Orr, Saylor plan to revitalize UNCP e-mail
By Abbigail Overfelt
“We like to work smarter, not harder,” says Assistant Chief Information Officer for Educational Technologies Cynthia Saylor.
Saylor has brought this mantra into her new position, where she will be working directly with Robert Orr, chief information officer and associate vice chancellor for Information Services.
Plans for future
Together, the two of them hope to accomplish several services that will make it more possible for students, faculty and staff to work smarter.
“What we’re really trying to do is to be a valued partner [to the University’s technology users] and make their work more efficient,” Orr said.
New e-mail program
The first project the two hope to accomplish is the creation of a new e-mail system that will allow users to better share and organize files.
Saylor is currently initiating contracts between two potential e-mail candidates, Windows Live and Gmail.
The Windows program offers many of the traditional uses of hotmail, but with some added features:
• Spaces: fully customizable homepages, much like Myspace, on which users can display photos, publish blogs, add friends and create custom graphics.
• Skydrive: password-protected online file storage, where users can share documents with friends or the public.
Gmail is a fairly new, yet popular, e–mail program from Google.
• Organization: Gmail allows users to arrange inbox items into conversations as new replies arrive.
• Chat: automatically supported with other g-mail users.
• Labels and filters: controls that will automatically sort e-mails as they come in.
Students can voice their opinion on which program they would prefer by visiting www.uncp.edu/library/email_survey.html.
Out with the old
According to Saylor, the intention is for one of the two systems to replace UNCP’s current e–mail program in Fall 2009. The change should be “seamless,” Saylor said.
If everything goes according to plan, a new faculty and staff e-mail program will be in effect by April 19.
The new system will be funded entirely by state fees.
Eventually, Saylor and Orr hope to establish a home page that can be personalized to meet the student’s needs.
The page would ideally include Braveweb, Blackboard, student accounts and e-mail, Orr said.
Orr and Saylor would also like to “level the playing field” of computer software.
Software for all
“If we increased technology fees by just $60 per person, we could provide everyone with updated software, for free,” Orr said.
In theory, this would provide students with the latest versions of updated Microsoft operating systems and programs such as Microsoft Office, Orr said.
“I think this would actually save students money,” he said.