Much has changed since I was applying to college in the 1960s. Paper applications have been replaced by electronic ones, mailers have become outdated by email, and college visits are supplanted by YouTube. While some might debate the benefits or disadvantages of these developments, it remains clear that the means by which we communicate will continue to evolve.
It is for these reasons that, as your university President, I find it so important that the University of Mary Washington use new and changing technologies to increase our visibility in places besides Fredericksburg. We need to be online, on billboards, and communicating with high schools across the Commonwealth and beyond. Since becoming President, I have been committed to making the University of Mary Washington the best public liberal arts and sciences university in the nation. I believe that with our distinguished faculty, talented students, and tradition of excellence, we will achieve this goal. However, in order to remain competitive with universities across the country, we will need to continue to explore and invest in these new forms of communication to expand our reach and results.
Whether it is a new website that is user friendly and more attractive to prospective students or advertisements across the state of Virginia, the University of Mary Washington will continue to remain ahead of the curve in communicating our vision of a liberal education to others. Moreover, we will remain steadfast in our commitment to improving communication and technology for those currently on campus.
This spring, the University of Mary Washington will begin construction on the Information and Technology Convergence Center. Scheduled to open in 2014, this state of the art facility will house a multimedia lab, green screen, recording studio and data center. This building will not only offer an improved academic education, but will also allow students to communicate what they are learning with the rest of the world.
Last summer, the University invested in a new learning infrastructure system called Canvas. Canvas is an educational support platform that offers greater functionality with an easy interface. Today, it also provides access to social media and web conferencing that allows faculty and students the opportunity to communicate remotely with their peers.
In the President’s Office, even I have tried to get involved in the social media movement in order to communicate more effectively with our faculty, students and alumni. I cordially invite you to follow me on Twitter at @PresidentHurley, and let me know your thoughts on all things Mary Washington.
It is my hope that in the coming months, you will continue to join me in helping to communicate that the University of Mary Washington truly is “where great minds get to work.”
Thank you and I look forward to seeing you around campus.
Rick Hurley is the President of the University of Mary Washington.