SUNY Potsdam & SUNY Canton Sign Memorandum of Understanding on Shared Services Between the Two Campuses

07.01.13

MOU-Hoffman-Hefner
SUNY Canton Acting President Joseph C. Hoffman and SUNY Potsdam Interim President Dennis L. Hefner traded papers as they signed the MOU, accompanied by area officials. For a full caption, see the release.

The SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Canton campuses today outlined a roadmap to ensure continued success in shared services over the next two years.

SUNY Potsdam Interim President Dennis L. Hefner and SUNY Canton Acting President Joseph C. Hoffman signed a memorandum of understanding between the two institutions in their first public engagement together, at a ceremony held on the Potsdam campus. Employees who are currently in shared positions, or whose departments are actively sharing services, were invited, as were the College Councils, local government officials and other members of the Associated Colleges and academic community.

“SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Canton are committed to finding collaborative ways to maximize efficiency in back office operations and joint purchasing, as well as developing academic programming that complements the strengths of our two distinct missions. This agreement sets guideposts for success that will assist us in better serving the educational, cultural and economic development needs of the North Country,” said SUNY Potsdam Acting President Dennis L. Hefner.

“Today we formally reaffirm the individual identities and missions of our two institutions while creating a plan to collaboratively share resources. Working together, both colleges can share in the successes these efforts will bring,” said SUNY Canton Acting President Joseph C. Hoffman. “The specific strategies of shared services described in this memorandum of understanding offer opportunities for growth at SUNY Canton and SUNY Potsdam, building upon an innovative, award-winning initiative.”

The agreement provides a framework for collaboration between the two campuses through 2015, with a goal of providing high-quality services, while conserving valuable resources and preserving the integrity of the two institutions’ distinct missions and brands.

The MOU calls for Potsdam and Canton to work together on back office administrative functions, as well as services that the campuses would have difficulty offering separately. In addition, the institutions will pursue shared purchasing, to get the best price possible for virtually every investment.

SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Canton will also explore the creation of collaborative minors and programs, which would incorporate the academic strengths of both campuses, through the SUNY Institute for Arts, Sciences, and Technology.

State Senator Joseph A. Griffo, a member of the Senate Higher Education Committee said, “A continued identification of regional and statewide efficiency opportunities that result in cost savings while maintaining or enhancing student access and achievement is essential for the health of the SUNY system. Other schools in the SUNY network should be replicating what these two North Country institutions are announcing today.”

State Senator Patty Ritchie, who is also a member of the Higher Education Committee, said, “I fought to protect the independence and integrity of both SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Canton, two of the North Country’s major job creating engines. I argued that if we worked together, we could find ways to share services and cut administrative costs, without sacrificing the identities or educational missions of these two very different universities. Today, our two colleges are being recognized for their leadership in developing a model that SUNY campuses across New York can learn from and follow.”

“As we look at shared services, this memorandum of understanding also gives the ‘two H’s’—Hefner and Hoffman—the opportunity to really work on some very innovative academic programs between the two campuses, that have the potential to inspire the entire SUNY system, starting here in the North Country,” Assemblymember Addie Jenne Russell said.

The presidents recognized the tremendous progress made so far by the colleges’ shared employees, as well as the divisions undertaking shared services. The National Association of College and University Business Officers awarded the 2013 Innovation Award to the campuses, in honor of achievements under the leadership of shared Vice President for Business and Administration Natalie Higley.

The two campuses will work toward creating the followed shared offices in 2013-14: purchasing, budget, accounts payable, travel and information technology. They also hope to complete the transition to a single purchasing office this academic year, obtain joint approval for the SUNY Institute of Arts, Sciences, and Technology, and aim to complete a joint minor program proposal to submit to SUNY System Administration.

In 2014-15, SUNY Canton and SUNY Potsdam have set the goal of implementing shared offices for energy management and capital project management. The campuses will propose at least one more joint academic minor or degree program as well.

The memorandum of understanding establishes a mechanism for reviewing future shared services proposals, with a focus on transparency and collaboration. The agreement also ensures that measurable indicators of success will be in place to guarantee ongoing evaluation of service quality and impact on each campus.

“This memorandum of understanding today is special,” said Potsdam Town Supervisor Marie Regan, who is also a member of the SUNY Canton College Council. “This will let the campuses continue to work together to produce some of the best academic programs in the North Country. Today is a great day.”

“We have great leadership at our two institutions, and I think that this agreement strengthens their work,” Canton Town Supervisor David Button said. “The communities of Canton and Potsdam are committed to helping these two institutions work hard to improve even upon what they are doing now in a very credible and competent way. We are here to make sure they are strengthened to an even greater degree.”

Photo caption: Clockwise, from top left: Steve Hunt, district director for U.S. Representative Bill Owens, State Senator Patty Ritchie, State Assemblymember Addie Jenne Russell, Potsdam Town Supervisor Marie Regan, State Senator Joseph Griffo, Canton Town Supervisor David Button, Potsdam Village Administration David Fenton, Potsdam College Council Chair June O’Neill, Canton College Council Chair Ron O’Neill, SUNY Potsdam Interim President Dennis L. Hefner and SUNY Canton Acting President Joseph C. Hoffman.

To read the memorandum of understanding on shared services, visit www.potsdam.edu/sharedservices or www.canton.edu/shared.

About SUNY Canton:

SUNY Canton offers a variety of career-driven bachelor's degrees in addition to its associate and certificate programs. In the past year, the College added two new bachelor’s degrees and expanded its facilities with a new athletic center, nicknamed Roos House, and the Grasse River Suites Residence Hall. The College’s faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to their academic credentials. SUNY Canton OnLine offers flexible and convenient online courses and programs. The College's 14 athletic teams compete as provisional members of the NCAA Division III as well as the USCAA. For more information about SUNY Canton, visit www.canton.edu

About SUNY Potsdam:

Founded in 1816, and located on the outskirts of the beautiful Adirondack Park, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges. SUNY Potsdam currently enrolls approximately 4,350 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its handcrafted education, challenging liberal arts and sciences core, excellence in teacher training and leadership in the performing and visual arts. For more information, visit www.potsdam.edu.

About the State University of New York:

The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive university system in the United States, educating approximately 468,000 students in more than 7,500 degree and certificate programs, and more than 1.8 million NYS citizens in professional development and personal enrichment programs, on 64 college and university campuses. There are nearly 3 million SUNY alumni worldwide. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit www.suny.edu.