The President's Advisory Council on Race held a Community Dialogue on March 22, 2021 to discuss their recent recommendations.

Social Justice Initiatives at UB

Initiatives by Focus Area

We know, as a university community, that we can effect change through the education of our students, our research, our creative work and our clinical care. More than ever before, UB should serve as a bastion of hope and a community of action compelled by the greater good.

While many of UB's social justice initiatives have a large, university-wide impact, other projects are focused on certain aspects of our university including: faculty and staff, students, curriculum and teaching, and the community. 


As a university community, with our mission as our guide, it is imperative that we explore, understand and respond to racism and systemic inequality. The President’s Advisory Council on Race is addressing these issues in order to guide and shape the University at Buffalo's policies, programs, activities and traditions. The council’s work will inform how the UB community can harness our university’s education, research and engagement mission to combat racism and dismantle structural barriers to equality.

In March 2021, the council presented it's university-wide assessment and recommendations. Later that year, an implementation committee was formed to review and discuss the recommendations to determine how best to implement them, develop a timeline for the implementation process and establish specific quantitative and/or qualitative milestones for anticipated progress. On June 1, 2022, the implementation committee released their final report. 

The purpose of the committee is to work collectively with UB leadership, the campus community and University Police to identify issues that involve the safety and well-being of our entire UB community with the goal of fostering a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for our students, faculty, staff and visitors.

President Tripathi has designated this gift to be used to recruit, retain and support underrepresented minority faculty and student scholars through endowed faculty positions and student scholarships, and will further advance our mission of equity and inclusion by funding a host of university-wide diversity initiatives.

Mary Talbert Way
Renaming Putnam Way for Mary Talbert is among several actions UB has taken recently as the university “embraces the opportunity to recognize the historical figures of UB and Buffalo who embody the university’s mission of diversity, equity and inclusion,” according to the UB Council resolution. Mary Talbert was an educator, suffragist and social reformer who lived in Buffalo from 1894 to her death in 1923 and was one of the nation’s most prominent civil rights activists of her time.

Willie R. Evans Quadrangle
The UB Council unanimously approved a resolution renaming Porter Quad in the Ellicott Complex the Willie R. Evans Quadrangle in recognition of the late UB student-athlete and longtime educator in the Buffalo Public Schools. The UB Council had removed the name of Peter B. Porter from the North Campus residence hall in August 2020 as one of several actions taken by the UB to align with the university’s commitment to fight systemic racism and create a welcoming environment for all.

The urgent need to come together as a community to discuss racism and institutional barriers and how we will overcome them to become a truly diverse and inclusive university is clear. The Office of Inclusive Excellence has launched “Let’s Talk about Race,” a series of university-wide lectures, town halls, and other events to foster conversations toward achieving our goal of deep cultural and structural transformation.

On April 8, 2021, the Office of Inclusive Excellence held UB's second Inclusive Excellence Summit, “Living our Commitment.” The summit consisted of 25 sessions and workshops that highlighted practices, research, and initiatives across the university that support diversity and inclusion, in addition to a keynote address by CDI Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Dr. Waverly Duck. This summit served as an opportunity for faculty, staff, and students to come together as a community to promote understanding and to learn about the innovative methods and practices being developed to foster multiculturalism and diversity at UB. 

Unit Diversity Officers

In each of UB's professional schools and in the College of Arts and Sciences, Unit Diversity Officers foster a culture of inclusive excellence for students, faculty and staff. In conjunction with the Office of Inclusive Excellence and university-wide initiatives, decanal units across the university offer a wide variety of programs and resources that continually seek to advance practical support and equal opportunities for all members of the university community.

Faculty and Staff

Visiting Future Faculty (VITAL) Program

UB's VITAL program is a three-year pilot program seeking to increase the number of faculty from traditionally underrepresented populations. Developed by the Office of the Provost and the Office of Inclusive Excellence, the VITAL program brings scholars to UB to expose them to the university's research and teaching opportunities, and to support them as the next generation of faculty. 

The Distinguished Visiting Scholars program provides scholars and artists of exceptional accomplishment a unique opportunity to join a cohort of visiting faculty—and the entire UB campus and local community—to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.

PRODiG ("Promoting Recruitment, Opportunity, Diversity, Inclusion and Growth") is a program that aims to increase the representation of historically underrepresented faculty at SUNY including underrepresented minority ("URM") faculty in general and women faculty of all races in STEM fields (“WSTEM”).  In line with the University at Buffalo's Strategic Diversity and Inclusion Plan, our university is an active member of the PRODiG program in an effort to enhance the recruitment, hiring, and retention of underrepresented faculty.

Since 2017, the University at Buffalo has participated in the Southern Regional Education Board’s (SREB’s) Institute on Teaching and Mentoring, a four-day conference that is the largest gathering of minority doctoral scholars in the nation.  In addition to recruiting new faculty members, our membership provides access to a database of underrepresented doctoral scholars to help with the faculty search process. 

Through this program, faculty members serve as champions for diversity and inclusion within their respective departments, and as their department liaison to the JSMBS Office of Inclusion and Cultural Enhancement. Advocates have numerous responsibilities, including:

  • supporting departmental search committees to help generate a diverse candidate pool
  • serving as a liaison to our office
  • providing information to search chairs/committees about best practices to follow
  • assessing recruitment procedures and results
  • promoting diversity and inclusion programs, lectures and awards


The Cora P. Maloney Center offers courses and academic programs that address the needs and concerns of UB students of color and residents in the City of Buffalo. The Center's mission is to provide a dynamic network of services and opportunities that promote access and academic excellence, ensuring talented UB students persist and actualize their academic and professional potential.

