Changing role

Ryan to manage UB reaccreditation process

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The Spectrum

After five years of serving as the vice provost and dean of undergraduate education at UB, Michael E. Ryan is stepping down and will begin his new role as the director of university accreditation and assessment on June 1.
An internal search will be conducted for Ryan's successor as vice provost.
Ryan will be involved in preparing self-study materials for the review of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, a department of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools that accredits degree-granting colleges and universities in the Middle States region. This position is typically granted to a senior official with extensive experience in university education.
This accreditation is essential, as it determines whether or not institutions are meeting fundamental academic standards.
UB is beginning the extensive process of reaffirming its own decennial accreditation, which will expire in 2013-14. The reaffirmation process involves making a self-study report in which the university summarizes its institutional goals and the steps it has taken to reach them.
"The accreditation process is an opportunity for us to examine our goals and objectives – whether we are meeting them or falling short," Ryan said.
Ryan believes he is prepared to handle the responsibilities that go along with this process.
"I have a broad knowledge of university programs and of the accreditation process," Ryan said. "I've been an evaluator for the Middle States. I've been on the other side."
Provost Satish Tripathi, who initially announced Ryan's new position, agrees that he is well qualified for it.
"As an external reviewer for Middle States, Professor Ryan has a unique perspective on the reaccreditation process," Tripathi said. "He knows the process well, and the key areas that Middle States focuses on in terms of institutional review, specifically institutional assessment and student learning assessment and outcomes."
Tripathi added that Ryan's earlier experience as a UB faculty member helps him to understand the standards that the university needs to reach.
"His understanding of the entire university enterprise and the undergraduate experience, as well as his first-hand knowledge of faculty research and creative activities, make him ideally suited to lead this critically important institutional endeavor," Tripathi said.
Ryan has been on the UB faculty since 1976. He has served as the associate dean for student services in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the director of the Business-Industry Affiliates Program in the New York State Center for Hazardous Waste before he was promoted to vice provost and dean of undergraduate education in 2005.
Ryan has grown in his appreciation for UB over the years and believes that there are many factors that set it apart as an exceptional institution.
"We're a selective research university. Our faculty [members] are engaged in exploration and discovery of knowledge. This benefits the undergraduates because the professors will bring this knowledge into the classroom," Ryan said. "Despite the [current] economic climate, we've managed to be successful and continue to move ourselves forward as an academic institution."
Ryan considers his work at UB, especially the vice provost position, a learning experience.
"The position has been a positive and rewarding experience," Ryan said. "The opportunity to serve at the university level has exposed me to a broader array of issues [and helped me to] understand the educational experience and the needs of students."

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