CHASS Receives the Larry L. Sautter Award of Achievement in University Computing By Stephanie Wejbe, Student

By Stephanie Wejbe, Student Intern of CHASS College Computing

James Lin, Director of CHASS College Computing, receives award plaque from Assoicate Vice President and CIO of UCOP Kristine Hafner on August 4, 2003In early 2000, newly arrived Dean Patricia O'Brien had a vision making appropriate web presence an essential element of the college. Proper web site presence across the college was determined to be the top IT priority task. She requested Professor Robert Hanneman, who later was appointed as Associate Dean for Instructional Technology and Research, to layout the technology plan for CHASS. James Lin was hired in August, 2001 to serve as the Director for CHASS College Computing to implement the IT and college-wide web presence needs. In addition, funding was provided to hire student interns and other IT professionals to create the CHASS IT team, CHASS College Computing (C3).

In November of 2001, CHASS initiated a project campaign to make web sites across the college meet standard baseline requirements and common navigation architecture. However, there were two major challenges to be overcome in order to accomplish the campaign. First, it was essential to obtain the consent from all web stakeholders to participate in the project. The project teams needed to address concerns, particularly for those who claimed the project might result in losing autonomous status within the system. The project teams needed to learn stakeholders' desires for unique web presence, distinct features, and functions. The second, with only one newly hired IT professional in the college, there was limited funding, and on a tight schedule, it was a challenge to find proper resources to support technical programming, artistic design, content development and maintenance, and purchase adequate hardware infrastructure and software tools.

To meet the first challenge, a multi-phase development method and a project organization was established. One of the components of the project organization was the Project Advisory Committee whose members included volunteers of faculty and staff and was chaired by the Associate Dean for Instructional Technology and Research. The influential committee approved the standardized baseline requirements and web page common navigation architecture, and created a good prelude for convincing the stakeholders. To facilitate the development progress, a set of web design templates were made available on-line for stakeholders to view and choose. To meet the second challenge, a very close collaboration between CHASS and UCR's Computing & Communication (C&C) was established with commitment from top administrators of both units (Dean Patricia O'Brien and Associate Vice Chancellor Chuck Rowley). C&C contributed to the web development technical team, Center for Visual Computing (CVC), for web programming and design graphics at no cost to CHASS. CHASS's newly formed IT team (C3), whose members included the director and a team of undergraduate student interns, interfaced the project to all stakeholders, coordinated the project, and prepared the web contents for CVC. CVC worked closely with C3 and transferred developed web sites to C3 as part of collaborating efforts. To meet the tight schedule, web sites were developed based on their prioritized order: academic and outreach programs, followed by facilities, and lastly research-related web sites. A basic principle was promoted: "Working Together As A Team".

To facilitate the development progress, strategies and methods were put into action. The project organization consisted of a Project Coordinator, Project Advisory Committee, Publishing Advisory Team, Technical Design Team, and Content Management Team. Three phases of development were created. Phase I consisted of Development and Technology Transfer. CVC and C3 jointly developed new web sites for those units who had no or poorly designed web sites. Phase II oriented towards enhancement. Web sites with new technology were enhanced with common navigation architecture and contents. This phase was solely handled by C3. Phase III highlighted the maintenance aspect of the campaign. C3 developed new web sites and/or maintained all developed web sites.

One of C3's core components is its C3 Intern Team. The team consists of a group of students chosen for their respective fields of study, skill, and work interests including communication, marketing, graphic design, and computer information management. C3 provides the team with an environment and the experience designed to assist future career paths. In addition to meeting the demands of the college, the college provides financial support and a record of professional experience and practical training which will benefit not only their undergraduate academic careers but also future career options. The C3 Intern team philosophy is based on creativity, efficiency, cooperation, profession, and dedication to learning. The team serves as an active contributor to many of the e-business and e-strategy developments for the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.

The success of the campaign was largely due to the cooperation, willing contributions, and teamwork of all the participants involved. The college used its wide range of diversity beginning from the college leadership of the Dean and Associate Dean to the department chairs, MSOs, staff, students along with C3 to achieve the desired results set in the Dean's vision. Associate Vice Chancellor Chuck Rowley and Larry McGrath, Director of Computing Support Services of C&C contributed their resources to support the project. The Director of C3, James Lin, managed the project development and ensured the project following the plan. In addition, there were several other components whose assistance greatly benefited the project's success. Listed below are the organizations and the respective participants involved within each component.

  • Faculty and Staff of the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
  • C3 team members: James Lin, Ryan Rich, Phuong Lynda Tran (‘03 Graduate), Stephanie Young, Stephanie Wejbe, Joshua Willis (‘03 Graduate), Sean Cox, Ferda Mehmet (‘03 Graduate)
  • C&C members: Nasser Salomon, Eric Martin, Sohail Wasif, Ben Han, Loren Irwin

The project has proven to be incredibly cost-effective and successful with high satisfaction from web site stakeholders, not only accomplishing CHASS' vision of proper web presence, but also overcoming financial and technical constraints in development and long-term maintenance. The project was delivered within the period of one academic year, with extremely limited investment in new resources. The Project Results are the following: Phase I consisted of 30 new developed web sites, Phase II consisted of 1 newly developed site with 13 enhanced sites. Phase III consisted four newly-developed web sites and 47 enhanced web sites.

The CHASS web development project moved the college from a situation where a substantial number of the college's units had no web sites, or web sites that were outdated. By the end of the project, all academic units in the college had new and distinctive web sites. Each web site met enterprise standards and best practices, and also conformed to the standards for content and navigation that were set by representatives of the units in the college. By the end of the project, web technology had been standardized - allowing for the possible future application of content management server technology.

More importantly, the project created new mechanisms of collaboration and cooperation across college units, the principle of "Working Together As A Team," and provided a sense of stakeholder ownership in the web-presence of their unit, and the college as a whole. Mechanisms for providing continuing maintenance and review of web contents, assure that good maintenance, as well as low cost future enhancements will be possible.

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