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Who we are

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SUNY Empire State College was established in 1971 by the SUNY Board of Trustees and then Chancellor and future United States Commissioner of Education Ernest L. Boyer as a distinctive statewide SUNY institution focused on nontraditional teaching and learning.

College faculty mentors guide learners through designing an individual degree program within 11 broad areas.

Further, the college continues its 40-year commitment to valuing learning gained from life and work experience and has a clear process for assessing and awarding credit for college-level learning gained through experience.

Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the college serves mostly working adults pursuing associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees onsite at 35 locations in New York state and abroad, as well as online everywhere.

Whether online or face to face, or a combination of both, learners decide how, when and where to study.

The college also offers affordable SUNY tuition, degrees that can be tailored to meet individual education, career and personal goals, transfer-friendly policies and extensive support through MyESC.

Partnerships the college has with organized labor, all branches of the military, and the private and nonprofit sectors enable these organizations to educate their members and employees to meet mandates and licensure requirements, adapt to the requirements of new technology and provide paths for promotion.

Individuals benefit from education earned through these partnerships and New York benefits from a stronger workforce better able to compete in a global marketplace, which advances the state economy.

The college’s strategic plan Vision 2015 and The Power of SUNY are mutually supportive and guide the college.


Open Learning and WikiEducator Projects

September 2011 brings the launch of the College’s first MOOC: Creativity and Multicultural Communication http://www.cdlprojects.com/cmc11blog/. Dr. Betty Hurley-Dasgupta and Carol Yeager are hosting the MOOC which will have weekly speakers including Stephen Downes, George Siemens, and dean of the College’s Center for Distance Learning Tom Mackey. CMC11 is an open online course that over 13 weeks explores the domain of Creativity and global, multicultural communication in multidisciplinary venues. Participation is open to everyone and there are no fees or subscriptions required.

In June 2011, The Center for Distance Learning received a grant jointly with the Office of Academic Affairs from the SUNY Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to complete their proposed project, Diversity and Social Justice in an Open, Online Environment. A group of 10 faculty are collectively producing an open, online course to focus on various diversity and social justice topics. The course will be available for credit in March through the Center for Distance Learning and as an open resource in spring 2012.

Center for Distance Learning faculty member Dr. Joyce McKnight received recognition from the User Page Expo (UPE) in April 2011. This recognition is given to those who have WikiEducator pages that are particularly informative, innovative, visually appealing, or clever. Faculty and staff around the College have been experimenting with ePortfolios for the past few years. With an ePortfolio provider in place, the College has 26 projects slated for ePortfolio use in fall 2011 and spring 2012. 'Bold text'




Empire State College of the State University of New York joins the OER Foundation as a founding member. "Open institutions around the world serve millions of learners" said Dr Alan Davis, President of Empire State College "and the importance of open education resources is rapidly growing". Empire State College is collaborating with institutions around the world in building the OERu network.

Vision 2025 & the Open SUNY Proposition


Related Resources

SUNY - Empire State College web site
SUNY - ESC 40th Anniversary web site
The Commons is sponsored by the Office of Integrated Technologies which has established this site as an experimental publishing environment for the Empire State College community. This site uses the popular open-source WordPress Multi-User software, which allows users to set up and customize individual and shared web sites using a variety of design templates or “themes.” The Commons is intended to complement the official college web site by providing a place for ESC users to explore personal and professional web publishing.
Math and science resources

Meet Meg Benke: Acting President

The Blip.tv service shut down in August, 2015,
so this copy of the video is no longer available.

Empire State College.

Dr. Benke has been in distance learning for 25 years. She has been at the college for the past 17 years serving as vice provost for global and online learning, and immediately before that, overseeing the Center for Distance Learning, which is the largest provider of online education in New York state, and one of the largest programs in the country.

Dr. Benke was recognized for the Most Outstanding Achievement in Online Learning by an Individual, by Sloan-C, a national consortium for distance learning providers in 2007. In Oct. 2010, Benke was honored by the board of directors of the Sloan Consortium, by being named to its inaugural class of Sloan-C Fellows, for her extraordinary qualifications, significant experience, distinguished service and leadership in the field of online learning. Shortly thereafter, she was named president of the board of directors of Sloan-C.

She began her career at Ohio University and Antioch College. Benke’s early work was dedicated to increasing access to higher education for adult learners through distance education. Benke was particularly interested in increasing employability of graduates, and worked to ensure that the outcomes of an online education matched traditional education from a quality perspective. She also consults nationally on how universities provide student services in online education programs, and has served on a variety of national efforts to create standards for quality in online education.

Benke holds a Ph.D. in student personnel from Ohio University. In the graduate and undergraduate programs of Empire State College, she teaches in the areas of human systems and behavior, performance measurement, learning organizations, organizational change and training and development.


Meet Robert Clougherty: Acting Vice Provost for Research, Innovation, and Open Education

R. J. Clougherty, Jr. is the Vice Provost for Research, Innovation, and Open Education at SUNY Empire State College. In this role, he oversees institutional external connections and eternal relationships including institutional grants, sponsored programs, and external partnerships. He is also responsible for faculty professional development, the college's three academic journals, and oversees the Institute for Open Education.

He is considered a leading thinker in Online Education and Open Education. His current research focuses on the relationship of complexity theory and learning systems. He is also working as a part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Personalized Learning Network and serving on the editorial boards of two international journals of Open Education.

Prior to becoming Vice Provost, he served as the Dean of the School for Graduate Studies at Empire State College for five years. In this role, he oversaw all graduate programs, leading to a 44% growth in enrolment.

Before coming to Empire State College, he was at Tennessee Tech University where he was the founding Director of the Institute for Technological Scholarship, Professor of English, and founder of the BA program in Web Design. Prior to that, he was at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

He is a fellow of the Frye Leadership Institute, he was a Fulbright Hayes Senior Scholar at the University of Uppsala (Sweden), and he has been published in journals in multiple disciplines. He has a BA, cum laude, in English from Villanova University, an MA in Rhetoric from Texas Woman's University, and a PhD in Modern Letters from the University of Tulsa.


Descriptors of SUNY ESC

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