JENNY STOCKDALE: Responsibilities will include increasing the visibility of the CALS brand and leading the brand project, which we'll talk a little bit about later on in this session. But I think I'll also be assisting in supporting many of the endeavors that Samara is undertaking and helping in the giant footsteps that Ellen will be leaving, but I'm really excited to be here and working with all of you in the near future. I'm going to hand this over to Aaron now.
AARON FOWLER: Hi, there. I'm Aaron Fowler. I'm the web administrator for CALS. Most of you know me through our web support emails and other trainings that we've done, but there's a lot of new faces out there, too. I'm actually going to take this time to give you a couple web updates and introduce our new person on our team, which is Laura Caruso, down there. She'll give you an update in a moment.
One of the upcoming changes that we have is we have a new responsive web design template for the departments and units coming up very soon. So this will allow you to better serve mobile and tablet customers. Right now, your site on a mobile device-- it's a little bit hard to use. So we want to make that easier to use for all of you. You're going to get a lot more information about that in the coming weeks, and we're going to be starting, just for those who want to know, with the gray template. So that's about 40% of the sites, and then we'll be moving on from there. It will still be grey.
Another thing that we're going to do, is when we reach out to you about that switchover, we're going to take the time to set up a meeting to have a survey of how you think we're doing. What can we do better, feature requests that you might have regarding the web or email or digital projects, and we hope you can take the time and invite anyone else in your department who that would be helpful to, to attend that meeting. Again, you'll be receiving emails individually from us in the next couple of weeks.
Finally, Laura Caruso, again, is the new person on our team digital media strategist. So in addition to content strategy and email strategy, she is going to be transitioning into the role of point person for web support. I'll still be doing web support as well, but you'll start seeing more and more responses from Laura in the coming weeks. So with that, I want to remind you to please email email@example.com instead of me directly. That way, we'll both see it. You'll have coverage if I'm out or if Laura's out, and it gives us a better way to track the responses as well, and that's on the contact sheet, too.
AMANDA GARRIS: I am Amanda Garris. I'm the Executive Editor of PeriodiCALS magazine, which is our alumni magazine for the college. If that doesn't ring any bells, this is what the last one looked like. It mainly goes to alumni, primarily undergrads, undergrad degrees from 1980 and before. It's electronic version for everyone else. We're hoping to expand the reach of the magazine.
Just out of curiosity, how many of you did not get your hands on a physical copy of this last issue? Good. OK, good to know.
It primarily features research stories, a lot of alumni stories, but one way I hope that you all can help be my eyes and ears is to feed me more human interest stories, stories about an emeritus professor who is still passionate about their work or a student or professor with an interesting hobby or a philanthropic project. So we'd like to expand the kinds of stories we can tell, but that often takes people who know these fascinating individuals bringing that to our attention.
And this is Laura Caruso.
LAURA CARUSO: OK, last but not least. Well, thank you. It's so great to meet you all. I recently started just right before break. So I'm still kind of learning some of the ins and outs in CALS. But in addition to some of the things that Aaron and Jenny mentioned, I'll be working in collaboration with them on email and content and website support, among other things. So you will be hearing from me in your various departments and units about e-communications and sort of how we use email throughout CALS. It's something that I'm particularly interested in looking into. So I look forward to working with you all. Thanks.
MELANIE CORDOVA: So like I said, we'd like to just quickly go around the room and just hear your name and what unit you're from and your role there. And yes, we'll go ahead and pass it around like that. Thank you.
PEGGY STEVENS: I'm Peggy Stevens. I'm from biological and environmental engineering, and I got the invite and it sounded like it would be interesting. And I didn't have any expectations.
DEBORAH HIGGINS: I'm Deborah Higgins. I'm also from BEE and-- oh. I'm kind of representing someone else that couldn't make it and reporting back. Thanks.
CARLA CROOKER: Hi, I'm Carla Crooker and I am down in admissions. And in addition to reading all the-- or not all but a good portion of the applications. If feels like all because we just got all our applications in. I'm responsible for all our communications out to prospective students, so I work a lot with communications and probably with some of you. You might know my name or you should soon.
SUE BISHOP: Hi, I'm Sue Bishop and I'm from biological statistics and computational biology. I'm the assistant to the chair and also the graduate field assistant, but part of my job is maintaining the department website. And I wear various other hats, too.
[? DONNA BUNTS: ?] I'm Donna [? Bunts. ?] I'm with biological statistics and computational biology as well. I'm the manager and I do some of the social media for our department, and I'm the back up for Sue with the lab, so that's why I'm here.
[? JOHN BACOM: ?] My name's John [? Bacom. ?] I'm the web administrator and communications person for international programs.
[? ALEX CABERLY: ?] Hi, I'm Alex [? Caberly. ?] I work for Tim Martinson, who's sitting right next to me. I work in the horticulture section up at the ag experiment station in Geneva.
TIM MARTINSON: Tim Martinson, statewide viticulture extension program, heavy user of web services through the viticulture and enology domain. We put out a quarterly web publication called Appalachian Cornell and and a seasonal newsletter that comes out weekly called Raising the Harvest.
[? ANYA TIM: ?] Hello, I'm [? Anya ?] [? Tim. ?] I'm with the other agricultural experiment station, the one here in Ithaca. And I'm the communications coordinator there. I'm responsible for our website, all the online information as well as printed information.
MIYOKO CHU: My name is Miyoko Chu. I'm from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I'm Senior Director of Communications there and our team works on our public outreach, which includes things like the live bird cams and the All About Birds website, Living Bird magazine.
PAT LEONARD: And I'm Pat Leonard, also from the Lab of Ornithology. I also wear a lot of hats, but the most important ones for this group is staff writer and also media relations manager. And I also do some web work as well.
