'MyUSU' Student Web Portal Online this Fall
Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013
A new website from Utah State University’s Division of Student Services called “MyUSU” debuts as a beta release just in time for the start of the school year. The website started as a classroom concept for improving the student experience at USU; a collaboration between Student Services and IT made it a reality.
The course offered in 2011 was called “Student Experience Design Studio” and the students’ final projects — in the form of full color portfolios — ended up on the desk of Jennifer Pemberton, who was hired in December 2012 to make those student designs a reality. Pemberton is the marketing specialist for the Division of Student Services for USU, but her first year on the job is dedicated to serving as the project manager for the MyUSU student portal.
“It was like being handed sketches from someone’s dream,” said Pemberton. “I was completely overwhelmed. Some of the technology the projects incorporated doesn’t even exist, but the ideas were great. The students were told to think big, and they did.”
Prior to bringing Pemberton on as project manager, Vice President James Morales and Enterprise Architect Kevin Reeve from USU Information Technology sent out RFPs to a number of student portal companies. The project was awarded to the CampusEAI Consortium, who in turn awarded USU a grant worth more than $1 million in software and services.
Reeve and Pemberton traveled to CampusEAI headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio, for training in March 2013 and with help from IT members from System Administration, Enterprise Data Operations, and the Programming and Design Team, the MyUSU student portal came online this summer.
The university wanted to simplify and streamline the student online experience.
“The main USU website is the university’s public face. It serves thousands of purposes from student recruitment to touting faculty achievements,” said Pemberton. “MyUSU is exclusively for currently enrolled students. It’s a dashboard that focuses all attention on providing answers to the question ‘How am I going to get through this experience?’”
MyUSU includes a single sign-on menu, so that once students are securely signed in with their A-number, they can easily click over to see their schedule, grades, financial summaries, course information through Canvas, account balances, even student job applications. The mission of the MyUSU student portal is the same as the Division of Student Services — to provide support for student success, so in addition to the convenience of the single sign-on menu, MyUSU provides information and messages from the programs that are offered to students explicitly to help them thrive, like Campus Recreation, Student Sustainability, Counseling and Psychological Services, Access and Diversity, Student Involvement and Leadership and the Academic Resource Center.
“The Design Studio students kept coming back to this idea of personalizing the student experience,” said Vice President James Morales. “The name ‘MyUSU’ implies ownership and individuality. We offer dozens of programs in the Division of Student Services to help every student cross every kind of barrier. The MyUSU portal showcases these programs.”
MyUSU has infinite space to grow, but for now the idea is to keep it simple.
“My hope is that all student questions can be answered in the portal in three clicks or less,” said Pemberton.
The beta release of MyUSU coincides with the beginning of classes for the fall semester. The site is fully functioning, but as a work-in-progress, student feedback is being solicited. Currently enrolled USU students can log in to MyUSU with their A-number at http://my.usu.edu. Faculty and staff can also log in, but there is limited functionality at this time for non-students.
About the Division of Student Services at USU
Led by Vice President James Morales, the Division of Student Services at Utah State University is committed to student success and organized into fifteen unique departments, each with a variety of dedicated programs and services that foster engagement, leadership, wellness, and access and diversity for all students.
Contact: Jennifer Pemberton, 435-797-0705, firstname.lastname@example.org