New Online Directory Provides a Face to Go with the Name

by Grant Rodgers

Whether working on a group project or going to meet a new professor, connecting a face to a name proves helpful. Simpson’s Information Services department simplified this process with its new online picture directory.

Launched on Wednesday, Nov. 24, the directory provides a picture, name, major, minor, anticipated graduation date, adviser and contact information for each student. The directory also includes faculty and staff, showing department, position and contact information.

While the online directory may be new to campus, historically, the college published Password, a directory in print form. However, in attempting to provide more information on peers and coworkers Information Services designed the directory and included information not available in the past.

With the launch, Information Services hopes the directory will enhance the sense of community at Simpson.

“Being able to greet a student, professor or a staff member by name can influence the tone and direction of a conversation in a positive way,” said Kelley Bradder, vice president of information services and chief information officer. “Hopefully students looking for help will be more comfortable in seeking assistance because they can easily identify who to get help from and where to find the person.”

Just as students can utilize the directory to connect a face to a fresh name, professors can use the tool to improve communication not only with students, but with other faculty as well.

“With the constant turnover of faculty, it’s sometimes hard to remember who somebody is,” said Tom Schmidt, associate professor of management. “At least if you have the time you can go check their name and know who that person is.”

Schmidt, however, points to what he sees as a few possible drawbacks to the system, mainly the time it takes to access.

“It needs to be easy to get in and out of and I haven’t really determined that it is yet,” Schmidt said.

To remedy any privacy concerns, students not interested in having their picture listed or being listed at all could opt out by Nov. 22. Even amidst those concerns, Bradder maintains the directory is secure and can only be accessed with a Simpson username and password.

Despite the benefits publicized by Information Services, there seems to be a prevalent student attitude of ambivalence towards the directory, as many have not yet determined its exact uses.

“I don’t see myself using it really,” sophomore Whitney Thompson said. “The information (provided) I would just gain personally, face-to-face.”

Other students though, are seeing its uses in very specific ways.

“The only way I could see using it is if I were starting a club and wanted to see specific students who were interested,” sophomore Meredith McCay said.

To make the directory inclusive of all students, including part time, Information Services added a camera at the West Des Moines Campus.

With the directory now launched, students should expect the announcement of more upcoming technological releases from Information Services in the near future, although Bradder declined to offer any hints.

“Soon, but not yet,” Bradder said.