Notes from July 14 Web Committee meeting

The following are notes summarizing the Web Strategic Committee meeting. Included are files of the handouts discussed at the meeting as well as a comprehensive to do list based on what was decided at the meeting.

Establishment of Web Strategic Committee

  • The Web Strategic Committee was originally created by President Stephen T. Hulbert to establish the Web as a recruiting tool.
  • Supporting goals of the committee included retention and maintaining the Nicholls brand throughout the Web site.

Initial stage of the committee

  • Step one: To redo all university Web pages, beginning with academic units.
  • Priority list handout. Step one for the next creative writer/editor.
  • Remaining academic sites:
    • College of Arts and Sciences:
      • Department of History and Social Sciences
      • Department of Mathematics and Computer Sciences
      • Department of Physical Sciences
      • 13 Department of Biological Sciences program sites
    • College of Business Administration: None
    • College of Education:
      • Family Resource Center
      • Family Service Center
      • Intergenerational Program
      • Louisiana Center for Dyslexia and Related Learning Disorders
    • College of Nursing and Allied Health: None
    • John Folse Culinary Institute: None
    • University College
      • Department of General Studies
    • Graduate Studies

Next stage of the committee

  • Incorporate current and future trends.
  • Focus on Web site maintenance.
  • Collaborate with Computer Services and other Nicholls technical staff members.

Proposed committee structure (approved by current committee. List will be e-mailed to Larry Howell, who will send out appointment letters.)

  • Core
    • Incorporate current and future trends.
  • Content
    • Focus on Web site maintenance.
  • Technical
    • Collaborate with Computer Services and other Nicholls technical staff members.

Core

  • Discuss major Web issues that need to be brought before the Strategic Communications Committee or President’s Cabinet.
    • To have new appointment letters sent out. (Will be handled by Larry Howell.)
    • To have university lawyer review Web site disclaimer. (Rick Duet and/or James Planck will forward suggestions to Becky Pennington.)
    • To have Computer Services co-manage our public Web server.
      • Currently, Jess is the only person with administrative access to Nicholls public Web servers. He would not be opposed to giving over control if it means better systems choices, security and reliability.
  • Set concrete goals for the future of the committee.
  • Discuss any major Web issues, redesigns, etc.
  • Look into YouTube partnership.

Content

  • Discuss issues related to improving the content of the Web site.
  • Assist in communicating with primary users of Web sites.
  • Allow for feedback from the academic community.
  • Create a central hub for those responsible for Web site maintenance and separate Web projects.
  • First steps:
    • Getting the remaining Web sites completed – creative writer/editor.
    • Establishing a Web site maintenance plan.
  • Possible future steps:
    • Providing space to faculty on http://people.nicholls.edu.
      • Devise plan to communicate with faculty about the new option and provide training.
    • Looking into converting the Schedule of Classes PDF into a WordPress site.

Proposed maintenance plan

  • Identify the person responsible for updating each site.
    • Develop a list of suggestions on how to select someone to maintain your Web site.
    • Using the 2008 Nicholls Web Audit, develop a list of all Web sites that fall under each department/office.
    • Attend a meeting of the Deans Council to reiterate the importance of the Web as a recruitment tool and get support in having each department held responsible for maintaining its Web content. Explain the proposed maintenance plan. Have administrative support physically present.
    • Attend college meetings.
      • Get support of department heads.
      • Hand out suggestions list.
      • Have each department head indicate who will be responsible for maintaining each Web site that falls under that department’s control.
    • Attend meetings of the offices of academic affairs, finance and administration, institutional advancement, and student affairs and enrollment services to carry out the same process for non-academic sites.
    • Develop and publicize a system for how to request and make changes to Web sites.
      • Publish an online list of the content managers for each Web page.
      • Change requests should flow through the primary user (Web site maintainer) for the appropriate department/office.
      • Requests received by the Webmanager and creative writer/editor will be routed to the primary user.
      • If the primary user cannot carry out the request, it will then go to the Webmanager and creative writer/editor.
      • A bug tracker would allow individuals to report an error with any Web page, which Jess would then route to the appropriate content manager.
      • The new version of WordPress has change tracking features, which could be greatly utilized.
    • Hold training sessions for each site’s primary user.
      • Initial mandatory training session; will be a refresher for some.
      • Hold private training sessions as needed for new users.
      • Hold at least one training session per semester, for new users and for those who need a refresher.
    • Develop a checklist for primary users to be sent out each semester.
      • To serve as a reminder to update program requirements, faculty, photos, etc.
    • Update Web page guidelines.
      • To be based upon the Graphic Identity Standards, the document should explain how much freedom departments have in making changes.
    • Become pro-active.
      • Set up schedules for seasonal Web sites, such as Homecoming, Jubilee, etc.
      • Creative writer/editor will have more time to advise departments/offices on how to improve their content.
        • Use press releases and new photography to proactively update Web pages.

Technical

  • Create collaboration with technical staff.
  • Make recommendations for technical improvements.
    • Discuss splitting the current server hardware into one system to handle the Web server and one to handle the database server. (Larry Howell asked Jess to come up with a list of what would be needed for the next few years along with costs.)
    • Examine the effectiveness of the Google search engine and consider upgrades, replacements and reconfigurations. (Jess Planck will ask Bruno Ruggerio for funding to renew the Google support license.)

Next step for the committee

  • Begin working on Web policies and documents:
    • Web page guidelines.
    • Checklist for primary users.
    • Suggestions on how to select primary users.
    • System to request and make Web changes.
  • Available at http://web2.nicholls.edu/web.

Meeting Files