By SALLY JARZAB
Published November 29, 2023
But in her estimation, there's no place like UB.
First, there’s Buffalo. In a city with so many layers, Sandler feels she can fully engage in her work as an architectural historian. “I often find things to love and things to learn from,” she says, noting that she’s even fascinated by the 1970s modernism of the North Campus.
Second, there’s UB’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, which lie at the heart of her approach to teaching and learning, and make her feel supported.
Last but not least, she finally gets to share an institutional homebase with her husband, who also teaches at UB.
“We have been together for about 20 years, and we had never had academic jobs in the same place. And we tried — a lot,” Sandler recalls. “UB was the first and only place that actually recognized that families are important, and that for someone to be happy at their workplace, they need to be happy personally, not only professionally.”
Sandler’s scholarly work examines social inequalities in the built environment, spotlighting the ways in which groups and individuals fight for more inclusive cities through the intersection of bottom-up tactics and official policies.
She also serves as the school’s associate dean for inclusive excellence. She says the diverse makeup of the student body at UB enhances those aims in valuable ways.
“It means that the classroom experience, the questions that get asked, the topics that generate discussion, the proposals that students come up with, are also more diverse and provocative,” she says. “I have been teaching for almost 20 years, and yet UB has made the experience fresh again.”
It not only makes the job interesting — it makes it meaningful.
“I really believe, first of all, the mission of education, whatever, wherever it comes from, is to make society better,” Sandler says.
“The idealism, social engagement, and scholarly and creative excellence of my colleagues and students make me proud,” she says. “Their work makes a real positive difference — in Buffalo and around the world.”
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