The university's vision for addressing the needs of students and society
in the 21st century is spelled out in its strategic plan, and technology plays
an important role in supporting and publicizing those efforts, a main focus of
the Office of Public Relations and Communications.
The process and goals for disseminating information about Colgate to a
networked world has changed significantly during the past few years. Many
initiatives commingle and find a home on
www.colgate.edu, where an array of
tools is deployed to build relationships with the university's constituencies,
including prospective students and their parents.
- Colgate's blogs (interactive online journals, at
www.colgate.edu/blogs) written by students have garnered attention in media
outlets such as the Chicago Tribune and have spurred interactions
between high school students and the writers, who provide a genuine look at
what Colgate life is like. Four students — one in each class year — share
their experiences on the 'gatelife blog, and four student-athletes on the men's
hockey team keep Raiders fans engaged in the On and Off the Ice blog.
- Staff-written stories about campus events, programs, student
projects, and research often spur news articles by newspaper and TV journalists
who see them on the university website or find them through Google news alerts.
The stories are distributed automatically through the university's RSS feeds,
which allow those interested in Colgate to collect them in one place through
online news readers. Alumni and others can also sign up to receive regular
e-mails that include links to the latest stories.
- Vocus software allows staff members to track how and where Colgate
is mentioned in the general media. The "hits" are compiled and distributed
through a weekly Colgate in the News e-mail newsletter, and posted to the
website and elsewhere.
- Six webcams provide up-to-the-second views of campus, including
streaming images of ongoing construction projects — the new science building
and the expanded library — and offer updates on the ever-changing weather in
- Campus photos can be found on the photo-sharing website flickr,
where they have been viewed more than 150 times. Links to key university web
pages are shared on del.icio.us, a social bookmarks manager.
- Podcasting, a collaborative effort with Information Technology
Services, is one of the newer ways to introduce Colgate people to a wider
audience, through iPods or personal computers. Colgate Conversations, a series
of audio interviews, has involved 15 guests so far, including President Rebecca
Chopp, history professor Graham Hodges, and tech expert Michael Sippey '90 (see
sidebar on pg. 2). The number of regular iTunes subscribers to the podcasts has
doubled -- to about 1,200 -- since they were rolled out last year (go to
www.colgate.edu/podcasts or the Colgate Conversations page on iTunes).
- The redesigned university website, to be unveiled in January, will
capitalize on the incredible growth of video on the web. Employing the latest
Flash technology, video clips will be seen throughout the site, giving users a
new way to experience the energy that pervades campus, from classrooms to
residence halls to playing fields.
All of the online tools are aimed at creating conversations and building a
sense of community among everyone with ties to campus — and to make it easier
for those interested in forming a relationship.