Strategic Plan

After a series of evaluation exercises and collecting input from faculty, staff, students and alumni, we proudly present the Department’s first-ever long-term strategic plan. This will guide the direction of our department as we enhance academic excellence and continue to grow our reputation nationally and internationally for the next five years.

UB Assistant Professor Kamelia Atefi Monfared works with a female student in the geotechnical engineering lab. They are setting up a small pump.

Our Vision

The University at Buffalo’s Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering is to pursue and provide excellence in research, educate the future leaders that will advance the resilience, sustainability, health and economic concerns facing society, and leverage the strengths of a diverse and international academic community to advance civil, structural and environmental engineering.

Our Mission

The mission of UB’s Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering is to serve the engineering profession and society through innovative original research, to educate students capable of innovating and leading the engineering disciplines in related fields and to find creative solutions to the most pressing challenges facing society and national and international communities.

Our Tradition

Founded in 1958, the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering is the oldest engineering department in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at UB.

UB assistant professor Ning Dai collects water from a wastewater treatment plant.

We developed and implemented the country’s largest and most advanced multidisciplinary and multi-hazard earthquake engineering research center, MCEER.

We were early leaders in providing sustainability education opportunities through study abroad and master’s programs aimed at helping students become global leaders in sustainability.

We pioneered the interdisciplinary nature of structural engineering by incorporating fire, bridge and wind engineering into our faculty, and updating our earthquake lab to reflect these emerging areas.

We promoted sustainable restoration practices in surface and groundwater ecosystems.

We partnered with international universities to empower civil and environmental students around the globe.

We developed a board of industry and academic partners to help guide our department into the future.

Professor Constantinou reviews plans with a student.

We utilize our industry connections to advance the civil and environmental engineering

Assistant Professor John Atkinson discusses with a student atop a hill in Costa Rica.

Our Goals

1. Attract and support innovative, inspiring and diverse faculty and staff to enhance research and teaching impacts, reputation and ranking.

2. Recruit talented and diverse graduate students and fulfill their educational expectations.

3. Invest in our infrastructure to support excellent research and educational experiences.

4. Develop new degree programs to address civil and environmental engineering challenges in the changing world.

5. Enhance and maintain the Department's reputation among national and international constituents.

6. Enhance research discoveries with strategic targeting of opportunities and increased support.

7. Develop signature research areas to correlate with our faculty experts.

Our Values

Our values connect directly to the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences' values, as part of the collaborative culture we try to cultivate.

  • We tackle big problems
  • We inspire innovation
  • We are tenacious in pursuing our goals
  • We cultivate the joy of learning
  • We encourage and aim for excellence
  • We embrace diversity in all its forms
  • We nurture individual growth
  • We take pride in our history and accomplishments
  • We define the future
Stephen Still lectures students in a smart classroom.

Strategic Context

The strategic planning exercise was our proactive response to the period of growth engineering programs across the United States are experiencing. This was our opportunity to evaluate our current status and identify critical goals and strategies to address the needs born out of the national and global dialogue on the need for a STEM-educated workforce.

Over the last five years, the Department has carried out a specific hiring plan aimed at enhancing our research strengths. The faculty who were brought in based on that plan will help us meet the demands of a STEM-educated workforce, while providing a better and more complete environment for the pursuit of excellence by our students, staff and faculty.

Our plan addresses ways to build financial strength in the Department through targeted research areas and opportunities, so new and existing activities may be funded appropriately.

This plan also addresses the the factors that influence the national and international university ranking systems (U.S. News and World Report, ARWU, etc.). Incoming students and their parents pay attention to these rankings, and they provide tangible indicators of strengths and weaknesses, despite their much-discussed flaws.

UB faculty members and students collecting water samples from inside of a pumping station.

As one of nine collaborative departments in UB's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), The Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering Department aligns its goals and actions with the goals of UB SEAS.


We attract and support innovative, inspiring and diverse faculty and staff to enhance research and teaching impacts, reputation and ranking.

  • We host researchers from universities and centers, and industry professionals to share our faculty and students' work.
  • We welcome students, faculty and staff members from all walks of life. The Department has representation from over 40 different countries.
  • We advance career planning and mentoring for faculty, staff and students with the help of our alumni and industry and academic relationships.
  • We develop specialty areas in each of our research disciplines.
  • We hire faculty and staff based on incoming trends in civil, structural and environmental engineering.
  • We explore emerging areas in the discipline to expand our research portfolio and publications.
  • We leverage our expertise to establish an environment and set of policies to facilitate research while maintaining high teaching quality.
  • We enhance our ability to secure large-scale research and collaborative opportunities.
Professor Pinar Okumus and her student drilling a concrete column.

We recruit talented and diverse students and fulfill their educational expectations.

  • We develop new programs, degrees and signature research areas to enrich and help the changing world.
  • We welcome students, faculty and staff members from over 40 different countries.
  • We engender a sense of belonging through departmental activities and meaningful interactions.
  • We recognize the impact effective teaching has on our students.
  • We invest in the K-14 student pipeline through lab tours, speaker visits and other outreach activities.
  • We develop strategic partnerships with international universities to recruit students around the world.
  • We provide our students with opportunities to conduct research with real societal impacts.
  • We encourage high-performing undergraduates to pursue graduate education in one of our discipline-specific graduate programs.
  • We offer students the chance to intern and gain professional experience with reputable companies throughout the country.
  • We encourage our undergraduates and graduates to apply for Departmental, University, state and federal scholarships and fellowships and recruit students who have them already.
  • We strive to produce higher graduation rates.
UB students inspecting specimen in test tube at wastewater treatment plant.

We develop our infrastructure to support excellent educational and research experiences.

  • We invest the necessary resources to deliver the lab equipment essential to research space essential for successful faculty and students.
  • We create shared spaces for students to encourage camaraderie and collaboration.
  • We are committed to improving our instructional and lab environments.
  • We embrace the use of modern teaching methods.
  • We develop curricula, degree programs and Departmental initiatives that are responsive to society’s ever-changing needs.

We expand student experiential learning programs.

  • We put students in a position to solve real-world problems and explore different countries and cultures through study abroad opportunities.
  • We engage industry professionals and alumni to share internship opportunities with students.
  • We support our student clubs that help students establish necessary skills like leadership, teamwork and creativity.
  • We encourage students to pursue research opportunities with our faculty members.

We grow school pride among current students, staff, faculty and alumni.

  • We develop a sense of community that welcomes new students and gives them a voice.
  • We support our student clubs, and their success at regional and national conferences.
  • We keep our alumni and students informed and encourage them to share updates and their own stories via our internal and external newsletters.
  • We invest in our students as ambassadors to prospective students and their families.
  • We incorporate outside advisory boards into our planning and value their contributions to our school.
  • We proudly communicate the profound impacts of alumni philanthropy.

We accelerate knowledge transfer.

  • We experience student success in World’s Challenge Challenge competitions as both civil and environmental engineers from our Department represent UB in front of the rest of the world.
  • We encourage students to work with the Blackstone Launchpad to develop their entrepreneurial skills.
  • We prepare students for the business side of engineering with our professional practice course to help them develop some of the necessary soft skills.
  • We welcome and encourage our faculty members to collaborate with consulting and professional engineering firms on real-world projects.
  • We invite industry to work with lab staff and utilize our shake tables and other facilities.