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Higher Ed Governance for the Real World

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You can read all about ideal governance models that should work, but what does it really take to run a website in higher ed? This study researched staff structures, roles, and skills at colleges and universities so we could share real examples of how day-to-day website management gets done across higher ed.

Higher Ed Governance for the Real World

  1. 1. Higher Ed Governance for the Real World @rdelaudeRachel DeLauder
  2. 2. @rdelaudeRachel DeLauder What does it take to run a website?
  3. 3. “Many orgs identify their digital teams as only the hands-on resources that design, write, and post web content on a daily basis. This narrow view reinforces the idea that digital is a tactical function and not a strategic one.” — Lisa Welshman, “Managing Chaos”
  4. 4. From Managing Chaos by Lisa Welchman
  5. 5. Web reality in higher ed
  6. 6. @rdelaudeRachel DeLauder Typical web structure leaves gaps Findings Outdated org structures Committee culture Misunderstanding of web skills
  7. 7. @rdelaudeRachel DeLauder Let’s take a closer look
  8. 8. Mixed-methods study Online Survey • Web team roles, skills • Publishing process, workflow • Challenges, opportunities 1-on-1 Interviews • Web team structure, resources • Editorial jurisdiction • Stakeholder relationships • Institutional culture • Training, assessments • Lessons learned
  9. 9. @rdelaudeRachel DeLauder Survey participants 67% Public 4-Year 2-Year Adult/
 Online Private 55% 20%28% 11%
  10. 10. @rdelaudeRachel DeLauder Job titles of survey participants
  11. 11. @rdelaudeRachel DeLauder Job titles of survey participants Practitioners 38% Managers 31% Leadership 31%
  12. 12. @rdelaudeRachel DeLauder What is a “typical” 
 web team?
  13. 13. @rdelaudeRachel DeLauder Number of people on the web team Web Team 9+ 6-8 5 4 3 2 1Not much difference Public/private 4-year/2-year Site size
  14. 14. @rdelaudeRachel DeLauder Common web team skills Web Team CMS Entry Editing Writing Photo Analytics Graphic Design Social Media IA Front End Dev Content Mktg SEO Taxonomy Accessibility Back End Dev Usability Test Video PR Digital Ads 0 25 50 75 100
  15. 15. @rdelaudeRachel DeLauder Outsourced skills Web Team Back End Dev Digital Ads Video Photo Front End Dev Graphic Design SEO IA Analytics Usability Test Accessibility Taxonomy Writing Content Mktg PR Editing CMS Entry Social Media
  16. 16. @rdelaudeRachel DeLauder How do they manage content?
  17. 17. @rdelaudeRachel DeLauder Content management systems Content Management Terminal 4 8% Sitecore 8% OmniUpdate 7% Expression Engine 10% Wordpress 13% Drupal 21% Other 24% Adobe 8%
  18. 18. @rdelaudeRachel DeLauder Ongoing content maintenance Web Team 89% Run analytics reports 75% Send requests for web updates Delete unused pages Content audits Monitor site search logs User testing 66% 62% 56% 31%
  19. 19. @rdelaudeRachel DeLauder What are the common challenges?
  20. 20. @rdelaudeRachel DeLauder The challenges of higher ed Challenges Quality, updated content Staffing Too many cooks Disagree on web’s purpose Training/ web skills Internal comm. issues # of audiences Measuring success CMS sucks Too much content No respect! Rebellion Too slow Pace of tech Power struggles $ No leadership support Lack of ownership
  21. 21. “Too many @$#% cooks in the kitchen. Seriously. Everyone who has ever turned on a computer since the Commodore 64 thinks they know how to do everything.” Higher ed’s content challenges
  22. 22. “The web team has very specialized knowledge that is used daily to maintain the website. To think that anyone given a WYSIWYG editor can write web content and maintain a website is demeaning and insulting.” Higher ed’s content challenges
  23. 23. @rdelaudeRachel DeLauder Struggles 
 to find balance
  24. 24. “We incorporated an online coordinator system, which is mainly secretaries making changes. They aren’t in the system enough to be confident, and don’t review their websites or keep things updated. This was not a productive change for anyone, and our website has failed due to it.” Higher ed’s content challenges
