MISSOULA – A project to unify the University of Montana’s Web presence has earned recognition as a model of efficiency from University Business magazine. UM is one of eight colleges that will be featured in the magazine’s December 2014 issue. The Models of Efficiency program recognizes innovative approaches for streamlining higher education operations through technology and/or business process improvements.
In early 2013, UM launched a new branding effort and redesigned the University’s home page with in-house talent. After the home page launched, a three-person Web team in Central IT embarked on a project to extend consistent design and brand elements to departmental websites. The effort, dubbed Project Ponderosa, entailed developing a flexible Web template in UM’s Cascade content management system, convincing departments to adopt the new template and providing support to departmental staff.
The Web team, made up of Nick Shontz, Karl Fite and Kayla Pierson, didn’t have the resources to build every site, so they created a process that allowed departmental Web managers to do most of the work. They developed a powerful support website (http://www.umt.edu/web) and offered weekly help sessions with demos and hands-on development.
“We didn’t mandate use of the templates,” said Mario Schulzke, UM’s assistant vice president for marketing. “The approach was to give people the tools and resources they want to use, and because of that adoption has been high.”
Since launching the project last year, 153 UM websites have moved to the new template. Another 62 are in the migration process.
“Eliminating silos may seem like a simple task, but it can be exceedingly difficult, especially when it comes to digital,” said University Business senior editor Tim Goral. “The University of Montana streamlined its Web presence by finding one vendor solution that worked for the entire campus, creating new branding opportunity while better serving each department’s individual needs.”
UM’s Chief Information Officer Matt Riley also praised the efforts.
“Web development at UM used to be a free-for-all with no consistency, poor marketing and Web accessibility issues,” he said. “Now we are turning out large numbers of quality websites in a short amount of time with the same size staff.”
University Business is the leading publication for senior managers at colleges and universities throughout the United States, reaching 75,000 leaders who manage enrollment, technology, business, finance, facilities and academic affairs. More information is available at http://www.universitybusiness.com .