University Web Developers

University Web Developers

Do you manage your College/School site AND departments within?

I feel like I'm in a unique position in that, at the University of Missouri, I manage our division level college (of engineering) AND most of our department sites all within a single CMS. http://engineering.missouri.edu/

Are you in a similar situation? 

If so, let's talk!

  • How do you manage your site?
  • Were you handed your departments all at once, or did you have to take them over?
  • Was a peaceful transition if you took them over? How did you accomplish it?
  • How do you take care of faculty?
  • Do you also give faculty personal web presences?
  • How many staff do you have? Full time? Part Time?
  • Who writes your content?

There seems to be a lot of data and surveys for university-at-the-top level people, but not a lot of interest in the division and department levels.

To answer those questions:

  • How do you manage your site?
    • We just left Cascade to move to Wordpress. I manage the College and the department sites I control all within the same install (using WP 3.0's network capabilities)
  • Were you handed your departments all at once, or did you have to take them over?
    • At first I was only responsible for the college level website, but saw the need to absorb our departments. Over the last three years I've taken on all but one.
  • Was a peaceful transition if you took them over? How did you accomplish it?
    • It has been peaceful. Most of the department sites were managed by an admin that had no real interest in being a web admin. 
    • As time went on and it became apparent that I wasn't a student the college hired to "make a website pretty" more departments came on board for various reasons: 
    • Example reasons: didn't want the responsibility any more, website got hacked and was selling viagra, or just wanted to look like the college site.
  • How do you take care of faculty?
    • All of our faculty have a edited profile page with their picture and contact information. We edit their bio for style and clarity because it is also used in a printed directory.
    • Our faculty are also tagged by research topic. This allows us to also tag our news in the same way (by topic and by faculty name), creating a research directory.
  • Do you also give faculty personal web presences?
    • At the moment, only three have personal websites (as a test) but as we create more online and blended courses, I expect the momentum to pick up.
  • How many staff do you have? Full time? Part Time?
    • Web staff: Me, myself, and I.
    • I have 3 part time journalism students creating video content.
  • Who writes your content?
    • We have a news writing staff of a full time writer/editor who also takes care of the magazine, and that position manages 3 part time journalism students who write the perfunctory alumni, faculty, and student news.
    • I've been able to draft the part time students to write some small bits of academic and marketing content here and there, but I find myself developing content too.

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While not at the college level I manage the Aviation Sites (soon to be school of transportation with a few more depts) for Southern Illinois University Carbondale (2.5 departments, and about 35 sites total). http://www.aviation.siuc.edu

 

  • How do you manage your site?
    • We use Drupal for our main site, mediawiki for our intranet, and Wordpress for the rest of our site. The combination has given us a lot of flexibility in meeting the various needs of different groups while still providing a rather remarkable level of continuity between web properties.
  • Were you handed your departments all at once, or did you have to take them over?
    • I initially started with just management and flight depts. We didn't bring the latest on until last summer. Although management and flight are technically 1 department they are separate programs with separate locations, faculty, etc. The latest department, technologies (maintenance) and flight didn't often see eye to eye so getting them to agree on a unified face for recruiting took over a decade. Next year the automotive departments will also join the mix as the school of transportation. They should fold nicely into our web framework as we are one of the only units on campus with a real web presence.
  • Was a peaceful transition if you took them over? How did you accomplish it?
    • I wouldn't call it a takeover at all for technologies, their new director saw the advantage of working together and our established position and got on board. For everything else getting on board has been a matter of them wanting to do something and me being the only person on campus who could do it. We've actually had unrelated groups request services from us and currently we host a Wordpress network system for architecture as well as we're working on incorporating the school of journalism into our infrastructure.
  • How do you take care of faculty?
    • We put up a basic profile on the main site for all faculty and staff as well as require them to use a departmentel email address. They can use their email to edit their profile on the site. In addition with their departmental email they can register and create sites for any need with our wordpress network system. To date this has mostly been used for classes but I see that expanding soon. Finally, we provide LOTS of training with regular sessions and workshops as well as one-on-one consultation for those who request it.
  • Do you also give faculty personal web presences?
    • Yes, we provide and encourage personal websites with a wordpress network in which users with a departmental email address can register for any site they need. To date however few use it as personal space for political reasons and apathy.
  • How many staff do you have? Full time? Part Time?
    • Just me most of the time. At times I've had as many as 2 student workers for graphic design and 1 who functioned as a social media evangelist. I've been working for almost 3 years to get help for creating video and digitizing lectures, etc but to date that just hasn't panned out.
  • Who writes your content?
    • As of our most recent redesign last summer content on pages is by committee and for dynamic content (scholarships, news, etc) those who have access to the material have access to an post it themselves. Anything we need done beyond that we have to outsource on a per-incident basis.