  25. 25. “We’ve got a fairly good grip on the core content now, which is managed centrally, but a large chunk is outside the central team. As a small central team, we don’t have the time to support and guide those web authors.” Higher ed’s content challenges
  26. 26. @rdelaudeRachel DeLauder So, what did we learn?
  27. 27. @rdelaudeRachel DeLauder Types of web teams Patterns from the data MarComm-based Slick, graphic- heavy templates Prioritized around business goals Consistent branding and messaging IT-based Focused on workflows and permissions Request-based updates Page load times, accessibility
  28. 28. @rdelaudeRachel DeLauder Types of web teams Patterns from the data Centralized Consistent branding and messaging Bottlenecks Not enough staff to support everyone Edge-case needs not met Decentralized Speedy updates Autonomy SME knowledge Inconsistency Poor-quality content Silos
  29. 29. @rdelaudeRachel DeLauder The challenges of higher ed Patterns from the data Quality, updated content Staffing Too many cooks Disagree on web’s purpose Training/ web skills Internal comm. issues # of audiences Measuring success CMS sucks Too much content No respect! Rebellion Too slow Pace of tech Power struggles $ No leadership support Lack of ownership
  30. 30. @rdelaudeRachel DeLauder The challenges of higher ed Patterns from the data Staffing Politics Not enough investment in digital Lack of skills 
 & experience Misunderstanding of web’s power and purpose
  31. 31. @rdelaudeRachel DeLauder How can we fix it?
  32. 32. An ideal model? Patterns in the data
  33. 33. An ideal model? Patterns in the data
  34. 34. An ideal model? Patterns in the data
  35. 35. An ideal model? Patterns in the data
  36. 36. An ideal model? Patterns in the data
  37. 37. @rdelaudeRachel DeLauder Ways people deal Set up workflows based on stages of expertise, not org. structure SMEs edit text, but web specialists build new pages, create layouts, add images Edit access, but not publish permissions; built-in review stage Outsourced hosting or content maintenance tasks, e.g., SiteImprove
  38. 38. @rdelaudeRachel DeLauder 1. You are not alone
  39. 39. “If I could go back, I’d be more proactive and empower people to be more excited about the web and their role in it…building those relationships, giving people a real understanding of your work and why it matters, and what they can do about it.” — Web communications manager 
 at a large university
  40. 40. Show them how it’s done @rdelaudeRachel DeLauder
  41. 41. @rdelaudeRachel DeLauder 2. Set clear standards
  42. 42. Prioritizing web projects Does it support org. goals? What’s the ROI? Is it urgent? Are resources available? Is it a mandate/compliance issue? When was it requested? Is it their “turn”?
  43. 43. Core Web Team Marketing Web Committee Content Accuracy Responsible Consulted Informed Content Style & Format Responsible Accountable Informed Design Accountable Responsible Informed Information Architecture Responsible/ Accountable Consulted Informed Digital Strategy Responsible Consulted Accountable Draw lines in the sand @rdelaudeRachel DeLauder
  44. 44. @rdelaudeRachel DeLauder 3. Get support from the top
  45. 45. Infiltrate committee meetings @rdelaudeRachel DeLauder
  46. 46. Take it up 
 the ranks @rdelaudeRachel DeLauder
  47. 47. @rdelaudeRachel DeLauder 4. Make it about the users
  48. 48. “I’ve worked in central IT and in marketing, and the thing that was missing with both of those groups is nobody talked about the user experience.” — Director of Website Services
  49. 49. Hand over the keys @rdelaudeRachel DeLauder
  50. 50. @rdelaudeRachel DeLauder 5. Be patient
  51. 51. “We are a federated governance model; the central governing body doesn’t have control over the states. In higher ed, consensus decision-making is the norm. We have to accept and work within that, and get around the table.” — Web services director for provost’s office
  52. 52. “It helps a lot to understand that change CAN happen. It’s all about finding the motivation for people; they’ll get there, but they have to see how it affects them. Sometimes you have to let academia be academia. But, if you show them you tried to meet them halfway, they’ll come around.” — Content strategist for large university and research institute
  53. 53. @rdelaudeRachel DeLauder Start building your community: @rdelaude rachel@insidenewcity.com #confabEDU

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