Division of Continuing and Professional Studies to Join EOC, MFC

Weems named associate vice provost, will head division

By Sue Wuetcher

Release Date: March 10, 2006

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo has created a Division of Continuing and Professional Studies within the Office of the Provost to expand the range of academic and workforce development programs offered to members of the Western New York community.

The unit will be composed of Millard Fillmore College and the Educational Opportunity Center. It will be headed by Sherryl Weems, who has been named associate vice provost for continuing and professional studies. Weems will continue to serve as executive director of EOC. Larry Gingrich will remain as associate dean of MFC.

"The Division of Continuing and Professional Studies will draw from the intellectual community of the university and the professional resources found throughout our Buffalo-Niagara region to expand the range of academic and workforce development programs to the people of Western New York," said Satish K. Tripathi, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

Weems says bringing EOC and MFC together in one division makes sense in terms of continuity.

"Similar organizations on many levels, EOC and MFC currently offer a range of programs and services to students that are not defined in the traditional university academic pipeline," Weems said. "Capitalizing on the strengths of MFC and EOC, the division will increase access and opportunity for lifelong learning and workforce training. Particular focus will be given to the college-level academic and workforce development programs offered through MFC, and the pre-collegiate and entry-level work readiness curriculum offered by EOC."

EOC provides educational job training, college preparation and related support services to "economically disenfranchised and academically disadvantaged" populations of Western New York. Thousands of individuals have received GEDs, entered college and secured employment through EOC.

MFC served as UB's "night school" for nearly 80 years, but reorganized its mission several years ago to focus on continuing education and professional studies for the nontraditional student.

Weems pointed out that the new division will provide administrative oversight to strengthen linkages among on-campus programs and offer a central location and identity for university-wide efforts geared toward continuing and professional studies. In addition, this oversight will ensure the delivery of market-driven career development and educational programs ranging from pre-collegiate to post-secondary, she said.

For the time being, the new division will be located in the EOC, 465 Washington St., Buffalo. But Weems said that plans are under way to determine the feasibility of building a new facility downtown.

Sean Sullivan, associate vice president for academic planning and budget, said that $12 million for a new facility has been included in the five-year SUNY capital plan. The SUNY Construction Fund has hired a consultant who is conducting a program study to examine the requirements for such a facility and to determine if the initial $12 million allocation is adequate, Sullivan said.

Weems said locating the new division downtown would be "the cornerstone for the oversight, the operational framework and structure for our new EOC/UB downtown campus and our ever-expanding mission."

"This new site offers tremendous opportunity for both the University Center for Academic and Workforce Development (the SUNY oversight office of the EOC) and our campus," she said. "It encourages the expansion of UB services into the community; the expansion of the range and scope of services offered by the EOC; the development of integrated service models utilizing the new division as a pivotal entity for planning, organizing and implementing new programs and services; and an increase in community outreach and involvement on all levels."

Weems notes that the new division fits in well with several administrative initiatives, including the UB 2020 strategic plan and its goal that the university further its position as an integral part of the Western New York community, and Tripathi's plan to explore new ways to integrate academic resources with a focus on expanding services in and to the community.