Thereâ€™s been a lot of reaction to the new PSU print directory. I was involved in the decision not to include employees in this year's directory. Hereâ€™s some of the background.
The central issue is this: The print directory is a cumbersome process to produce. Not so much for student listings, but employees. It is driven by a publication deadline, designed to get this to campus as soon as possible after the start of the semester. This deadline generates the need to have all employee listings by the end of August. That may seem easy, but itâ€™s far more challenging and time consuming than it looks. First, not everyone is on campus during the month of August when this information is needed. Second, we are hiring a lot of people right up to, and beyond, September. As a result, the employee directory is an incomplete snapshot of who is here at the end of August. And even then, titles and roles change, so a large percentage of the employee listings are incomplete or inaccurate. When the print directories arrive, and throughout the year, we weather a storm of complaints about the directory.
Over the summer, our folks in ITS spent a lot of time developing and making improvements to the search function in myPlymouth. In fact, our web portal is one of the finest I know. myPlymouth is the envy of a lot of schools. When our folks go to industry conferences, colleagues from other schools are ravenous to hear how we do it. They waive registration fees for many of our people just so theyâ€™ll come and talk. I could not be more proud to oversee such a fine information system and the talented individuals who put it together.
Given those two factors, I advocated for a shift from print to online directories. This was presented to the Presidentâ€™s Cabinet last spring, at which time they responded that the print directory was still needed. To alleviate a no-win situation on the employee directory, I made the call to place the emphasis on the online directories and rolling out the new voice activated directory. And acknowledging that there are many who still need a print version, we made that available for anyone to print.
Since the directory was delivered, hereâ€™s some of the feedback weâ€™ve received. Thanks to the many of you who delivered this feedback in tactful ways. 😉
The print version used to have titles attached to each individual. The online look up function does not include them. People would like that back.
Response: This provokes a bit of humorous history. Several years ago, the print directory had many employees listed with their official titles in the Banner system. Yet they were truncated to something like 8 characters. We had many â€˜admin assâ€™ who were none too pleased. Thus began a laborious, annual process to get the data from Banner and go through and edit them. This added to HRâ€™s burden and duress in August. However, because we know this is important to you, weâ€™ll be looking for ways to get that info into the online directory.
Many people simply prefer the tactile print booklet. Itâ€™s always there, even when you log off or power down. Itâ€™s very easy grab and look up.
Response: Touche'. Which is why it is still printed. But we want your employee data to be as accurate as possible. A printed insert is available in myPlymouth. Itâ€™s only as accurate as the point in time which it was produced.
The advantage of the online version is accuracy, currency and darn near 24/7 availability. And when you leave the office, and the print version, you can access directory information from home or elsewhere.
The online version is pretty good for individual look ups. Nice improvements over the summer. But hey, can you speed it up? If you search by department, you can go get coffee before it is completed.
Response: Thanks, and weâ€™ll be working to speed it up.
Who the heck made this decision without seeking input from users?
Response: That would be me. And this is where you can comment and give me some feedback. I simply ask that you let things settle a bit and spend some time using the two new systems. Dial 3333, call a colleague. Try it. Spend some time in myPlymouth. This is and will continue to be where more and more information is stored.
We are committed to making these new systems work for you. Please understand that we cannot simply add new functions online without letting go of some old processes. That is and will continue to be my mantra.
That said, we will compile the feedback received this year and consolidate it into recommendations for next year's issue.
This is unfair to the trades people. They often don't have ready access to computers. They keep a print directory with them and use it often.
Response: That is why we created an alternative print copy. I know itâ€™s an extra step to get and print it, but itâ€™s there for you to get and place within your print version. Also, try the 3333 voice activated directory.
So thatâ€™s how this whole thing transpired. If you have comments or feedback, please let me know in here. Use the link for LEAVE A REPLY at the top and bottom of this page. Weâ€™re listening.
Finally, as with most evolutions in technology, we need to try and adapt. I simply ask that you give these new systems a try.
Thanks for reading.