What is unique about UB?
UB has grown tremendously over the years; it now encompasses two separate campuses and enrolls 26,000 students. The comprehensive, high-quality university that is UB today was built through the contributions of generations of faculty, students and citizens, brick by brick and piece by piece. At this time, let’s take stock of what has been created here, and reflect on the quality and unique characteristics that are the University at Buffalo.
Beginning as a medical school, the university now embraces the full range of disciplines, with academic units that include a College of Arts and Sciences and 12 different schools: Architecture and Planning, Dental Medicine, Graduate School of Education, Engineering and Applied Sciences, Law, Health Related Professions, Informatics, Management, Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Nursing, Pharmacy and Social Work. Truly a comprehensive university, UB is one of a small handful of academic institutions that include all major disciplines and professional schools. As such, our university has a commanding lead in providing interdisciplinary programs and joint degrees as well as professional degrees in combination with other professional or nonprofessional degrees in many creative ways.
While UB is top ranked, it is not among the largest universities in the United States. Here in New York State people think of us as being big, but we are, in fact, half the size of such top-ranked public universities as Michigan, Texas, Minnesota and Florida. Our size gives us the advantage of being more personable and also more manageable and better able to capitalize quickly on opportunities. With our smaller size, an undergraduate can feel at home and welcome here, yet simultaneously have access to first-rate professional and graduate schools, making it a unique environment.
Many may not realize that UB is one of only 20 research universities in the nation that enjoy a “magic threesome” of a medical school, an engineering school and a pharmacy school. And it is one of only four major research universities that combine a top academic supercomputing site with these three professional schools. This positions UB at the leading edge of the new biology—in particular, bioinformatics—which involves using high-speed computing to analyze data made possible by the human genome project. The ultimate aim of bioinformatics is to prevent and cure diseases, which often means the development of new drugs. Our university has strength in all the elements needed for this exciting new discipline, which will in turn better prepare UB students to compete in the new economy.
UB combines this strength in the sciences and professions with a long history of quality in the humanities and arts, giving a breadth to that quality, making it truly remarkable at all levels of education. Indeed, UB has top-notch professional and graduate schools, combined with high-quality undergraduate education. In conversation with a friend, whose daughter was deciding on a school, I mentioned the high-quality research and scholarship at UB. He said, “But that’s for graduate education.” This commonly held view is a misconception.
In fact, undergraduates here work on research with faculty and learn the process of discovery and creativity from faculty who are actively engaged in research and scholarship. Additionally, the facilities at UB are much better because of the grant-funded research that purchased the equipment undergraduates can use. Also, faculty at a research university are active in their disciplines and are nationally and internationally connected. Meeting and working with them gives undergraduates access to a network that can provide opportunities after graduation. For those pursuing further studies at UB, the early admission program that favors our undergraduates provides significant advantages for both graduate and professional education.
What wonderful opportunities have been made by the contributions of many generations of students, faculty and citizens of Buffalo and New York State. These are contributions that can only improve with each new generation. Let’s continue our support and involvement and experience this transition together, as UB moves to the next level of greatness.
Elizabeth D. Capaldi