Photo of Nancy Zimpher

Provost's Discovery Themes Lecturer Program

Nancy L. Zimpher

Chancellor Emeritus, State University of New York

Tuesday, January 28, 2020
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Ohio Union, Archie Griffin Grand Ballroom

Defining the New Urban Land-Grant University: A Theory of Leadership, Action and Impact

In the deep land-grant tradition, service to community is at the core of that amazing legacy. But the shift from largely rural populations to pervasive city demographics presents a transformative opportunity for those large public universities who live and serve there. We have learned much from early adopters of the anchor institution concept of urban-serving universities. But not enough that we can't adopt a larger commitment to urbanity, not as ancillary to our mission but rather, fundamental to our future. Such opportunities require shared leadership and place-based investments, often referred to as “collective” theories of leadership, shared goals, actions and individual responsibility in order to actually make significant and long-lasting change for the better.

From 2009 to 2017, Dr. Zimpher served as the twelfth chancellor of The State University of New York, the nation's largest comprehensive system of public higher education. Prior to SUNY, she served as president of the University of Cincinnati, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and executive dean of the Professional Colleges and dean of the College of Education at The Ohio State University. Throughout a career, Dr. Zimpher has formed a paradigm-shifting vision that rises to meet the expansive responsibilities of public higher education in the 21st century. “To educate more people and to educate them better” is the mantra at the center of her collective-impact theory of action, which she exercises in several key areas, including building on university strengths to drive regional and local economic development; creating seamless cradle-to-career education pipelines in every community; and systemically transforming teacher education into a rigorous practice that reliably creates great teachers for every classroom and student. Dr. Zimpher is co-founder and immediate past chair of StriveTogether, a national network of innovative partnerships that holistically address challenges across the education pipeline. As SUNY chancellor, she served as chair of the National Association of System Heads from 2014–2017, the Board of Governors of the New York Academy of Sciences from 2011–2016, and CEOs for Cities from 2012–2013, and led the national Coalition of Urban Serving Universities from 2005–2011. Dr. Zimpher holds a BA in English Education and Speech, an MA in English Literature, and a PhD in Teacher Education and Higher Education Administration, all from The Ohio State University.

About this Event

Registration is required. As part of Ohio State's sesquicentennial, this Discovery Themes lecture is presented in conjunction with the university's Think Beyond Summit: Urban Universities + Thriving Communities. To attend Nancy Zimpher's lecture only, use the "Register to Attend" button above.

If you wish to attend the entire Think Beyond Summit in addition to this lecture, click here to learn more. Summit attendees are pre-registered for the lecture and do not need to register separately.

Visitors may pay to park at the Ohio Union South Garage. Please visit the lecture webpage for more information.


Please contact Ben Lewis at if you have any questions/concerns.