CAS Physical Space Guidelines

Date Established: September 29, 2023
Responsible Office: Office of the Dean, College of Arts and Science       
Date Last Updated:  September 19, 2023
Responsible Executive:  Dean, College of Arts and Sciences


The College seeks to establish guidelines for our existing physical space and to optimize use of that space to support our research, creative activity, teaching and service goals as part of the University’s Top 25 aspirations. This document is intended to supplement the existing university space policy and provide specific information pertinent to the College of Arts and Sciences.


The College operates in a dynamic environment. Space is a finite and limited resource and decisions regarding space must be made so that it is used effectively and optimally. The assignment and reallocation of space and prioritization of projects related to space must be thoughtful to achieve optimal utilization while responding to current and emerging needs and goals. It is also important to note that space has both practical and symbolic value and the quality of our space is an important element in faculty recruitment and retention.


The policy is applicable to all faculty, staff and student space assigned by university leadership to the College of Arts and Sciences.

Policy Statement

University at Buffalo (UB, university) space that has been assigned to the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS, College) is a valuable, shared and limited resource that supports the missions of the university and CAS. Effective space management identifies facilities that meet the needs of faculty and students, supports critical research and creative activity to advance the university’s reputation for excellence, and provides a work environment that allows faculty and staff to be successful.

Space is assigned to obtain the full value of our facilities. Space assignment is dynamic and temporary, as the optimum use of space may change as needs and priorities change. The College has the authority to allocate space to specific users for certain periods of time, review allocations periodically, assess utilization and reallocate space as needed to support the College’s goals and objectives. . In addition, University leadership may assign or reassign space to/from the College at their discretion. The CAS Facilities Planning and Management Officer (FPMO) is the only College employee authorized to request space outside the existing inventory and is responsible for assigning space within CAS, in collaboration with the Office of the Dean.

This policy document includes the following sections:

  • Aspirational statement
  • Space policies for the following space types:
    • CAS-controlled classrooms, teaching labs, and student computer labs
    • Conference and seminar rooms
    • Office, research, and creative space
  • Steps to Address Space Scarcity in CAS
  • Signage
  • Space project prioritization
  • Space Optimization Incentive Program (SOIP) – Appendix A
  • University at Buffalo Office and Work Space Standards – Appendix B
  • Guide for Facilities Questions and Needs – Appendix C

Aspirational Statement

We begin with this reminder that providing quality physical infrastructure for employees and students should be one of the most fundamental roles of the university (a fact so obvious that it typically goes without saying). Investing in new and upgraded office, research, creative and classroom space should be a strategic priority as it undergirds all UB’s other ambitions. All space decisions must be made within the context of CAS strategic priorities.

Space quality is about more than just square footage. As a flagship university aspiring to Top-25 status, space should fully meet or exceed the varied needs of the university community, and should communicate to our employees, students, and visitors that we take pride in our campus. It should be a key College and university goal to seek external funding from private, corporate and foundation donors to generate resources to elevate our spaces, both aesthetically and functionally. The naming of spaces that can be monetized must be a priority.

Current space is insufficient to meet the aspirational needs of CAS faculty, staff and students. Departments recently or currently hiring new faculty members sometimes find themselves with no offices, no functional research labs and/or no usable creative spaces to offer the new hires. Full-time staff members have been moved from standard offices to window-less rooms out of necessity. These space deficiencies threaten UB’s ability to attract and retain faculty and staff, to support cutting-edge research and generally to be a nationally competitive employer and university. Therefore, when considering space assignment and potential uses, CAS should think about space wholistically relative to strategy, not incrementally and not necessarily just to fill immediate needs.

CAS-Controlled Classrooms, Teaching Labs and Student Computer Labs

The College of Arts and Sciences has administrative oversight over several classroom spaces, teaching labs and student computer labs. The primary users of these spaces are individual departments of the College. These departments manage scheduling activities in their assigned spaces and can arrange these spaces in accordance with their needs.

