Finding your way to classes just got a bit easier

Students scheduling their classes have many considerations: prerequisites, add codes, who’s teaching, and where on campus the class is located. The Office of the University Registrar recently updated the links within the quarterly Time Schedule to make this last topic a little bit easier for students. (Here’s a sample entry from the time schedule for Autumn 2010.)

Building codes displayed on Time Schedule pages now point to new campus map.

Clicking those links now open the new campus map developed late last year by UW Marketing. It’s based on Google Maps and so provides a familiar interface with customized campus images. It also features selectable overlays for food options, parking information, and other amenities to help students plan their routes.

UW General Catalog archive now available online

Last August, the Office of the University Registrar (OUR) posted on this blog (and other places on campus) an archivist internship position. Today, just six months after finding the right person, the OUR is proud to announce the first fruits of that internship: the University’s General Catalog archive, available online, searchable, in PDF format, and available now.

What’s included?

The archive comprises the UW’s General Catalogs from the current 2008-2010 biennium going backwards to the original 1890 edition. Notice that the name of the documents change over time. The early publications were called the “Annual Catalogue of the State University of Washington,” later editions used the term “Bulletin” before switching to the current “General Catalog” (dropping that word’s archaic -ue suffix).

A note on the files themselves. Each is a PDF file so it is viewable by any computer, but they vary in how that PDF was created. Newer editions (through 1998-00) were generated from the software that created them, and are therefore smaller files and look sharper. Earlier editions had to be scanned as images, which results in larger file sizes (some as large as 90 Mb, though most are in the 15-30 Mb range). They do, however, retain the charm of actual printed pages especially the oldest editions that show their age with ragged pages and dog-eared corners. Luckily, optical-character recognition (OCR) software is good enough to recognize the words on the page so that each file is searchable. Just enter a word(s) in the search field your PDF software.

Additionally, the General Catalogs will soon be included in the University Library’s Digital Collection. The Library’s content-management system, CONTENTdm.

Why is it important?

Publishing these General Catalogs online has broad, positive implications for our University. Some of these include:

  • Other institutions of higher education rely on our catalog to understand the content of UW course and program offerings over the years.
  • Family members interested in their parents, grandparents, or even great-grandparents educational experience can learn what educational programs were like during that time. The same can is also true for children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
  • Employers benefit from the catalog by gaining a better understanding of prospective employees’ UW educational background. For example, what knowledge would someone who earned a UW degree in, say, materials science in the early 1980s have compared to one who graduated more recently? The answer can be found by comparing that program’s descriptions in each era’s catalogs;
  • Historians and librarians regard the catalog as an invaluable source of UW institutional history.

A few words of thanks

Such a large project could not be accomplished without the efforts of many people. Specifically, the OUR would like to acknowledge the hard work of:

  • Intern Talea Anderson, UW MLIS graduate student – Talea worked closely with the OUR’s general catalog office and the UW Libraries to formulate a plan to digitize the General Catalogs and prepare them for online use; and
  • Anne Graham with the UW Libraries’ Digital Initiatives Program – Anne provided her domain expertise to the project, oversaw the disbinding of the physical catalogs, and advocated for the content to become a part of the Library’s digital collection.

Associate Registrar offers help (and toys) to quake-ravaged Haiti

If you ask Bob Jansson to sum up the Haitian people in a word, he’d chose “resilient.” And after his recent trip to the quake-ravaged country, he’s seen that resilience first-hand.

Jansson, an associate registrar currently devoting his time to the Kuali project, visited Haiti March 8 for one week as part of a relief mission with his church and the group Medical Relief International. Originally a group of 11 men, their focus was to help in the ongoing construction of an orphanage on the outskirts of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. However, when the magnitude 7.0 quake (the strongest there in over 200 years) struck on Jan. 12, the group’s focus changed to reconstruction.

After flight cancellations and several weeks of delay, the now five-member delegation departed for Haiti. They stayed in a secured compound called STEPS minaire de Thologie Evanglique de Port-au-Prince, which is managed by Bruce and Cindy McMartin in the heart of the capital Port-au-Prince. The compound serves as a school and thanks to a donated $25,000 GE purification system water distribution center for the surrounding community. After the quake, the compound also served as makeshift hospital and distribution center for food and supplies from relief organizations.

Jansson and others worked to install aluminum louvered windows in a new orphanage building and to repair earthquake damage. Though not yet completed, the building (shown here) fared better than others. The team was able to install nine of 10 windows on the first floor, and 16 of 20 on the second. The other windows couldn’t be installed because the openings in the concrete construction were too damaged in the temblor to correctly fit the windows. A second group will return to Haiti this month to complete the work.

Besides the numerous power tools for the construction work (which the delegation left behind for the Haitians to use), Jansson and the others also brought gifts. Clothes, candy, sun glasses, dolls, Frisbees and soccer balls were among the items delivered to the children living in the orphanage. Relative to the damage sustained by the country’s buildings and the deaths of over 250,000 people (a disproportionate number of whom were students and teachers), small gifts like these might not seem like much. But according to Jansson, the Haitian children loved them. “They are a very happy people despite the hardships they are having to endure,” he told members of the Office of the University Registrar during a presentation about his trip in early April.

If you are interested in helping the Haitian people rebuild after the quake, you can donate to one of many relief agencies operating there, including the group Jansson was loosely associated with: Medical Relief International.

University Registrar featured in national publication

University Registrar Todd Mildon has another reason to read the May edition of The Successful Registrar: he’s featured in it!

Mildon was interviewed for the newsletter’s regular “Leaders and Innovators” column, which features prominent Registrars from universities across the nation. In his interview, Mildon focused on a subject near to his heart: data. He spoke on the need for rigorously-defined data and for making that data available throughout the campus community. Specifically, spoke about the UW’s Enterprise Data Warehouse project and the importance of institutional data in the 21st century:

” ‘…American education is a great story of success,’ Mildon said. Data explains why and how the success occurs.”  Mildon went on to say that reliable data allow him “to tell [the University's] story in the way people expect stories to be told in the 21st century.”


Additionally, a sidebar to the article discusses how the Office of the University Registrar participated in “The Long Journey Home” project in 2007-08. That effort ensured that hundreds of UW students with Japanese ancestry who were forcibly interned in the 1940s received honorary degrees.

Wiley Periodicals, publishers of The Successful Registrar, graciously agreed to allow us to publish the interview in its entirety on this blog.

Update: Saving you time, one (less) login at a time

This post is an update to a previous entry, available here: Saving you time, one (less) login at a time.

The “single sign-on” feature of the student self-service enrollment verification has saved UW students time. A lot of time.

Computer logs show that since the time-saving feature was rolled out in August 2009, the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) has been accessed by UW students just under 1,000 times. And over the past month the NSC has been accessed an average of 20 times a day

What do these number mean? Using the single sign-on feature eliminates the need to log in twice to access NSC enrollment verification. Assuming that entering their full name, date of birth, and social security number takes a student at least a minute, this feature has saved over 16 hours of redundant data entry! (Not to mention the groans at having to fill out another verification web form.)

Be sure to read the original blog post for full details on the use of federated log-ins to the NSC.