Like past SUNYCON agendas, this year’s theme of “Building a New Business Model for the Academy: Partnerships, Affiliations, Mergers, and Acquisitions” planted the seeds of what likely will grow into fundamental change for the SUNY system.
The biggest question of all is, what change will that be? I don’t come by this prediction lightly, as it is based on my experience of the past four SUNYCON events. The conference provides an active learning environment with powerful speakers and “creative collisions” at the breaks to consider the shifting sands of the postsecondary sector and what will be needed for the SUNY system to clarify and pursue the change necessary for the future.
Consider the SUNYCON themes and related subsequent actions over the years:
SUNYCON 2011 – Universities as Economic Engines. Not too much later, we experienced the passing of the Start-Up NY legislation, and today we have 143 new companies that have created more than 4,000 jobs throughout New York.
SUNYCON 2012 – Harnessing Systemness and Delivering Performance. We’ve seen continuous progress toward systemness with the work on shared resources, IT platforms, and the seamless transfer initiative.
SUNYCON 2013 – Building a Smarter University: Big Data, Innovation, and Ingenuity. Not too much later, we saw the development of SUNY Excels and the Performance Improvement Plans.
SUNYCON 2014 – Executing Change to Drive Collective Impact. Today, SUNY has more than a dozen communities with active partnerships in the Cradle to Career Alliance across the state.
SUNYCON 2015 – Building a New Business Model for the Academy: Partnerships, Affiliations, Mergers, and Acquisitions. We shall see.
The not-so-subtle pattern of a connection between the SUNYCON theme and some significant forward progress within SUNY is an interesting signpost and source of inspiration for everyone to consider answering the Chancellor’s top ten questions sooner rather than later, because the future will not wait for us.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.