Meet Marcie Whitecotton-Carroll

Earlier this year, the Office of the Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President (Information Services & Technology) received a record-breaking number of nominations for the 2020 IT Awards. We are excited to recognize the individuals who were nominated and the important contributions they make everyday at the University of Alberta.

Marcie Whitecotton-Carroll has worked in the Faculty of Arts for the past 18 years. When she first joined, she worked in English and Film Studies where she maintained the department’s website, databases, labs, and technology. For the past few years she has been working as the faculty’s Web Content Manager.

We spoke with Marcie to learn more about her role and what motivates her.

What does a day in the life look like in your position?

My day starts with putting out the fires in my inbox. With everyone having recently transitioned to a new CMS, the departments have a lot of questions about how to do tasks on the website. Then there’s day-to-day updating of the website, stories to add, web features to post for recruitment, and materials to help with promotion. 

What’s one thing you’re working on now, and why is it important?

The Undergraduate Student Services (USS) team worked with designers and communications to develop BA degree guides for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts. The guides are a set of graphics for each of the 25 programs you can receive a BA in. Once they were completed, I received the final versions and had to develop an interface so people with screen readers and accessibility issues could use them just as easily as anyone else viewing the page.

Another thing I enjoyed working on is the Arts 101 game for high school students. Students play the game to see what they would be interested in pursuing in the Arts program.

What have you worked on since joining the university that you are most proud of?

I’m super proud of the work I did on the website migration to the Cascade CMS. When we migrated Arts, we had 17 departments, centres, and institutes to move over and we got it all done within three weeks. I’m pretty proud of that because the departments did a lot of the work, but it was a lot of mentoring, helping, and troubleshooting along the way.

Why did you pursue a career in IT?

I fell into web work. A lot of my previous education was in databases. I remember earlier in my career a summer intern was being sent for web training and he encouraged me to tag along. I was convinced I wasn’t going to use the training; but the next thing I know, I’m building web pages. Back then you typed everything in HTML, saved it, looked at it, and had it compiled based on what program you were using. At that time PDFs were the most amazing thing that everyone wanted to use.

If you could snap your fingers and become an expert in something, what would it be?

Search engine optimization (SEO). I’m okay at it, but not an expert in it. It’s so important for getting your information out there and eyes on your content. We can always do a better job on that.

If you could only have three apps on your smartphone, which would you pick?

Email, Photoshop, and my cloud library — because I always need to have a book to read.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I also write crime fiction! I’ve got a whole series of short stories about the same character who’s actually the bad guy — a killer for hire. He doesn’t kill random people, you have to hire him. I’ve been writing crime for ten years.

Marcie Whitecotton-Carroll was nominated for an IT Award earlier this year for her exceptional work in migrating the Faculty of Arts website to Cascade. Her strategy in keeping all stakeholders apprised, preparedness, confidence, and leadership all shone throughout the duration of the project.