UB Today Alumni Magazine Online - Fall 2004
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For more detailed information about the university's strategic planning initiative, visit the UB 2020 Web site

from the President
UB 2020: A clear vision of UBís future

  Simpson

As I have frequently remarked since taking office as UBís 14th president, building a great university requires a strong and clear vision of academic excellence. Transforming this vision into tangible, sustained institutional achievement is an even more monumental task, calling upon the combined efforts and dedication of every member of the university community.

Since last spring, the University at Buffalo has been engaged in just such an effort. This is taking the form of a comprehensive, university-wide process of strategic self-assessment and planning known as UB 2020, in reference to our need to be both clear-sighted and far-reaching in our goals for the universityís future. Working together, our university community has already made substantial progress with the process of designing and implementing a strategy for building upon our strengths, addressing our challenges and making the most of our opportunities.

This spring, the UB 2020 executive committee issued its interim report to the campus community, coordinating the input of faculty, staff, students and community members into a comprehensive assessment of where we now stand, and delineating a set of recommended next steps that will guide our progress toward becoming the truly great university we expect to be in the 21st century. Among the advancements detailed in the executive committeeís report, the universityís faculty identified key interdisciplinary areas of strategic academic strength that reflect both demonstrated achievement and notable promise for future growth. Also integral to the UB 2020 initiative is the development of a comprehensive, coordinated university strategy for strengthening ties to our external communities and for more effectively advancing the community relations and public service objectives that are essential to our mission as a leading public university.

Other developments that have already been implemented in support of UBís academic priorities include the renovation of numerous classrooms across campus, the establishment of a student services review team, a plan to increase teaching assistant stipends, structural reorganization within our bioinformatics program and other academic infrastructures, and the implementation of an annual budget process and a capital and space allocation plan.

Clearly, we have made tremendous progress with the UB 2020 planning initiative, yet much more remains to be achieved. As we move forward with the next phases of the process by further developing our academic strengths and implementing the administrative and operational plans that will guide their progress, these efforts will continue to be grounded in university-wide dialogue and collaboration. The UB 2020 initiative is probably the most comprehensive and the most inclusive strategic planning effort in UBís history, drawing strength from the involvement, engagement and intellectual investment of the entire university community. As UB alumni, you, too, have a substantial role to play in this process.

Throughout the course of the past year, I have had numerous opportunities to witness and participate in the work of UBís alumni, and I have greatly enjoyed the opportunity to talk with alumni across the country, both at regional alumni chapter meetings from coast to coast and at special alumni functions here on campus. Through these conversations, I have been deeply impressed by the vital, active role that our alumni play in helping to realize UBís great potential for leadership and excellence. Your efforts, your dedication and your perspectives have been essential to giving UB its strength and promise. Your continuing commitment to UBís vision and goals will play an equally vital part in building on these strengths in the years to come, as we work together to further establish UB as one of the great public universities of the 21st century.

UB 2020 is intended to be both a vision for our universityís future and a conversation about how we may most effectively realize this vision. As graduates of UB, you are lifelong, vital members of this university family, and the universityís future depends in large part on your voices and your vision. I hope that you will continue to contribute your unique perspectives to our ongoing, university-wide dialogue about the future of our UB, and I look forward to working with you to continue building this future.



John B. Simpson
President, University at Buffalo


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