JULIE BERRY: Hi, Julie Berry, with Cornell PRO-DAIRY. I'm a science writer, so I edit a quarterly magazine that goes in a regional dairy magazine and I do our web work and some online newsletters.
MAGDALEN LINDEBERG: I'm Magdalen Lindeberg. I'm my assistant director for the school of integrative plant science, focused on web development and communications. And I work closely with Craig.
ALEX SOLA: Hi there, I'm Alex Sola. I work over in dairy extension, Mostly responsible for the social media program and for cleaning up web forms for registration for workshops and things like that.
[? TERRY EDMOND: ?] Terry [? Edmond, ?] program coordinator for LEAD New York, which is within CaRDI, which is under development of sociology department. Do the LEAD New York website and Facebook.
[? SUE BARRY: ?] I'm Sue [? Barry ?] and I'm program coordinator for CaRDI, the Paulson Institute, and developmental sociology. So I do web maintenance for all of them.
CRAIG CRAMER: I'm Craig Cramer. I'm a communications specialist in the school of integrative plant science that doesn't specialize in anything. I'm writer, editor, video, photography, people come track me down when the projector stops working.
JEN THOMAS MURPHY: I'm Jen Thomas Murphy with soil and crop sciences and Cornell field crops. And if I could piggyback on Craig, pretty much do the same thing for my group.
LISA RICHARDS: Hi, I'm Lisa Richards. I'm a communications specialist for [INAUDIBLE] extension. I, like Craig, do a lot of different things. We are a team of two. We have a staff writer and photographer, and I do pretty much everything else, web content curation, social media, writing, external stuff, internal communications, so lots of different things.
LINDA POPPLETON: Linda Poppleton, animal science. I ditto what they said. I do everything for the department, all of their websites, including the department site and whatever else they ask me to do.
SHANNON DORTCH: I'm Shannon Dortch, and I'm with the Dyson School. I sit on the integrated marketing communications team for the Cornell College of Business and I am the school lead for Dyson. So I'm the liaison between the Dyson School and the integrated team.
SARAH FIORELLO: Hi my name is Sarah Fiorello. I'm with Cornell Botanic Gardens and I'm responsible for visitor interpretation, along with managing, updating content on our website and sending out our e-newsletter.
SONJA SKELLY: Hi, I'm Sonja Skelly. I'm director of education and communications for the Cornell Botanic Gardens. So I make sure that all of our communications go out.
ERIC BANFORD: Hey, there. I'm Eric Banford. I work in the CALS IT group. I work on applications that are sort of behind the scenes and the infrastructure for a lot of the public-facing CALS department's websites.
JENNIFER BEST: Hi, I'm Jennifer Best with CALS alumni affairs and development. I assist the associate dean Sharon Detzer along with managing our website.
MATTHEW WILLMANN: Hi, I'm Matthew Willmann. I'm the director of the plant transformation facility and along with help from Magdalen and Aaron, put together a website. We've only been in business for a year. So communications is a big aspect, getting it out there that we exist.
MIKE BARRE: Mike Barre, assistant director in the CALS IT group. My department is the one that is behind the scenes, keeping the website up and running.
SUZANNE WAPNER: Hi, I'm Suzanne Wapner. I work in the Department of Natural Resources and I work with faculty and undergraduates in environmental and sustainability sciences.
[? ANNIE ORCULIA: ?] I'm [? Annie Orculia. ?] I work for the American Indian and Indigenous Studies program. And I just finished my MFA in May. My advisor is the director of the program and I'm kind of like these folks, doing whatever needs to happen.
BRIAN RAHM: Brian Rahm. I'm with the New York State Water Resources Institute.
DAVID KAY: I'm David Kay. I'm a senior extension associate with the community and regional development institute with some of my colleagues up front, which is a university-wide social science outreach Institute, located in the Department of Development Sociology. Also just mention that one of the reasons I'm here is we have a project doing research on how the university as a whole can more effectively engage with local policymakers.
ELLEN LEVENTRY: There will be a quiz now.
MELANIE CORDOVA: I'm just wondering [INAUDIBLE] So if you happen to have a mic on [INAUDIBLE]
I'll go ahead. I'm going to meet you guys again. We're getting feedback. Sorry.
So I see that we have joining us Adam Chrysler, Jamie Crawford, Catherine [INAUDIBLE] Rodway, Sarah Lincoln, and Ursula Mansfield Piazza. So thank you guys for joining us as well. If you have any questions, just shoot me a note in chat and we'll talk about it.
So thank you all for introducing yourselves. We have-- next up is just a quick overview from Samara about what our office does and then we'll get into just quickly discussing the branding project that's coming up.
SAMARA SIT: I'm allergic to public speaking and sitting, so I hope this doesn't-- is the camera over there?
MELANIE CORDOVA: Yes, it's right above the light.
SAMARA SIT: Got it. OK, I was always told to stand so your audience can see you. So I'm going to stand.
So anyway, why are we here? I am super excited to restart what used to, I understand, exist as recently as a couple of years ago within CALS, which is a community amongst people who have the job title of whatever needs to get done, which seemed to be a very common theme as you all went around the room. And I feel that way increasingly about communications and marketing as social media and all these other platforms have taken hold. Suddenly, we need to be experts in everything from HTML to writing to graphics to video and I don't know. I could go on and on.
Before I launch a little bit more into what we do and how we could work more together, I do want to mention that one of our team is out sick today and that is Matt Hayes. Many of you also may know that name as someone who has contacted you individually or people within your departments, but Matt is our managing editor and our social media officer and his name is on the handout that you might have picked up at the table. If not, please do on your way out.
