This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

UB finishes first phase of plan

10 "strategic strengths" are identified

Published: January 20, 2005

Reporter Editor

For More Information

go to the UB2020 website

The university has completed the first phase of its UB 2020 institutional planning effort, identifying potential areas, or "strategic strengths," in which UB has the opportunity to build a foundation for academic excellence and to gain an assessment of the current academic support infrastructure.


Phase one of the planning process identified 10 potential strategic strengths outlined in a report issued on Dec. 16 by the Academic Planning Committee to the UB 2020 Executive Committee. The Academic Planning Committee believes that the 10 broadly defined areas are ones in which UB has tremendous opportunity to excel academically in the 21st century.

Satish K. Tripathi, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and chair of the Academic Planning Committee, listed the areas, in alphabetical order:

  • Aging and chronic diseases

  • Artistic expression and performing arts

  • Bio-defense and response to catastrophic events

  • Bioinformatics and health sciences

  • Civic engagement and public policy

  • Clinical sciences and experimental medicine

  • Information and computing technology

  • Literary, cultural and textual studies

  • Molecular understanding of biological systems

  • Nanomaterials

The Academic Support Planning Committee also reported to the Executive Committee at the Dec. 16 meeting, offering several areas of opportunity for improvement in the institutional infrastructure. These areas provide the campus with an opportunity to strategically build a strong support environment, points out James A. (Beau) Willis, interim executive vice president for finance and operations and chair of the Academic Support Planning Committee.

Within the next week, the Executive Committee will be transmitting to the campus community a report about the planning efforts. The report will provide significant details about both the context and content underlying the strategic planning.

Phase one—the first of three phases of the academic planning process-was designed to help UB "gain a clear understanding of where we are today as an institution, and to assist us as an academic community in developing preliminary thoughts and ideas about how to move UB forward," notes President John B. Simpson.

Moreover, phase one of the planning process has provided "the groundwork for instilling an overall institutional culture of comprehensive strategic thinking and planning at UB," Simpson says. This has been accomplished, he adds, primarily because UB 2020 has been "truly collaborative, transparent and inclusive."

This collaboration is evident, Simpson points out, in the fact that 357 people were interviewed through 23 separate workshops, 6,000 members of the campus community provided direct input into the planning effort by responding to a planning survey, more than 100 people were involved directly in the planning effort through their work on project teams and committees, and more than 200 people attended workshops providing critical data that informed the planning teams

A Web site dedicated to the planning process ( ub2020/) provides members of the university community with updates and opportunities to provide input, he adds.

Now that phase one has been completed, the university this month will move into the second phase of UB 2020, which is designed to further define, test and develop the opportunities identified in phase one. It is projected that phase two will continue through the spring semester.

Simpson stresses that the planning process will continue to be a broad effort that solicits commentary and insight from members of the university community—especially into the proposed areas of academic strategic strength.

"The involvement, dedication and intellectual investment of our entire academic community is required if UB 2020 is to meet its goal of helping us to successfully position UB among the nation's top research universities," he says.