University Web Developers

University Web Developers

So here's my situation- we've got over 230 web editors campus-wide who handle the day-to-day upkeep and maintenance of content on their sites. Basic stuff like spelling corrections, news/announcement postings, inserting new graphics etc. Some are fantastic. Some use the system rarely, and tend to need some coaching everytime the dive back in. And a minute handful just aren't getting it. We hold several monthly training sessions, and often hold one-on-one sessions for those folks who need a little extra hand-holding. Absolutely happy to do it- if they show that they want to make an effort to learn, we're happy to show them the way!

So my teams issue is, we've got a handful of web editors (well, at the moment, really just one) who just aren't getting it. This one in particular, really nice person, the training is just not sinking in. She's attended multiple group workshops, we've conducted literally DAYS (over the course of the year) of one-on-one time with her, and she's still not grasping basic web editing. She continues to edit her pages and muck things up with every edit/publish.

My question is- do any of you folks have policy covering incompetent web editors? Removing these individuals access to a site? Can you post/send me a link to anything you might have online or forward me any documents you might have?We're a brand new shop (just over a year now at this point) and are still in the process of encountering governance issues like this and I need something as a starting point to work something up, so that we can get someone to replace her. I can't spend any more of our limited time with this person, continually reteaching and correcting her mistakes.


Thank you in advance,


Dan Demmons

Director of Web Services
Providence College

Views: 434

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I would love to see policy examples, too, because I'm in the same boat.

I've run into this with a few people in the past. I ended up telling them to just submit their change requests to us through our Zendesk account, and we take care of it. I then removed their CMS access. They were okay with it because it meant less work for them.

As we move to a new CMS, I'm taking the opportunity to revamp our policies and training programs. No longer are we going to grant CMS access to anyone who wants it. They will have to go through our training program first, and we will assess their competency. If they just aren't tech savvy, I will likely make a recommendation to their supervisor or the owner of the website on who should be an editor.

Hopefully that will move most departments away from assigning these tasks to their admin assistants as just another miscellaneous responsibility. "Web editor" roles should be formally added to job descriptions and require certain skill sets.

Bottom line, I guess, is that you just have to be proactive and say look, this isn't working, can someone else in your dept take this on? But I'm not sure how to generalize that into policy language.


As you know, this issue falls into the realm of web governance. All roles and responsibilities need to be clearly articulated, and everyone needs to be held accountable. Have you talked to the supervisor of the web editor in question?  Are the editorial responsibilities in their job description?  Do their annual performance evaluations include how well they are editing the web? (And in a perfect world you would be part of the evaluation process.)

Ping me if you want to discuss further.


I'm the content manager and strategist at Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia. We're a small private university - - with about 75 web editors on campus. Occasionally, we encounter editors who, even after a lengthy period of training, simply aren't a good fit for web work. (We offer beginner and intermediate training twice per year, during our campus-wide faculty/staff development, and we also offer 1:1 training for those who need a bit of hand-holding, as you say above)

When we encounter a staff member who just isn't a good fit, I usually have a 1:1 conversation with that person and his or her supervisor or department chair and encourage him or her to review information online regularly but pass the work to us in the marketing office. Often, these editors are an excellent resource for reviewing online info and keeping it current, but the technical and/or creative aspect of web work "just isn't there." I don't maintain a written policy on this, but after a number of years in this role - and since we are a smaller institution - I have a good idea of those for whom web work is a natural fit.

And thanks to our marketing director's work over the years, faculty and program directors are also now considering the importance of web work in the hiring process, and experience in the field or a natural affinity is a big plus for communications or coordinator positions.

We also have a standard content design and when editors step outside of the standard a number of times I will schedule a meeting with that editor and see if there's a better fit. Again, it comes down to 1:1 conversation at our university.

The way that I've handled this type of issue is to have all publishing go through an approval workflow.  (Short answer - no one can publish to the live site - they can only edit and submit changes for 'approval').

Most 'approvals' only take about 30 seconds - a quick spell check - link check - accessibility check - and publish.

It DOES create a bit of a bottleneck at times, but the time spent dealing with the workflow publishing approvals is far less than the alternative (fixing someone's messed up site/pages after they've gone live to the site).

We use OU Campus from OmniUpdate, and that workflow is built-in to the product.  A life saver, to say the least - we're in our 7th year using their product.

However, most (if not all) WCMS products have some form of workflow/approval process, and I would recommend placing this particular user in that flow immediately, until you can work out some other option for her (and your team).

How many change requests do you get a day on average, and how many people on the web team are assigned to review and publish the changes?

Owners of our departmental sites are the departments themselves - therefore the person ultimately responsible for what's on a department web site is the department chair. The department chair appoints the web editor, and I work with that person to make sure s/he gets at least basic CMS training and I provide technical support as questions arise. I also monitor sites and work with editors to correct issues. 

