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External Affairs Welcomes New Web Editor

Time flies in cyberspace. Information is changing constantly, and what may be up-to-date today is old by tomorrow. As more and more people are turning to the World Wide Web for information, it is becoming increasingly important for institutions to keep their sites updated and fresh.

Teachers College made great strides last year with a redesign of the College's Web site and the addition of many new and vital departmental Web sites. Unfortunately though, with the departure of the Web Editor at the beginning of the summer, many of the sites began to lose their timeliness. To help Teachers College resume its online efforts, Paul Acquaro joined the Office of External Affairs as the Web Editor in January. Though not new to Teachers College, Acquaro is very excited about his new position and is looking forward to the challenges of the job.

A familiar face around TC's computer labs, Acquaro worked in the Academic Computing department prior to taking on his new responsibilities. In ACS, he helped maintain the labs and taught many computer-related workshops. "I will certainly miss my work in the labs, helping students and faculty with all sorts of problems. It was a challenge and a lot fun," he said of the transition, "but I have a feeling the work as Web Editor will be more so."

"One my priorities is freshening up the information that we already have on the Web site," said Acquaro. "We have some great resources like the calendar of events and I hope to take what we have, enhance it and really make this an exciting and informative site. We have a lot of work to do, but I think we have the energy and talent at TC to do it."

Acquaro will be working closely with the TC Web Committee, a group comprised of faculty and professional staff members appointed by the Dean. According to Lisa Ann Petrides, Chair of the Web Committee and Assistant Professor of Management Systems in the Department of Organization and Leadership, the role of the Web Editor is one that establishes a cohesive plan for developing strategy and policies that will make the Web site more dynamic and interactive. The Web Editor, said Petrides, also makes sure that "TC communicates effectively with the Web so that potential students, partners, faculty, donors and others will get a first-class impression of the institution."

The Web Editor will consult with academic, administrative and other organizational departments and help them create and maintain the TC Web site. "In order to have a successful site, everyone really needs to be involved and be a contributing part of the Web community," said Acquaro. "I am starting some workshops that are open to people interested in working with TC Web."

Executive Director of External Affairs, Barry Rosen, said that the development of Teachers College's Web site plays a very important and possibly pivotal role in today's academic environment. "It is the most visible and quickest way for a student to get a comprehensive look at a college. If a site does not immediately resound in the mind of a student, the student can quickly click to another site, regardless of the quality of the college," he said.

From admissions to academic departments, students really want full and comprehensive information, said Rosen. It is not limited to students either, Rosen said, "certainly with the media, more and more reporters are net savvy and they want to be able to find an experts list on a Web site. We try to keep our experts list as up-to-date as possible."

There are other aspects of the site that Rosen would like to address as well. "I want to see our Web site become more interactive," he said. "More on the cutting edge, with a greater use of technology, like video. Paul's technical skills and experience and knowledge of the institution is a tremendous asset to TC and someone in the Web Editor position"

Acquaro came to Teachers College in October of 1998 from Convent of the Sacred Heart, where he maintained the schools computers and network, taught desktop publishing and Web design courses and advised school publications. Arriving at TC in the Academic Computer Services department, he was involved with the lab maintenance and taught several workshops including Web Design.

Prior to his work in education, Acquaro graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in journalism and worked as a reporter, then managing editor, of a newspaper in Somerset, New Jersey. "But, I always have had an interest in technology," he said. "It was from desktop publishing, and fixing the computers when they crashed, that I became interested in working with technology."

"I was fascinated with the Web when I first saw it five years ago. I have taken and taught Web classes, created Web sites, and I am really excited to now be working directly with the Teachers College site. The Web Editor position is an exciting mesh of editorial, design and academic interests," he said.

You can contact Paul Acquaro at 678-3118, by e-mail: acquaro@exchange.tc.columbia.edu, or visit him in 654A Thorndike.

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