Published September 4, 2014
Welcome to the start of the 2014 academic year! Fall is a particularly exciting time on campus as we begin a new academic year at UB. This year, we welcome an outstanding group of undergraduate, graduate and professional students from 28 states and 42 countries. These incoming students’ academic credentials are superb, showing that our reputation as a global university that delivers exceptional education and scholarship continues to attract excellent students.
As a comprehensive research university, our strength is based largely on the quality of our faculty. They establish expectations for our students and their colleagues and are integral to achieving our aspirations of academic excellence. This year, we are very pleased to welcome almost 100 new full-time faculty members to our campus community. This new cohort is joining a passionate and talented faculty.
UB is gaining momentum as we continue pursuing UB 2020, our strategic plan that is transforming our university. Last year we launched two signature initiatives – curricular distinction and Communities of Excellence – which will continue to develop this fall.
Curricular distinction will encompass a reimagined general education program, experiential learning, interprofessional education and significant international experiences. The proposed new general education program -- the largest component of curricular distinction – would be at the forefront of this initiative with a plan to revitalize liberal arts education at UB through a focus on integrative learning, cultural literacies and our UB 2020 themes: humanity, justice, environment, innovation and health. In June, the general education committee, chaired by Dean of Undergraduate Education, Andrew Stott and comprised of over 90 faculty and staff, released its progress report to the UB community to initiate a campus-wide discussion about the program and our next steps in implementing it. Please actively engage in the discussion around general education; your input is critical. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend two general education open forums on September 16 (South Campus) and September 19 (North Campus). The campus community is also invited to submit comments and questions through the general education website.
This past spring, individual decanal meetings and open forums generated a high level of interest in UB’s Communities of Excellence. These Communities will bring together faculty from across the disciplines to educate, conduct research and creative activities, and engage the public in response to our society’s most pressing problems. Last semester, 98 concept proposals from faculty across UB’s campuses were submitted for consideration. From these proposals, 14 faculty groups were selected to advance to the next phase which will involve a presentation to a review committee in mid-October. Because of the tremendous response from our faculty, we have adjusted our timeline for the proposal process. We will announce the inaugural Communities in February, 2015.
Through our strategic plan, UB has chosen to be leaders and we have defined leadership around our capacity to address the difficult problems and questions of our time. I look forward to continuing our work together as we create UB’s future.
Charles F. Zukoski Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs