Nancy L. Zimpher

Chancellor of the State University of New York Nancy L. Zimpher, who leads the country's largest comprehensive system of higher education with 463,000 students, was welcomed to Hobart and William Smith Colleges as a guest of the President's Forum Series on Thursday, April 9.

Zimpher's talk, "Early Lessons in Achieving Collective Impact in Education," was featured alongside a special panel discussion moderated by President Mark D. Gearan and focused on Geneva 2020 and the significance of the collective impact model in education. A community-wide initiative, Geneva 2020's partners and supporters work together locally to increase graduation rates, improve literacy and boost career and college readiness for students in Geneva City Schools.

In June 2009, Zimpher became the 12th chancellor of the SUNY System, successfully advancing the network of 64 New York colleges and universities across several diverse initiatives and key areas. Zimpher's leadership has centered on moving SUNY forward in research and innovation, energy, health care, global affairs and the education pipeline. In addition, she has been an advocate for groundbreaking legislative reforms that ensure SUNY can provide broad access to higher education, while maximizing its impact as an engine of economic revitalization across the state. The SUNY System has nearly 3 million alums to date.

In addition, Zimpher is leading SUNY in moving forward on many innovative, system-enhancing initiatives - including shared services, dramatic expansion of online learning opportunities and cooperative education, and new partnerships with K-12 professionals - always with the goal of optimally serving New York's students and communities and preparing them to succeed in the 21st century.

Under Zimpher's direction, SUNY established the Cradle to Career Alliance, a collective impact effort launched through SUNY's Office of the Education Pipeline. The efforts established a series of systemic and sustainable regional education networks across the state, bringing together partners who have signed on to strengthen this educational continuum.

Recently, INSIGHT into Diversity magazine profiled Zimpher in a March 2015 cover story, "Committed to Collaboration." Highlighting her achievements across advancing diversity, civic collaboration and education reform, the article by Richard Jackoway notes: "Zimpher has become one of the leading advocates for dramatically expanding how higher education traditionally sees itself and how it will solve the seemingly intractable problems of college preparedness and completion. She's become an advocate for a mega-collaboration effort that goes under the name 'collective impact.'"

In addition, Zimpher led SUNY to become the first and only university system honored with the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award bestowed by INSIGHT into Diversity.

In addition to her role as chancellor, Zimpher is active in numerous state and national education organizations, and is a recognized leader in the areas of teacher preparation, urban education and university-community engagement. Currently, she serves as chair of the Board of Governors of the New York Academy of Sciences and the National Association of System Heads. From 2005 to 2011 she led the national Coalition of Urban Serving Universities, and from 2012 to 2013 she was chair of CEOs for Cities. As co-founder of StriveTogether, Zimpher has been instrumental in creating a national network of innovative systemic partnerships that holistically address challenges across the education pipeline.

Prior to joining the SUNY System, Zimpher served as president of the University of Cincinnati, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and executive dean of the Professional Colleges and dean of the College of Education at The Ohio State University. She has authored or co-authored numerous books, monographs, and academic journal articles on teacher education, urban education, academic leadership, and school/university partnerships.

Zimpher has a bachelor's degree in English education and speech, a master's degree in English literature, and a Ph.D. in teacher education and higher education administration, all from The Ohio State University.


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