Message From the Chair

David Watson,Chair.

Dear alumni and friends,

Change is afoot in UB’s Department of Chemistry! Since early 2017, our faculty and staff have undertaken a comprehensive, top-to-bottom review of our department. We have assessed ourselves, been reviewed by external evaluators, and planned strategically.

We’ve identified strengths and weaknesses, learned how we measure up against peers, and formulated strategies to reinvigorate our department, ranging from curricular reform to the enhancement of research and teaching infrastructure to communicating our strengths to the outside world. As a result of this intensive evaluation, we’ve developed and are implementing a 6-Point Plan to Reinvent and Reinvigorate the Department. We have made great strides thus far! We’ve identified Health and Sustainability as areas of established departmental strength and cross-cutting themes to anchor hiring, growth, and branding. We’ve replaced our outdated faculty divisions with cross-disciplinary research-themed Academic Teams of Multidisciplinary Scientists (ATOMS, the building blocks of an ever-stronger department), and we’ve used the ATOMS framework to catalyze bottom-up, faculty-driven strategic planning. We’ve instituted sweeping changes to our general chemistry program and are planning similar changes to the organic chemistry sequence. We’ve refined our master’s curricula and degree designations with an emphasis on experiential learning opportunities. We’ve redefined reporting relationships among staff and made several key hires. We’re implementing a departmental branding strategy to highlight Health and Sustainability and our ATOMS-oriented research themes. Finally, we’re upgrading our shared and teaching instrumentation and are reallocating space within the Natural Sciences Complex to utilize our facilities to maximal effect.

Progress on these fronts, and the act of engaging collaboratively to implement the Plan, has fostered pride and boosted morale among our UB Chemistry community of students, staff, and faculty. The excitement is palpable!

This newsletter updates you on these efforts and on our department in general. It’s been too long since we’ve communicated with our alumni and friends in this format. You’ll hear from us more often now.

As you peruse this newsletter, I invite you to consider engaging with our department, for example by updating us on your whereabouts and career, by dropping in to visit or attend a seminar, by attending our reception at the Spring 2020 ACS Meeting in Philadelphia, or by supporting one of our student-centered departmental initiatives.

The joy of being a professor at UB derives from our daily interactions with students and from having the opportunity to foster their growth as scholars and individuals. My colleagues and I take immense pride in the successes of our students and alumni, and we’re always eager to hear from you!

I hope that you enjoy this newsletter. Let’s stay in touch.

Dave Watson signature.

Dave Watson
Professor and Chair