School of Management opens new undergraduate center

In a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 30, the School of Management celebrated the opening of its new Undergraduate Learning and Community Center, a destination for more than 2,900 undergraduates in the school to connect with their peers and develop skills for lifelong success.

Located in the lower level of Jacobs Management Center, the 5,800-square-foot space includes tutoring facilities, three classrooms, a glass-walled breakout room and the Frank and Marilyn Clement Undergraduate Community Hub, named for the center’s lead donors.

Seattle residents Frank, BS ’66, and Marilyn Clement were present to cut the ribbon before an audience that included faculty, staff, students and alumni.

“The Undergraduate Learning and Community Center is a place for our undergraduates to gather and feel at home from the moment they step on campus,” said Paul E. Tesluk, interim dean of the School of Management.

Connie Hanel, manager of the Undergraduate Learning and Community Center, talks about the center during a guided tour. Photo: Nancy J. Parisi

“The state-of-the-art center will help attract the best students to the School of Management, further cementing our reputation as one of the best business schools in the world,” Tesluk added.

Within the facility, undergraduates can take advantage of a variety of services to help them meet their academic goals. Center-certified tutors lead one-on-one and group tutoring for several courses, and an ESL coach is available to assist international students with their English skills and adjustment to American culture. Study groups, open work sessions and workshops also are offered.

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UB Police earns ‘gold standard’ for accreditation

University at Buffalo Police have earned the approval of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA), becoming the only police department in the state to be accredited through IACLEA, the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement (CALEA) and the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (NYS DCJS).

It is the latest recognition of the department’s efforts to adhere to the highest professional standards in law enforcement, according to Police Chief Gerald W. Schoenle Jr.

UB Police received strong praise from the prestigious accreditation organization – which Schoenle called the “gold standard” for university policing – for its procedures and personnel, and called it “an accredited police agency providing the best possible police services to their community.”

The assessment team noted that it was especially impressed with the department’s involvement in the campus community and the support the university shows for UB Police, which provides a full range of professional law enforcement services to the campus.

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Zirnheld among 100 Inspiring Women in STEM

Jennifer L. Zirnheld, associate professor of electrical engineering, has been named by INSIGHT into Diversity magazine as one of 100 Inspiring Women in STEM.

The national award recognizes women whose work and achievements are encouraging a new generation of women to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) while also providing support to others working in STEM fields.

Zirnheld, whose research focuses on the use of electrical engineering innovations in fighting cancer, has written and served as co-investigator on grants, contracts and fellowships from industry and government. She also serves on the steering committee for the UB Institute for the Strategic Enhancement of Educational Diversity (iSEED).

Zirnheld cites serving as a mentor for undergraduate students as among her most rewarding experiences. She was one of five faculty members who were honored in 2011 with the inaugural UB Faculty Award for Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity. The award recognizes faculty who establish a strong professional mentoring relationship with students, act as role models for methods of inquiry in their disciplines, and promote responsible and ethical conduct of research or creative activity.

“Jennifer has demonstrated an ability to inspire students — especially female students — to seek careers in STEM-related fields,” says Liesl Folks, dean of UB’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “We are delighted that she has received this well-deserved recognition.”

“I always urge students to take advantage of a key asset that is available to them — the fact that UB is a top research university,” Zirnheld says. “I encourage them to try an internship or REU (a research experience for undergraduates) as soon as possible. Participation can help to build up their resume and they could discover career paths that they may never have considered.”

Zirnheld emphasizes the important role former UB engineering faculty members played as her mentors when she was a student.

“I was in my senior year and not sure what I was going to do when I graduated,” she says, “when Richard Dollinger, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering in the UB engineering school, invited me into his research lab.

“The invite was for 8 a.m. on a Saturday, so I put it off. Eventually, I decided to check it out and had my own transformative moment that inspired me to go on to graduate school and a PhD. Dr. Dollinger helped to shape my thinking and my career.”

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Read our profile of Dr. Zirnheld here.


Jacobs family makes historic $30 million gift to UB medical school

Jeremy M. Jacobs, his wife, Margaret, and their family have given $30 million to the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, a historic gift as the school undergoes an ambitious period of expansion that will enable it to pursue innovative medical education, research and patient care.

As chairman of global hospitality and food service company Delaware North and one of the community’s most dedicated philanthropists, Jacobs is a longtime supporter of UB. He has served as chairman of the UB Council since 1998 and has provided invaluable service to the university over three decades, spanning the tenures of five UB presidents.

The gift to the medical school was inspired by the essential role that medical schools play in pioneering health care breakthroughs and advancing patient care in their communities.

