On Monday Doctor Jim Malatras officially starts his role as SUNY Chancellor.

He’ll serve as the leader of the university system, which has 64 campuses across the state.

NewsChannel 34’s Corina Cappabianca spoke with him one-on-one for more on his goals as he steps into the new position.

((Dr. Jim Malatras, Incoming SUNY Chancellor))
“I’m a product of SUNY. I’m the first Chancellor ever to be a graduate of the SUNY system which I think’s kind of cool. I believe in higher education because I’m a product of higher education.”

Dr. Jim Malatras will take on the role as SUNY Chancellor after serving as SUNY Empire State College President.

You may recognize Malatras as a familiar face at Governor Cuomo’s coronavirus briefings.

He says in his new position he’ll be focused on three things.

((Dr. Jim Malatras, Incoming SUNY Chancellor))
“The first is the safe reopening of all of our college campuses all across the state.”

A big part of that is testing, and specifically the idea of pooled surveillance testing.

((Dr. Jim Malatras, Incoming SUNY Chancellor))
“SUNY Upstate Medical College, our world renowned upstate medical facility, came up with this pool testing where it’s a saliva test where you can actually test multiple students and faculty at once and see if they’re positive or negative for COVID.”

Long-term, he hopes to have a focus on improving the student experience on campus.

((Dr. Jim Malatras, Incoming SUNY Chancellor))
“And then what I really want to get into long-term is how do we provide more quality access to our students through opportunity programs and other types of programs?”

While there has been criticism over the lack of a typical nationwide search for the Chancellor role, Malatras says:

((Dr. Jim Malatras, Incoming SUNY Chancellor))
“I was an applicant for it. All I can do is roll up my sleeves and get to work and that’s what I’ve been trying to do.”

In addition to his role as chancellor, he’ll still be teaching a course on federalism at SUNY Empire State College.