A CDO System

SUNY System to Appoint 40 New Chief Diversity Officers  

The State University of New York will be appointing dozens of new chief diversity officers, Chancellor Nancy Zimpher announced in her State of SUNY address Jan. 23.

“Let me be clear, this is an appointment above and beyond staff who do mandatory reporting. This is a member of the campus leadership team who will work hand in glove with [Diversity] Task Force members,” Zimpher said in her address.

According to SUNY system CDO Carlos Medina, 24 campuses currently have CDOs. That means 40 campuses in the country’s largest higher education system will need to hire diversity leaders to fulfill Zimpher’s commitment.

“We still have a long way to go in our goal of providing access to high-quality, affordable education to every single New Yorker,” Zimpher said. “We want to take best practices from campuses across the system to the broadest possible scale, but it will require better, smarter investment from the state and philanthropic partners, and continued relationships with our local businesses and industry partners.”

Also in the hour-long speech, Zimpher said the district would work on other programs, dependent on funding.

They include:

  • Installing a SUNY college adviser in every school district in the state of New York, beginning with the low-income districts;
  • Creating a SUNY Massive Open Online Course specifically designed to help students complete college admissions requirements, build career skills, seek grants and scholarships, and understand college financing;
  • Broadening a Stony Brook campus program to the whole system that provides mentoring so that students complete their degrees, on average, in four and a half years; and
  • Expanding Finish in Four programs so that they are available to all students, ensuring that if a student fails to graduate on time due to course unavailability, he or she can take the course tuition-free.


Zimpher also set a goal of awarding 150,000 SUNY degrees annually by 2020. That’s up from 93,000 currently.●