Capstone Clients

Lynn Czarnecki: Omega House Fundraising
Joel Fox: BKG Shelter web site
Julie Nordstrom:  BKG Shelter Strategic Plan
Tyler Debelak:  BKG Shelter Funding-Data Collection Plan
Diane Wadke: Keweenawnow CMS
Jeff Hanley:  United Way Web Site
Chris Linna:  Environmental Sustainability Committee
Tammy Worachek:  Wisconsin Deck
Jason Dryja: Pank Magazine www site
Jessica Morrison: SYP marketing
Elizabeth Breining: Engineers Without Borders
Nikki Roth: Smartzone / Fastlane
Joe Girard: Community Literacy Journal
Karmen Antilla: Dial Help

Correspondence to Clients, October 15th
Thank you again for working with the HU4634 Capstone class on a semester project — one that we hope benefits  students, you, and your organization in some demonstrable, even measurable, way.

I want to formalize as much as possible the planning and execution of these projects and collaborations for future iterations of the course — again, in ways that help to ensure they benefit students’ professional development and the organizations that you represent. I’m writing now to ask for your help in two areas:

[1] Could you send me a brief email now, just informally, and update me on the project’s progress from your perspective? Is it on time? Is the quality of the materials meeting your needs and standards? Is there anything I can do to help with any aspects of the project or its production as we move into the final phase of the semester?

[2] Would you write a more formal feedback letter on your organization’s letterhead that I can use now and then refer to in the future? I would need your letter by Monday, December 4th. In addition to whatever recommendations and reflections you would like to share, I’m hoping to collect this information from you:

  • Are you satisfied with the quality of the work delivered by the Capstone student?
  • Was the student responsive, punctual, consistent, and professional in her or his communications and interactions with you?
  • Would you be interested in working with future Capstone classes and students on possible  projects?
  • If you were to provide projects for students in the future, what changes or adjustments to this process would you recommend?

Thanks again for taking the time — I know that you all have very busy schedules. These projects have been very productive on our end for  practicing project management, design, editing, getting and giving critical feedback, and presentation techniques.

I hope to see you at our concluding Capstone course poster session Thursday 12/7 9:35-10:50 a.m. in Walker 134, where we’ll have the opportunity to view all students’ projects and outcomes — and we’ll have sugary treats, too.



Project Possibilities
As of 8/12/06

Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter
[1] Web-site redesign: For this initiative, we would like to completely overhaul our web site to create a new look and an effective way for people to find the information that would be most helpful to them. There is also a need to add quite a bit of content (such as our quarterly newsletters). In addition to your group having regular meetings with Shalini, the BKG Ed/PR sub-committee can help with content to include and in reviewing drafts/ideas.
[2] Data-collection tool for funders

Shalini Suryanarayana
[1] Summer Youth Program
: For this initiative, we will need to analyze our existing marketing pieces (catalog, brochure, flier, poster, mailings and letters) and re-design them, or aspects of them, to better reach our new target audience.

[2] Environmental Sustainability Committee (ESC): For this initiative, we would like to focus on improving our Education and Public Outreach by researching, designing, and producing a series of posters that address one or more of the following issues: water conservation, energy efficiency, and/or a turn off the lights campaign.

Michigan Tech Enterprise SmartZone
SmartLane is a new business acceleration program being implemented by MTEC SmartZone. The program is designed to enhance the commercial advancement of commercial innovations from Michigan Tech. Because it is a new program, a full communications plan is needed to promote SmartLane among stakeholders.

Within the Fall Semester, the SmartLane project will have the following deliverables completed for rollout of the SmartLane program:
* Development of the SmartLane high-level communications plan
* Identification and selection of target audiences
* Key messages
* Determination of modes and frequency of communication to be utilized
* Drafts of communications to be used with 1 or more target audiences

Primary Audience
Following establishment of the high-level communications plan, it is anticipated that one or more specific communications strategies can be mostly developed during the fall semester. Because the Enterprise Program teams at MTU represent, one of the primary communications target groups for SmartLane, this may provide a desirable starting point.

Omega House
Develop present-and-future donor materials
Develop endowment materials
[1] Recommendation report: switching from static to dynamic CMS site.
[2] Temporary fall 2006 editorial plan

Engineers Without Borders (MTU chapter)
Our Engineers Without Borders chapter has a project in a small rural village in Guatemala. We will venture back down there over Thanksgiving week (we went for the first time in early April). We hope to deliver a clean water source to this community sometime in the next year. But first, we will meet with the village to have some community health education (focusing on water-borne disease transmission). We will need to develop materials to assist this education plan. The materials (posters? plays?) will need to be simple, effective, culturally appropriate, maybe even non-verbal (or non-written — illiteracy is an issue here, so we might have to design effective symbolic/graphic tools). Some expert help would be much appreciated, and of real use to people who will benefit.

Dial Help
Yearly fundraising materials: It’s a fund-raiser, it’s a public awareness event, it’s a way of saying thanks for the support. One thing I noted last year (I’ve only been on the board for a bit more than one year) is that the event could have done a much better job of telling
the hundreds of attendees more about Dial Help. So, here’s where your student team(s) would come up. Promotional media. Posters? Table tents? Slide show???? Some sort of integrated event awareness campaign. Many possibilities here, I think.

Community Literacy Journal
Editorial Intern: print production, CMS development, or both

Copper Country United Way
Web site development: The Copper Country United Way is long overdue in establishing a web presence that provides the community and potential donors quick and easy access to information about the CCUW, its history and purpose, a list of the local human service agencies we serve and links to those agencies, current campaign information, and, most importantly, a means for contributors to donate online. As a member of the United Way of America, we already have access to the UWA secure website to process donations, but CCUW needs a website that provides information on the donation process and which can link donors directly to the UWA website.

Our primary audience will be folks (local and distant) who are potential donors or established donors wishing a quick and easy way to make a payment via a credit card. Secondary audience will be anyone wanting general information on our agency – this includes general public, organizations we work with already, and new organizations who may be interested in becoming an agency served by our United Way. Besides a simple website design (probably 4-5 pages) that allows room for growth as our services expand/change and a website that is easy to maintain, we need input as to whether working with the United Way America option of having a website thru their service or going with a local service such as is the most cost/marketing-effective for us.

While we are savvy as to the design, marketing needs, and organization of the information to be presented on a website, we are not knowledgeable as to the technologies involved in setting up a website.

The local agencies served by the United Way program are the American Red Cross, Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter Home, Big Brothers-Big Sisters, Hiawathaland Boy Scouts, Catholic Charities, Child and Family Services, Dial Help, 4-H of Houghton-Keweenaw Counties, Peninsula Waters Girl Scouts, Keweenaw Family Resource Center, Phoenix House, Salvation Army, Stillwaters Home for the Elderly, UP Emergency Services, UP Library for the Blind, Vocational Strategies. While some agencies may be headquartered out of the area, the funding received for these agencies goes only to the local agencies. Money given in the Copper Country, stays in the Copper Country.

Correspondence to Potential Clients, August 1st

Greetings —

I’m teaching the STC Advanced Practicum in Technical Communication this fall (HU4634), which supports students in developing and delivering a complex, client-based communication project. In the past, these projects have included

•    Web sites
•    Publicity and fundraising materials
•    Recommendation and feasibility reports
•    Usability and human-computer interaction (HCI) studies
•    Graphic-design projects
•    Documentation manuals
•    Content-management systems
•    Ergonomic/workplace studies
•    Other projects that solve a communication problem.

The communication project can be internal or external to your department or organization.

If you’ve participated in these kinds of student projects in the past, you already know that the most challenging aspect can be planning and logistics: coordinating your schedule with a student’s schedule (a sometimes bracing task!); collecting materials and helping to orient a student to your organization’s or department’s needs; and providing timely, productive feedback as the project develops and progresses toward a successful completion.

The payoff is worth it: we’ll be working with smart and creative upper-division STC majors who are nearing graduation and who have developed impressive professional skills in a range of media platforms, audience awareness, project management, and client relations. Our graduates go on to editorial, writing, and leadership positions in technical communication, design, and media development. Recent graduates are working in Africa on AIDS education programs, as documentation and knowledge-management specialists here in the U.S., and some have gone on to top communication graduate programs.

Course readings in the fall term include technical communication in global, cross-cultural, and cross-disciplinary contexts, and in the art of project management.

If you’re interested in working with an Advanced Practicum student this fall semester on a communication project that will benefit your department or organization and an STC student’s professional development, here’s my plan:

•    E-mail me a 100-150 word description of your potential project’s goals, purpose, and primary audience by August 11th – it can be general at this point; you’re under no pressure to have all the details worked out.

•    Plan to visit our HU4634 Practicum either Tuesday 9/12 or Thursday 9/14, Week 2  of the fall term, 9:35-10:50 a.m., where students can ask questions and we  can brainstorm project possibilities based on your written project description.  If you live and work elsewhere, don’t worry, as we’re also good at distance projects and collaborations.

I’d like to ensure smooth and sustainable project logistics as much as possible ahead of time by doing preliminary planning over the summer. Please feel free to email me if you’d like to participate in the fall, and we can begin to work out ideas and plans.

Thanks for reading —



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