For the personal faculty Wordpress based sites (where I am probably headed)

  • Did you provide training/support for them?
  • Do you edit their content, or are they on their own?

For your department websites

  • Have you found it to actually be worth your while to let individual departments manage their own content? 

We are currently in a transition stage here at Martin Luther College, but I'll toss in my answers as best I see them:

 

  • How do you manage your site?
    • Currently we use Plone 2.1.x for all content management of the public-facing website. Student information and other campus-wide database specific information is housed within our campus Portal and then we use Moodle for our online learning environment. I am heading up the project to move the public-facing website to Plone 4.x and maintain it.
    • I am essentially the beginning-and-end-point for all decisions related to the web. I work closely with departments heads and PR for everything, but the "power" rests in me.
  • Were you handed your departments all at once, or did you have to take them over?
    • Currently I have just been handed them all. There are going to be exceptions around athletics and some other outlying parties, but most will be under my review.
  • Was a peaceful transition if you took them over? How did you accomplish it?
    • Since no one really cares all that much (or puts any effort into it), it has been peaceful.
  • How do you take care of the faculty?
    • This is going to be reworked as currently the faculty has almost no presence on the public-facing website. We would like to put up biography pages for each member of the faculty along with tagging specific pieces of information that they present for me to put up. This is still very preliminary.
  • Do you also give faculty personal web presences?
    • We did and currently we don't. A few put up information directly into Plone for the benefit of students, teachers and pastors currently serving outside of the college, but some ideas have been tossed around to give all faculty the option of having their own space that they could use.
  • How many staff do you have? Full time? Part time?
    • For the web, just me. I'm full time, but much of my time is taken up with technician work while the main technician for the campus is out due to health reasons.
    • I work with the PR staff here on the campus as well, but they are not specific to the web.
  • Who writes your content?
    • Anyone on the campus can write content and provide it to me. However, PR provides most of it currently besides the stuff that I work on myself. I will be coming up with some workflows to get more people involved.
Hope this is of any use.

 

To answer those questions:

 

How do you manage your site?

  • Here at CSU-Pueblo ( http://www.colostate-pueblo.edu ) we use SharePoint. I manage the entire site but train editors if they are interested. The only exceptions are our Library and Atletics websites.
  • We have a Web Steering Committee to help work through any issues.

Were you handed your departments all at once, or did you have to take them over?

  • We did a total site redesign which meant rebuilding every site, every department and every college site (6000+ pages). I had about 6-months to make the transition.


Was a peaceful transition if you took them over? How did you accomplish it?

  • I met with every dean, department, and committee and showed them the new site templates. Once they got a glimpse of the improvements, they were all on board. Needless to say, my first month was nothing but meetings :)
  • However, we definitely had some issues when they found out that they would initially loose control of their site and permanently loose control of any creative freedoms they once had.
  • It took some convincing that centralizing the website was the best way to maintain the integrity of the site’s overall look.

How do you take care of faculty?

  • Each department has a “Faculty” page with basic contact information and link to their profile website.
  • Each faculty/staff member is given server space to build and maintain their own site.

Do you also give faculty personal web presences?

  • Yes. They pretty much have free will to post whatever content they wish on the personal site. Most of it is terribly outdated.

How many staff do you have? Full time? Part Time?

  • Over 600 faculty & staff and our university.
  • I am the Web Communications Mgr. We have an IT guy that helps with our programming, a server manager and I have 3 or 4 student employees. I train editors around campus if they wish but most don't. The campus editors can only edit their particular content.

Who writes your content?

  • Each dept/college is responsible for writing their content and keeping it current.

I hope this helps!

Hey gang, thanks for the replies.


I was really looking for people who, within a larger university, take care of their college and departments, rather than a top level web-admins.

 

I work at the University of Missouri, but my responsibility is the College of Engineering and most of our departments.

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