Published February 6, 2014
As another exciting semester gets underway at UB, I wanted to update you regarding UB 2020 related activities.
In the fall, I announced that we had established task forces to help develop specific implementation steps, priorities, and timelines for achieving Realizing UB 2020 objectives. These task forces focused on the areas of curriculum and assessment, research and innovation, the student experience, infrastructure, engagement, alumni engagement and philanthropy, and advocacy. More than 175 individuals representing key perspectives from across the campus actively contributed to fulfilling the work of the task forces.
In December, the task forces submitted their final reports, which are available on the Realizing UB 2020 website. These reports recommend a number of programs and initiatives. Among them, two represent for me signature institutional priorities: creating Communities of Excellence and achieving curricular distinction. The Communities of Excellence will focus on topics drawn from the Realizing UB 2020 themes and will bring together scholars from multiple disciplines to educate, conduct scholarship, and engage the community. Curricular distinction will be achieved through a new integrative general education curriculum with a focus on our themes and developing a global perspective, as well as initiatives and programs including experiential learning, interprofessional education, and an expansion of our Undergraduate Academies. In addition to these signature efforts, valuable recommendations we will pursue include increased career services for young alumni and a host of capital facilities projects to enhance our physical spaces. Implementation of these recommendations is underway, and a multi-year university financial plan aligned with them is taking shape. I am grateful for the leadership and creativity demonstrated by all of the members of the task forces. Their reports contain thoughtful, serious recommendations, and I invite all members of our campus community to review them.
I am pleased to announce that one of the exciting UB 2020 initiatives to take shape over the past year officially has been launched this week. The Research and Education in eNergy Environment and Water (RENEW) Institute will promote cross-disciplinary research in environmental problems that have both global and local impact, and coordinate innovative environmental, educational and engagement opportunities. It will offer scholars and students from across the campus, community members, and up to 20 new faculty members unique research, education, and outreach opportunities. RENEW has emerged out of UB’s aspiration to pursue impactful research and education that respond to the most important and challenging issues that face our world. It has evolved over the course of the past year as a result of successful E Fund proposals and through our Realizing UB 2020 discussions. This large-scale effort involves faculty and deans from six schools – the School of Architecture and Planning, College of Arts and Sciences, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Law School, School of Management, and School of Public Health and Health Professions. An international search for the first director of RENEW has been launched. Professor Alan J. Rabideau, from the Department of Civil, Structural, and Environmental Engineering, will begin laying the groundwork for the institute as UB’s first Research and Economic Development Leadership Fellow.
This is a thrilling time to be at UB as our ambitious UB 2020 aspirations are fulfilled. I am excited to continue working with all of you as we create UB’s future and achieve new levels of excellence in research, teaching, clinical care, and community engagement.
Charles F. Zukoski Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs