Nancy L. Zimpher, PhD, the 12th Chancellor of the State University of New York, the nation’s largest comprehensive public university system with some 440,000 students, spent nearly a full day touring the SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, meeting with a diverse cross-section of its staff, as well as with the elected officials and community leaders which the institution serves.
Zimpher began her recent tenure with a commitment to visit all 64 SUNY campuses in her first 100 days to meet with and learn from students, faculty, administrators, community leaders, and other stakeholders on the future of New York’s public higher education system.
The tour marks the first step in the creation of a SUNY-wide strategic plan, expected to be completed in the spring. The planning process will be a model for statewide collaborations — gathering suggestions, ideas and comments from thousands of stakeholders through town hall meetings, web conferences, and other outreach. The public discussion will be emblematic of the most comprehensive, inclusive and transparent strategic planning process in SUNY’s 60-year history.
Zimpher noted that “the plan is aimed at making SUNY a public higher education model not only for the nation but the world.”
The chancellor had nothing but the highest praise for SUNY Downstate and the many and diverse programs it administers and has innovated.
“This campus [SUNY Downstate] is built on rich community support; they have demonstrated a unique and rich investment in the communities and their borough. I am so impressed with the work that Downstate does,” continued the chancellor. “This work reverberates to every corner of the borough; SUNY Downstate is quintessentially what urban health initiatives should be all about.”
Zimpher continued, “I have learned so much about the rich mosaic that is Brooklyn; SUNY Downstate has learned to serve its diverse population with excellence in a unique and localized way.” About its commitment to the borough, Downstate President John C. LaRosa, MD, stated eloquently, “We are firmly planted in Brooklyn and remain dedicated to serving its people.”
“This is an institution that has shown itself to be incredibly creative and innovative. Downstate is elite in being in a category all its own. You are producing the next generation of physicians, academicians and health-care professionals,” Zimpher told the large gathering.
Among those meeting with the chancellor were Downstate’s senior leadership staff, community officials, faculty, advisory board members, medical students and residents, and elected leaders including New York State Assemblymembers Rhoda Jacobs, Joseph Lentol, Helene Weinstein, Peter Abbate, Alan Maisel, Annette Robinson, Joan Millman and Nick Perry, who all represent neighborhoods in Brooklyn.
SUNY Downstate is located at 450 Clarkson Avenue.