Communication, connection and community highlight Chancellor Zimpher’s visit to New Paltz

June 18, 2009

Two weeks into her new role, State University of New York Chancellor Nancy Zimpher visited the New Paltz campus on June 15 to meet with students, faculty, administrators, media and local business leaders.

New Paltz was the 11th destination on a tour of all 64 SUNY campuses that Zimpher plans to complete by Labor Day. The visit marked the chancellor’s first stop at a comprehensive four-year institution.

Zimpher’s day began with meetings with College President Steven Poskanzer and Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach Director Gerald Benjamin.

She then attended a presentation by student and faculty research pairs. “At New Paltz you really invest in broadening the horizons of undergraduate students by attaching to the work of the faculty members,” she noted. “So I can see that New Paltz can be a leader amongst the campuses across the SUNY system.”

A luncheon with President Poskanzer and his Cabinet provided the opportunity for Zimpher and the group of deans and vice presidents to discuss strategic planning, branding, a master enrollment plan and the need for an intellectual map of the entire system.

In her meeting with faculty members, Zimpher and the group of 10 discussed the General Education program and student mobility (transfer and articulation). “I am impressed with the high quality of the student body,” she told the faculty members.

She then met with students to “find out what makes New Paltz tick.” She began by asking students what they liked best about New Paltz. “They like the setting. They like the quality and caliber of the programs. They love the faculty members, the personal hospitality that is given to them,” she said.

Zimpher concluded her visit with a press conference, a tour of the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art and a meeting with local community members.

“My enthusiasm only grows by each campus visit,” she said.

The system tour is the information-gathering phase in Zimpher’s goal to developing a five-to-10-year strategic plan for the entire system. The tour, which began in early June, is set to conclude by Labor Day. Zimpher’s goal is to have the system-wide plan ready by the spring.

“We will engage students, faculty, administrators, alumni, community representatives and elected officials in this conversation,” she said. “We’ll use the Web. We’ll use YouTube. We’ll use blogging, tweeting, webcasts … whatever we need to communicate and have this be an open and transparent process. And that has already begun.”

The tour can be followed online.

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