Computer Labs
Some departments within the College administer computer labs used by their students. In some cases, when the hardware and software needs of a few departments substantially overlap, it may be efficient to replace such labs serving needs of individual departments by a single, larger lab used jointly by a group of departments. Recommendations for shared labs may be made by either the department or CAS Educational Technology (CASet); final decisions will be made by the Assistant Dean for Technology in cooperation with involved departments. These departments should also develop procedures for scheduling activities in the jointly used computer lab spaces.

UB Events Management System (EMS)
Classrooms, teaching labs and computer labs administered by individual College departments should be visible in EMS, so that the use of these spaces can be requested by other departments/units. A description of the room, including general amenities will be transparently listed. Decisions on approving such requests are made by the department administering a given space. Departments are responsible for a timely review of EMS requests, and must approve them whenever these requests do not interfere with other activities planned in the same space. This responsibility must be included in the performance program of at least one member of the department support team. Room utilization will routinely be assessed through EMS tools.

Maintenance and Upgrades of Classroom Spaces
The College of Arts and Sciences is responsible for the regular maintenance of classrooms, teaching labs and computer labs within the College. CASet staff should visit each classroom and lab space at least once every 5 years, in collaboration with the department administering the space, to decide on any needed upgrades to the technology and infrastructure of the space and perform these upgrades. This space audit should also ascertain that classrooms and labs are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements and address issues related to accessibility of classrooms. The CAS Dean’s Office provides funding for such periodic upgrades and maintenance of CAS classroom and lab spaces, in collaboration with the department. If major upgrades outside the scope of the department or CAS budget are required, the College may request support through the university’s annual resource planning process.

Door Locks
Locks on classrooms and labs that usually remain locked during the day will ideally be upgraded, so they can be accessed by authorized users by swiping their UB ID card or in some other way that does not require contacting a person who has access to a physical key for the given space. When facilities upgrades occur in classrooms and labs, the feasibility of replacing keyed doors with swipe systems will be assessed. Such installation will require the assigned department(s) to identify how room access will be managed on a semester-by-semester basis for person number programming.

Conference Rooms and Seminar Rooms

Conference Rooms and Seminar Rooms located in proximity to individual departments are to be primarily assigned to the individual department but are also considered shared resources of the College of Arts and Sciences.


Conference Room

  • Functions as an administrative/departmental meeting space typically within the departmental administrative office area(s).
  • Primarily used for scheduled and spontaneous faculty/staff meetings, general administrative activities, and other departmental functions.
  • Distinguished from facilities such as seminar rooms and general classrooms because it is used primarily for activities other than scheduled classes.

Seminar Room

  • Departments must prioritize classroom teaching within seminar spaces before administrative or faculty meetings.
  • May function as either an administrative/departmental meeting space or small group classroom space.

Scheduling through UB Space Request/Events Management System (EMS)
Conference Room and Seminar Room spaces must be listed and assigned within EMS.

  • A description of the room, including general amenities will be transparently listed in EMS by each department that is assigned to specific Conference Room and Seminar Room spaces.
  • Individual departments are responsible for scheduling the use of Conference Rooms and Seminar Rooms within EMS as they fall outside the purview of the Registrar’s Office.
  • The department to which the space is assigned has priority in its scheduling and determination of how the space is prioritized and thus scheduled.
  • Other departments within and outside the College of Arts and Sciences may request use of the Conference Rooms and Seminar Rooms assigned to other departments by submitting a request in EMS.
  • Administrative staff assigned within each department are responsible for reviewing, authorizing, or declining requests from other departments for the use of these spaces. This responsibility must be included in the performance program of at least one member of the department support team.
  • Individual departments may decline requests from other departments for use of these spaces as per their own prioritized and scheduled meetings and uses. Room utilization will routinely be assessed through EMS tools.
  • Conference Room and Seminar Room utilization, as recorded in EMS, will be the source of data for decision making if these spaces need to be reassigned or converted for other purposes. Sector Administrative Directors will monitor this.

