University of Minnesota
University Relations
Our Brand: How to Convey It

Our Brand: How to Convey It.

March 2009 Archives

Mass e-mail privacy statement and policy

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The University now has an official and standard privacy statement for mass e-mail recipients, complete with approval from the Office of the General Counsel. You can view a copy of the statement but should not link to it as it's behind X.500 authentication (this is not its permanent home).

Our hope is to put in place for mass e-mail a structure much like what is already in place for the Web, which includes both a privacy statement and a policy. The statement itself is to be referenced in mass e-mail sent by the University and informs recipients of the data collected and its use at the University and by "associated third parties," such as the University of Minnesota Foundation and Minnesota Medical Foundation. This statement is what has been completed.

While the statement is intended for recipients, a mass e-mail privacy policy is a policy that would require inclusion of the statement in all mass e-mail from the University. Administrative policies at the University can take months to obtain approval once submitted. Here are some next steps leading up to the creation and expected approval of the policy.

  • Provide the statement in a common location for all to use (watch for a revamp of
  • Update the existing eCommunications standards to require inclusion of the statement.
  • Determine through feedback if statements for individual units, that meet minimum requirements, may be used in lieu of the standard statement.
  • Prepare and seek approval for the policy.

It should be noted that the approved privacy statement was written only with consideration for Lyris ListManager, the centrally supported software that the University uses to send mass e-mail. This statement may not be appropriate for users of Constant Contact, Exact Target, and other systems.

Social Networking Site Investigation


Over the past two-plus years, we’ve all noticed the growth in the personal and professional use of social networking sites. Many of us who work in communications, marketing, or electronic publishing fields have set up our own personal accounts on a number of sites. Some University communications professionals have even developed sites for their units, events, or special interest groups.

As University Relations works to create a new branding policy and update the existing WWW Publishing Policy, we are asking some hard questions.

What role does social networking play for any individual unit on the U campus?

How does the use of these sites – the way they look and what they say - portray our image or brand?

When and where do our policies conflict with the terms of service on various social networking sites?

How does social networking fit into a unit’s overall marketing plan and staffing resources?

University Relations is actively researching the terms of service on the most popular social networking sites and will be meeting with a representative from the Office of the General Council to help us interpret these terms along with our policies.

We are asking communications professionals at other universities how they’ve handled social networking on their campus.

We hope to engage our U of M colleagues in our exploring the purposes and goals of social networking sites.

I know that we’re already behind in this realm and that answers probably won’t come as quickly as we’d all like. Keep checking this blog for updates. Also, follow me on Twitter @goldiegopher, where I hope to tweet about things I find along the way in my research. And most certainly, please post your comments on the blog.

- Kathy

Plan your work; Work your plan

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There's an ongoing joke in our office about my desire to print a large banner and tape it along the wall with those words.

Plan your work.
Work your plan.

Doesn't seem like such a hard concept, does it? However I am amazed daily at how often this simple mantra isn't followed. Within the electronic communications team, we try very hard to adhere to this philosophy. Now, don't get me wrong. Not every project requires a project charter, business requirements, functional requirements, etc. With a little common sense, it is pretty easy to identify that changing a few words on a Web page is different than an entire Web site redesign.

It seems to make sense to only use those six words as a guidepost for avoiding duplication of effort, misuse of resources, or being pulled into a hundred different directions like a Gumby doll.

Recently, I had a chance to see incredible project management in action. And, I was so impressed I just need to share it with you. Our team is working with University Services on developing an interactive campus map as well as Project Footprint. As you may recall, Project Footprint is the initiative to demonstrate visually how the University of Minnesota touches local, state, and eventually, global communities.

We have been partnering with the program management office in University Services and I just have to say—THEY ROCK! Although we are in the initial planning stages, their thoughtful analysis, methodical approach, initial timelines, and draft goals blew me away.

A project of this magnitude has several stakeholders, multiple phases, and complex technical implications. However, by mapping (get it? ha-ha-ha) our courses of action, I am confident the project will be completed within scope and on time.

As I mentioned, the project is just in its infant planning stages. But… I hope many of you will provide feedback, suggestions, and share your interest as the initiative unfolds.

Stay tuned for more details as they become available.


Web Templates for UThink Blogs


The U's Web templates for the UThink blogs are now available for download on the eCommunication Standards site. The same three template options that are coded for the Web templates have been modified to help you create a seamless transition between your Web site and your blog site.

Get started by visiting the Blog Templates page. There you'll find instructions for using the templates to replace the default blog coding.

The download contains the basic pages needed for a simple blog. Please let us know if there are any advanced blog template options that you'd like to see.

Events Calendar, Search, and UMContent update

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So I have the privilege of being the first person to post on the eCommunication Blog. In thinking about which topic to talk about, I decided that providing quick updates on a couple of topics would be the best use of this post. So, here are some updates on some of the projects that I am working on.

