The My UTPA portal has not only won the hearts of students of The University of Texas-Pan American, it also garnered two prestigious awards.
Earlier this month, The University of Texas-Pan American's Internet Services team captured a Best of Texas Award for Best Application Serving an Agency's Business Needs from the Center for Digital Government. The team also received a Silver Award from the Summit International Creative Awards in the Web Portal category for its My UTPA portal.
"We are just really thrilled we got the Best of Texas Award and the Summit Creative Award was the cherry on top," said Kumar Raman, director of UTPA Internet services. "My UTPA is very dear to us. The team put a lot of effort into it."
UTPA's Division of Information Technology (IT) launched the portal in the Fall 2010 semester to provide students a one-stop shop for all their information. My UTPA allows students to access email, announcements, financial aid, the online learning program Blackboard and other resources they need.
Creating My UTPA was a collaborative effort between IT and other University divisions, as well as student organizations, Raman said.
"At the end of the day we were able to provide a useable product developed by feedback from students," Raman said.
During the 2020-2011 school year IT surveyed students to find out how they liked My UTPA. Of the 1,600 or so respondents, about 90 percent gave the portal favorable reviews, Raman said.
IT is continuing to add new features to the portal, including faculty dashboard and Bronc Bucks portlets, Raman said.
Erica Nuñez, a senior majoring in education with a minor in bilingual education, said My UTPA provides more convenience for her because she can access everything she needs for school in one location.
Before, Nuñez said, she and fellow students would have to access programs such as Blackboard and Assist individually through the University's main website.
"Now we don't have to go through as many windows," she said.
Nuñez, who lives in Harlingen, especially enjoys having access to virtual labs on her computer so she won't have to travel to the Edinburg campus as often.
"It saves me time and money," she said.
The Center for Digital Government is a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government. The Best of Texas Awards program was established to recognize IT professionals in Texas state and local government and education organizations for their dedication, hard work and contributions. UTPA is expected to receive its award during the Government Technology Conference in Austin on June 13.
The Summit International Awards is the oldest and most prestigious organization conducting an advertising award exclusively for firms with limited billings. Throughout its 17-year history, its Creative Award has established itself as one of the premier arbiters of creative and communication excellence.