Maintenance and Upgrades of Conference and Seminar Rooms
To ensure regular maintenance of conference and seminar rooms, CASet staff should visit each space at least once every 5 years, in collaboration with the department administering the space, to decide on any needed upgrades to the technology and infrastructure of the space and perform these upgrades. This space audit should also ascertain that these rooms are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements and address issues related to accessibility. The CAS Dean’s Office provides funding for such periodic upgrades and maintenance, in collaboration with the department.

Office, Research and Creative Space

As members of the university community, we subscribe to the established UB Office and Workspace Standards [Appendix B] as a minimum expectation. To supplement these standards, we advocate for private office space for all full-time faculty regardless of rank. We acknowledge the value of our instructional faculty and recognize that private space is needed for them to meet the demands of an in-person institution. It is important to understand that space across the College is a shared resource. That said, once faculty and staff are assigned suitable office and/or workspace, these allocations should remain consistent to the extent possible. Although reallocation of space is not intended to be a regular occurrence, there are just causes related to strategic plans, faculty/staff transitions, department expansion and reasonable accommodations that make the reassignment of space necessary. This applies to office space, workspace and labs. In extraordinary circumstances, when no suitable office or workspace can be found on any of UB’s three campuses, an off-campus space may be assigned. Even in an era of frequent telecommuting, physical space is essential for CAS employees, including lab-based researchers, performers, teams needing face-to-face interaction and employees with distracting home environments. While decisions about space are made by the FPMO in concert with associate deans, department chairs and department administrators, assigned CAS spaces should be considered sanctuaries in which employees can focus on their work.

Workspace should be assigned based on the following priorities, which are consistent with UB’s disciplinary excellence and student success priorities:

  1. Tenure-track faculty
  2. Full-time visiting professors
  3. Full-time instructional faculty
  4. Post-doctoral fellows
  5. Funded TAs/RAs/GAs
  6. Full-time staff
  7. Adjunct instructors
  8. Part-time staff
  9. Student Assistants
  10. Emeriti Faculty, if actively engaged in the department, as determined by the chair

Employees in categories 4 to 10 may be assigned shared or hoteling space.  

The UB Office and Workspace Standards, although we subscribe to them, are often not met. The space requirements in that document, as expressed in net square footage (NSF), surpass the space available in our physical space inventories (PSI) if sharing does not occur. Therefore, this policy establishes that spaces may be assigned as shared for employees in categories 4-10 above; sharing for employees in categories 1-3 would only occur in exceptional cases and in consultation with the department chair and Sector Associate Dean. Some employees may need to be assigned touchdown rather than structured office space, for example if they support more than one department in buildings that are not contiguous.

The definition of workspace in the UB Office and Workspace Standards is also too narrow for our purposes, as no mention of lab space for research and creative activities is made in the document. To provide guidance, faculty with externally funded research/scholarship/creative activity are to be given priority in the allocation of space. Research expenditures, equipment purchased by grant dollars, and externally funded research support personnel must all be given priority consideration when identifying, preparing, upgrading and assigning space. When investigators move into refreshed or renovated labs or retire or otherwise separate from UB, they are responsible for ensuring that the lab space they vacate is left to the extent possible in the same condition as when assigned. Lab clean outs should be coordinated with the department administrator and FPMO.

When workspaces can be shared beyond the official assignment, they should be available by reservation through the event management system (EMS), and appropriately staffed to assure safe operation of equipment and technologies as needed. Spaces that have usage fees assigned are rented at the discretion of the department. Income generated by the rental of lab spaces should fund the maintenance and upkeep of those spaces. Income may also be used for facility upgrades, staffing needs and for the research and creative activity the lab houses.