But he is really your main contact for news related to your departments, your programs, or anything else that you'd like to tell us. His job is to help us sort of think through editorially where to put out content when we get it. So that could be anything from pitching a story to the Cornell Chronicle on your behalf, to helping Ellen or any of us write a press release on the research that you might have, to helping you just think about ways that you could help facilitate the publicity of things even if it doesn't go through our channels.
So I didn't want that to with him not being here. He had a scratchy throat, as I think we can all attest to. We've had the same thing going around in our office. I'm sure you all have it, too.
So basically, I think, in general, you sort of know what an office of communication is for and marketing, but I did want to specifically kind of get a better sense in general. So just a show of hands, how many of you would say your primary function in terms of communications is more to do with the web than anything else? You're a web editor. You kind of focus on the website. Cool. OK.
And then for the rest of you, would you say, in general-- how many of you would say, in general, your job is communications, as in either that's 100% or a majority of what you do is related to doing something related to communications? Great.
So we have put together a very large spreadsheet. I asked the team to sort of help me brainstorm on what are our friends and colleagues within CALS who do what we do. And roughly counting it up last night, I came up with about 110 or so active people, who have either web credentials to edit a website and/or other duties as assigned where it comes to marketing/communications, if not in their job description or formally in their job description.
So the first point I wanted to make is that we are actually kind of a large community and that's kind of exciting to me because when I came on campus about a year ago next week from Washington DC and I met my team, I was like, wow, this is kind of a nice sized team. And then I realized how much happens here. And I began to realize that the best way that we're going to be able to tell the story of our college is if we work more closely with all of you in the individual departments and schools and programs where these things actually happen.
And so a lot of those relationships were already established and continue, which is excellent. And so our hope is that this will be just the beginning of what we hope to be is a monthly series of meetings. They will not at all be like this one. This very much is us talking to you and my hope is that in the future, they will be more of a workshop, where you will be able to elect to come based on the topic that we will send and we'll talk a little bit more about future topics at the very end.
But that's where we would also like your feedback specifically, on topics of things that you either would like to hear about-- maybe you're in charge of social media but you really don't know what you're doing. You just sort of put stuff up. I started that way and everybody starts that way and maybe there's tips you'd like to learn. We'd be happy to do a workshop on those kinds of things.
Or perhaps you're working on a project that is kind of going well or at least it seems like something you'd like to share with others. We'd also love to invite you to participate as a speaker. If there's something in particular that you've done, as an example, or a case study of something you handled, maybe in a strategic or a crisis communications way, we would love to hear about that as well.
Certainly, if you're dealing with crisis communications, I personally would love to hear about it, even if you don't want to present, just so that we're aware of what's going on. But in general, I think we're hoping that we can continue to find ways, new ways of working with you and some of what you'll hear during the rest of our presentation today is about those things.
But in specifics, I just wanted to say, we've talked about we obviously have a lot of our efforts serving the college community regarding the website. And as Aaron said, is the number now 63? Yeah. We have 63 websites that our team, in conjunction with CALS IT, maintains and supports on behalf of the college, which is kind of great.
But when you realize that when we consider the CALS course site one website, and that has how many pages, Aaron? 380. You begin to realize the magnitude and scope of the web presence alone within CALS. I consider, of course, our web presence the almost primary way that we communicate with the general public about everything that we do, in addition to the sites that we don't administer but that we care a lot about like the Lab of O and Botanic Gardens and others.
And so we are going to be embarking-- and you'll hear more about this as we move forward-- but potentially on thinking through upgrades to our web presence. Upgrades to thinking about are there functionalities that you'd be interested in. As Aaron mentioned, we'll be doing a survey when? This semester. Right? Yeah.
AARON FOWLER: Within the next few weeks [INAUDIBLE]
SAMARA SIT: Exactly, and we're very excited just to hear from you about things that maybe you thought, oh, it would be really great if my website did this, or I don't use your templates because they don't do this. Well, that's the kind of feedback we really want. And so that's the kind of thing, where if there are opportunities that we send out chances for feedback, we'd love for you to take a moment and give that to us. And also individually, if you're just using the website one day and something is just-- you feel like it's just not hitting you in the right way, just send us a note.
We're very open to feedback and collecting those responses so that when it comes time to doing a formal redesign, we are starting from the idea of what our customers want, and we consider you our primary customer base. So that's related to the website.
Certainly on the media relations front-- and I look at Ellen, who has been heading that effort up for us several years-- we are what, 25% of the campus' monthly hits come from CALS, which makes sense because we have a large majority of the faculty of Cornell and so that would follow, but also, it's not due in small part to the efforts that Ellen has put forth to connect media to the people here at CALS and the other way around. That's a really nice sound whatever that is. That's fine.
So as we mentioned, Ellen's last day will be with us next Friday. In between that, you can certainly reach out to me with anything that you have in your departments that may be of interest. We also liaison with Central Communications on anything that may be coming through there, where a reporter doesn't know about CALS but they'll call and say, oh, we really need somebody-- what was it? Cuban coffee yesterday? We really need an expert in Cuban coffee. And so we run around and we try to find an expert in Cuban coffee.
And so there may be other ways that you would like support in those areas or rumbling from your faculty that they would like to be better known, well, we can help with that. A lot of the outreach that we do off campus to media happens through Central, but our office is a help, as a way to conduit to that information.
We also put out our own press releases. We also advise media to come to events. So if you have an event and you'd like media to come, please call us because that is part of what we also do. But it is-- a primary function for us is just finding new ways to get research and things out into the world. So again, we will, of course, announce when we have filled Ellen's shoes, and we welcome any thoughts that you have, of course, if there's something that you would like support in, in that area, too. That we can assist with.
