Message from President Robert J. Jones

The graduates of the Class of 2014 represent 170 years of quality higher education at the University at Albany, starting as a 2-year normal school in 1844 and becoming the major public research university that we are today. As I reflect on our storied history, I am also thinking about the future of this great institution, a future that we cannot yet imagine and that we must stretch to envision. We must embrace bold change together.

Last fall, I identified four key areas for change - my four stakes in the ground - that represent opportunities to advance UAlbany to the next level of academic excellence.
  • The first is a concerted effort to expand our portfolio of degree-granting programs with a focus on high need areas - including Engineering, Allied Health, Biomedical and Human Health Services, and Big Data Analytics. These new additions will complement our many top-ranked academic graduate programs and highly successful and unique research centers.

  • The second key area for change focuses on recruiting more out-of-state and international students. While our primary commitment will always be to serving residents of New York State, our current recruitment practices are no longer sufficient to grow enrollments or maximize tuition revenues, on which we are increasingly dependent.

  • The third key area requires us to broaden our role as a University engaged in the community. We have been working on two fronts - to build our institutional capacity to support and value publicly-engaged scholarship and teaching and to develop a data collection system that helps us document and tell our compelling stories of partnership and collaboration.

  • Finally, the fourth stake requires us to find ways to grow our resources to fulfill our ambition. We must find new ways to finance the mission. With New York State support accounting for only 12% of our annual budget, we are looking for opportunities to re-allocate our resources to diversify and maximize our revenue picture.

These four key areas are pieces of an agenda meant to achieve a vision of excellence for the University at Albany. They will help us create a University that addresses the needs of future generations of students and faculty and staff, as well as our neighbors in the Capital Region and beyond.

How these future generations view us depends in large part on our collective efforts as visionary and prudent stewards today. As stewards we must continue to use our precious resources wisely. We must embrace innovative, out-of-the-box thinking. We must be more engaged, more inclusive, and more inviting. We must advance our agenda together.

In the not too distant future, I envision a University at Albany that is, once again, the crown jewel of the SUNY system. We have before us an aggressive agenda for change. Our challenge is to embrace that change, to manage it well, and to do so together in the spirit of collaborative leadership, because it is now - and has always been - the pathway to a future of excellence for the University at Albany.

Dr. Robert J. Jones
University at Albany