Author Archives: Ryan Kellett


Liaison: Maggie Paine

Stakeholders interviewed: Discussions with communications at staff meetings and with Tim Etchells; written feedback solicited; two focus groups with communicators (Mike McKenna, Stephen Diehl, Diane Foley, Katie Scott (E.S.), Mark Zelis, Regan Eberhardt, Robert Keren, Pam Fogg, Matt Jennings, Liza Sacheli Lloyd (CFA), Kelsey Eichhorn).


The communications department focused on development and delivery of content, use of content and design to both demonstrate what a top liberal arts college is all about and to differentiate Middlebury from its peers, access to information, and ways to share of information within work groups and across campus.

A key goal of the web site is to strengthen Middlebury’s identity as the global liberal arts college and to reflect the College’s brand mantra-Knowledge Without Boundaries. The site should demonstrate to visitors who/what Middlebury is, how it’s different, and why it’s relevant to their lives and to the world.

In addition, many of the requirements described by Admissions, College Advancement, and Project on Creativity apply to communications.

Development/Delivery of Content

  • Home page that conveys the full scope of Middlebury (One Midd), including LS, BLSE, BLWC, Schools Abroad, MIIS, MMLA, but that clearly highlights the undergraduate college and makes it easy to get to undergraduate admissions information.
    • Suggestion for how to reinforce this sense of the global liberal arts college: Use an interactive map/globe showing all parts of the College (including all sites abroad). Let people choose a location to visit and either “fly” them in using Google Earth or let them click on a map location, then provide content about that location (snapshot information, video, links for more exploring). Links would take you into specific areas of the site, where visitors could explore their particular interests.
    • Link this map to the College’s online map, but have information about each building in a pop-up screen with brief description of building, photo, and links to other content. For example, for Ross Dining Hall, could have photo of the hall, menu for the day, video tour, link to story on Dolci or food review and other dining-related topics.
  • Use content and design to showcase core strengths
  • Site should be “cool,” up to date, convey sense that Middlebury is current.
    • Site should be engaging and interactive with stories, photos, videos, slideshows, blogs, fun features.
      • “Eye candy:” animation, photos, graphics were cited in prospective student focus group as key. However, these should be easy to bypass, so we don’t irritate visitors to the site.
      • Must reflect the beauty of the campus, sense of place, the intellectual excitement of classes and research, and convey what it would be like to be a student and that this is a welcoming and diverse campus community, etc. Student life is key (dorms, dining halls, people, activities, town of Middlebury, not isolated)
      • Content should convey advantages of top liberal arts schools and differentiate Middlebury from peer schools
      • Animation, videos, etc. should be easily bypassable and not prevent users from getting to information quickly
  • Engage students with fresh content on a regular basis.
    • Make it easy to pull stories, videos, slideshows, lectures, and photos developed for one purpose (such as admissions or advancement) into multiple other areas of the Web site, without having to re-enter it in the cms.
    • Make it easy to keep content up to date by automatically pulling information from Banner and databases wherever possible (such as course listings and schedules on faculty pages)
    • Ensure we have student-, alumni-, and faculty-generated content on the site. Enable them to submit/post stories, videos, photos etc. (perhaps even post a photo on the Middlebury site at the same time as they are posting on facebook or YouTube).
    • Online “live” chat with students and admissions officers
    • Videos
      • Available on all platforms
      • Ability to deliver embedded video on Midd site
      • Provide text in addition to video and audio files
    • Features that show off the sense of place and of people, some generated by communications, but others posted by members of the community. Example: photo-of-the week feature using some photos from professional photographers and some submitted by students, alumni, faculty, and staff; virtual tour; photo galleries; slideshows
  • Content and web pages that load quickly and are deliverable to web-capable cell phones, such as iPhone and Blackberry.
  • Course catalog that is easy to use, searchable, allows you to view multiple courses from different departments, and that pulls data into professors’ individual pages and potentially other locations on the Web site. In addition, the catalog needs to be archivable, since it has historical value as a snapshot of Middlebury in each year.
  • Personalized home page that enables the College to deliver information/content (emergency and HR info, events of interest, news headlines, etc.) to key audiences based on their personal preferences and the College’s need to provide critical information.

Easy Access to Information

Site should make access to information easy

  • Improve navigation (drop-down menu?)
  • Improve search
    • Consider artificial intelligence: ability for prospective students to type in a search term or questions and for the server to recognize what information they want and to deliver it.
      • “Ask Middlebury” feature, similar to Ask Jeeves. Ex: What if I don’t have a graded essay?
    • Provide search tool that allows you to type words directly into it
  • Robust site index-The Librarians’ Internet Index is an example of what we could do: Example: If you wanted to find information about the College’s average class size, you could go to the index under, “statistics, Middlebury,” and find a hyperlinked list of sources, broken into categories and subcategories, containing statistical information.
  • Better access to tracking and analytics
  • Ability to easily share content from Facebook or other sites with colleagues on personalized pages
  • One log-on to get to all Middlebury sites. Consider using Facebook sign-on for Middlebury personalized page.
  • Provide html versions of all PDFs

Improve sharing of information within work groups and across campus

  • Develop a searchable database of stories, video, slideshow, quotes that can be used by communicators, admissions, and advancement to tell the Middlebury story.
  • Provide access to Moodle, twitter, or yammer on personalized page to get feedback from colleagues in work group and share documents and other content.
  • Improve the FTP site to make it easy to use and widely accessible.


  • Customer service: provide a central (e-mail) point of contact for web site users. That person could then direct them to the correct department.
  • System for notifying collaborating departments when someone updates shared content on the Web site, ensuring that changes made on a page in one department are reflected in all place where that topic is featured.