I want to make sure I'm getting everything. We talked about the magazine. We talked about web. I guess there's two other things I did want to talk about. Crisis and strategic communications is something that touches almost everybody at the table, but it is something that is one of those areas where you're not really doing it until you have to do it in the case of crisis. In the case of strategic, you're planning for something big and hoping it goes the way you want it to go.
But either way, if there are things that you're struggling with in your individual departments and you just want advice or you just want to throw a communications strategy on a piece of paper and show it to someone who cares, that's what we do. We care. We want to help.
I got an email the other day from someone in food science. Hey, we need help. We need a communications strategy to do x and y. Could you have a meeting? Yes, of course. Let's bat some ideas around. We're good to just brainstorm. We're good to suggest outlets to talk to. We're good to just help you think about how do I do a communications strategy? I don't even know where to start. Well, that is what we do all day, every day.
I'm working on very high level strategic communications for some research projects that could have international news attention all the way down to we want to market milk, which is cool, too, but on a very different scale.
So ultimately for us, we know that some of you have direct relationships with Central. That's also fine, depending on the size of your department and your track record, we don't mind that. Just hit copy when you're sending them stuff, so that we can put it out through our social media if need be.
But we, basically, with our social media and our web, those are very hungry beasts to fill. And so I guess that's our message, too, is we'd love to amplify your messages. In our meeting next month, Matt and Melanie will be talking more about a new tool that we've created for you to be able to share information with us and for us to share information with you that we hope will facilitate that relationship.
But the last thing that our office does that Jenny and I are going to talk about is branding. And we are excited to have the opportunity to sort of start this group up. At the same time, we have a more full report to talk to you about regarding the branding project. Because originally I had wanted to start this group last summer and then life intervened, so here we are.
But you want to kind of get us started with an overview? And then we can take questions. Two mics.
MELANIE CORDOVA: Make sure it works.
JENNY STOCKDALE: Testing, testing. So we have partnered with a really incredible agency, rather renowned in this space, IDO. They have done some really polished projects from the city of Boston website to how students interact at the lunch line in the San Francisco schools. So from a to b, we've heard nothing but great feedback and Samara has done an incredible job vetting this company and really getting a solid understanding of what they're going to bring to the table in this project.
And when I started in December, it was-- what do they say? What's the phrase? Rubber to the road when we were able to sign the contract after the RFP process and really get started to roll up our sleeves and move forward with the different phases of this project.
So if you picked up this really kind of colorful, helpful flow chart here, it'll outline the process itself. We're currently in phase zero of the project, which sounds a little less significant than the workload would have you believe. It's pretty comprehensive. It's thinking through who our audiences are, making sure we're being as inclusive in our outreach is possible. You're obviously an audience in that segment, so we want to make sure you're aware of this process, too.
Most recently, we launched a qualitative survey, polling about 1,200 of our different audience members.
SAMARA SIT: Did anyone here get the survey?
JENNY STOCKDALE: Just randomly.
SAMARA SIT: Anyone? Ellen got it. Anybody?
JENNY STOCKDALE: Ellen, Matt.
SAMARA SIT: OK, a couple of you.
JENNY STOCKDALE: It was a random sample of faculty, staff, current students. We had some college recruiters in there. We had alumni, donors, commodity and regulatory stakeholders, so a wide range of people within our internal and extended community, just to make sure we're getting an accurate baseline during this research and discovery process to help inform everything that IDO does from here on out.
SAMARA SIT: If I can pause you for just one second. I want to just back up a quick second to why.
JENNY STOCKDALE: Thank you.
SAMARA SIT: We live it every day and it keeps us up at night, but we should share with them the why. So I took this job last January, and when I got here and I started working with this fabulous team of people, I began to realize that we are kind of the hidden secret of the science community in a lot of ways.
A lot of people don't even know that Cornell has an Agricultural and Life Sciences College, which was kind of amazing to me when I began to talk to people outside of the agriculture space. Inside the agricultural space, especially in New York, people certainly well know our impact and our footprint. But it was obvious that we were lacking language in particular but also a visual identity that was cohesive in a way that would help us express ourselves to people, especially people unaffiliated.
So obviously, alumni who have come here know what we do. But to be able to explain not only who we are and what we research but the impact of who we are and what we research in language that touches people is difficult. Because it's very easy to say, well, the research at CALS, we're helping solve the world's problems so that by 2050 and we have nine billion people, we'll be able to feed the world. And as I say to the dean all the time, that's true, except for the vast majority of the audience we speak to every day, they've never been food insecure. So as a world issue, that's not tangible to them because it's not something that they are experiencing.
It is something that international programs is doing in 50 countries and yet, to speak to Americans about food insecurity or the need to grow better vegetables that are local, that can be more resilient to pathogens, and all the things that we do every day, is very difficult to explain either to a 17-year-old or to the average American to be able to say, oh, my food that I eat comes from agriculture? Oh.
Which sounds obvious to us, but if you ask people, the farmer is not part of their experience. In most cases, they don't even really think about it, even though you have this growing food-to-table-- or I should say farm-to-table movement. People are increasingly interested in the source of their food, but if you ask how many people have actually been to a farm or understand, it's just not part of the experience.
We're moving to urban cities and that will be part of the topic of our upcoming alumni magazine because so much of where we are now is living in urban areas, where you don't see the chicken in its natural habitat. You just see it in a wrapped thing that you buy at the grocery store. It's washed and it's been plucked, and you don't think about it as an animal. It's just the thing you eat that has good protein.
