Vice Provost Sean P. Sullivan

Published June 25, 2018

Dear University Community:

Sean P. Sullivan, Vice Provost for Academic Planning, has informed me of his plan to retire from the University at Buffalo, effective October 1, 2018.

In his nearly four decades at the university, Sean has held a variety of administrative positions, all of which have capitalized on his significant institutional knowledge, creativity and remarkable strategic planning capability. Sean joined UB in 1979 in the Office of the Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences and served on the staff of President Steven Sample before joining Provost William Greiner’s office in 1986 as Assistant to the Provost for Facilities and Budget Management. He has had the distinction of serving under all of UB’s provosts in roles that have included Vice Provost for Academic Planning and Budget, Vice Provost for Enrollment and Planning, and Vice Provost for Academic Information and Planning. Since 2016, Sean has served as Vice Provost for Academic Planning.

Throughout his career, Sean has been an exemplary UB citizen whose knowledge and skillset combined with personal integrity and a strong work ethic have been critical to the success of ten provosts, the Office of the Provost and the university.

In particular the university and its provosts have relied on Sean’s significant strategic and academic planning abilities and creative approach to problem solving. He is a visionary optimist who has a gift for bringing people together to set ambitious goals, identifying imaginative opportunities that lead to substantial programs, and establishing effective assessment measures. Over the years, he has played a critical role in the creation of strategic plans that have significantly impacted our university, among them, the landmark NYSUNY 2020 legislation, UB 2020, Building UB: Physical Plan, and Realizing UB 2020. In the early 2000s, his planning efforts focused on enrollment, and as a result, the university grew by nearly 3,000 students, while at the same time the quality and diversity of incoming students was enhanced.

Under previous provosts’ administrations, Sean created a budget model that integrated enrollment and financial planning, aligned campus resources with strategic goals, incentivized excellence across the university, and enabled UB’s advancement and success despite significant state budget reductions. Based on the success of UB’s budget model, SUNY turned to Sean to collaborate with system leadership to develop a resource allocation model for the entire SUNY system. Sean also was critical to the development of numerous important capital projects across all three of UB’s campuses including Davis Hall, Greiner Hall, the Clinical and Translational Research Center, and the UB Gateway Building.

More recently, Sean has been key to the creation, implementation and facilitation of innovative initiatives that have established UB as a higher education leader and advanced the university. To name just a few, these include the UB Curriculum, Communities of Excellence and UB RENEW, Strategic Strengths, Student Response Center, and UBThisSummer. In an earlier role, Sean worked with IT staff and deans to significantly increase technology and computing capacity across the university, placing UB at the forefront of using advanced computing in our education and scholarship.   

For years, Sean has served as a critical resource for UB’s deans, providing academic planning support and counsel. This is especially true in his current role as Vice Provost for Academic Planning, in which Sean has focused his creativity and outstanding planning and coordinating abilities on UB’s academic programs. Through his leadership of the Educational Collaborations Committee and Task Force on Educational Entrepreneurship, in collaboration with university faculty and senior leaders, Sean has been crucial in planning and facilitating new and emerging academic projects that cut across departments and schools. His efforts have established a model for creating innovative and interdisciplinary degrees, resulting in exciting new programs, including a number of new dual degree programs and several interdisciplinary degrees in areas such as Sustainability, Genetic Counseling, and Computational Data-Enabled Sciences. In recognition of his significant contributions and accomplishments, Sean received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service.

A lifelong learner who is deeply committed to higher education, Sean is nearing completion of his doctorate in History at UB. He holds a BA in English and History with honors from Canisius College.

Colleagues, please join me in thanking Sean for his nearly four decades of dedicated service to the university. His contributions have helped transform UB into the world-class university we are today. We wish Sean much continued success and enjoyment in his well-earned retirement.



Charles F. Zukoski
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs