SUNY New Paltz

Web Editor (1998-2000), Web Coordinator (2000-2006), and Director of Web Communication and Strategic Projects (2006-2010)

  • New Paltz, NY
  • Undergraduate & graduate enrollment: 7,500
  • Founded in 1828
  • Highly selective state, public university
  • Built out the university’s first-ever website; established the first websites for most academic and administrative departments.
  • Established the university’s first social media presence and pioneered its strategic use for marketing.
  • Established the first crisis communication plan and a campus-wide emergency notification system.
  • Founded and directed the Welcome Center; established and oversaw the Distinguished Speaker Series; Creative Services team lead; member of university-wide Brand Marketing Taskforce.

Challenge

In 1998, the State University of New York at New Paltz needed a more comprehensive website that was more appealing to prospective students. A highly selective public institution offering more than 100 undergraduate and 50 graduate degrees, the university boasted a student body of about 6,500 undergraduate and 1,000 graduate students. Its site was in its infancy and didn’t contain comprehensive information or reflect the university’s forward-thinking programs.

Solution

As an undergraduate at the university, I learned to create websites and began freelancing for the institution. The Vice President for Finance and Administration discovered my work and recruited me to work on the university’s main site. I walked off the Commencement stage and into my full-time role as the university’s first Web Editor. Within a couple of years I was promoted to Web Coordinator, and soon thereafter to Director of Web Communication and Strategic Projects.

In my director role, I led the Web Team and worked on a variety of university-wide marketing efforts. I was the guiding force of the comprehensive development of the university’s website—more than 30,000 pages during my 12-year tenure—as well as several major redesigns and the institution’s overall digital presence. I was one of the first marketers to see the value in using social media for marketing at the higher education level, beginning in 2007. I also established their first crisis communications plan and campus-wide emergency notification system dubbed “NP Alert.” I created an online community for newly admitted students called Café New Paltz and coordinates a significant campus-wide effort to enable key student services in a one-stop portal, my.newpaltz.edu.

In my opinion, Rachel is one of the most active, efficient, valuable, respected, and dedicated members of our university community and extremely helpful to our university, the School of Business, students, alumni, and other stakeholders of the university. Rachel exemplifies a standard of excellence in academia. She is an outstanding leader and advocate for the educational needs of students, alumni, staff, faculty members, and the community. She possesses the intelligence and vision that cross disciplines and focus on quality. As a colleague she is first rate. Rachel has always been very active in assisting others in use of web pages and computer technology. Colleagues and members of university administration always seek discussions with Rachel. She has always been very accessible to her colleagues. Whenever there is a discussion in regard to the university’s website, there are a lot of praises for Rachel’s efforts, productivity, dedication, and expertise. Her views are valuable and valued.

Dr. Hadi Salavitabar

Former Dean of the School of Business, State University of New York at New Paltz