Posted on February 17, 2011 - by admin
By Shirley Shultz Myers
We hope you like the NRHC’s new web look. You will notice that this site combines the information from our old site (the categories are along the black border at the top) with the functionality of a dynamic newsletter. How we got to this point involved planning as well as serendipity—but isn’t that often the way things come about?
The executive board had been trying to resurrect the regional newsletter for a year or two, but we hit some stumbling blocks in empowering an editor to do the work. At some point, we determined that we would follow national trends in moving from paper to a web-based format. During this same period, we needed local hosts for a conference we hoped to host in Baltimore in 2012. The confluence of these two efforts allowed serendipity to grace our intentions and bring both to fruition in one person, Dr. Brian C. Etheridge.
Last fall, and after a national search, the University of Baltimore announced the selection of Dr. Etheridge as UB’s new Honors Director. Looking for a local host for a Baltimore-based regional conference in 2012, I contacted him. (The University of Baltimore, along with Stevenson University, will play local hosts in 2012.) In chatting with me about local hosting, Dr. Etheridge mentioned that he also edits a web-based newsletter for his professional organization (www.SHAFR.org) and that the template for the newsletter had been developed by a student on contract. Seizing the opportunity to benefit from his experience, I asked if he would help us out in our efforts to create a web-based newsletter for the region. He agreed. And, as stipulated by our constitution, he, as newsletter editor, became part of the executive board.
With Dr. Etheridge in place, the executive board created a call for a student web developer for the newsletter for a contract of $500. Dr. Etheridge screened the ten applications, and selected Mr. Rafael Telahun from the University of Maryland for the work. Dr. Etheridge guided Mr. Telahun on the design with input and approval from the executive board.
In this process, we learned that we could easily combine the current organizational website with the web-based newsletter for a coherent design and one memorable logo.
What you see now are the fruits of this labor. And, in the spirit of involving students as much as possible, the board not only utilized a student template developer but also authorized Dr. Etheridge to hire student labor on the newsletter for a total cost of $1500/year. Our student representative, Joe Gallagher, already has plans to use his flipvid to record comments about the Portland conference this spring. Look for some clips in our newsletter. And we plan to feature photos taken by students throughout the conference as well as on the special scavenger hunt to take place Thursday evening,
This spring, following a proposal passed at our business meeting at the NCHC conference in Kansas City last fall, we will have an election for the webmaster who will also serve on the executive board along with the newsletter editor. We anticipate another executive board proposal at the spring business meeting in Portland to merge the webmaster and newsletter editor into one elected position. If another person wins the position of webmaster during this spring election cycle, we will propose that the two positions be combined for the next election cycle. At present, Dr. Etheridge will be managing both with the great help in effecting a smooth transition of duties from our previous webmaster, Mr. Cliff Brozo of Monroe College (see separate article).
I would like to point out some of the features of this website. Unlike traditional print newsletters, which have fixed deadlines and publish at scheduled intervals, our newsletter will continuously accept and publish material. You can keep track of new publications in a variety of ways. You can subscribe through rss feeds or email updates through the links at the top right. Perhaps the easiest way, however, is to sign up for our e-newsletter. On a regular basis, we will collate links to recent material on the site and distribute this information in the form of an electronic newsletter to our subscribers. Signing up for this service is easy: under “Join Our Newsletter” to the right, just put in your name and email address and hit subscribe. It’s that easy.
Also, unlike traditional newsletters which are limited to print and static images, our web newsletter has the ability to publish audio and video files, which significantly enhances the range of items that we can share with our members. As I said earlier, look for our reports from the 2011 conference. We encourage you to share images and videos from your programs that highlight the innovative and exciting ways that you are furthering undergraduate learning on your campus.
We welcome you to your new web presence, and we invite you to participate. We are interested in publishing pieces on classroom pedagogy, student affairs, administrative affairs, co-curricular learning (and other high impact practices), student achievement, and other areas related to honors on our member campuses. In addition to original submissions, we are also happy to consider republication of outstanding essays from individual university honors newsletters. Inquiries and submissions should be sent to webmaster and newsletter editor Brian Etheridge at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shirley Shultz Myers is executive secretary/treasurer of the Northeast Regional Honors Council. She is also professor of English and Director of the Gallaudet University Honors Program.