Editor's Desk

Letter from the Editor - Spring/ Summer 2022

The Mecca 2.0

Kweli Zukeri and Rin-rin Yu at Howard commencement

Kweli Zukeri, PhD, and Rin-rin Yu at Howard's 2022 Commencement.

Kweli Zukeri (or DOCTOR Kweli Zukeri, as our team fondly refers to this new PhD recipient) is the director of user experience and web strategy in the Office of University Communications. He is the driving force behind our new websites, including The Dig, the president’s site, and, yours truly, Howard Magazine. Among his plethora of responsibilities includes ensuring that visitors to our websites have a seamless and memorable experience (also known as “user experience”). That was particularly important for this issue of the magazine, which is the first digital-only issue Howard has ever released. (Don’t worry, the printed version resumes in the Fall).

As we were building the websites, we understood that it wasn’t so much an “if we build it, they will come” situation, but rather a matter of “when we build it, will they stay?” And that’s where Kweli’s expertise in user experience – and recent receipt of a doctoral degree in developmental psychology from Howard* – comes into full force.

The new websites were built because our old ones were not keeping up with the times. Our communications needs were outpacing the ability to deliver stories and information on our previous platforms. Our various audiences were looking for more and more information from us, and we could only provide it in a limited capacity. But now, we can deliver information so much more rapidly – and in so many formats – as is expected in our rapidly changing digital age. Our analytics have proven that Kweli’s expertise was right on the nose: we built it, you all came, and you stayed to explore, engage and learn about what was happening at Howard.

In the next 10-20 years, Howard will undergo a marathon of changes to keep up with and accelerate what’s occurring in the world.

And you found out that a lot is happening here. These websites are only a sliver of what’s to come. In the next 10-20 years, Howard will undergo a marathon of changes to keep up with and accelerate what’s occurring in the world – from buildings and facilities to classes, majors, and research. The way students are learning these days is a far cry from what many of you experienced during your days at Howard. Many of Howard’s proud and iconic spaces will remain, but new ones – equally iconic – will be created. It won’t be long until students will arrive in their driverless vehicles or beam in like Scotty from the Serengeti, like some kind of Afrofuturistic novel (read Kymberli Corprue’s piece in this issue about Afrofuturism).

But as always, we want to hear about the changes in your own lives. So please, feel free to reach out to share any updates, news, or story ideas you would like to read about in Howard Magazine. In return, we will continue to share all the changes going on here at the Mecca. I hope you enjoy reading and interacting with this paper-free, Howard Forward-thinking, digital edition of our Spring/Summer issue.

Happy Summer,

Rin-rin

 

*Dr. Zukeri completed this degree while putting in overtime on his regular job, building these websites, and taking care of two kids at home. I think he deserves a medal as well. If you’re interested in learning more about his degree, watch this video.

Another fun fact: Kwelis godmother, Teresa Redd, PhD, founded and directed the Center for Excellence, Teaching, Learning and Assessment, which we talk about in this issue as well. 

This story appears in the Spring/ Summer 2022 issue.

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