Designs for Academic Departments and Faculty Profiles

Per Mike’s last post on the “glass wall” phase of feedback, we are offering links to design mock-ups for three academic departments and a faculty profile. A few notes on these:

These designs are not supposed to mirror actual content or the specific links and menu items that a department might use. White Whale did model it using real content, but making the specific content and menu decisions will be up to each department. Instead, the designs represent a range of options that a department/program might choose from, including different color palettes and navigational tools. Even the three departments used as samples might choose completely different options. And these are just flat images, not actively linking sites.

The three departments represent a range of possible design set-ups. The Chemistry site is the most bare-bones in terms of interactive tools – see the bottom of the page for an area called “the carousel,” a horizontally-scrolling content area that can be updated regularly with upcoming events, announcements, stories or links. The Economics page adds a top navigation nicknamed “the juice bar,” with tabs for updating content. The Film & Media Culture page uses both the top and bottom interactive navigation, and highlights how you might embed video into the pages. There are also various other boxes that can be used in all the designs for highlighting announcements, events, deadlines, or any other updates.

The faculty profile page (thanks to Nick Muller for being the prototype!) shows how faculty might display information. We’ll be adding areas for Recent Accomplishments (publications, awards, grants, etc.) and the ability to embed a feed from another site (like a faculty blog). We will also be basing a staff profile based on this template.

Please look these over and leave comments below – again, we’re not looking for “I love/hate it!” style comments, as much as hoping you might pose useful questions about what might be left out, what functionality you might want that’s not clearly here, etc. Every department and faculty/staff member will have some control on how their sites appear, but it will be based on the options here, so hopefully this will be useful as you work forward in adding content into Drupal and helping to build the site in the coming months!

5 Responses to “Designs for Academic Departments and Faculty Profiles”

  1. These mock ups are a great way to get a sense of what the department pages can look like. While looking over them I started thinking Templates, Templates, Templates. Our Dept page has been a total flop when under html or cms. Nonetheless, my colleagues have embraced Segue across the board. I believe it is because it is simple to add content and that there are several templates from which to choose. Folks find it easy to just plug in material or others have some flexibility to get more creative. I am hoping that with droogle (or whatever it’s called) we will have several templates to choose from. e.g. there might be 3 templates for faculty profiles like the Nick Muller mock up. A dept. could then agree to use template B and everyone would fill in their info. There would also be templates to choose from for all kinds of other pages. I can see my colleagues updating regularly if it is as easy as entering content on Segue or creating a PowerPoint. So, many templates please!

  2. Two thoughts:

    While the current content is not as it will be, I do hope there will be some heavy duty attention paid to proof reading for grammatical reading ease, at least initially. For example: such long compound sentence structures to describe departments feels like your forcing the sentence to include everything possible, including the kitchen sink.

    Other than that, I honestly cannot wait until the website is unveiled. I especially like the links to blogs and other projects and research going on that will give great insight into Midd life. Hopefully, the cuts in staff and faculty won’t stagnate what promises to be a dynamic and evolving peek into the School; Keeping it fresh will take some effort. I also like where it’s possible to get to a more visual insight with a “about this picture” link.

  3. Just looked at the faculty template and I’m wondering if the categories are set or if we have flexibility in creating them. The sample one has only two subheads: “Courses” and “Activities and Organizations”. I’m puzzled about whether this is how faculty are best identified. How about “Research” (brief description, with links as needed) and “Teaching”, maybe also “Publications” (perhaps a sample list) and then other boxes we can create as we wish? I suspect our faculty web sites are used more by people outside the institution than within, and it would be useful to have research featured explicitly, not just tucked into the intro.

  4. Miguel – there will be templates for departmental pages, and users will find the editing interface much simpler than what we’ve become used to. I don’t think much will be different in design & look between various faculty profile pages, as we need some uniformity in content and layout.

    Barbara – we’ve added a “Recent Accomplishments” list between Teaching and Activities/Orgs on the faculty profile page. This will feed a range of accomplishments, from awards to publications, grants to performances – all entered by the faculty member with the ability to choose what gets highlighted. We don’t want to be too specific with categories, as not all fit each faculty member (e.g. grants vs. pubs vs. performances), and changing the available fields is not a simple self-service task.

  5. The way we implemented faculty profiles for the Monterey Institute site allowed editors to set a line of content as a heading and create their own labels for “Expertise”, “Publications”, “Languages Spoken” or other sections of relevant information with the understanding that different faculty will need to display different categories. I see no reason to change that model for the Middlebury faculty profiles.

    The sole exception is Courses. We are in the process of developing a new Course Catalog which combines the course information from Banner with course descriptions. The Courses sections on the faculty profile would be an automatic list of the courses taught in the current semester, likely with a link to browse the professor’s course history. As this information is being pulled out of a database it won’t be an editable section of the page and will need to appear in the same position on each page.

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