Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.50
Liaison Derek Nichols
Submission Date May 17, 2022

STARS v2.2

University at Buffalo
PA-3: Inclusive and Participatory Governance

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.12 / 3.00 Ryan McPherson
Chief Sustainability Officer
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have formal participatory or shared governance bodies through which the following stakeholders can regularly participate in the governance of the institution?:
Yes or No
Students Yes
Academic staff Yes
Non-academic staff Yes

A brief description of the institution’s formal participatory or shared governance bodies:

The University at Buffalo is made up of five pillars of shared governance: Administration, Faculty, Staff, Students, and UB Council with the Alumni Association. Please see: http://www.buffalo.edu/facultysenate/SharedGovernance.html

In addition, please see the shared governance model for the State University of New York: https://www.suny.edu/about/shared-governance/

Total number of individuals on the institution’s highest governing body:

Number of students representing their peers as official members of the institution’s highest governing body:

Number of academic staff representing their peers as official members of the institution’s highest governing body:

Number of non-academic staff representing their peers as official members of the institution’s highest governing body:

Number of women serving as official members of the institution’s highest governing body:

Percentage of official members of the highest governing body that are women:

Website URL where information about the institution’s highest governing body may be found:
Does the institution host or support one or more formal bodies through which external stakeholders have a regular voice in institutional decisions that affect them?:

A brief description of the campus-community council or equivalent body that gives external stakeholders a regular voice in institutional decisions that affect them:

The University has led a robust conversation with the community, local government leaders and the region through a the longstanding initiative known as One Region Forward. This is a broad-based, collaborative effort to promote more sustainable forms of development throughout the university and region. It combines research and public engagement with planning and action to help us meet the combined economic, environmental, and social challenges of the 21st century. More information can be found here: http://www.oneregionforward.org/

In addition, the University also continues to engage heavily with the private sector through a series of initiatives across the campus. UB's Associate Vice President for Economic Development spends the vast majority of her time engaging the private sector for direct input and engagement to increase positive impact across the Western New York business community. In addition, President Satish Tripathi played a key leadership role as co-chair of the New York State Regional Economic Development Council. The University also helped found and continues to help lead the Western New York Sustainable Business Roundtable which increases collaboration and connectivity between UB and the business community.

The university also has multiple avenues for civil society to regularly influence and participate in university direction. Its largest formal body or organization is the Campaign for the Community which consistently ranks among the most successful of its kind among the nation’s colleges and universities. In addition to providing approximately one million dollars every year to over 2,500 health, human service, educational, environmental and cultural organizations, this body also fosters dialogue and stakeholder engagement from these organizations to UB.

The university also directly meets with the not-for-profit community throughout Western New York and solicits input and engagement into university governance. UB works very closely with the United Way (the umbrella organization for civil society in Western New York) through the above mentioned Campaign for the Community as they provide insight and counsel on emerging trends and needs throughout the community.

More globally, there are two key principles that inform our engagement of partners locally and around the world. The first principle is that engagement is essential for our ability to achieve the overall purpose of the university. The university, within the broader social system, has the fundamental responsibility to fuel knowledge creation and application to enhance societal purposes.

The second principle is that improving the life of our communities will lead to excellence in the core missions of our institution – research, teaching and service – and, at the same time, enhance the quality of life in the communities we engage. As an engaged university we cultivate reciprocal relationships with our surrounding publics through shared tasks that help faculty and students learn and the community grow stronger. These efforts support and promote a more extensive engagement culture on our campus, create curricular opportunities and develop our students’ civic competencies and habits. Engaging our community provides students exposure to new ways of learning, including involvement in faculty-led research that is relevant, grounded in community problems and rigorous in method.

There are many ways in which UB works with partners in our region and around the world. When it comes to land use planning and capital investment projects, both our comprehensive physical plan (Building UB) and our strategic plan (Realizing UB2020), are clear and we are “responsible for the stewardship of our relationships with our neighbors and our mutual obligations to society.” We specifically do this through:
• Collaborating with our Neighbors: at each campus, UB and our surrounding neighbors are working together toward a shared vision of a healthy and vibrant community for all. Our work focuses on creating more university facilities on each campus open to community use, improving pedestrian bike connections, identifying mutually beneficial development opportunities and addressing mutual concerns such as traffic and parking, access to transportation, and safety and security. We continue to engage in this work on a project-by project-basis in alignment with our larger policy objectives.
• Strengthening relationships with local and regional government agencies. UB has strong working relationships with the City of Buffalo, the Town of Amherst and the County of Erie, including official memoranda of understanding that outline shared interests, mutual oblations and common approaches to policy making and problem solving
• Inviting input: we consult widely, systematically, and persistently with a broad array of partners, stakeholders and interested parties explaining the intent of our larger strategic plans, listening to their concerns, and speaking about the role UB can play in the city and region with their help. These consultations have involved neighborhood organizations, faith-based groups, business associations, elected officials and civic organizations
• Coordinating with local and regional plans: UB staff and municipal and regional planning staff around our community work together constantly within the framework of a shared understanding of what the Buffalo Niagara region requires to achieve a more sustainable and higher quality of life. Recent comprehensive plans developed for the City of Buffalo, the Town of Amherst, the County of Erie and the Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Council and the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority share with UB’s Comprehensive Physical Plan a common outlook and direction with regard to the challenges of economic development, transportation, energy, land use and sustainable development.

The University has been and continues to take specific actions to ensure that the impact of our growth is more equitably enjoyed. These include collaborative neighborhood redevelopment efforts with citizens in University Heights, the Fruit Belt, and Allentown; the development of programs in association with organized labor to ensure broad participation in the construction and operation of new UB facilities; and the expansion of core programs such as UB’s Educational Opportunity Center that help prepare educationally disadvantaged individuals for jobs or further education.

Number of people from underrepresented groups serving as official members of the institution’s highest governing body.:

Website URL where information about the institution’s governance structure is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Please see Building UB and Realizing UB2020 at the following links (both documents are too big to upload and are best viewed via the web) for a copy of the written policies and procedures in section II
* http://www.buffalo.edu/ub2020/archives/strategic-initative-archive/building_ub/building_ub.html
* http://www.buffalo.edu/content/www/ub2020/archives/archives/realizing-ub-2020/_jcr_content/par/download/file.res/Realizing-UB2020-Final-2013-10-7.pdf

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.