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SUNY summit aims to lower costs, improve services

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Albany/HV: SUNY summit aims to lower costs, improve services
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It's a practice businesses use to cut waste and boost productivity and now the SUNY system is looking to work smarter as well. YNN's Tamara Lindstrom tells us how the campuses are sharing services and sharing ideas through a series of regional summits.

CORTLAND, N.Y. -- It's a simple idea that takes a little bit of teamwork and some serious planning.

"Instead of having 64 campuses doing everything individually, there are really economies of scale and operational efficiencies that occur when we all work together," said Erik Bitterbaum, SUNY Cortland President.

On Wednesday, leaders from SUNY campuses met to share ideas and discuss ways they're sharing services, like offering video courses between campuses.

"Take the example of Arabic and Chinese," Bitterbaum said. "There are not a lot of students who would take those languages. But having it taught on one campus and then ahead synchronously on other campuses, you can offer those foreign languages."

Or sharing tutors.

"Let's say you've got calculus. And any of the calculus students from any of the campuses can get the services of calculus tutoring on Monday from Cortland, on Tuesday from Brockport, on Wednesday from Fredonia. That's the way it goes," said SUNY Oneonta President Nancy Kleniewski.

Although this is the first regional summit of its kind, the shared services initiative started back in August of 2011. Through working together, campuses have already saved more than $20 million.

"And virtually all of that has been invested back in to academics and faculty, student services, financial aid type of packages," said Brian Hutzley, SUNY Vice Chancellor and CFO. "So all that has gone back to the campuses that created the savings and all those savings were invested in our students."

Proving the new partnerships are paying off.

There are several more regional conferences planned throughout the state, helping the 64 SUNY campuses to build their shared services.

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