UAA News Digest gets face-lift; check your e-mail

An updated version of UAA’s News Digest made its debut on the university’s homepage Jan. 17, but for most students and faculty the most noticeable change accompanying the new digest will occur in their e-mail inboxes. The new digest will be sent to all UAA e-mail addresses, and there will be no way to unsubscribe from the digest.

Rich Whitney of IT services said the original digest had been kept to subscription only because the university didn’t want the students and faculty to feel spammed or overwhelmed by excessive university information.

After lengthy consideration, University Advancement decided to make the change to a blanket e-mail system because of complaints that information was not getting out to students and staff.

“One of the most frequent criticisms we get is (from) students, faculty and staff telling us, ‘We never know what’s going on, the University doesn’t communicate with us,'” said David Woodley of University Advancement.

While students and faculty will not be able to unsubscribe from the News Digest, the advancement office will provide instructions on how to set the digest as junk and have it diverted from the inbox.

Regarding the inconvenience imposed on those not wanting to receive the new digest, Whitney said the solution was simple.

“If a student doesn’t want to read the digest, they can delete it,” he said.

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Some students may find the addition of the digest to their inbox inconvenient, but Cami Decovich of IT Services said the changes to the digest are not imposing an additional cost on the students. Everything required to make the change was accomplished using pre-existing technology at UAA.

University Advancement is looking forward to receiving feedback from faculty and students on the new digest.

“We are going to require the feedback of the readers, to determine that this is more successful than what we were doing with the old news digest,” Woodley said.

The advancement office has e-mailed the News Digest for several years as a subscription-only method of providing news and information to faculty.

After the transition the News Digest will be known as the “Green and Gold Daily. Surfers will notice some cosmetic changes to UAA’s homepage as well.

The News Digest had consisted of a laundry list of news stories that weren’t in order and were printed in full length.

The new digest will be divided into sections, and the news articles will consist of a title, the first few sentences of the article and a link to the full text. This will enable users to more easily navigate over the articles they are not interested in reading.

Dividing the digest into sections will further ease readers in directing them to the information they consider most relevant.

“It will have a section for the community at large, a section just for students, a section just for faculty and staff and a section just on Seawolf athletics,” Woodley said.

In addition to the headlines, the digest will have a listing of events occurring during the upcoming week.

The news and events appearing on the digest will be largely generated from the existing master event calendar. The event calendar has been a feature on the UAA homepage for several years and gives students and faculty a means to post upcoming events by accessing the appropriate Web page.

In addition to pulling information from the event calendar, University Advancement will, for the first time, seek out information to add to the new digest. Woodley said he hopes this additional effort will have a long-term payoff.

“We’re hoping as we demonstrate how valuable this is, more people will start using the calendar and more people will be making news submissions,” Woodley said.

Student and faculty wishing to add an event to the UAA calendar can go to www.uaa.alaska.edu/eventmaster.cfm and click on Add Event to Calendar.