College Council Is Making Communications a Priority
The new Members’ Area on the College web site is one more
example of our continued commitment to enhancing and improving
services to our members.

By Larry M. Capstick

The second College Council identified as one of its priorities the need to improve both our communications and services to the membership. You’ll see in this issue that the College has introduced an important new service for the members: a secure Members’ Area on our web site that allows you to change personal information online, contact Membership Services and sign up for e-mail updates.

This is in addition to services already available online, such as paying your annual membership fee, downloading forms for College processes or using the public register to provide evidence of your good standing with the College to a potential employer.

Responding to Members
With the introduction of this latest service, members can access—and change—their personal information, and view and request updates to their professional information.

The College Council is always struggling to balance service to members with associated costs. Improved online communications and services will also have other benefits for our members. The membership of the College has grown steadily since its establishment five years ago. Putting College services online is cost effective as well as convenient.

The College Council has approved an initiative that will allow for electronic voting in the next round of Council elections. In the 2003 Council elections, you will cast your ballot electronically, rather than by means of the conventional mail-in process. Again, the intent is to make the voting process less costly and more efficient.

Members will log in to the Members’ Area, put in their registration number and password and vote. The function will then be disabled in their account to ensure a member can vote only once. There is no link between the registration number and the member’s ballot, thus preserving the confidentiality of the voting process. E-voting will reduce election costs by more than a half.

Very Secure
As you might expect, Council members have expressed concerns about security of members’ individual accounts. I can assure you that the College has done a great deal of research on the subject and is implementing the latest technology in order to provide members with the security you have a right to expect.

The web site will also give the College the ability to provide you with important information quickly. This past year, when the provincial government announced the Ontario Teacher Qualifying Test with its very tight deadlines, the College was able to give its members and potential members instant access to what they needed to know via a link with the home page. A great many people were most appreciative of this information and its ease of access.

Purely Voluntary
When you are signing up for the Members’ Area, you have the choice of supplying the College with your e-mail address. This is a purely voluntary decision on your part and if you decide not to do it at that time, you can always change your mind later on.

The College is aware that many people are reluctant to provide their e-mail address for a variety of reasons, so I want to personally assure you that the Council members have insisted that security and privacy of information is a high priority for the College. The Members’ Area is password-protected, featuring the same kind of encryption as that used by banks and credit unions.

Moreover, you can be assured that the College will not use your e-mail address for any but the stated purpose and will not give the address to any other person or organization.

As I stated at the outset, the College Council has supported this initiative as one of its major goals. Improved communications, service to members and cost efficiencies are combined in this one initiative. You have the choice as to what degree you wish to access the service, and if you have any concerns or questions about this service, please do not hesitate to contact the College.

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Ontario College of Teachers
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