Obstacles to making the most of the space we do have include:

  • Assignment of space based on UB’s Top-25 aspirations does not actually consider utilization of assigned space. Some who are listed further down in the priority list for space (e.g., instructional faculty, staff) may spend more time on campus than some of those higher (e.g., ladder faculty) on the priority list. This limitation will require further consideration if the space shortage persists.
  • Assignments are generally considered on an incremental basis. Paths that enable consideration of space through a fresh and/or wholistic perspective need to be identified, including assessment of space by third-party space experts, and leveraging technology to better envision how space can be used (not just flat floorplans).
  • When and if space can be reassigned, the demand for UB’s Moving and Relocation services is so great, that there are significant delays in making the moves.
  • It is our understanding that a lack of sufficient trades people and construction teams hinders the University’s ability to improve space continually and consistently.

College leadership will continue to advocate to improve access to services and technology we require to strategically optimize our space.

Steps to Address Space Scarcity in CAS

  • Implement Space Optimization Incentive Program (SOIP) – Opportunities for new building construction are limited by physical and financial constraints, and growing space demands place increased pressure on our existing and aging portfolio of space to be used for greatest effect. To that end, the College has designed a cost-sharing program for space optimization. See details in Appendix A.
  • Institute an automated space utilization survey for department administrators. Such a survey should include the number and types of personnel to accommodate, along with the kinds and size of space available, accounting for future projections. This annual review is suggested for winter such that office and workspace shifts can be communicated during the spring term and executed over the summer. This would give chairs and CAS hard data to base decisions.
    • This is an aspirational project that the CAS FPMO would coordinate with CASet, the Assistant Dean for Planning and Analytics and the Department Administrators. Goal to implement is fall 2024.
    • The Physical Space Inventory (PSI) is a point-in-time snapshot of assigned space that does not necessarily consider utilization, but this effort would be coordinated with the PSI data.
  • If additional space cannot be identified or created on campus, and an off-campus site is required, an interdisciplinary hub could be instituted. Such a hub might include:
    • Private/shared offices
    • Coworking rooms
    • An appropriately staffed main office
    • Common area/break room
    • 1-2 conference rooms with tech support
    • Amenities/onsite resources to make this attractive such as gas vouchers, priority parking, priority course scheduling, university issued laptops, editing/grant support services, graduate student food pantry, coffee/tea service, etc.

Departmental/sector staff members should be assigned space duties in their performance programs. Assigned duties for each department must include room maintenance in EMS, maintenance of the physical space inventory (PSI) as appropriate for the unit and management of keys and other forms of space access.


Since most buildings used by the College are interconnected and boundaries between buildings are often easy to miss, the signage of classrooms and other spaces should be upgraded to show not only the room number but also the name of the building where the room is located. Every new project must include contemporary signage and the goal is to have an ADA appropriate sign on every room in the CAS inventory by the end of the 2025 calendar year.

Space Project Prioritization

The College of Arts and Sciences needs to prioritize project requests. These project requests come from the various departments and centers under the purview of the Dean of the College and can vary from small-scale work orders to large-dollar capital projects. This policy sets in place the criteria for prioritizing project requests and which funding source each project should be placed in.   

Criteria for Project Prioritization, in rank order:

