Provost Zukoski discusses strategies for UB 2020

On November 29, 2012

  • Provost Charles Zukoski held an open forum in attempt to strategize UB 2020. Sam Fernando /// The Spectrum

On Nov. 28 and Nov. 29, Provost Charles Zukoski held an open forum to inform the UB community of the administration's plans for the future.

Zukoski said the direction UB should take in order to achieve President Satish Tripathi's vision of UB 2020 - a comprehensive plan to achieve "enduring prominence" in the future of UB - must be clarified. His presentation was a narrative that imagines where UB can be in five to 10 years. It briefly described the steps that will need to be taken in that period.

Zukoski believes UB is at a generational turning point. He said the world is changing rapidly in an economic, demographic and social way, so UB is also going to have to change. The issue is figuring out how.

"I believe that if we do it well, more investment will come to UB because we are a place that provides solutions and answers, but we have to do it well," Zukoski said.

At the forum, Zukoski announced his plan to create a "Statement of Institutional Direction," which will guide UB 2020 efforts and implement plans to improve UB for the next five to 10 years.

Zukoski said being viewed as distinctive, which he defined as a combination of uniqueness and excellence, is essential for UB moving forward and setting it apart from other universities.

He said the statement will be shaped by the core principles of UB and these principles will be used to create strategies, which will achieve each one of Tripathi's goals. These strategies will ultimately lead to a comprehensive plan that will be implemented.

In his state of the university address on Nov. 2, Tripathi revealed plans to achieve UB 2020 by keeping enrollment constant, growing the faculty by 250 members, increasing expenditures by 40 percent, relocating the medical school downtown and strengthening UB's impact on regional economic development.

Tripathi's speech addressed what is going to be done, and Zukoski's presentation discussed how it will be done.

Zukoski, who is the leader of the project, created a strict timeline dictating when each draft of each strategy should be completed. He will work with various institutional leaders to create the draft, which will then be reviewed by the Dean's Committee and the President's Cabinet.

A Campus Advisory Committee, chaired by distinguished professor Bruce McCombe, will seek feedback from various members of the UB community, including faculty, staff and students.

"When I look at UB, I see a very strong and very proud institution that is now ready to go forward, but going forward is the key," Zukoski said.

Right now is the perfect time for UB to start the process of creating the statement, according Zukoski. His reasoning is based on the NYSUNY 2020 budget, which was passed last year.

The legislation allows UB to keep state funding at a stable level as long as enrollment stays constant, while gradually increasing tuition over the next four years. Each year, undergraduate tuition will increase $300, non-resident tuition will increase 10 percent and graduate and professional programs will increase an average of 8 percent, according to Zukoski's presentation.

The tuition hike will bring about $100 million in revenue after five years.

"Where we are placed now with UB and NYSUNY 2020, UB can go through a renaissance," Zukoski said. "This will allow us to think differently, act differently and capture fabulous opportunities. Our budget is going up. We have to think about how we are going to do things differently to meet this new world of expectations."

NYSUNY 2020 has also facilitated the relocation of the school of medicine. Because of the legislation, the state gave UB a $35 million grant and allowed the university to borrow $215 million at a low interest rate.

Zukoski looks to publish the final statement by May 15, 2013. He said this document will spark the change UB needs to achieve his vision of UB 2020.



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