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Johnson unveils plan for her tenure in first SUNY address

SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson

SUNY's new chancellor Kristina Johnson delivered her first state of the university system address Monday, outlining an agenda for her time in the position. Johnson says she developed the plan after traveling to several SUNY campuses since she took office last September, but much of it is a reflection of her own diverse background.

Johnson worked outside of academia for several years before coming to SUNY, most recently as the CEO of a clean energy company and before that, the under secretary of the Department of Energy in the Obama administration. Sustainable energy was one of the key parts of Johnson's address. She announced that SUNY will move to purchase 100 percent of its electricity from zero-carbon sources as soon as possible, and retrofit its buildings to achieve zero-net carbon emissions.

"We have to get a grip on our carbon emissions and SUNY as an engine of innovation has a responsibility to lead," Johnson said. "Certainly our students, who are highly committed to sustainability, want and expect us to break new ground on this front."

And Johnson, who holds 118 U.S. and international patents, also called for SUNY to double its research and innovation efforts over the next decade, mainly in emerging fields like artificial intelligence and robotics.

"The question for SUNY and New York state is will we simply bear witness to the loss of not only jobs but entire industries, or will we educate our students, empower our faculty and industry partners and lead in the new era of augmented intelligence," Johnson asked. 

In addition, Johnson wants to build more partnerships with private and public sector organizations and to further equip SUNY students with the individualized resources they need to succeed.

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.