New York State’s largest public research university greatly broadens the scope of its outreach, becoming a leader in national higher education organizations—particularly AAU and NASULGC—as well as a global university with increased international enrollment (14 percent of total enrollment in 2002–03); more academic, exchange and study abroad programs; and rapid growth of international alumni chapters, which now number 11.
The 1998 reconstitution of the College of Arts and Sciences fosters more opportunities for undergraduate and graduate scholarship and research, while the establishment of a new School of Informatics and a School of Public Health and Health Professions expands academic horizons. Throughout the university, a strong emphasis on interdisciplinarity, integration of research opportunities, and teaching excellence invigorates each of UB’s 300+ degree programs.
The creation of transdisciplinary research centers and institutes—ranging from the Center for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics, to the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research, to the Institute for Research and Education on Women and Gender—leads to unprecedented opportunities for cross-disciplinary collaboration, as well as fruitful partnerships between UB and the diverse constituencies it serves in the region.
Reaffirming its commitment to public service with the establishment in 1993 of the Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Urban Affairs, UB builds on its leadership in addressing and responding to community needs. Regional partnerships established through research centers like the Institute for Local Governance and Regional Growth, founded in 1997, make UB the region’s epicenter for technological, scientific and cultural resources.
The “Students-First” credo of UB’s Office of Student Affairs extends throughout the university, resulting in streamlined student services and a vibrant campus community that is increasingly close-knit, despite record enrollments. UB’s student housing demonstrates the university’s commitment to improving the quality of student life, as well: After review of state education law leads to the discovery of a provision that allows alumni associations to develop housing on SUNY campuses, UB’s North Campus is dramatically transformed by five new apartment-style housing villages built in five years, under the sponsorship of the UB Alumni Association and the UB Foundation—and at no cost to the state.
The creation of the Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Diversity (1999) and the Task Force on Women (1994) effects significant change and leads to important community conversations on the value of diversity and difference within the university. Greater diversity—of all kinds, including racial, ethnic, gender, geographic, faith and country of origin—characterizes faculty, staff and student populations, and more administrative leadership positions are now held by women and people of color than at any other time in UB’s history.
Faced with diminishing state support confronting public universities nationwide, UB develops SUNY’s most extensive and successful fund-raising and alumni program, taking control of its financial future by increasing private support and investing in alumni relations. The Campaign for UB: Generation to Generation
exceeds its original $250 million goal by nearly $32 million (at this writing), while greater and more active alumni involvement yields 18 U.S. and 11 international alumni chapters.
Consistently ranked in the top 10 of the nation’s “most wired” universities by Yahoo! Internet Life magazine, UB becomes nationally known as a leader in integrating information technology, thanks to the widespread digitization of campus services—from the extensive online University Libraries system to the Web-based access now offered for a wide range of student services. The Access 99 initiative ensures that every member of every entering class from 1999 forward will have access to a personal computing system, while MyUB for faculty encourages online course management and submission of grades.
Building on the Center for Computational Research established in 1999, UB becomes one of the world’s top academic supercomputing centers through a major computer cluster gift from Dell, which presents to UB the first Dell Centers for Research Excellence Award. This is just one example of the exponential growth UB is experiencing in research funding: In FY 2002, the funding was a record $239.7 million—$52.9 million, or 28 percent, more than the previous year.
UB becomes a principal campus advocate for a crucial change in SUNY’s evolving budget allocation system in the late 1990’s, when—for the first time in SUNY history—campuses win the right to manage their own earned tuition revenue from student enrollments. This change creates a campus incentive to strengthen enrollment planning and management and is a major factor in UB’s extraordinary enrollment resurgence. UB now enrolls the largest and one of the most academically talented freshman classes in its history, with more full-time students and more graduate and professional students than ever, and expects to reach a new total enrollment peak in this coming year.
UB returns to athletic competition at the NCAA’s Division I level and moves to Division I-A in football, joining the Mid-American Conference. Division I athletics provide scholar-athletes with the opportunity to participate at the highest level of athletic competition, building community pride and UB spirit.
Strong capital investment, combined with a vision to improve instructional and research space, results in construction on the North Campus of the Natural Sciences Complex, the Mathematics Building, and additions to the School of Management and the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research. Contributing to the revitalization of the South Campus, the new Biomedical Education and Research building complements its historically distinguished architecture. The opening of the Center for the Arts in 1994 amplifies UB’s presence in the region’s cultural community, as does the donation of the internationally respected Anderson Gallery in 2000.
The development of a comprehensive 10-year mission/vision statement establishes a strong platform for future university development, while stronger and more active university communications and public relations initiatives clarify and advance UB’s vision and goals. The institution of the interlocking UB, which has become an immediately identifiable symbol of the university, increases UB’s visibility and presence in the communities we serve, while new signage and campus beautification programs proclaim UB pride.