With summer around the corner, can a web redesign be far away? For the last four summers it’s become our tradition to use this down time to adapt our site to many changes: growing use of mobile devices and reliance on visuals for communication, evolving campus branding standards and – most important –  what our users want to accomplish when they reach our website.  This summer we’re planning relatively modest design changes (creating a deeper footer on all pages, and improving and integrating our news feed). But we’re also putting together a longer-term project team to help improve the search experience on our website;  a third group will be created to plan a more comprehensive redesign by summer 2017 – one that incorporates improved search prominently (see NCSU’s QuickSearch for an example of how this might work).  ExTeam will be meeting again with Conny next week and after that we’ll be getting working groups and committee proposals out to everyone for review & feedback.

These goals for our website are being developed as part of our annual library-wide and department goal-setting activities.  This year ExTeam has agreed to adopt a new goal development template for goals at both library and department levels.  The new process is linked clearly to our new strategic plan, but it’s more than a list: it calls for fewer goals, but more detailed descriptions, and justification, for each goal.  Cheryl and Adriana worked together to propose this new process (thanks!) and we’re beginning this month to share it across the library.  We’ll bring library-wide and department goals together later this summer, into what should be a shorter and less redundant list of important goals for the coming year. If we can get our library-wide goals down to 3, 4, or 5 exciting, important, achievable goals, we will declare success!

This week Cal Poly hosted an event (movie & panel discussion) about women and minorities in programming – “Code: Debugging the Gender Gap.”   The movie producers, who used Indiegogo to raise the $75K they needed to make the movie, had two goals: to expose and explore reasons for profound gender and minority gaps in the US programming/computer science industry; and to advocate for encouraging more kids – including girls and underrepresented kids – to get excited about & involved in programming, a core competency for today’s citizens and students. One of the issues raised by the movie is the power of stereotypes – including what Claude Steele and others call “stereotype threat”  – the idea that people are or feel themselves to be at risk of conforming to stereotypes about their social group. And then, “once a stereotype takes hold, it can take generations to reverse the impression.”

Students, we’re all rooting for you and so very proud of you!