Univeristy Goals On Track Despite Sept. 11 Attacks
Addressing concerns and current issues at UB, President William R. Greiner and Vice President for Student Affairs Dennis Black spent an hour fielding questions and sharing their perspectives on the "Talk of the University" radio show on WBFO Monday night.
The two administrators spent the first portion of the show discussing the effects of the Sept. 11 attacks on the UB community. Despite the tragedy, the university is persevering with projects and goals established prior to the attacks.
"I think our perspectives and attitudes as a people, generally, of the United States, are much more sensitive, much more concerned, much more aware of the realities of the world in which we live. The world in which we live was the same on the 10th as it was on the 12th," said Greiner. "The 11th is a watershed event in terms of making us aware fully of the world we live in. I think our students over the course of the past six weeks conducted themselves admirably."
The ongoing war against terrorism, efforts to rebuild New York City and the general need for many individuals to return home to their families have caused a number of students to temporarily leave the university.
"With the students directly impacted, we literally just call a timeout in their university experience. We hold their place, hold their spot and those who come back and complete the semester, great - we'll provide whatever assistance we can to make that happen," said Black.
Black emphasized the university will remain in contact with students forced to leave the university for personal reasons or military service, and will welcome students who many have withdrawn from UB in light of recent events back next semester.
"Most of our people who have been called up for military duty have really been national guard types who have been called for short term service. . They left us in good standing and they go with our good wishes, and we welcome them back as soon as they're able to join us again," he added.
One of the callers drew attention to a recent Buffalo News article on the number of non-tenured part-time and graduate school faculty employed by the university. The caller said his son left UB because he felt that "he was being taught by someone who was only two chapters ahead of him."
Greiner described part-time and graduate instructors as a positive contribution to UB's academic environment and teaching quality, rather than a detriment, saying the university's graduate student faculty members can inject youth and enthusiasm into the curriculum.
"Often these young people have wonderful insights that come from two things. One, they're very excited about the material they are studying, they're new and fresh, and second, they're young enough and close enough in time to the undergraduate experience where they can really empathize with the needs of undergraduates and do a great job," he said.
With rising student standards and heightened enrollment targets, the university plans to bring a plethora of new faculty members on board, said Greiner. If the university is able to raise sufficient funds, UB will add approximately 300 new faculty positions over the next five years.