Student Employment Office (SEO)

Stakeholder: Drew Macan and/or Laura Carotenuto

Web Redo Contact: Chris Norris
1.    Improve Job Description Listings
a.    Segment differently (ie. by dept?) so that supervisors can find easily.
b.    Roll up to headers?
c.    Have job number connected to position.

2.    Improve open position functionality
a.    Create list of applicants so supervisors could see all applicants for open positions with application materials
b.    Supervisor be able to access a list of their open positions all in one place and then click through to the applicant list for each job
c.    Students could see the status of positions for which they applied (“interviewing”, “filled”, etc.)
d.    A way for the student to save their application content and use it in more than one application.

3.    Investigate using OpenHire for SEO jobs.

4.    The ability to post short video instructions (how to apply for a job, how to complete payroll cards, etc.)

5.    Automated system to set up students in a job once hired – currently slated to become an EPAF.

6.    A customizable homepage for each student with an RSS feed from SEO so that we can push out information without resorting to emailing “All Students”.

Human Resources

Stakeholder: Drew Macan and/or Laura Carotenuto

WebRedo Contact: Chris Norris
1.    Make HR more prominent on the College’s home page.  Employees report having difficulty finding the HR site and request that it be placed on the home page.

2.    Set up a College-wide standard RSS profile for each type of user, including several different HR channels – one for employees, one for supervisors, and one for SEO – that would push HR-related info out to users.

3.    Users have told us it is a priority for them to be able to find things quickly on our web site.
a.    Content needs to be better organized by HR.
i.     Organize by function (employee, supervisor, retiree, etc.) Put the things that are most important to the employee at the top of the page.
ii.    Chunk information into smaller packages
iii.    Use headings and summaries more
iv.    Use FAQ’s
b.    Can we have a more targeted search function that returns results only from HR pages?
c.    Need solutions for posting large documents that we don’t own and can’t alter – like SPDs.  Indexing, book marking, some can be converted into a web document that would be searchable
d.    Make the Employee Handbook easier to find somehow.

4.    Users have told us that it is hard to find information they need at the College (HR-related or College wide)  The HR pages should help guide people to the right resources (electronic, paper, or person) for their question throughout the College.
a.    See #3
b.    Pictures of HR staff on web
c.    Content additions and clarifications
i.    the role of the ombuds person, staff appeals, etc.
ii.    “I have a question about…” link with most common questions listed?
5.    Ability to make changes frequently and easily to keep information relevant.

6.    Maintain links to other databases and applications (e.g. job descriptions, OpenHire, Student Employment)

7.    Make the pages more visually attractive to support the ability to find important things quickly.
a.    Able to support media (videos + pictures + audio)
b.    Bigger font sizes
c.    Icons and symbols
d.    Less “busy”

8.    Be able to support online training as a supplement to other types of training.
a.    Include an area for new employee orientation.
b.    Support the supervisor’s role in new employee orientation
c.    Support online trainings available from other organizations

9.    Support interactive forms. Find a solution for saving personal information so that multiple forms can be created from the same “file”.
(Chris – Discussed this a bit, seems like “fillable” PDFs would be a step in the right direction, though there are some privacy/PII concerns)

10.    Users have told us that a key component of their satisfaction with our service is getting a timely, personalized response from us.  How can the web site support this key indicator?
a.    Sprinkle links and email addresses throughout site content to make direct contact with HR staff one click away.

11.    Support online enrollment for HR programs – trainings, events, or presentations.

12.    Password protected area for information for supervisors.

13.    HR staff area
a.    Brainstorming and problems solving (spigit, wikis, etc)

Parton Health Center

Stakeholder: Mark Peluso

Web Redo Contact: Chris Norris

Top Health Center Website Needs
1.    Better visibility
a.    Direct presence on MC homepage
b.    Most requested info up front
c.    Hours
d.    Location
e.    Emergency info
f.    How to make an appt
g.    Health form info
h.    Easier to find “Contact Us” info

2.    Content-related
a.    Need more “self-service” content (ie. taking care of yourself)
b.    Types of visits
i.    What to expect
ii.    What to bring/prepare
c.    FAQ section (ie. top ten visit reasons)
d.    Staff profiles
e.    More downloadable forms (not online data collection!)

3.    Ease of Use
a.    Larger font
b.    Flexibility of font colors
c.    More white space
d.    “FUN” (go ask alice –
e.    “The Panther Speaks” (health tips)
f.    More visuals, fewer words (video tutorials of self-exams)

4.    Authoring
a.    Easy maintenance, needs to be easy

Public Safety

Stakeholder: Lisa Boudah

WebRedo Contact: Chris Norris

The Public Safety website needs to serve as a resource for publishing information related to DPS Department Policies & Procedures for the campus community and beyond, including information required by regulatory guidelines, as well as providing timely updates related to incidents/events/alerts on campus.

The website needs to collect data in support of the Public Safety policies and procedures/events for Middlebury College. (Note: Not limited to members of the college community but may also include external agencies or individuals.)

  1. Regulatory Requirements (RR)- Provide a centralized location for Emergency response information
  2. RR- Safety Handbook (Clery & public logs, Departmental description/summary)
  3. RR – Building security & Emergency systems information
  4. RR- Policies & Procedure information and links.
  5. $$ savings – various data collection to support & improve internal efficiencies
  6. Switchboard – Streamline/Clarify information pathways (global)
  7. More comprehensive overview of public safety including staff, Contact information
  8. News/Alerts (Missing Persons/News Releases)
  9. Provide easier access to parking information.
  10. Searchable information – (scoped to DPS site)