New York, United States
Salary Not specified
Mar 31, 2021
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

SUNY Empire State College

Presidential Search

The Chancellor and Board of Trustees of the State College of New York (SUNY) system and the Empire State College Council are accepting applications and nominations for the sixth President of Empire State College (Empire State College). The College seeks a forward-thinking and collaborative leader to continue the College’s mission of flexible, accessible, and affordable educational opportunities and core social justice values. This is an unparalleled opportunity to have statewide impact as the leader of a dynamic institution with a history of innovation, especially in the fields of adult and online learning. 

Empire State College was established in 1971 by the State College of New York Board of Trustees and then-Chancellor Ernest L. Boyer, who also served as United States Commissioner of Education. Empire State College was envisioned as a distinctive statewide SUNY institution focused on nontraditional teach­ing and learning, where students create individual­ized degree programs within broadly defined areas of study with the guidance of faculty advisors. The College offers 110 online degrees and certificates to more than 18,000 students at 30 locations in every region of the state and seven international sites around the world.

The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.3 million students in credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide were more than $1.0 billion in fiscal year 2020, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum.

The College is organized around both academic disciplines and geographic regions. Empire State College serves students in New York through face-to-face instruction and services in all regions across the state of New York. The college’s multiple locations are clustered regionally, each serving local needs. These regions include the Buffa­lo-Niagara area; the Finger Lakes and Genesee Valley; Central New York, the North Country and the Southern Tier; the state’s Capital Region; the mid- and lower-Hudson Valley; three New York City boroughs; and on Long Island. In addition, the Center for International Programs operates in Tirana, Albania; Prague, Czech Repub­lic; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Athens and Thessaloniki, Greece; Beirut, Lebanon; and Eskisehir, Turkey. These locations are in addition to the College’s Coordinating Center in Saratoga Springs, which houses the President’s Office, the Office of Academic Affairs, the Office of Administration, the Office of Enrollment Management, the Office of Alumni and Student Relations, Information Technology Services, the Registrar and Human Resources.

Reporting to the SUNY System Chancellor and working collaboratively with the SUNY Empire State College Council, the President serves as the chief executive officer of the College. The President will primarily work at the College’s coordinating center in Saratoga Springs but will spend time at College locations across the state and world as needed. The President will oversee the offices of Academic Affairs, Enrollment Management, Student Affairs, Communications and Marketing, Finance and Administration, Institutional Equity and Inclusion, and Human Resources while being an active and visible leader at Empire State College’s locations, the state of New York, and throughout the nation.

Empire State College seeks a dynamic and inspiring leader who offers a demonstrated record of innovative and entrepreneurial leadership in an academic setting or similarly complex organization. Informed by a data driven approach to be able to identify areas of opportunity, this individual will provide thoughtful and effective strategic direction. While note required, it is preferred that the next President have significant exposure to the unique culture of higher education. The next President will possess the skills to inspire the faculty, staff, and students to work collaboratively and will engender widespread private and public support for, and excitement about, the future of SUNY Empire State College. The successful candidate will have core values promoting constancy of purpose, be willing to pursue goals regardless of obstacles, and demonstrate a capacity to facilitate change within an organization when appropriate. Qualified candidates will possess an earned doctorate, terminal degree, or commensurate executive-level leadership experience.

Specifically, it is desired that the President will have the following experience, skill sets, and attributes:

  • An understanding and embrace of the mission of SUNY Empire State College;
  • An entrepreneurial approach to advancing innovation, providing new ideas to move the institution forward, and leveraging the unique qualities of SUNY Empire State College to position the College for sustainable growth;
  • A strong record of aligning budgets with strategic goals, effective resource allocation, and setting financial priorities;
  • A demonstrated record of data informed decision making;
  • An understanding and commitment to shared governance and the ability to engage multiple constituent groups in a shared and inclusive decision-making process;
  • Demonstrated experience and leadership in fundraising across a diverse donor base and enhancing philanthropic giving;
  • The ability to advance and support an innovative academic agenda that will enhance SUNY Empire State College’s reputation and attract and retain high-quality faculty;
  • Demonstrated ability to further an effective enrollment strategy;
  • Demonstrated success at progressive levels of leadership in higher education or a similarly complex organization;
  • An ability to understand the aspects of inclusive and shared decision making in higher education, while appreciating and supporting teaching, scholarship, and service;
  • Proven commitment to diversity and inclusion and broad experience with diverse students, faculty, and communities, with a proven capacity to embrace diversity in all aspects, including the capacity to build an integrated, inclusive, and diverse culture;
  • Knowledge of student recruitment and retention and the issues that affect students both inside and outside the classroom;
  • Evidence of successful interactions with governing boards;
  • A global perspective and the ability and desire to help lead a discussion about the future of higher education in an evolving national context and an increasingly globalized society;
  • The ability and experience to mentor the current leadership at the institution;
  • The demonstrated capacity to form alliances and partnerships with industry, corporations, other high education institutions, and organizations;
  • Demonstrated success in quickly understanding and navigating within complex organizations;
  • A clear sense for how to facilitate strategic growth through a collaborative process, demonstrating firm resolve and commitment to follow through;
  • Superb communication skills and the ability to represent the College in a compelling manner to various constituencies locally, nationally, and internationally;
  • The political acumen to champion the College and effectively advocate for resources at the state level;
  • The ability to make strategic decisions in alignment with the goals of the College;
  • Consensus-building skills and the ability to make decisions in a timely manner;
  • Passion, optimism, flexibility, and adaptability
  • A personal style that balances confidence with humility; and
  • Someone who is collegial, warm, approachable, and down to earth.

Review of candidates will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. Application materials should include a letter describing the candidate’s interest in and qualifications for the position in relation to the attributes described above and a curriculum vitae. Background checks will be conducted on all finalists. Candidates from underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply. 

All nominations and applications can be sent in confidence to:

Steve Leo, Partner

Brian Bustin, Senior Associate

Storbeck Search


SUNY Empire State College is committed to providing equal educational and employment opportunities for all employees and applicants and will not discriminate or allow the harassment on the basis of sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, color, religious creed, national origin, age, marital status, conviction record, physical or mental disability, protected veteran status, victims of domestic violence or any other characteristic protected by law.