When I run into an editor that does not (or cannot) fulfill their web duties, I document the failures, report to my supervisor, who has a chat with the department chair. Most of the time, the chair will reappoint their editor.

Unfortunately, sometimes we're still stuck with the incompetent editor. If so, I continue to offer technical support. I'll walk him/her through image uploading for the 50th time - on the phone or in person. I'll continue to document site issues and report them to both the editor and chair. If there's something that *must* be changed, sometimes I will go in and fix it (with the chair and the editor's knowledge and approval), sometimes I'll stand over the editor and guide them through the process. 

But I will not take over maintenance of the site. It is important that the department continue to have ownership and responsibility for all content on their site, and they will not have that if we take over the day-to-day work. 

I feel really sorry for the editors who really aren't cut out for the work - most of the time, they know they're failing, and no one likes that. 



Latest Activity

Profile IconTracey Vellidis and Mikey Greenland joined University Web Developers
Jan 14
Sara Kisseberth posted a discussion

Archived magazine stories

Greetings,What are you all doing online with "old" magazine stories? Do you delete issues after so  many years? 5 years? 10? I'm torn between keeping all on for historical purposes or keeping just a few years online to simplify the site (ala Gerry McGovern.) Curious as to what you see best practices being.ThanksSara KisseberthBluffton Universitywww.bluffton.eduSee More
Jun 10, 2020
Erin Jorgensen posted a discussion

HighEdWeb 2020 Accessibility Summit

The HighEdWeb 2020 Accessibility Summit is a one-day, online conference about digital accessibility in higher education happening June 25, 2020, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. CDT.Join in to learn best practices, share stories and connect with your higher ed peers on topics including social media accessibility, web development, user experience and more. Sessions are designed to boost knowledge at every level, from accessibility beginners to technical experts. Conference registration is $25, with…See More
May 29, 2020
Erin Jorgensen is now a member of University Web Developers
May 29, 2020
Christine Boehler posted a discussion

HighEdWeb 2020 Annual Conference - ONLINE

October 19-20, 2020     Join us ONLINE for HighEdWeb 2020, the conference created by and for higher education professionals across all departments and divisions. Together we explore and find solutions for the unique issues facing digital teams at colleges and universities. In 2020, the Conference will be held completely online, offering multiple tracks of streamed presentations, live…See More
May 3, 2020
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Throughout April, we're hosting webcasts exploring how colleges and universities across North America are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Register for the series today!"
Apr 13, 2020
Christelle Lachapelle is now a member of University Web Developers
Apr 6, 2020
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Download our latest white paper to learn how the demographics of today’s higher ed learners are shifting, and how schools can adapt to meet the needs of these new learners."
Mar 31, 2020
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Join our next webcast with Amrit Ahluwalia from The EvoLLLution to learn about the new "modern learner" in higher education."
Mar 30, 2020
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"As we ride out the latest developments and impact of the coronavirus, there's no better time than now to learn the three Bs of crisis planning."
Mar 16, 2020
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Is your college or university prepared to meet the challenges that come with disasters and emergencies like the coronavirus? Learn how your CMS can help."
Mar 12, 2020
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Can’t afford the time and money to launch a comprehensive guided pathways model? Register for our FREE webcast to learn tricks for simulating a digital guided pathways experience."
Feb 21, 2020
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"With college enrollment decreasing for the 8th year in a row, boosting your college or university marketing efforts is more important than ever. Here's how to get started."
Feb 20, 2020
Christine Boehler posted a discussion

HighEdWeb 2020 Annual Conference

October 18-21, 2020 in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA     Join us for HighEdWeb 2020, the conference created by and for higher education professionals across all departments and divisions. Together we explore and find solutions for the unique issues facing digital teams at colleges and universities. With 100+ diverse sessions, an outstanding keynote presentation, intensive workshops, and engaging networking events,…See More
Feb 19, 2020
Christine Boehler posted a discussion

HighEdWeb 2020 Call for Proposals is Open!

The 2020 Annual Conference of the Higher Education Web Professionals Association (HighEdWeb) will travel to Little Rock, Arkansas, this October 18-21 — and the call for proposals is now open! As a digital professional in higher education, we know you have great ideas and experiences to share. From developers, marketers and programmers to managers, designers, writers and all team members in-between, HighEdWeb provides valuable professional development for all who want to explore the unique…See More
Feb 14, 2020
Christine Boehler shared Sara Clark's discussion on Facebook
Feb 14, 2020
Christine Boehler is now a member of University Web Developers
Feb 14, 2020
Brian Bell joined Kevin Daum's group
Feb 14, 2020
Brian Bell joined Mark Greenfield's group
Feb 14, 2020
Kenneth George is now a member of University Web Developers
Feb 13, 2020

UWEBD has been in existence for more than 10 years and is the very best email discussion list on the Internet, in any industry, on any topic


© 2021   Created by Mark Greenfield.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service