Launching scholarly communities

By Michael E. Ryan, Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education
Michael E. Ryan

Michael E. Ryan

One of the distinguishing strengths of the University at Buffalo relates to the cultural diversity of our faculty, staff and students. The university is located on an international border and our alumni hail from more than 120 countries. It is significant that approximately 10 percent of our undergraduate students participate in a study abroad opportunity.

For undergraduate students, the university will soon be launching scholarly communities that are directly related to the distinctive strengths of UB. These Undergraduate Academies will be composed of faculty, students and staff who share a common mission and set of interests. In Fall 2007, the first two Undergraduate Academies will be related to Research Exploration and Civic Engagement. In Fall 2008, two additional Undergraduate Academies related to Creative Expression and to International/Global Affairs will be introduced. The International Academy will provide an opportunity for students to take greater advantage of the many courses and programs that UB offers with regard to international culture and issues. In this respect, two tremendous opportunities present themselves:

  • We can devise novel programs and mechanisms so that our undergraduate students can not only enrich their educational experience, but also directly benefit from the international community of students and scholars now on campus.
  • We can anticipate novel ways by which students who have participated in a study abroad program can share or extend their experiences in a manner that will directly benefit other students on campus.

Indeed, as all aspects of our modern world become more global, it is imperative that undergraduate education fosters a greater awareness and understanding of international issues and events. The University at Buffalo has a unique opportunity with an advantage to do just this, and thus further internationalize its undergraduate programs.

Vice provost and dean of undergraduate education since 2005, Michael E. Ryan is also professor of chemical engineering. He previously served as associate dean for student services in the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and was director of the Business-Industry Affiliates Program in the New York State Center for Hazardous Waste Management from 1988 to 1994. Ryan’s research and teaching have been in the areas of polymer science and engineering, plastics processing, rheology and non-Newtonian fluid mechanics.