And so this is the world in which we exist as communicators to sort of make the relevance sing when it comes to standing out in this very crowded marketplace of ideas. And so we have engaged with this firm, in part, not only to help my team but you as well.
And so when we are starting to roll out, which really, even though we're in phase zero, starts in February. So believe me when I tell you, you're amongst the first to know. We will be engaging with people like you or you individually to help us think through sort of what this future looks like. What could the language sound like? What could our visual identity look like? And we will have opportunities for people to come and observe and/or to participate with our firm to think through sort of what is the future of the way that we communicate at CALS about ourselves.
I wish that I could have the whole college be able to take a survey and that kind of engagement, but unfortunately, we're so large that what we do is representative samples and from that, it informs the way that we move forward, in terms of the next phase, which is in-person interviews.
So I did just want to say that although we have had taglines and we have had obviously messaging over the course of our 100-plus year history, we've never really done a branding project as a college, and there are some of our sister colleges that have gone through many. And there's a debate in higher education communications as to whether that commodifies higher education.
And I have talked to faculty in some of your departments who feel very strongly that we are not dog food. You do not need to package us. We do not need a brand. We are education. We are research. That is what we are. We do not need these things.
Well, in reality, we are competing against 3,800 other institutions of higher education. Just ask Carla about how that works. Now, we are doing fine as far as admissions. We have doubled applications since 2005. So we are not doing this because we are in crisis mode. In fact, the time to do this is when things are going well because then all that does is elevate. And you're not doing it in the absence of just feeling pressure to do something because revenues are falling. You know, a lot of companies will do that. Well, we've been sued. So we'll just become Altria. It's like, OK. What does that mean? And so-- you know, it's Philip Morris.
So I think for us, a lot of people have concerns about well, with a logo change or what does that mean for what we put out? Our hope is that by the end of this project, which we're only going to be producing the thoughts over the next couple of months. We have a lot more to go after that. We will be able to begin to work with you on some design standards that we can try to work toward something where, if you have a handout or you have a website it looks like-- well, the website's not a good example-- but a handout or other print materials that looks like things from other departments so that we have more of a cohesive look and that there is language available to you, if you need it, that you can plop into your website and other places that sounds like CALS. So I hope that gives a little bit of context.
JENNY STOCKDALE: Thank you. No, that's extremely helpful. Having that summary to frame the process was kind of critical. So thank you, Samara.
In terms of what we're doing next, beyond this survey phase, as Samara mentioned, we're going to start having in-person interviews with again, representative samples of our different audiences. And those will happen here on campus, across campus, with different partners in leadership as well as in Albany and down in New York City, where we have some more connections with the industry and feeder schools that would help inform the prospective student and their parents audience as well.
That phase, as you can see on the sheet, will take us into mid-spring semester, where we may actually start to formulate and focus group test some of the visual components of the brand architecture and refine that system through the spring into the actual activation phase of the project.
So again, it's an imperfect science, and there may be a few windows of time where we need a little more time than is represented on this chart, but this is a solid overview of the project itself.
We will be having core members of our team and an extended team with different partners around campus to help us guide this project with the agency. And we'll try to keep you as informed as possible along that process timeline. We're coming up with an internal communications plan right now to make sure there are different touch points available to staff, students, faculty, and our other partners across campus. And we're working on setting up a blog site to help outline this process and give weekly updates as we go through this really colorful week by week chart.
SAMARA SIT: I'd love to pause there and see, before we move forward, if anyone has any points of clarification or questions about what we just talked about. [INAUDIBLE] It's still in the field. So the survey just went into the field this week. It was like giving birth, but it's out there. And the 27th?
JENNY STOCKDALE: The 27th is the end date of the survey. We should know the results of the survey by the 3rd of February.
SAMARA SIT: Yeah, and so at that point, I presume they'll give us a report of some sort that I would be happy to share. It'll be interesting. Some of the questions did allow for fill in the blanks. So I'm kind of curious. My favorite question is, if you were to dress up as CALS as Halloween, what would you be? I would love to know what you all think, but we already went around the room.
So IDO is known for a lot of things. They are highly known for working-- they were born out of Silicon Valley. They're very highly known for working with technology companies. Originally, the company was founded as a design shop, so you would go to them to design the product, so the actual physicalness of your product. But they realized that the way that they approached those products was actually applicable to all kinds of other things. And so they apply what they call design thinking to all kinds of projects.
And you mentioned the San Francisco project. So San Francisco public schools came to them and said, we want to rethink the way school lunch works. Help us just think through this project. And what they realized is that students-- it wasn't the food necessarily, it was the fact that someone gave it to them that they didn't like. The students actually felt frustrated by the fact that they had no choice. They just went through a line and somebody handed something to them. Just like at home, when Mother says clean the table and do your homework. They had no choice.
And so they realized, I'm sure by their process, if they put food in the middle of the tables and the students could actually put it on their own plate, they ate better and they ate more. I mean, they ate period, as opposed to just not eating.
And I think that that sort of process of really getting in-depth interviews, really taking a look at things from an interesting perspective, is what they excel in. They're known for the original design of the Apple mouse. So if any of you are Apple fans, you can blame IDO for the way that they redesigned-- the thought process behind how does this fit in my hand and what do I actually need to make the computer work that's different from PC? Apple could have had a same mouse as PC but they didn't, and it's because of IDO. There are many other examples. You can go to their website to check more of that out. Yes?
MELANIE CORDOVA: Can you repeat the questions?
SAMARA SIT: I can repeat the questions. No problem. Sorry.
SPEAKER 1: I can talk pretty loud, too.
SAMARA SIT: Yes
SPEAKER 1: I'm looking at the home page for the college and it has a diagram on it. [INAUDIBLE] So my question is, how does your process [INAUDIBLE] relate to that kind [INAUDIBLE].