Events calendar:

Thank you to everyone who responded to University Relations' request for feedback on the current events calendar and suggestions for improvement. We have taken those responses and have started to create a draft proposal to submit to the OIT so that the project can be included in their planning process. In addition to creating a draft proposal, we are working on drafting functional requirements to be used later in the process. We will be meeting with various groups to get input as the process moves along and will also be creating an advisory committee to help with feedback. The major next step will be to meet with OIT so that we can determine what an appropriate timeline will be. If you are interested in meeting with UR regarding this project, please feel free to e-mail me at


This is one project that has been delayed longer than I care for. The hope was to have the updated tabbed search results out around the same time as the templates. Due to other projects, this has been delayed. I am currently shooting for the end of March, but it will most likely be in April. We are working to get this setup so those users on OIT hosting (whether through OIA Shared or IS Group Web Hotel) will be able to just set a configuration file and be able to use it with minimal programming knowledge. To answer a question that some people have asked, yes it is possible to pull in search results other than the Google Search Appliance. Users wishing to utilize this will probably need some programming knowledge to integrate it.


Most of my time has been spent trying to get the rest of UR sites out of FileNET and into UMContent. After this project is over, more of my time will get shifted to search and events calendar. We have been working with OIT to help identify areas where performance could be improved as they work with Fishbowl Solutions. We have determined that one of the services that the system is using (SS_GET_SEARCH_RESULTS) is running full-text searching and therefore is very slow to return results. To get around this, we have switched our dynamic lists to use the GET_SEARCH_RESULTS service. This has had the effect of reducing our page load times from around 27 seconds to 2 seconds. When OIT and Fishbowl determine how to get SS_GET_SEARCH_RESULTS optimized, this will hopefully be able to speed up the contributor experience as this service is used heavily on the contribution side.

We are planning to get the new U Templates into UMContent, however we are waiting for Site Studio 10gR4 to fully implement the templates. With the 10gR4 functionality, we should be able to provide templates that users will just be able to use out of the box. This is an improvement over the previous versions where customizing the templates required groups to copy the layouts and then modify them themselves. Site Studio 10gR4 has been installed on the DEV environment, so we have had the opportunity to start to look at the architecture, but until some of my other projects are out of the way, this is a lower priority.

Other Notes:

As some people may know, my appointment is an 80/20 split with the 20% of my time reporting to OIT's Office of Communications and Advancement. This has been beneficial as there is overlap in the projects that both OCA and UR are working on. Hopefully in the next few weeks, you will see a revised OIT home page ( that uses the new U Template and also brings in graphical elements from the U home page. Hopefully this new page will provide an improved user experience.

Interactive Maps

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University Relations is partnering with University Services to build a functioning, secure, high-performance and scalable system and application architecture for an interactive mapping system. The project starts with an interactive campus map and extends into Project Footprint. Project Footprint is a joint effort between University Relations and the Office of the President to create an interactive map capturing the reach and scope of the University of Minnesota. The primary purpose of this map is to share the University’s educational impact, economic impact, and extent of public engagement with external and new internal stakeholders in local, state, and global communities.


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Discussion about UMContent from a site developer viewpoint, including standards, best practices, templates, and decision-making.


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Discussion about search from a site developer viewpoint, including standards, best practices, templates, and metrics.

Mass E-mail

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All facets of mass e-mail at the University are covered, including: standards, best practices, templates, metrics, and decision-making.

Events Calendar

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Updates about the new events calendar that University Relations is planning along with discussions about what's good, what's bad, what we can change or improve, and where to go from here.

Web Templates

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Ongoing updates about the Web templates, changes, new options, and more.

WWW Publishing Policy

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The current policy is being updated and many additions will be made to address things like social networking, multimedia, student organizations, subdomain naming, cosponsored sites, and more.

Social Networking

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Updates on the ongoing investigation of the use of social networking sites by University units and how the terms of service on these sites work or don't work with the WWW Publishing policy.

Multimedia Standards

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In development, these standards will address audio and video at the University.

Branding Policy

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The University's new branding policy is expected to be announced in late spring of '09. The branding policy will address the use of the header and footer in the Web templates, among other things. See the WWW Publishing Policy category for more policy discussion.

Welcome to the eCommunication Blog

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The Electronic Communications team in University Relations would like to welcome all electronic communications professionals at the U to participate in the eCommunication Blog. We have a number of categories that reflect the projects we have in the works. Please feel free to comment or ask questions related to any of these categories (one category per post, please) or suggest a category you don't see.

Electronic Communications staff will take turns at updating the blog once a week and will respond to category-specific comments as time permits. Thank you for your interest -- we hope this will become an even better way for us to continue to communicate with you!