Goodbye ProgDB

So long and thanks for all the fish

In August 2008, ProgDB started as the software I wanted to have and use as a residence life supervisor. Since then, it has had an incredible run - thousands of users per day, hundreds of universities, and nearly 100,000 educational events shared with the community.

Everyone who has worked on ProgDB is incredibly grateful for the early adopters and universities that gave us a chance through their subscriptions. I believe that it has had a measurable impact on the educational programs they produced, the higher education software products that came afterward, and the high levels of support that educators at every level could offer each other in finding community.

At the time, ProgDB was replacing binders of paper and web forms that went into an email box somewhere; systems that universities had used for ages or cobbled together for themselves. The available online collaborative tools were very limited, and even the most prominent companies were wildly experimenting.

Prior to ProgDB, student affairs departments shared educational programs during a handful of professional and paraprofessional conferences each year. After ProgDB, staff members from many universities could search and find inspiration to improve their educational outcomes at any hour of the day. Educators were no longer reinventing the wheel; this software allowed them to see examples of recycling or social justice programs happening at many universities and improve on the work.

It encouraged collaboration across universities. Supervisors could sit down with their programming staff and give them feedback on the specific details rather than spending staff time making sure programs didn’t have a time or resource conflict with each other. Our weekly newsletter called “The Memo” helped everyone stay on the same page by sharing what others within departments or related departments within universities were working on. It prioritized multiple authorship and collaboration, transparency, and goal-oriented planning without using a top-down supervision-heavy organization. This was educational software for educational organizations.

ProgDB helped large departments collect data and have a better understanding of what they were doing. It allowed smaller departments to focus on their educational programs and supporting their student populations instead of spending excessive time collecting the data for the reporting that would justify their budgets or grants. We were proud to support the co-curricular work of many multicultural centers, clubs and activities, athletics, LGBT centers, student governments, greek life, sustainability programs, disability resource centers and the other campus programming organizations that trusted us to help them support their students, advance their educational goals, and improve their universities. We built and hosted hundreds of static calendar websites, RSS and iCal feeds organizations used to publicize their events.

University events are now changing faster than ever. Even as ProgDB retires, we hope you will still be inspired to browse the public programs and tags to find resources archived on the wayback machine. On behalf of the many people who helped build ProgDB, thank you for the quotes, memories, and stories you have shared through ProgDB and in person. Community is powerful. We hope you are doing something beautiful and will keep in touch.

Matthew Pearce
Oct, 2021