SAMARA SIT: The question, I will repeat for the home audience, is the four areas, that perhaps all of us should be familiar with, that exist on our home page and other handouts, how will that be either rethought of or be integrated into our brand process? Do you want to take that or should I? I will take that.
It is directly related to our brand process. It was actually in the RFP itself. I want IDO to think through how we present the areas in which we research and we teach and we extend. See we extend the extension. So I don't know if that means they will keep four areas but they'll give them new names. I don't know if they'll make six areas. That's where we just trust them to do the interviews, talk to people about what we're doing and what we could be doing, and then think about tools that match where we want to go.
But the Dean came up with those four areas, and she's very open to a re-exploration of those. At the very least, whatever new visual design we come up with, we would need to redesign it anyway, so why not think about the concept as it stands? I think what's neat about the areas as they are is that everyone fits into them. In fact, several departments fit into multiple places. So that's either a really positive plus or it's not quite the right fit.
But that is something, to answer your question, that I've asked them to think about because as a structure, it's something Admissions puts up on their PowerPoints when talking to prospective students, but I'm not sure if prospective students know the definition of what all those things mean. And so we will be testing things like that with prospective students at community colleges for transfers and high school students, which we will be going to, to talk to them about, when you are looking at CALS, what are you thinking about? What are looking for? Where do you go? What kind of information do you need? And maybe that's the kind of information that we could just simplify and talk about in different ways while communicating the same message.
Other questions? Yes, Pat?
Their process, and I hate to use a buzz word, but I don't have a better one, is iterative. And when we were going through the process, we actually had four firms that we were considering. And Miyoko sits on our committee for the branding project. So she can tell you the pain of trying to figure out the differences between all these very professional and wonderful firms. But what we came down to is that the IDO process-- what normally happens is you hire a firm. They do a very big survey, typically thousands of brand fans or whomever. They go away for awhile. They look at the research, and then they come back in six months or four months and they give you some options.
And the way that IDO explained their process is different is there's no gap. We're in the room during the interviews. We're in the process of the design every day, which will be fun for us because you basically won't see us again till May. But no, in all seriousness, we'll all be involved in that process. But the idea is, is that they don't get to a point where it's like the point of no return. They are coming to us almost on a daily basis with, we think this. What do you think? And then we pivot. We think this. And then if we get to a point where we then show it to stakeholders and they go uh-uh, we have enough iteration that we can say at what point did we decide the home page should be purple? And then we can say, oh, let's go this way and then we go that way. I hope that makes sense.
But it leaves kind of a trail of-- what am I trying to say-- a trail of breadcrumbs, so that it's not just this magic box of nothing, where we don't know where anything comes from. We've actually been there the whole time and can give them feedback. Because needless to say, if we decided our visual design and our language was going to be about puppy dogs and rainbows and we were going to have sparkles coming from the home page-- obviously, that's not going to happen-- but there are guardrails to what a serious college of science should do. There are guardrails related to the Cornell brand of things that we should do. There are also things we cannot do or should not do.
And so our goal with them is to create something that is a unique expression of CALS, that fits into the brand of Cornell, but that distinguishes us from our competition for incoming staff, for incoming faculty, and of course, for incoming students.
We are not necessarily trying to impress-- and this will sound strange-- but we're not necessarily trying to impress alumni. We're not necessarily trying to impress the people who are already here. The point of this is to express ourselves to people who don't know us, who are trying to experience us for the first time. What do we want them to take away? And that is what IDO is going to help us explore. What are we as a college? A very large college with a lot of really interesting things happening, but what is the essence of us, and how do we express that so that people can make informed decisions?
I mean, they're obviously already making them now, but I fully expect that once we are able to do this in a different way, it will only go up from there. And so, I think, for us, it's just really making sure that we are being as honest with IDO as they present ideas to us so that we are not creating something that's not authentic. Because that is my goal, my personal goal, is to always be authentic in the way we communicate because that's when you start to deviate from what people will accept.
I mean, we can come out and say-- make all kinds of weird claims, but then they're meaningless. That's why I don't like wording that says we were the first or we're the best because what does that really tell you? I want you to know that we're number two in plant and animal science. That's really-- oh, that makes sense to me.
I want you to know that we've got award-winning faculty. And one of my favorite new things we're going to start to talk about is we have five affiliated Nobel laureates, who have been through CALS. That's really awesome. We are just as academically rigorous as the rest of Cornell, and we do not have that reputation for some people and we're going to make them understand that we're just as smart if not smarter than everybody else that's here. We are not the cow college. Who's with me? Woo! All right, sorry. We love cows, too. Cows are awesome.
Other questions? Sir?
SPEAKER 2: Is there a lifespan for [INAUDIBLE]. I mean, you talk about other colleges [INAUDIBLE] What are we looking at as the lifespan of this brand as compared to what the last brand was?
SAMARA SIT: Do you want to take that?
JENNY STOCKDALE: Well--
MELANIE CORDOVA: Can you repeat the question?
JENNY STOCKDALE: Yeah, the question was what is the lifespan of this rebranding project as it relates to the last one? The unique thing about that is CALS has never had a branding process that it adhered to, as far as I know, in my institutional memory and what I've heard.
But I think generally, the difficult thing about brand fatigue or campaign fatigue is it's usually like a three- to four-year lifespan. And then you get in sort of the habit of thinking you need to reinvent yourself every three to four years. I think the new thought process is you can evolve the brand that you've created to maintain the level of relevance that you need to stay competitive.
