Published April 27, 2020
Dear university community:
First off, I would like to acknowledge and thank our faculty and staff for successfully transitioning to a distance-learning environment in such a compressed timeframe. At the same time, I’d like to thank our students for your uncommon resiliency in the pursuit of your academic goals. I truly appreciate how our entire university has collaborated and persevered in this new—albeit temporary—normal.
Looking toward the 2020-2021 academic year, I would like to share the planning measures our university is taking. As I have said before, our planning is, and has been, conducted with the health and well-being of all members of our campus community as our foremost priority.
At the institutional level, I have established a forward-thinking planning structure to ensure that we continue to provide our UB students with an exceptional education, and that we continue to conduct impactful research, scholarship and creative work during these challenging times.
Given the reverberations of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are intentionally preparing for the challenges that lie ahead—from questions about public health, university finances, enrollment, academic continuity, research, and our overall student experience.
I have asked Provost A. Scott Weber to lead this comprehensive planning process. In the next day or so, Provost Weber will be providing our university community details regarding this planning structure.
We will be planning for every eventuality—from a distance education model to a residential, campus-based experience in a less dense and safe environment, to a potential full return to conventional campus operations. Recommendations on operationalizing the full spectrum of contingencies will be developed through this university-wide planning structure.
In unequivocal terms, our planning will be done within the framework of these principles: First and foremost, we ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff. We maintain our reputation as a premier public research university, and as a member of the AAU. We provide all of our students with a distinctive education that prepares them as global citizens in their respective fields. We continue to pursue our strategic goals so that we deepen our impact and further our reach as a national public research university. And, we ensure that our university is on strong financial footing today and for the long term.
While we are contending with an unpredictable future, we know for certain that we will not compromise our UB education. For over 170 years, students from across our region, state and world have made UB their educational home. UB has always been a place where our students realize their ambitions, transform their dreams into reality and expand their worldview beyond the scope of their imagination.
At UB, we will not dilute our educational ideals, these unprecedented circumstances notwithstanding. I have every confidence that the thoughtfully creative minds of our faculty, staff and students will bring to the fore solutions expressed through our tripartite mission—transformative education, impactful research, and service to our local and global communities.
As I have said before, great universities don’t stand still. During this most trying time, UB has demonstrated our character, resilience, creativity and commitment. Collectively, we have embraced our university mission in supporting each other and the communities we serve. I am so proud to see our faculty, students and staff bringing UB’s mission to life, each and every day. This is our uncompromising ideal.
Satish K. Tripathi