Corvallis, Oregon

The Corvallis Tourism website has a page on media praise of Corvallis:

  • “Corvallis is ranked as one of America’s Top 25 family friendly enclaves.”
  • “the 8th best place in the nation to live”
  • “Corvallis is a country place with a collegiate feel that’s also a high tech center and a hippie haven.”
  • “Corvallis ranked 10th of all cities of all sizes in the nation.”

Renee Roman Nose’s editorial on blackface and its subsequent banning by the Daily Barometer staff was recently featured in a news story in Corvallis’ newspaper, the Gazette Times. The commentary by Corvallis residents has been appalling. The article, “Black Out Reser’ raises racial spectre,” has brought out white racist sentiment in droves. A follow-up article by Zel Brook of Corvallis-Albany NAACP, “as I see it: Blackface painting at rally was ignorant,” has been overrun with even more white racists. When I moved to Corvallis, I was told that it was a bastion of liberalism. It turns out that Corvallis is a bastion of white liberal racists who have no problem hiding behind anonymous comments that are filled with racism and sexism. By the way, I do not self-identify as a liberal, and this is exactly why I do not.

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Blackface and the Barometer

Update: I dug through a recycling bin and found a copy of the Daily Barometer with the blackface photograph:
Daily Barometer blackface photograph

The Daily Barometer is the student-run newspaper at Oregon State University. A recent front page article showed a photograph of a white student in blackface. The article encouraged OSU students to “blackout” the football stadium.

Renee Roman Nose, an OSU student and frequent Daily Barometer columnist, wrote a column in response to the Barometer blackface photograph/article.

Unfortunately, the Barometer editorial staff/advisory board took umbrage with Renee’s column and have banned that column and any of her future columns from being printed in the student newspaper.

I found out about Renee’s column and sent her an email asking if I could post it on my blog. Renee’s response: “Please feel free to post it. It’s nice to know that there is freedom of speech at ericstoller.com! :)

Renee’s column entitled, Blackface: It’s Just for Racists, is after the cut…

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Sunday links

I’ve been collecting links/stories for a couple weeks since the fall term started…

OSU Students + Internment

Oregon State University Registrar

Oregon State University’s Office of the Registrar website contains a mélange of information for students, families, staff and faculty. Last week, while perusing the site, I noticed this link at the top of the Registrar’s homepage — “OSU Students Interned During WW II.”

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Seismic improvement

Milam Hall

It’s a bit disconcerting to read an article on the earthquake readiness of buildings at your place of employment. Especially when your office is in one of the five buildings “identified as the most in need of seismic improvements.” I’m guessing that being in a structure of “unreinforced masonry” is probably not the safest place to be when the ground starts shaking.

College Cultural Centers

The cultural centers at Oregon State University were the subject of a recent column in the student-run Daily Barometer.

Vs. Column: Bridging the cultural divide?

In the spirit of open discussion, this week Eric Wilson and Renee Roman Nose were challenged to write “vs. columns” about whether cultural centers seek to unite or divide the OSU community. Their responses to each other have been unknown until today.

Continue reading College Cultural Centers

A history of web projects

The official title of my OSU Graduate Assistantship is “Student Affairs Web Specialist.” Here are a few of the projects that I have worked on since I arrived in Corvallis in 2004.

OSU Admissions old
When I first started my assistantship at OSU, the Admissions web site looked like this:

old admissions design

The site was in need of an overhaul. The first few months of my assistantship were spent fighting fires. Various issues would arise that would need taking care of, and a complete overhaul of the Admissions web site would not happen for a long time.

OSU International Admissions
The primary project that I was assigned to was managing the re-design of the International Admissions web site (the version that is currently up is a progression from last year’s design.).

old international design

The International Admissions web site was re-designed using web standards and user feedback. The site was easy to navigate and loaded quickly due to its css-based layout.

admissions international design

The re-designed International Admissions web site received positive reviews from the OSU community and from several external audiences.

Eric Stoller’s Blog
Initially, the ESB was used to house my technology workshop lessons/links. The focus shifted when I decided that the blog could serve as my portfolio for CSSA as well as a personal journal. I blogged about life, school, and work. Eventually, my social justice posts became the primary focus of the blog. I think this is probably due to the fact that my passion for social justice came to the forefront of my life while I was in the midst of a life changing experience. I built the blog using WordPress. The theme was a free theme that I shaped to my own devices. I’ve added plugins for subscribers and recent comments/posts. The flexibility of a css-based design has allowed me to change colors, font sizes, etc. The php include construction of WordPress enabled me to add search functionality and comment functionality to posts/pages where it did not normally appear by default.

