Published September 7, 2016
It is with great excitement and pride that I welcome our campus to the beginning of the new academic year. This year we are greeting dozens of new full-time UB faculty and staff who are joining an exceptional community of scholars whose creativity, research, teaching, clinical activities, and engagement transform communities near and far and leave a lasting positive impact on the world.
As a campus, we have worked very hard to create an inspirational academic environment that is welcoming, supportive, and leads to greater student success. Our efforts have been successful, reflected both by national recognition of our academic and academic support programs and also by the record number of new freshmen – nearly 4,000 – who are joining us this year. Last week I had the opportunity to visit one of the first UB Curriculum courses offered to mark the historic launch of our innovative new general education program. Through this program, all of our undergraduates will experience personalized intellectual discovery and growth across disciplines, and develop the solid liberal arts foundation, international perspective, and appreciation of human and cultural diversity needed for life, career and citizenship in a diverse and dynamic world. The UB Curriculum joins other student-centered programs like Finish in 4, interprofessional education, the Difficult Conversations (DIFCON) series, and increasing experiential learning and international experience opportunities that are designed to ensure our students’ academic success. To support these programs and further inspire students, UB has enhanced our campus learning environment. Two of our most significant renovations, the Heart of the Campus (Silverman Library) and Hayes Hall, opened this fall; I encourage you to visit these beautiful new spaces.
Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting with faculty leadership of our Communities of Excellence and UB RENEW. It is clear they are succeeding in achieving their mission of bringing together diverse, interdisciplinary groups of scholars to address major problems, create knowledge, and provide students with uniquely excellent educational opportunities. Hundreds of faculty, staff and students have been involved in RENEW and Communities’ activities, including contributing to an international effort to provide water and sanitation for people around the globe; addressing stormwater and wastewater issues in Buffalo; spreading genome and microbiome literacy across campus and the general public, such as through the new “Dancing DNA” UB Curriculum course, which teaches students about the human genome through dance; and shaping national research, education and workforce development programs through membership in the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute.
Through our UB 2020 initiatives, UB continues to transform into a model 21st-century university. Thank you for your contributions, which are critical to our university’s success.
Charles F. Zukoski Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs