Penn State Intercom......April 11, 2002

Quality Expo showcases

By Bill Campbell
Special to Intercom “While new technology will be demonstrated and d

T he innovative use of cutting-edge information technology to improve service and enhance quality will be highlighted at the 10th annual Quality Expo held in conjunction with a higher education conference May 16 and l7 on "Enhancing Services through Customer-Centered Technologies."

Quality Expo 2002, featuring 42 exhibits, will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, May 16, in the President's Hall at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel on the University Park campus.

Quality team members will showcase their accomplishments and discuss how they have used information technology to improve their processes. The Expo is free to the public and is the kick-off event for the two-day conference.

Provost Rodney Erickson will welcome conference participants. The keynote speaker is Amir Hartman, a senior fellow at Harvard Business School Interactive and a leading global authority on the business value of information technology. He is the author of Net Ready: Strategies for Success in the E-conomy.

Following his talk, panelists from several universities will discuss the organizational culture and structure that is needed to support and facilitate the realization of Web strategies and how to make a university "Net-ready."

Mary Donato, vice president of the Global TeleWeb Channel for the Xerox Corp., will speak at the luncheon session on Friday, May 17. She is a member of the University's eBRC (Electronic Business Research Center) Advisory Board and leads the Marketing Council of the American Management Association.

Conference sessions will provide opportunities for participants to discuss topics such as personalizing the Web; converting data into information; anticipating resource needs for new technologies; and protecting data. Both the Expo and the conference are co-sponsored by the Center for Quality and Planning, Web Strategies Implementation Team and the National Consortium for Continuous Improvement.

"While new technology will be demonstrated and discussed, the real focus of the Expo and the conference will be on the use of technology to better serve our stakeholders," said Louise Sandmeyer, executive director of the Center for Quality and Planning. "Technology is a tool to enhance service to our faculty and staff, students and alumni. We are looking for ways to improve service through the use of technology."

Expo and conference visitors will have an opportunity to view a wide range of new technologies being employed by units throughout the University. At the World Campus HelpDesk exhibit, team members will demonstrate how they are using technology to better serve students.

"We are challenged by the fact that all of our students are at a distance," Stephen Murgas, team leader, said. "There are no walk-ins, so we must use the latest innovations in technology to overcome the obstacles in reaching the students."

The team has built its own tracking system that will be demonstrated at the Expo. Murgas said it is not a traditional customer-resource management system, but is a custom-designed relational database system, meeting the needs for the greatly varying courses supported.

Another exhibit will feature the Penn State Portal. Developed by Information Technology Services, it is similar to My Netscape or My Yahoo in that it enables users to chose information that is most important and interesting to them by adding and removing built-in content "containers" called channels. James Leous, team leader, said the Penn State Portal pulls together a number of University Web sites and allows access account holders to personalize the way they want to look at information. Several laptop computers will be set up for visitors to try the portal. Team members will be on hand to offer advice on how to best use it.

At the Enterprise Information Systems (EIS) exhibit, sponsored by the University Budget Office and Enrollment Management and Administration, quality team members will demonstrate EIS, a Web-based query report tool that provides summary information on enrollments, admissions and other University data. Visitors will be able to view the site and learn how to pull up data.

In addition to the University projects, the National Institutes of Health will have an exhibit on its Electronic Research Administration Project Team (eRA) and Kent State University will feature its Academic Quality Improvement Project Steering Committee.

For information on conference registration and fee, visit To learn more about the Quality Expo, visit

Bill Campbell can be reached at