President Addresses Voting Faculty

Touching on issues ranging from UB's mission as a university to construction on the North and South campuses, UB President William R. Greiner addressed the university's voting faculty at their annual meeting Tuesday afternoon.

Greiner opened with a moment of silence for the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, followed by the main topic of his speech - UB's direction over the next several years. UB's cornerstone mission, said Greiner, is to improve undergraduate education in addition to bettering graduate education and research, which "makes us a university, not a college."

UB's goal, according to Greiner, is essentially to be SUNY's paramount public university, attracting the best and brightest faculty and students to the system flagship. He plans on accomplishing this with assistance from the SUNY Provost Office in what is called the Memorandum of Understanding with SUNY. The memorandum is a new way to relate to the system administration office in Albany to acquire necessary funding and heighten UB's independence of action to achieve these goals.

His plan also calls for improvement in the quality of graduate programs by working with UB's various graduate schools and the university provost.

"We've got to rely on the faculty and its leadership at the school and college level to work this out," Greiner said. To do this, he suggested upping the selectivity of UB's doctorate programs - and possibly reducing the amount of doctorate programs offered in order to achieve this goal - and further development of existing master's programs, following in the footsteps of other public universities across the country.

Greiner stressed that quality graduate programs are founded upon quality undergraduate programs.

"Quality undergraduates are a great resource to help attract quality faculty, and quality undergraduates help to attract quality graduate students," Greiner said.

To offset the projected number of retirees during the next five years - approximately 250 people - Greiner expressed his hope to hire 300 new faculty members by 2009, 135 of which would be scientists and engineers. To support this initiative, UB will increase stipends to graduate students to a competitive level, experiment with "innovative" approaches to recruit new faculty in selected areas, improve sponsored research support and introduce a research performance incentive system.

Greiner also said he believes there should be enhanced internal communication between the deans and their faculty. He mentioned the use of campus media such as the Reporter, the university Web pages and WBFO as means of relaying information to those who need it the most.

"On a campus of this size . we need to do a much better job of internal communication," Greiner said. "We'll use campus media, I hope, more effectively."

Also on Greiner's list of priorities is enriching the quality of campus life, with new and renovated student housing and improved student services as examples. He addressed the campus apartment issue candidly and unveiled the name of the to-be-constructed graduate and professional apartment complex on Skinnersville Road: Creekside Village.

Greiner also discussed the possible renovation of South Campus' Goodyear Hall dormitories into a duplex or triplex apartment complex. The university will develop plans for construction after the feasibility study is concluded.

Greiner finished his speech by stressing that UB must attain greater self-sufficiency in terms of university needs for the future, mentioning the expansion of the Generation to Generation fundraising campaign to include alumni on a national and international level and increasing philanthropy at UB.

At the conclusion, one faculty member asked Greiner how UB should give back to the community.

"The best thing we can do is be the best university we can possibly be," said Greiner. "It's our first responsibility to Western New York."