  • Safety and Code Violations: Projects will be considered the highest priority when building code violations are cited or life safety is compromised.
  • Identification of Space for New Employees: Projects supersede revisions or upgrades to existing space assignments.
  • ADA Accessibility: Projects falling in this category will be considered if they upgrade spaces to meet ADA requirements.
  • Funding source (who is paying): Funding sources that are identified before the “project request” is submitted receive higher priority.
  • Research: Research labs and faculty offices that are necessary to advance the university’s mission receive higher priority.
  • Availability of Space: Spaces that are clean and vacant will be prioritized. If cleanout is necessary, the department should work with the FPMO or consult the CAS Guide for Facility Questions and Needs (Appendix C) to make it ready for occupancy. 
  • Recent project completion bias (equity between departments): If one department has received SOIP (Appendix A) or central funds in the past 24 months, their request drops in priority.  
  • Needs vs. wants: Can the department live with their current situation? Can the project problem be solved with creative and more cost-effective means? Departments will work with the FPMO on solutions, but needs will have priority over wants.   
  • Room finishes: Changes to room finishes because they have outlived their useful life or are no longer considered aesthetically appropriate are low priority projects and the cost must be assumed by the department following FPMO approval. Cost of replacement of damaged finishes due to wear and tear or system failures will generally be assumed by the University but there will be no upgrades and aesthetics may not be considered. If damages occur due to misuse, costs will be assigned to the department. Consult the CAS Guide for Facility Questions and Needs (Appendix C) for all room finish projects.
  • Student retention: teaching spaces: Will the department suffer the potential loss of student enrollment if a project is not realized? 
  • Faculty retention: Will the department suffer the loss of faculty if a project is not realized?

Projects fall into one of these funding sources, with timelines described as appropriate:

  • Externally Funded Research and Creative Activity: Faculty who are PIs or Co-PIs on externally funded grants are hired throughout the year and lab research or creative space renovations occur as needed.  Departments shall contact the FPMO during the faculty recruitment negotiation process in order to develop an estimate for space renovation to be included in a startup budget. Departments should consult the CAS Guide for Facility Questions and Needs (Appendix C) to determine how to accommodate other faculty hires that require office modifications.
  • Donor Funded: Departments can seek funding from outside the University to accomplish their vision by working with the University Advancement Team. 
  • Grant Funded: Departments will procure grants for facilities work usually related to research. The Department will work with the FPMO to detail what types of projects can be completed with these grant dollars.  
  • Space Optimization Investment Program: (matching funds from the Dean): smaller projects that need assistance. See Appendix A.
  • Centrally funded: Departments that are requesting funding through UB’s Resource Planning Office shall begin discussion of their intentions by May 31st annually. This provides time for the FPMO to develop a plan with a department for any particular project over the summer. Final plans are due to the FPMO by October 1st in order to meet the November 1st deadline set by the Resource Planning Office.  

Department Administrators or Department Chairs shall submit their project requests via a web form process [under development] that covers all relevant inquiries pertaining to project requests and allows the FPMO to track and stack these requests. Projects will fall into a queue and the FPMO will respond with the proper course of action. All project requests will use this system or they will not be considered. As needed, the FPMO will call upon a faculty committee to assist with project prioritization if competing demands, despite the above prioritization applied, require decisions to be made about which projects will be advanced. This ad hoc committee will include two faculty representatives from each of the three sectors of the College and will serve three-year terms. Composition of the committee will be reviewed annually in August by the FPMO in consultation with the Sector Associate Deans.   

This College of Arts and Sciences Physical Space Policy was crafted by the following ad hoc committee:

  • Bernard Badzioch, Mathematics
  • Andrew Byrne, Linguistics
  • Martin Camacho, CASet, Office of the Dean
  • Derek Daniels, Biological Sciences
  • Katherine Ferguson, Office of the Dean
  • Hanna Grol-Prokopczyk, Sociology
  • Larry Hawk, Psychology
  • Eric Huebner, Music
  • Lynne Koscielniak, Theatre and Dance
  • Susan Marshall, Geology
  • Mark Nathan, History
  • Adrian Riccelli, Romance Languages and Literatures
  • Laura Roberts, Communicative Disorders and Sciences
  • Brian Swartz, FPMO, Office of the Dean
  • Doreen Wackeroth, Physics

In addition, feedback from University Facilities leadership, Associate Deans, department chairs and the CAS Policy Committee was sought and incorporated throughout.

College of Arts and Sciences Physical Space Policy Contact Information

Facilities Customer Service: 716-645-2025

CAS FPMO: 716-645-1388