John B. Sheffer
John Sheffer served the Regional Institute as its Founding Director from 1997 to September 2005, when he stepped down as Director and assumed the position of Senior Fellow. In this role, Sheffer is pursuing his research interests in regional governance issues and local government reform for developing nations. His recent efforts have also included consulting appointments through the U.S. Agency for International Development for local governmental efficiency and parliamentary reform in Lebanon, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Bulgaria, Kenya and Jordan.
Under Sheffer’s leadership, the Regional Institute built a strong reputation as a premier public service program of the University at Buffalo through its community partnerships and research and analysis on issues of regional significance to Buffalo Niagara. The Regional Institute’s work, including its award-winning performance-measurement project, the State of the Region, have provided the region with critical, objective information on a wide range of issues, ranging from effective governance and regional cooperation to economic and tourism development and information technology applications for local governments.
A former mayor of the Village of Williamsville, he also served ten years in the New York State Assembly and five years in the New York State Senate before coming to the University at Buffalo in 1993 to pursue his interests in teaching and research. Before founding the Regional Institute, Sheffer served as the university's Interim Vice President for Public Service and Urban Affairs and Interim Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning. He has written, co-authored, or directed a number of publications on public policy, effective legislative management in New York State, and legislative issues concerning higher education. He received his Juris Doctor from the Syracuse University College of Law, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Syracuse Law Review.