SAMARA SIT: Yeah, I asked that of IDO when they were coming to pitch us and they said-- because in my last institution-- I came from George Washington University-- the idea was roughly every 10 years they do this. And that feels about right to me, to invest all that time and energy on a university scale. It's, of course, not what we're trying to accomplish here but they said, no, you should do it every few months. And what they really mean is not exactly starting from ground zero but exactly what Jenny just said.
That the idea is, so we have this survey. That we run this survey-- what is it? 1,150?
JENNY STOCKDALE: 1,200.
SAMARA SIT: 1,200 Brand fans and stakeholders. My hope is that in a year, you do that again and you begin to start to test every year, are we making a difference in the ways in which we decide to change things, right?
So if the idea is we want people to think of us as scientists-- not to say that we're not but I'm just saying-- then, we put that in questions in the next five years and we see if a majority of our stakeholders begin to pick scientists as the thing they would dress up for as Halloween rather than whatever else is on that list. And I don't even remember what the list was.
But that's where you begin to track your progress to know are we communicating in the right way or are people still not getting it? Are we not referencing CALS enough? Do people not know that the college is an entity? Should be focus more on the departments or are they just focusing in on where the departments are?
So I think the idea is, you're not just putting something out into the world and walking away. We're done. We've got a website. We've got branding. We know what colors to use. See you in 10 years. But the idea is that you're constantly iterating to see if you're being relevant, if people are picking it up, are they using it?
If we create something that you all dislike and don't use, we fail. If you're not embodying the spirit behind what we're trying to accomplish, then it's not going to get out because we're only nine people and look at all of you. You're the home team, let alone everybody else that you work with.
And so I think for us, it's more that we just need to watch our social media and watch our web and we watch admissions and the other KPIs that we've created for the project and see if they're moving. Because if they're not moving, then we go back and we start to think, is it the messaging? Are we not explaining it well? Maybe the examples we use don't work? The audiences aren't getting it, and then you figure out why.
JENNY STOCKDALE: And that process never stops.
SAMARA SIT: Pretty much.
JENNY STOCKDALE: It's ongoing.
SAMARA SIT: That's the fun part.
JENNY STOCKDALE: Exactly.
SAMARA SIT: It also keeps us employed. So there's self-interest in that, too. No, I'm just kidding. Other questions? OK. Great.
Well, thank you for letting us have your ear on that. I know, again, it's a lot of us talking at you, but I really wanted you all to hear the overview from us. We will follow up with other communications and opportunities for you to weigh in as the project goes forward.
If you do, by the way, participate in any groups, staff groups or interest groups or things within Cornell, maybe you have staff meetings and you think, hey, actually I work with people who would love to hear what Jenny and Samara just talked about for the last 10 minutes, just let us know. And I will take this on the road and to anywhere at CALS and talk to anybody about what we're up to.
We have a list of groups already that we're checking off, like advisory councils at food science and that kind of stuff. But if you have other interest groups or meetings or you think, oh, I think my whole department would love this, I'll come to your department meeting, and we'll talk to them.
The chairs have already been informed. I will continue to update them as we move forward and I will be hopefully, talking to the faculty senate of CALS soon. But that's another way for us to engage with your departments as we move forward. We're happy to do it.
JENNY STOCKDALE: I second that. Thank you very much.
SAMARA SIT: Thank you.
MELANIE CORDOVA: OK, so we still have about 15, 20 minutes left. I guess just before we start brainstorming some ideas about what we'd like to workshop in future sessions, just open it up for any general questions or concerns that you might have for us, not necessarily the branding project, maybe what we might offer or anything else you'd like to discuss. Yes?
SPEAKER 3: I have a quick question. We have faculty that go to China and go around to different universities quite often, and one of them came to me not too long ago and said, how can I get some help with putting together a presentation for Beijing? And I didn't know where to go, so I went to the Senior Associate Dean's office and they said that you write for Max and for Beth. I don't know if for Beth, but for Max.
Is that something that communications and marketing can help with? Because he didn't know where to go and what to do and he's not-- English is not really his first language, and he was making a presentation to a big group in China, and he really didn't have any-- he didn't know some of the-- how to put together the slides and what's pertinent and what's good information. So is that something that the communications and marketing department or-- do you do that? Do you help out with that? Because we did not go to you in the end because we felt we were overreaching.
SAMARA SIT: Well, we, as part of one of the many things that we will be thinking about it with this redesign is things like PowerPoint templates-- which is not what you're asking-- but I recognize that just knowing that we have a CALS PowerPoint template that looks professional is coming. So that's kind of half the battle sometimes when you're giving professional presentations.
Requests like that can always come to our office, but to be perfectly honest with you, it's going to depend on bandwidth. I mean, there was a faculty member last semester who was supposed to go to a World Economic Forum meeting and was suddenly caught sick. And I mean, that's terrible, right? You're going to go to China and she had emergency surgery, and there was a panel of three people and two others from CALS and the request came in, is there something we can do?
Well, the easiest thing for us to do is to shoot her presentation on video and send it over with Harold Van Ness and I forget the third person, and they played the video in the room just like she was there. And all the months of preparation that she had put into that presentation were not lost. And as it turned out, her presentation kind of set up the in-person conversation that followed, so it was doubly important that they had that research.
And that was something that I was happy to personally do for the mission of CALS because I had the time and it was easy for us to sort of help in a crunch. Now, if I had 30 requests like that a week, I don't know that that would be possible. But I do want you to consider-- send me an email. And at the very least, either we can hook you up with freelancers who can assist with-- we got a request once from Dyson about someone who writes in a technical way for a professor who was looking for something. If that's not something we have an expertise in, we can find someone who has that expertise on your behalf. We can liaison with Central Communications to see if they have anybody who can assist.
