Undergraduate Initiatives

Students walking.

The Office of Undergraduate Education works with stakeholders across campus to enhance the academic experience for all undergraduate students.

Our ongoing initiatives support the University at Buffalo’s strategic goals of providing students with transformative, innovative and research-grounded educational experiences and promoting a university-wide culture of equity and inclusion. 

Gateway Course Project

During the 2020-21 academic year, the Office of Undergraduate Education kicked off the Gateway Course Project, a phased process to support student success in critical early courses (often those taken in the first year) required for many undergraduate students. The process engages stakeholders from across the university in an iterative design process to identify needs or gaps related to student success and determine recommendations for course and pedagogy design. During the spring 2021 semester, 22 faculty and staff focused on identifying needs related to first-year calculus courses. Their recommendations will inform the course and pedagogy phase, which is ongoing. A new group has been assembled to examine first-year chemistry courses.

UB Thrive

The Office of Undergraduate Education is collaborating with units in academic affairs and Student Life on initiatives that address academic and social challenges incoming students face. UB Thrive provides entering students with a set of shared experiences connecting them to UB, their academic units and each other. The program also provides academic support to select groups. During the inaugural year of UB Thrive, academic-focused elements included summer courses offered to specific student groups with concurrent peer mentoring, an Academic Day during an extended Welcome Week for students, and expanded use of student success coaches paired with the required first-year UB Seminar.

Curricular Initiatives

Developing, delivering and maintaining a high-quality undergraduate curriculum is fundamental to providing students with an innovative and transformative academic experience. Our office works with campus partners as they develop new academic opportunities for students. During the 2020-21 academic year, the Office of Undergraduate Education approved 75 new courses and 76 new or revised programs and worked to ensure the Undergraduate Catalog best reflects courses offered regularly. Over the last year, an intensive effort was made to review and identify an appropriate curriculum management software system to streamline and modernize the curriculum management processes. 

Departmental Initiatives

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Experiential Learning Project Portal

The Experiential Learning Network continues to enhance the university-wide Project Portal, which connects undergraduate students to faculty through mentored research and experiential projects. Students can apply for project funding and achieve digital badges while building skills and career experience, participating in groundbreaking research with faculty, or collaborating with community partners around the world to solve global challenges.

Assessment and Student Success

Assessment of student learning is essential to ensuring the highest quality of UB’s general education program, the UB Curriculum. Faculty committees continue to oversee, develop and implement assessment for each component on a four-year cycle, led by a goal of continuous improvement. In the last academic year, the committee focused on reviewing syllabuses to ensure they align with the university’s diversity initiatives.

To support new students’ success, the UB Curriculum implemented Student Success Coaches in UB Seminar courses and partnered with faculty to provide continual feedback on student performance. Coaches focused on assisting students in their transition to campus, making meaningful connections with university services, staff and programs, and providing intervention for those needing additional academic support.

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Generation Honors

The Honors College is creating innovative, research-based programs to better support underrepresented scholars. The Generation Honors program welcomes a cohort of 20-25 incoming first-year students to participate in summer bridge programming, ongoing academic and experiential support, peer mentoring and other activities that develop a sense of belonging within the Honors College. Students who participated in the 2021 cohort displayed incredible gains in feeling more welcomed, connected, supported and prepared for their undergraduate careers.