Published January 7, 2013
The Professional Staff Senate will kick off a series of campuswide Realizing UB 2020 “feedback sessions” this week with two roundtable forums to gather input from the professional staff on the initiative to determine the university’s priorities and the direction it should go to achieve its goal of moving into the next tier of public research universities.
The sessions will be held from 2:30-4 p.m. Jan. 10 in 100 Allen Hall, South Campus, and from 3-4:30 p.m. Jan. 11 in the Center for Tomorrow, North Campus. Those attending are asked to RSVP for the session they plan to attend.
The feedback sessions, as well as more general “open forums”—the next two forums have been set for Jan. 23 and Jan. 24, with times and locations to be announced—are part of a process to produce a “statement of institutional direction” that will guide UB’s strategic efforts and set priorities for the university’s investment over the next five to 10 years.
With UB at a pivotal point in its history, the campus community has the opportunity to contribute significantly to the conversation, says Provost Charles F. Zukoski who is leading the Realizing UB 2020 initiative.
Members of the UB community are being asked to comment on the first draft sections of the statement, which summarize UB’s mission and vision, provide planning context, highlight institutional goals and values, and outline three of several strategies that will form the basis for the university’s direction over the next several years. The strategies cover the areas of academics, student success, and research and scholarship.
Zukoski encourages all faculty, staff and students to offer their thoughts on the draft. In addition to attending feedback sessions and open forums, members of the UB community may provide their input online.
Over the coming months, the statement will be revised and refined, and include strategies for community engagement, regional economic development, faculty hiring, branding, infrastructure and resource allocation, as well as the ultimate implementation plan.
Feedback sessions and open forums will be held throughout the spring semester, with the final statement of institutional direction expected to be published on May 15.
The timetable has been accelerated, Zukoski explains, “due to the window of opportunity provided by NYSUNY 2020.”
The NYSUNY 2020 legislation, passed in 2011, instituted a rational tuition plan for SUNY that allows all campuses to raise tuition for New York residents up to $300 annually for five years. It also allows the four university centers—including UB—to raise tuition 10 percent for out-of-state students and to charge all students an annual $75 Academic Excellence and Success Fee.
It also prevents the state from cutting funding to SUNY by an amount equal to the revenue generated by tuition increases.
“NYSUNY 2020 gives us until 2016,” Zukoski says. “We have to go through that window before it closes … We don’t have much time to decide how we will strategically invest the money provided to us by NYSUNY 2020.”
Zukoski notes that Realizing UB 2020 is taking place during a “generational opportunity.”
“We had a similar opportunity decades ago when UB went from a private to a public institution,” he adds. “And today, with the commitment of NYSUNY 2020, we again have that once-in-a-generation opportunity.”