The University Record, October 22, 1996

Community Assistance Directory will reach out
through Michigan

The University has launched a new WorldWide Web site to promote the state outreach efforts of faculty, staff and students. All units conducting ongoing state outreach activities are urged to submit information for inclusion in the U-M Community Assistance Directory (CAD).

"The directory will help make our outreach activities more visible and accessible throughout the state," says Lewis Morrissey, director of state outreach in the office of university relations, "and will provide a central, easy-to-use resource for people wanting information about projects in their communities or ideas for successful programs which might be copied."

Target audiences, says Walter Harrison, vice president for university relations, "include every aspect of Michigan society touched by U-M's diverse resources, including alumni and others advocating on behalf of the University." In a memo mailed yesterday to deans, directors and department heads, Harrison asked that they "urge all those conducting state outreach activities in your unit to join in this worthwhile project by entering their information as soon as possible."

In addition, as the directory becomes more widely used on campus, it should answer many program-related questions from other University units that now must be fielded directly by the program managers, says Laurie Snyder, CAD program manager.

Morrissey says the directory should be especially valuable to businesses and industries, community agencies and developers, educators, health care providers, libraries, local and state governments, and social service agencies.

Currently included on the CAD are ongoing programs that fall under one or more subject areas, including the arts, business and industry, communications, community assistance, American and international culture, early childhood and K-12 education, higher education, community and continuing education, engineering, environment, health and health care, information technology, law and public policy, mental health, science and research, and social sciences.

Examples include community and continuing education projects for professionals and the public, consulting services for business and government, health promotion information, K-12 education tools like computer software, lesson plans and scholarships that are available. Additional detailed information about the directory's contents is available under "Content Guide" in the directory's Web site.

A page of "Other Online Community Assistance Resources" links users to selected University and non-University online resources that may be helpful to users who don't find what they are looking for among the U-M state outreach listings.

"While we tried to make the site user-friendly for potential users outside the University," Snyder says, "we really had the U-M faculty and staff in mind when we designed the system. We want to be able to collect as much information as possible from program managers while still making it convenient and user friendly."

The CAD has an automated update system that will remind program managers annually to update their entries, which they will be able to do easily without having to complete a new questionnaire. It also will archive expired programs.

To enter a program, use CAD's URL:

http://www.state.outreach.umich.edu/.

That brings up the site's home page, then click on the "Submit Entry" button to link directly to the program entry form. Or users may go directly to the entry form by using its URL: http://www.state.outreach.umich.edu/cgi-bin/urel/formedit.

Snyder urges anyone submitting programs to read the submission guidelines before filling out the form. "Because this is a database that will be easily searchable on the Web by index words, major subject areas and by any one of the 83 Michigan county names, the form has been designed to capture all data necessary to make these searches possible. The care you put into completion of your form now will greatly improve the ability of searchers to successfully access your program in the database, and will ensure that updates will be relatively simple," Snyder says. Some information is for internal use only and is indicated as such on the form.

Once the form is completed, the "Submit" button sends it to Snyder, who will review it for relevance to the directory's contents, completeness and spelling. She will either send it on to the database or will review major changes with the program submitter.

Anyone with questions or who needs assistance can reach Snyder by e-mail at michigan.outreach@umich.edu or call her at 764-9256.