Eric Stoller's blog screenshot

I have had quite the experience with the blog. It is personal. It is professional. It is a portfolio.

OSU Precollege
I was given this project as a quick and easy web re-design. The folks over at OSU Precollege needed a web presence that reflected a consistent look and feel of the overall OSU web. I utilized a template from OSU Publications and created a basic web site.

OSU Precollege web page design

The biggest challenge with this project was the lack of “client” communication. The site was created by yours truly in a design vacuum. It’s not usually the way I would like to work. I prefer a collaborative process in which stakeholder involvement drives the project. The previous Precollege site had not been updated for a long time, and I fear that the current site design will exist for far to long. Unfortunately, I think this reflects the belief that as long as a site is online it is functioning. I believe this creates a static, cob web ridden presence that does not involve the actual users of the site.

OSU Success
This site was designed by an external vendor but I had a large role in the accessibility and usability of the site. The site was initially constructed in a format that was deemed to be boring for its intended audience. First-year students need a site that encourages participation as well as incentives for return visits.

OSU Success

I learned a lot about working with an external vendor on this project. There was a lot of planning, communicating, designing, and thinking that went into this project. The final project was accessible as well as standards compliant. The student response was very favorable and the site differed from similar sites.

A blog was created to compliment the student OSU Success site. Students were selected from the orientation staff and trained in the art of blogging. Site statistics showed that we did not have the best results with regards to visitors. However, I believe that the blog was a great experience for the student writers as well as for the students who read it.

OSU Success Blog


OSU Success for Parents and Family

A companion site for Parents and Family was created to compliment the student version. Parents and family were given content which was relevant to their experience. The site design that was used was simple and easy to use. Once again, the site was accessible and highly usable.

OSU Success for Parents and Family

Basecamp
While working with the OSU Success vendor, I became aware that the amount of email correspondence was becoming unmanageable. I had recently discovered the 37 Signals project management application: Basecamp. OSU staff and the external vendor utilized Basecamp for file transfer, deadline creation, and intergroup communications. The tool became an online archive for everyone on the project. Basecamp became a key component to our overall communications and project management strategy.

Basecamp and OSU

I’m really glad that I suggested Basecamp. For me, this clearly represented how online applications can be used to streamline group processes and communications.

OSU Graduate School
OSU Publications designed a new web site for the OSU Graduate School. I stepped in and was able to manage the interface between the folks from Publications and the Graduate School. I taught the GS folks how to update the new site as well as how to navigate a site that was structured using css and includes.

OSU Grad School web site screenshot
OSU Grad School forms screenshot

The Graduate School now uses online forms for a variety of data transmission functions. This should save them a lot of time, money and effort. The new GS site and online forms provides a heightened user experience for student users due to increased accessibility, usability, and functionality.

OSU Admissions new
The OSU Admissions web site re-design project was a terrific experience. It was a collaborative experience in which OSU Publications and OSU Admissions joined forces to create a standards compliant, user-friendly site. The site utilizes css and includes. We focused a lot on separation of content from the design. The new site includes a blog that has received a lot of visits. Written by an Admissions staffer, the blog showcases OSU Admissions as well as the accomplishments of the OSU community. I created the blog using WordPress (my personal blogging experience enabled me to set up the blog). The Admissions template encloses the new blog so that the user experience is seamless. The new Admissions site continues to grow and search engine optimization will increase as the site expands.

OSU NEW Admissions design screenshot

Admissions site level 2 redesign screenshot

OSU Admissions website level 3 screenshot

OSU Admissions blog


OSU Document Management Project

The OSU DMP is using a blog (another WordPress blog that I created) to transmit information to key stakeholders as well as enable users to interact with the site. The project is enormous in scope and will utilize the blog to maintain a constant stream of communication with users.

OSU EM DMP Blog screenshot


OSU Student Affairs

I am in charge of re-designing the OSU Student Affairs web site. The current version (pictured below) is not standards compliant and it is due for an overhaul. The primary users of this site are internal users. The site will serve as a central hub of information. I plan on using code from the OSU Admissions site design. The Admissions code is accessible and the site structure efficiently separates content from design.

OSU Student Affairs web site original screenshot


OSU Student Affairs – redesigned

Oregon State University Student Affairs website

*One of my last projects will probably involve the creation of a wiki for OSU Enrollment Management IT. The wiki will serve as a repository of techie tips and experiential histories. I’ve never created a wiki before so I will need to research the wiki options that exist. OSU CWS currently uses a wiki and I will probably see if their site wiki would work for OSU EM IT.