Maintaining website infrastructure and team connections

Editor’s note: Beyond the Call is a section in Around the O Workplace that highlights the exceptional work of UO employees during COVID-19. Each story features an interview with one employee, in his or her own words, with light editing for clarity and length only.

Joel Youngblom
Website Developer in the Office of the Registrar

How long have you worked at the UO?

I've worked at the at UO since November of last year.

Tell us about your work:

I do anything related to the registrar's website. I do content updates when there's a change to academic dates and deadlines, for example, or any content changes to the website. I also manage the back end of Drupal, making sure that the site is updated and has the most current software. Then I've also, with COVID, been building a lot of web forms as we're transitioning our processes from paper to online.

What does your workday look like during COVID-19?

It has been a big change getting used to connecting with my coworkers over Zoom, Teams and email instead of just being able to stop by people’s offices to talk or have in-person meetings. Every day I meet with my supervisor over Microsoft Teams to check in, but a lot of it is emails for people requesting changes on websites and working through my checklist.

With the work itself, there's been a lot of rapid changes that we needed to make to our website to get notices up to make sure students were able to submit forms and petitions. That's been a big learning process for me and rewarding to know the work we're doing is actually working for people.

The larger project that's coming up for me is I will be rebuilding our current site on the newer version of Drupal. I didn't build this version of our website so I'm spending a lot of time just learning how it works, how it was built and why. It's mostly simplifying how things are currently done, making pages more responsive and cleaning up a lot of the extra stuff.

What is keeping you motivated during this challenging time?

Probably the best thing are my colleagues. We’ve got a good group of people in the registrar's office. We do a meeting every week on Friday morning and part of it is business but part of it is just checking in. I feel really inspired by my colleagues and their positivity. I think we all do a really good job of also showing gratitude for each other and recognizing that we're all doing the best we can during a really hard time.

I'm really thankful to be working at the UO in the registrar’s office. I'm really thankful I have a job that allows me to work during this period of time and I'm just happy to be able to do this.

Joel is a part of the Office of the Registrar.

Do you know someone who has gone beyond the call? Nominate a UO employee.