It’s that time of year. Students and faculty are arriving back on campus as the fall semester kicks off next week. It’s a familiar time of renewed excitement as the campus buzzes with new and returning students, Welcome Week activities, Convocation, and of course the start of fall semester classes.
Along with the familiar, comes some new as well. There’s the recently completed Applied Engineering Center, significant progress on the construction of the new Teaching Theatre, a reworked roadway in front of the Physical Activities Center (PAC), and a great new look for the university bookstore now known as the USI Campus Store.
Beyond the physical renovations are several new and exciting changes that will help boost the University’s image outside the campus. First, USI will be building on its “Get the Edge” branding initiative with a variety of media presences, and second, a new responsive design website was launched today with plans to bring much of the rest of campus on board this fall.
The “Get the Edge” campaign highlights one of the University’s unique landmarks, “The Cone”, as well as the University as a whole. Ads, billboards and other media rolled out this week touting the slogan “Nothing like it. Proud of it.”, and featuring a striking image of the 97-foot-tall conical tower that rises from the center of campus. Through marketing, “The Cone” will become a physical landmark and an architectural statement of USI’s commitment to improving and shaping the futures of each unique student who joins us.
The imagery and slogan are not about the structure but rather an iconic symbolic of the excellence the University offers students and the community. We’re proud of the excellent education and individual attention we provide, the modern and cutting-edge facilities in which to learn, the opportunities to study outside the classroom, both at home and abroad, and our promise to building a stronger Indiana. The hope is that students, faculty, staff, and the community will join in taking pride in what the University has to offer and the ever-growing impact it has on the state and the region.
“There really is nothing like it,” said Dr. Linda L. M. Bennett, president. “Its construction alone was an impressive feat of design and engineering. With its rough-hewn Indiana limestone exterior, it is a symbol of our commitment to our students, the state, and its people.”
A sample of the new ads can be found in the banner images on the new USI homepage.
An Interactive Website Design
The first phase of a new look and functionality for USI’s website launched today and includes the USI homepage as well as the Pott College of Science, Engineering, and Education sites.
The new homepage offers a larger space to showcase the campus and University programs through photography. During user testing, it was discovered that rotating features were the favorite item on the homepage and users often would watch them cycle through to see campus highlights.
“We have the opportunity to show off our beautiful campus and tell compelling stories through the USI homepage, which often is our first introduction to prospective students, their parents, and other guests,” said Brandi Hess, manager of Web Services.
The A-Z sitemap keyword search is now consolidated with the website’s Google search. Users can type a word in the search box use either the dropdown list that appears or hit enter for a Google search.
One of the most exciting features of the new pages, however, is the responsive design. USI is one of the first public universities in the state to adopt the new design. Responsive design means the website responds to the size of the device being using to access the website. Whether on a smart phone, tablet, or desktop computer, the website renders the right layout for each device.
“This differs from a Web app, which is a device specific to Android or iPhone users,” Hess said. “By building a responsive website, we can deliver our content to all users through any browser.”
Pott College Site
The Pott College is the first of USI’s four colleges to transfer to the new look and responsive design. Redesign of the remaining colleges will follow throughout the fall semester.
“We’ve been working hard to streamline information so our students and prospective students can find consistent information that matches what we list on our academic pages, eBulletin, and individual college pages,” Hess said. “We’re also creating a uniform set of navigation links so users can easily maneuver through different departments and colleges. For example, a prospective student using Google to look up engineering programs may land deep in the engineering website. We want to make sure they can easily locate other programs within that college, or navigate to the homepage or one of the other colleges.”
The new sites also will offer colleges more flexibility in updating their own website information through an interactive content management system.
Additional website functionality planned for this fall will allow faculty to list office hours and class schedules. “In the past, this information often was supplied on a printed form and then had to be typed into a static webpage or an unrelated database,” said Hess. “Now, if a phone or office location is changed, it can be managed in one location and the information is automatically updated everywhere it appears online.”
Faculty will be able to enter schedules for current and upcoming semesters, and can manage that section if a course is canceled or modified. Web Services plans to notify faculty when the new service is available.