In recognition of Jacobs’ tremendous service and philanthropy to the university, the UB medical school will be named the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, UB President Satish K. Tripathi announced today.

“This is a great and historic milestone for UB, as the first school-naming in our university’s long and distinguished history. It is truly fitting that the medical school — UB’s founding school — would have this great distinction,” Tripathi said. “And it is equally fitting that it should bear the name of an individual and a family who truly embody the vision that has guided our university for the better part of two centuries. No one could ask for a greater champion or a greater friend to UB than Jeremy Jacobs and the Jacobs family have been over the years. We are honored to have this opportunity to recognize that great generosity in this meaningful and lasting way.”

With the gift to UB’s medical school, the Jacobs family’s giving to the university totals more than $50 million, making the Jacobs family one of UB’s most generous benefactors. The gift is the largest to the $200 million campaign for the UB medical school and brings the school to 80 percent ($160 million) of its goal.

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UB moves up in ‘top 50’ ranking of the best public universities in the nation

The University at Buffalo has earned a ‘top 50’ ranking for the second straight year, according to U.S. News and World Report. The magazine’s 2016 Best Colleges Rankings, released Sept. 9, again named UB among the best universities in the country.

UB earned distinction as one of the top public universities in the nation, ranking No. 45 – up three spots from last year’s No. 48 – among public universities. UB also broke into the “top 100” ranking for national universities, placing 99th. U.S. News bases its rankings on an assessment of 1,400 of the country’s four-year colleges and universities.

Also earning a top ranking with U.S. News was UB’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, which rose to No. 63 from No. 65 among the nation’s best undergraduate engineering programs at schools whose highest degree is a doctorate. UB’s School of Management was ranked No. 80 out of more than 700 accredited schools, higher than any other business school in the State University of New York system. The engineering and management schools ranked 37 and 50, respectively, when ranked among public universities.

“At UB, we deliver academic excellence through exceptional educational opportunities and impactful research,” said UB Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Charles F. Zukoski.

“Our students learn from the top scholars in their fields and participate in research projects, and cultural and community engagement activities. We are very pleased that our distinctive programs and commitment to excellence have been recognized again by U.S. News and World Report.”

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UB a finalist for national graduation rate award

UB is among five public research universities selected by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) as finalists for the 2015 APLU Project Degree Completion Award recognizing universities that embrace innovative strategies to increase undergraduate student retention and graduation rates, and create clear, accelerated pathways for student success.

The award is part of Project Degree Completion — a joint initiative developed by the APLU and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) — in which nearly 500 public colleges and universities pledge to collectively award 3.8 million more degrees by 2025.

The APLU will present the award at its annual meeting, November 15-17 in Indianapolis.

“We are committed to providing a transformative educational experience for all of our students and helping them succeed in their academic endeavors,” says Charles Zukoski, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “I am proud of our university community for their dedication to our students’ success and timely degree completion, and I am pleased that the APLU is recognizing UB’s efforts.”

APLU representatives cited UB’s Student Success Initiative and Finish in Four program in recognizing the university’s commitment to providing the resources needed for students to graduate in four years.

“UB’s Student Success Initiative and Finish in Four program provide students with enhanced support throughout their entire undergraduate career,” says Scott Weber, senior vice provost for academic affairs.

“They represent a far-reaching, multi-pronged approach to meeting our students’ graduation goals by helping them understand their responsibilities, and they demonstrate the university’s commitment to helping students earn their degree in a timely manner.”

Finish in Four has attracted national attention as a model program for increasing college affordability and was a catalyst for a 2013 visit to UB by President Barack Obama, during which he delivered a major speech on national higher education policy.

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NIH awards UB $16 million clinical and translational science grant

UB has been awarded a prestigious four-year, $16 million Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to speed the delivery of new drugs, diagnostics and medical devices to patients.

The grant will establish the UB Clinical and Translational Research Center as the hub of the Buffalo Translational Consortium. UB is the lead institution of the consortium in partnership with Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the Great Lakes Health System, UBMD and community health organizations.

“This award recognizes and leverages the strong research and clinical collaborations UB and our partners on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) have built,” said President Satish K. Tripathi. “It gives us the ability to realize the value of these collaborations at an even higher level — empowering us as we move discoveries from the lab bench to the patient’s bedside, improve patient care and enhance economic development in Western New York by successfully commercializing scientific breakthroughs.”

The award puts UB and the Buffalo Translational Consortium, composed of clinical and research institutions on the BNMC, into an elite tier of institutions.

