Faculty Champions lead Special Interest Groups in Social Media and Web Design

By Eliza Williams

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Center of Excellence for Women in Technology (CEWiT) is launching two Special Interest Groups (SIGs) for women interested in developing expertise in social media and web design.

Throughout the fall semester, Faculty Champions Sarah Smith-Robbins and Margaret Lion taught courses preparing women students to lead the upcoming SIGs. The courses were open to Indiana University students from any major and class level interested in developing expertise in social media and web design. After completing the two eight-week courses within their chosen area of interest, students can apply to serve as interns who will lead the interactive workshops next semester.

Dr. Sarah Smith-Robbins, Marketing department faculty and Director of Learning Technologies for the Kelley School of Business, did not hesitate to jump in when she heard that students wanted to learn more about social media. She has been developing the social media SIG with student leaders this semester, and anticipates that the spring workshops will cover everything from basic social media to starting an online business.

Smith-Robbins, self-proclaimed “Instigator of Geeky Creativity,” stresses the importance of extensive social media knowledge at both the university and corporate level. “Our new graduates need to make use of the networking and connection possibilities that social media allows. There just isn’t a career path that hasn’t been touched by technology,” she said. “You don’t need to major in technology to benefit from knowing more about it.”

IU School of Public Health lecturer Margaret Lion brings her passion for computers and technology to the web design SIG. She strives to help students increase their skills with website creation, and teaches them the skills necessary to pass this knowledge on to others. Like Smith-Robbins, she hopes that the workshops will lead to more career opportunities for students. 

Lion is an advocate for women in technology and encourages anyone with an interest in computers to pursue their dreams despite obstacles. She feels that the SIGs are a great step for women with an interest in pursuing tech or just learning more valuable skills for the job search in general.

Her SIG students have been a continual source of inspiration throughout the semester. “The best part of my involvement has been the students that I work with. They are so brilliant and capable,” Lion said.

Junior Maggie Stephens studies journalism, marketing and history, and decided to enroll in the fall eight-week courses to improve her tech skills. She chose to focus on social media and hopes to help teach the workshops next semester.

“I learned so many useful things that I didn’t know before. There are so many tools out there on the web that will help you maximize your social media maven-ness, and I learned all about them through the SIGs,” Stephens said.

The workshops are anticipated to launch in the spring semester and are open to IU students. For more information, please e-mail cewit@indiana.edu