One of the specific areas that I’ve been working on is how our new website can better present information & inspire engagement within departmental and individual faculty webpages. I’ve sent the following questions to all department chairs, but invite anyone with a stake in academic pages – whether you’re a faculty member, coordinator, student, alum, or interested party – to weigh in about specific features you could imagine would strengthen the academic side of our website:
1. What would you like your department/program site to do that it doesn’t do now? Think about organization, graphic design, type/amount of information, interactivity, images/sound/video, and functions like blogs, wikis, and commenting.
2. What would you like your personal faculty page (and those in your department) to do that it doesn’t do now? Are there specific needs for your discipline that should be accounted for in designing the possibilities for faculty pages?
3. Who currently manages, edits and updates your department’s and faculty’s pages? Are there other people in your department who should be able to make edits and updates (assuming that the new system will be easier to use and accessible across system and browser, which it will be!)? What role do you envision your coordinator should have in this process? What about student workers?
4. What is your desired workflow for managing your department and faculty pages (e.g. how are updates requested, who makes updates, what information is automated, how frequently would updates be made)?
5. Do you currently have a way of featuring student or alumni work or updates on your site? If so, how do you manage it? If not, would you like such a function and how would you use it?
6. Do you currently publish a departmental newsletter? If so, how frequently, and in what formats (print, email, web-based)? Would you like to shift newsletters to web-based publishing and/or integrated into your departmental homepage as a blog, downloadable PDF, or other digital platform (think of the cost and environmental savings!)? And if you don’t have a newsletter, would you like to have one (and if so, in what format)?
7. Are there ways you could imagine the web being used to help promote and support department-specific events and tasks? To what degree might your website work better to send information to majors, or promote the program to non-majors/prospectives? What functionality and workflow would be necessary to add those elements to your departmental site?
8. Are there examples of departmental or faculty pages at other institutions that you find particularly effective that you would like to emulate? If so, please provide the URLs and highlight what specifically appeals to you about that site.
9. What other comments, feedback, and guidance might you offer to the web makeover team, especially as it concerns the site(s) in your academic area?