Introducing Merit Pages at the University of Utah
The University of Utah is now using a system called Merit Pages to share personalized stories about its students’ accomplishments. The program customizes stories by putting students’ names in the headlines and then shares the news with their hometown papers, high school principal and guidance counselors, state representatives and family members. Additionally, students can post their stories on social media and customize their individual profile pages with pictures, work experience, and connect them with LinkedIn.
To share a story idea or to learn more, email us.
“Providing our students with transformational experiences that set them apart from their peers upon graduation is a hallmark of a University of Utah education. Our students have opportunities to apply what they learn in the classroom in a variety of settings in Utah communities, national and international service and research and scholarship. As a model public institution, it is our responsibility to share this work with the communities that have invested in our students, and this system allows us to make this process even more meaningful.”
Dan Reed, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
How does Merit Pages benefit students?
Merit Pages creates an institution-verified digital page for each student that showcases their achievements from enrollment through graduation. Student pages are built automatically as the university shares success stories, creating a digital newsroom that students can share with family, friends, employers, mentors, and others. Stories are automatically shared with students, their family members, their high schools, hometown newspapers, and state legislators. It also makes it easy for students to share their customized stories on social media.
How are student achievement stories created?
University writers first identify potential stories and work with relevant departments to generate a list of students who participated in the achievement. Once the story is written, it is published through Merit Pages and shared automatically with students, their families, high schools, hometown newspapers, and state legislators. Shared content will only include information about students that is designated as “directory information” under the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), or that has already been published by the university in another context.
I’ve been included in a merit achievement story. What happens next?
When a student’s name is included in a Merit story, the student and their family members, hometown news outlets, high school principal and counselors, and state legislators are all notified via email. From there, recipients may send the student a congratulatory message and share the story on social media. Students may also see a story about their achievement in their hometown news media.
how do you determine where to send my stories?
Merit Pages information is sent to your university email address. It is also automatically shared with the family member email addresses the student provided as part of the admissions process. Hometowns and state legislators are determined based on the zip code associated with the students’ permanent address, and high schools are based on the information students provided on their admission application.
Most of this information can be updated in the students’ Merit profile. To view and make changes to which addresses are on file for your account, login to Merit and go to “My Account.” From there, click on “Privacy.”
How can students update or customize their Merit Page?
After logging in to their personal page, students can create a customized URL, add a profile picture, bio, other activities, work experience or connect to their LinkedIn profile so these updates are made automatically. Changes can also be made to personal information, such as name, email address, hometown, and major.
How can friends and family receive updates about student achievements?
Family members whose email addresses are on record will automatically be alerted each time a new story is posted. Interested parties may also visit the U of U Merit Page, search for their student, and click the “follow” button. They will be prompted to create an account that allows them to follow students’ achievements.
If a student would prefer not to share these stories with the family members associated with their registration, they can remove those email address from the automatic distribution by logging into their Merit account, clicking on “My Account” and then clicking “Privacy.”
How do students access their Merit Page?
- Once a student is enrolled at the U, they will receive a Merit welcome message to their university email that includes a link to their personal page along with a temporary username and password that can be changed once the student has logged in.
- Students can also visit the Merit Pages website and click “sign in” on the top right corner to follow the “forgot password” steps to log in with their U email address.
What about privacy?
Because we value student privacy, student pages are set to be private by default and are not searchable on utah.meritpages.com or indexed by search engines like Google, unless students click the “make page searchable” button.
However, stories containing the student’s first and last name will continue to be automatically shared with family, hometown news outlets, state representatives and high school principals and counselors. Students may also share these stories on social media. To view and make changes to who receives their Merit updates, students can click on “Privacy” in their Merit account.
How do I opt out?
Opting out not only removes a student’s page from meritpages.com, but it also prevents the university or any other participating Merit organization from being able to publish achievements about that student in the future. When students first visit their Merit Page, they have an option to click the “opt out” button right away or they can click the “opt out” button at the bottom of the welcome email they receive. If they decide to opt out later, they can click “my account,” “privacy,” and then “opt out” or they can contact us to be removed.