**This is a three-part “special issue” on the new database that WSCA is now using. Each of the three articles posted here in succession will address a different component of the new system**
By Heather Hundley, Executive Director
Greetings WSCA friends. I wrote to you in May explaining that WSCA was changing database companies. Well, mission accomplished! The change occurred in early June and then I went to Florida to train on the new system. Please take a moment to read this message to better understand how this affects you.
To begin, the new database is from the company, YourMembership (YM). Is it much easier to navigate and extremely interactive. I strongly urge you to go to the site, log in, and update your user profile. Your user name is your email address that you provided to WSCA when you joined the membership or was on the last database system. If you are unsuccessful at figuring out what email is in our system, I can look it up for you. Because everyone’s user name is their email, you MUST provide an email address when renewing and you should not delete it from your profile. Without an email address, you will not be able to log in to the site. Your password is a random mix of numbers and letters that was assigned to you by YM during this initial set up. I don’t have access to ANY passwords; therefore, you must click on “I forgot my password” to enter your own personalized password.
Once you log on, please review the information on your profile. Feel free to update what you want. Since this system has a member directory, other members can acquire your address, phone number, etc. unless you “hide” or block it from the directory. If you provided your home address, that is what will show in the directory. You may change it to your campus address or just hide it from view.
Interest Groups and Committees
While you check out your profile, feel free to join as many interest groups you want. Previously members were only to join up to three interest groups; however, there is no limit in this system. As long as the interest group planner is a member with an email address, she or he has administrative access to build and edit an interest group web page connected to the WSCA website. Additionally, interest group planners can send emails to all the members within that particular interest group. All the members in each interest group can also participate in an interest group blog. Of course, some interest groups may be more active online than others; thus, if you join ten interest groups you can join in on ten blogs, post pictures, and interact in this social media environment.
This extends to other groups as well. For instance, President of the Executive’s Club, Sara Hayden is the administrator for that group. WSCA President, Paul Mongeau is the administrator for the Executive Council. He will also be the administrator for the Legislative Assembly once I build that group and identify all the members. Currently I am finalizing the Committees (Finance, Publications, Time and Place, Member Services), allowing the Chairs to be the administrators. If you are an award chair and would like me to create a group for you, I’m happy to do so. Essentially, the system allows group members to easily communicate to each other AND keep record of the correspondence.
You say you don’t want to get all this correspondence? On your profile, you have the ability opt out of blogs, notifications, and email. Please note, however, that there are several different types of email lists. If you opt out of one interest group list, you will remain on another until you opt out of that as well. You may opt out of several email lists and yet still receive an email from WSCA. For instance, membership renewal is not an email you may opt out of. Nevertheless, you can greatly reduce the number of emails you receive if you desire.
The previous system did not require you to log on when you registered for conferences; however, YM does require you to log on to register. This is because once you log on, the system will recognize your member type (student, regular, contingent, retired, etc.) and allow you to register for the conference as that type. Be sure to renew your WSCA membership prior to registering for the conference because if you don’t, the system will charge you the nonmember price. When you click on “Manage Profile” you can easily review your membership, your member type, and when it expires.
This may be more pertinent to Department members, but you can access the WSCA online store from the website banner. Scroll to “About WSCA” and you will see at the bottom of the drop down menu is the store. All purchases (not membership renewal or convention registration) can be made online. This includes an ad in the convention program, an exhibit table at the convention, and a table at the Graduate Program Open House.
Another benefit is that ALL your account history is available to you when you log on to the system and click on “Manage Profile.” You will be able to obtain your invoices and receipts as you renew your membership and register for future conferences.
Finally, WSCA will be integrating other technologies with the YM program. For instance, Christina Yoshimura, WSCA News editor, has administrative rights to prepare, archive, and send the e-newsletter through the system. As such, we will drop our subscription to WordPress once she is familiar with the new program. This fall our electronic elections will take place through the system as well. Thus, we will no longer be paying Survey Monkey for the service.
Feel free to cruise around the website, visit the directory, and familiarize yourself with the platform. While I am optimistic about this program, I am still learning it, so please be patient with me. I welcome your feedback and appreciate hearing about your experiences while using the program.