But it is definitely an opportunity-- we are here to serve the faculty, staff, and students of CALS, and if it's an important presentation to someone's career or something that they want to work on, we can see what we can do.
So I would say, start by asking. At the very least, let us have the opportunity to see if we can help.
SPEAKER 4: Just a very geeky, technical question.
SAMARA SIT: We love geeky technical questions.
TIM: So for publications like Appalachian Cornell and [INAUDIBLE] Harvest, and other things we do, I'm still in a fog about how to get metrics on those sites. Can you describe how do you do that? [INAUDIBLE] is sort of provided to us, but I'd like to know how to do it.
AARON FOWLER: Sure, Tim, so with the Grapes and Wine site and with all of the CALS sites, we use Google Analytics to collect data about who's visiting the site, when they visit, what pages they're visiting, and things like that. So we can absolutely run reports for you, but we can also give you direct access to read those reports and you can see, at least a top level view of how those types of things are happening.
One of the things Laura is going to be doing is taking a deeper dive into our sites' analytics to get some more information and look for trends and go from there. And since she's just started, she's just getting a handle on that, but she's doing a great job so far. But that's something that, yeah, send us an email. Tell us what you want to do. Tell us what your goals are, and we can either help you find that information or give you access and let you dive in yourself.
Does that answer your question?
AARON FOWLER: OK, great.
MELANIE CORDOVA: So for the last couple minutes that we have, we'd like to hear from you about topics that you would like to see workshops on in the coming months. But before we do that, because I think it might get a little too hard to kind of bring us all back together is I just want to give you a quick preview of the upcoming meetings that we have.
The next one, you'll be getting an invitation shortly probably, about our February meeting. And so that would be February 3. We'll be sending that out. I just have a quick summary for you. It's going to be on internal communications and how we communicate with each other and with our audiences, specifically talking about using Trello, possibly having submission forms that you could send us story ideas that way. Opening lines to communications so that prominent department news can be sent to us and then amplified. And then using, as an example, would be Craig with the Victoria lily is a great success, you know, amplifying that to a very large audience.
So we're going to talk about internal communications February 3. We'll send you another imitation and please, send it on to anyone in your unit who might be more relevant in terms of these particular topics and encourage them to come. And I'm going to pass this down to Jenny. Or do you already have one down there? Yeah. To talk about the meetings after that.
JENNY STOCKDALE: Great. In March, on March 2, the digi team, as we've started to call ourselves-- Aaron, Laura, and I-- are going to be giving you an overview on some exciting new web features that they're going to be offering in Drupal, and I'll let Aaron speak a little bit more about those specifics to get you super excited about them. As well as some more details about the responsive design templates that we're going to be implementing this spring, which thank you to CALS IT. We've been partnering with them to wrap up this process, and we're almost there. And also some of the best practices for content on the web for some of the web editors to make sure they know our different ADA compliance standards and how to effectively load content onto the site.
Aaron, maybe you can talk a little bit more about--
AARON FOWLER: Sure, so as I mentioned before, one of the big changes is the responsive web templates that will be coming out for all the department and unit sites. So we'll start with the grey template and we'll hopefully, move forward quickly from there with the other two templates. So if you're on one of the red templates, we'll get to you, I promise. But we can talk more about that, and we can also talk a bit about best practices for creating content for responsive designs. How to write for the web and how to make it usable for all of the visitors to your sites, not just people sitting at a computer at their desk.
Another feature that's coming up is a better way to manage news, better ways we can support you by pushing out additional news for you or making the workflow for adding news to your sites easier. We're publishing a lot more news on our site now, thanks again to Melanie and Matt, who is not here, but they're doing all the publishing. But we want to make all of that work that we're doing available to you.
And so we-- this is not a finished feature yet, but one of the things we want to do is allow you to automatically import news into your site that's relevant. Have it automatically publish rather than having to go and search through a list of Chronicle stories and manually say, I want this one, this one, this one. When instead, we could say give all food science stories out to the food science site, possibly have them automatically published or just review and a one click update.
So those are some of the types of things we're going to be doing. And we'll be rethinking how we can even better manage news and support what we're doing and interfacing with you in the future. And yeah, absolutely.
JENNY STOCKDALE: Earlier on our agenda, you may have seen a website redesign mentioned. In tandem with our branding process, we're going to be evaluating with the CALS IT team a full RFP for a website redesign and thinking through that process very clearly, identifying what content audits need to be done in advance of that. And probably taking a bid to four or five vendors who can do both design and coding. So you'll be hearing much more information about that in the next couple of months as we get our plan in place for that. And we'll probably share another really colorful and exciting chart.
Any final words?
MELANIE CORDOVA: So I think what would work best is, before you go, please take as much food as you want. We have so much leftover. But before you go, if you could just-- we have some easels in the back that I'll bring forward and some Post-it notes-- if you could just write one or two things on a Post-it note about what you would like to see covered in future workshops before you go and stick it on the easel and then grab some food and enjoy your afternoon.
We also sent you, as you probably received this morning, there's an online survey that you can take that asks basically the exact same question of what sort of things you might want to discuss in future workshops. If something strikes you this afternoon, you're like, oh, I should put that on a Post-it note, that's the opportunity for you that.
You can always just email me. I'm sure you have my email by now, and now you have everyone's contact information, but thank you all so much for coming. If you are in Zoom, you're welcome to put some ideas in the chat or you can shoot me an email or fill out the survey. But again, Post-it notes in the back. I'll bring them forward. Take some food. Thank you all so much for coming.
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This is the recording of the first CALS monthly meeting for web editors and communicators for 2017. It occurred on 1-13-2017 in 401 Warren Hall. If you have questions about this video or its content, please email email@example.com.