“As home to the nation’s first cancer center, this prestigious federal grant recognizes the high-impact clinical research already taking place here in Western New York and will provide a major boost to the collaborative synergy between the University at Buffalo, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Great Lakes Health and other partners within the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus,” said Rep. Brian Higgins, co-chair of the Congressional NIH Caucus. “This is a great tribute to UB and its partner institutions receiving the award, but the real excitement comes with the hope this grant provides to every patient and family touched by disease and anxiously awaiting the lifesaving treatments and cures this award makes possible.”

“This substantial federal funding will allow UB, Roswell, Great Lakes Health and their partners to be in the major leagues in the life-saving race for better treatments and cures for cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, heart disease and other life-threatening illnesses,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer. “Because of this funding, the world-class medical research happening in Western New York will be translated into real-life cancer treatments and solutions for patients around the world, which will create jobs, support the local economy and, most importantly, save lives. This is truly a game-changer for building an entirely new infrastructure to fight diseases in Western New York and across our state.”

“This federal funding will enable the University at Buffalo to further enhance its medical and clinical research programs through partnerships with several health organizations,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. “The new Clinical and Translational Research Center will provide critical resources to help advance cutting-edge research and scientific breakthroughs in patient health and wellness.”

“UB will now be competing for the highly selective awards for which only CTSA institutions may apply,” said Michael E. Cain, vice president for health sciences and dean of the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “Those grants will increase UB’s capacity for doing high-impact, clinical research, which will bring health care innovations to Buffalo so that people in our community can participate in and benefit from these groundbreaking studies.”

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Jones claims NACAC championship in shot put; Morgan earns 7th place finish at Thorpe Cup

Former UB athlete Jonathan Jones continued his dominance in the throwing circle this weekend as he claimed the NACAC Senior Championships title in the shot put on Sunday. Jones earned his first-ever NACAC title with a championship record throw of 20.54m.

2015 NCAA national champion in the shot put, Jones dominated the field in Costa Rica on Sunday as he had a giant throw on his second attempt (20.54m), setting the senior championship meet record in the process. Jones had only one more throw count but held off the field to claim the title, defeating second place finisher Darrell Hill by a wide margin as he had a best throw of 19.67m. Although he set the championship record with the toss, Jones didn’t set a career-best mark as he had a heave of 20.92m at the USATF championships in June.

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Spacey, Legend highlight 2015-16 Distinguished Speakers Series

Singer/songwriter, producer, philanthropist and entrepreneur John Legend and cancer physician Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Emperor of All Maladies: a Biography of Cancer,” will join Kevin Spacey, Academy Award-winning actor, director, writer and star of “House of Cards,” to headline the speakers in the University at Buffalo’s 2015-16 Distinguished Speakers Series.

The 29th annual series also will feature Laverne Cox, a transgender advocate and award-winning actress from “Orange is the New Black;” Liz Murray, the bestselling author of “Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard” and this year’s UB Reads author; and Charles Ogletree, an internationally renowned legal theorist who will present UB’s 40th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration.

All programs will take place at 8 p.m. in Alumni Arena, UB North Campus, on the following dates:

  • Sept. 16: Laverne Cox
  • Oct. 14: Liz Murray, UB Reads Author
  • Nov. 18: John Legend, Undergraduate Student Choice Speaker
  • Feb. 11: Charles Ogletree, 40th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration keynote speaker
  • April 6: Siddhartha Mukherjee, sponsored by Roswell Park Cancer Institute
  • April 27: Kevin Spacey, Undergraduate and Graduate Student Choice Speaker

Subscription orders for the Distinguished Speakers Series may be placed after Aug. 3. Tickets for individual lectures will go on sale Aug. 21 by noon.

For more information on the speakers, subscription and ticket prices, and sponsors, visit the series’ website:


UB receives four SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology Grants

UB has been awarded four SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology Grants (IITG) to fund campus innovations and initiatives that have the potential to be replicated and scaled up throughout SUNY.

Since 2012, UB has received more than $415,000 in IITG seed grant funding to support faculty and staff at the forefront of leveraging technology in support of teaching and learning.  The program is open to SUNY faculty and support staff across all disciplines.

UB’s four new IITG awards will fund:

  • An initiative to create self-guided online career modules.
  • A project that aims to improve student learning and engagement in massive open online courses (MOOCs).
  • Development of an innovative instructional model that encourages collaboration between the humanities and STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).
  • An online faculty development course that focuses on quality course design and effective strategies for teaching.

In addition to the funding from SUNY, UB is contributing in-kind resources, such as technology support, to each project.

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