnology building at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry, $5.5 million to rehabilitate the power plant at the University at Albany, $25 million to replace Martha Van Rensselaer Hall at Cornell, and nearly $5.5 million to rehabilitate the utility tunnel at the University at Buffalo.

    All projects, including critical maintenance, are targeted to the highest priority campus requirements. Specific project examples include $15 million for a new biotechnology building at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry, $5.5 million to rehabilitate the power plant at the University at Albany, $25 million to replace Martha Van Rensselaer Hall at Cornell, and nearly $5.5 million to rehabilitate the utility tunnel at the University at Buffalo. 

  6. Task Force on Efficiency and Effectiveness - Findings and Recommendations

    In 2003, SUNY's Board of Trustees charged the Task Force on Efficiency and Effectiveness with determining how well the System had responded to the reforms recommended in Rethinking SUNY (1995). The yearlong study culminated in a report of findings and recommendations to the Board in January 2004.

    In order to accommodate demographic trends and the increasing demand for a SUNY education in an efficient and effective way, the Task Force recommended that closer attention be given to long-range strategic planning. SUNY has created a chief of staff/vice chancellor position to lead system-wide strategic planning now underway (as described in Part I, SUNY's Strategic Planning Efforts - A Commitment to Excellence).

    The Task Force conducted a preliminary survey of best practices on SUNY campuses that yielded more than 130 innovative, cost-effective programs, producing over $7.5 million in annual savings. Best practices across the system are being made available via a continuously updated directory and Web site.

    To further enhance recognition of SUNY and its potential to serve New York State, the Task Force recommended development of a system-wide faculty and staff database (now underway) and completion of a SUNY-wide economic impact study, which is a major component of Mission Review II.

    While the Task Force concluded that SUNY has made excellent progress in the area of efficiency and effectiveness since Rethinking SUNY began in 1995, SUNY will continue to strive to enhance its performance.

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Last Updated: October 27, 2009