The Institute for Strategic Enhancement of Educational Diversity promotes a culturally and academically inclusive community of students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty and staff.

Destination Dental School (DDS) is an intense gateway experience for underrepresented minority undergraduate students interested in a career in dentistry. The goal of the virtual program is to encourage and increase the number of talented underrepresented students who pursue a career in dentistry. DDS helps prepare participants through hands-on experiences with faculty mentors, dental students and community leaders.

The UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences is proud to be part of the American Society of Engineering Education’s Engineering Deans Diversity Initiative, a commitment to providing education experiences that are inclusive and prevent marginalization of any groups of people because of visible or invisible differences.

The State University of New York (SUNY) LSAMP program seeks to diversify the STEM workforce by significantly increasing the numbers of students successfully completing high quality degree programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Particular emphasis is placed in support of groups that historically have been underrepresented in STEM disciplines: African-Americans, Alaskan Natives, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Pacific Islanders.

Underrepresented students in SEAS have the opportunity to apply for the SEAS Leadership Development Fellowship Program. Each Fellow will receive a $1,500 stipend and will engage in the following activities:

  • A research project with a faculty advisor in SEAS.
  • One mentoring session per semester with the SEAS Dean. These sessions will focus on the development of the Leadership Development Fellow as a researcher, mentor, and leader.
  • Engagement in the SEAS Mentoring Program for Underrepresented Students as a mentor of a freshman or sophomore SEAS student.

For many incoming students, transitioning from high school to college can be challenging and intimidating. The SEAS Diversity Peer Mentoring Program focuses on helping students make a smooth and successful academic and social transition by providing opportunities for engagement and support, along with learning about department, school, and university resources. 

Curriculum, Pedagogy and Decanal Initiatives

During the 2020-21 academic year, the Office of Inclusive Excellence, in collaboration with the Unit Diversity Officers at UB, presented a series of programs on inclusive pedagogy to further UB’s efforts to cultivate inclusive classrooms and curriculums.

Cultural competence is a foundational skill that every student should be able to demonstrate prior to graduation. As such, Diversity in the United States courses serve to equip you with the cultural knowledge and awareness necessary to live, work and create with the diverse groups that characterize the United States.

Within the department, students have access to several fields of study: African and African American Studies, American Studies, Canadian Studies, Caribbean and Latin American Studies, and Latino/a Studies. Research in the Department of Africana and American Studies seeks to reclaim the voices, histories and cultures of marginalized peoples in the U.S. and around the globe.

The College of Arts and Sciences is the recipient of a $3.2 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the creation of a new Department of Indigenous Studies with an innovative and interdisciplinary structure. Academic and community engagement within this new department will recognize Indigenous nationhood and sovereignty as foundational to building ethical and productive scholarly, educational, and experiential learning relationships with Indigenous people, organizations, and communities. In 2021, UB received an additional $175,000 Mellon Foundation grant to support the development of a Haudenosaunee Archive and Resource Collection. 

To make good on our mission, vision, and commitment to equity, diversity, justice, and inclusion, GSE canceled classes and closed offices dedicating two days to teach and learn about racial equity. Key to understanding the systematic violence against Black people, is understanding the role that education has played and continues to play in perpetuating these systems of oppression. Change is both an individual and collective responsibility. As an institution of higher education, we continue this work through the radical act of teaching and learning.

The Teacher Residency Program aims to collaboratively prepare and sustain skilled, diverse teachers to effectively serve the varied needs of historically marginalized students, families and school communities.

The Civil Rights and Transparency Clinic is a litigation clinic focused on civil rights and civil liberties, spanning constitutional liberties like free speech, privacy, due process, and statutory civil rights against discrimination.

Diversity grand rounds were initiated in the Fall of 2017. These educational, interactive sessions address issues of diversity and inclusion – especially those relevant for academic health campus community members. Well-known internal and external guest speakers deliver the primary content of the grand rounds, followed by interactive discussion.

Our Racial Justice Network is a cooperative, pluralist approach to cultivating racial equity in our school’s academic programs, research agendas, administrative policies and informal culture.


he Buffalo Aspiring Leaders Academy is a cooperative effort between UB's Graduate School of Education, Buffalo City Schools, the New York City Leadership Academy and the New York State Education Department. BALA prepares Buffalo City School District teachers for leadership roles in Buffalo schools. Buffalo has 60 schools serving 33,415 students. The program offers a full-year residency in one of Buffalo’s Community Schools and a curriculum tailored to the unique needs of the district. 

BEAM is a non-profit organization dedicated to building diversity in STEM fields by encouraging, supporting and preparing underrepresented students of all ages to pursue a future in STEM.

UB and National Grid collaborate to bring scientists and engineers to Buffalo Promise Neighborhood Schools, Westminster Community Charter School (WCCS) and Highgate Heights Elementary (HH), once a month to guide students through structured, hands-on science experiments. 

The Community Health Equity Research Institute's Mission is to perform research to advance understanding of the root causes of health inequities and develop and test innovative solutions to eliminate health inequities in the region, with a focus on inequities experienced by African Americans. This Institute is founded upon the principles of social justice.

UB's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences is proud to partner with Eduserc to help prepare middle and high school students for technical, professional and personal success in prospective careers.

Tech Savvy is a daylong science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) career conference designed to attract girls to these fields and to inform families about STEM education and careers. With the support of Praxair and community groups, this annual event has become a huge success, serving upwards of 700 girls and 200 parents each spring at the University at Buffalo.