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SUNY starts tracking its own grades

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Zack Seward
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WXXI
Chancellor Nancy Zimpher put a brave face on SUNY's new report card.

Chancellor Nancy Zimpher was onstage today in a live webcast, presenting SUNY's new report card - for itself.

The document is called the "Power of SUNY Report Card."

It "grades" the State University of New York on 90 measures that include graduation rates, diversity of enrolled students and jobs created by on-campus sponsored research.

SUNY plans to measure itself against these numbers in years to come to see if its impact on New York state is making the grade. The main metrics: creating more jobs, establishing more partnerships and reaching more students.

SUNY is trying to reach those goals in spite of state budget cuts that have reduced state aid by 30 percent since the start of the recession.

To explain the need for the new report card, chancellor Zimpher addressed the battle for funds head-on:

"It's really quite hollow to go to the legislature and just say, 'We need money,'" says Zimpher.

State funding aside, SUNY has been lobbying Albany for other sources of revenue to fill gaps in its budget. Those include the ability to set tuition rates as well as more freedom to form commercial partnerships.

The report card is carefully worded to remind legislators of what SUNY does best.

One of the measures of student diversity is called "recruitment and enrollment of students from historically underrepresented populations." Those numbers are 39,000 and 22,000 respectively.

SUNY's purchasing power also made the list: it's nearly $3 billion a year (or $2,848,451,000, for those scoring at home).

SUNY's "Entrepreneurial Support of New York Business and Industry" was also included - that number, however, is a work in progress.

Listen to more in a report from WRVO's Joyce Gramza:

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wrvo/local-wrvo-969194.mp3

Former WRVO/Central New York reporter for the Innovation Trail.
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