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Monday, October 21 • 4:15pm - 4:45pm
Building a User-Centered System to Measure Community Engagement Activity in Pittsburgh

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Many universities want to develop a comprehensive, publicly accessible listing of their community engagement activities. Efforts vary from utilizing vended products to designing home-grown systems. This presentation will share the University of Pittsburgh’s efforts to develop an open-source engagement and outreach database and mapping tool using in-house staff, user-centered design techniques, and stakeholder engagement processes.

At Pitt, the intent of the tool is to aid in storytelling, find university or community partners, document benefits of university collaboration, and foster collaboration across campus. Based upon a prototype developed by graduate students in 2017-18, the tool is being developed by staff at the University’s Center for Social and Urban Research (UCSUR). In the presentation, attendees will learn more about how UCSUR employed user-centered design processes in the project redesign. Semi-structured stakeholder interviews and hands-on activities were conducted to learn more about the needs of users in the Chancellor’s office, academic departments, and community organizations. These interviews and activities also helped inform efforts to create a common definition of community engagement at the University. Our presenters will also discuss how agile product development methods were used to collect and incorporate feedback from users throughout the development process. They will also discuss how UCSUR is approaching maintenance of the database and tool.


Steven Saylor

Research Programmer, University of Pittsburgh
avatar for Robert Gradeck

Robert Gradeck

Project director, University of Pittsburgh
Robert Gradeck has 25 years of professional experience helping people find and use civic information. He manages and co-founded the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center (WPRDC) at the University of Pittsburgh. The WPRDC is an inclusive open data partnership between the University... Read More →

Monday October 21, 2019 4:15pm - 4:45pm EDT