Academic Department Websites
How to Request Updates to Department and Faculty Pages
Academic department faculty and staff have three ways to request content updates or changes to their department’s website content, including faculty pages.
- Contact your department administrative assistant.
All administrative assistants have received training on how to update academic department website content, including faculty webpages.
- Submit requests to the College Communications digital staff.
Updates can be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Submit content update requests using a quick and easy online form at davidson.edu/web-requests.
Please note: Academic department chairs are considered the “owner’ of department website content. Please copy chairs on any department content update requests.
Website Questions or Need Assistance?
Questions or requests for assistance can be directed to the digital communications staff at email@example.com or 704-894-2242.
Special Content Areas
Masthead Photos/Sliders, Slideshows, and Right Column Callouts
A few areas on department websites can only be updated by digital communications staff. These include top of page masthead photos/sliders (slideshows) and right column callouts.
These component areas typically involve multiple publishing steps and require the selection, resizing, and optimizing of high quality photos in Photoshop.
To maintain high quality and visual webpages, and to streamline the process for content authors to easily update the content in the main content area of webpages, these areas were removed from the editing workflow.
Right column callouts typically include a photo and short teaser text and highlight college and department hallmarks—research and scholarship, study abroad, outcomes (internships, careers, and graduate school), student opportunities, what you can do with a major (specific to how Davidson prepares students), and related links and resources.
Need a Masthead or Right Column Callout Added or Updated?
Contact the digital staff with your request at firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-894-2242.
Content Management and Training
The college uses the Ingeniux content management system (CMS), a browser-based Web application, to manage content on academic department websites.
Each department can designate up to two staff or faculty members to attend CMS training.
Departments are limited to two trained staff or faculty so the digital communications staff can focus training and support around a manageable number of CMS authors. All administrative assistants have received CMS training and are available to make content updates to department websites.
More than 125 faculty and staff from across the college have received CMS training. The training lasts two hours and covers how to use the CMS, website best practices, and college standards and style guidelines.
Completion of training is a prerequisite before access is given to the CMS and department websites.
Need CMS Training?
Departments can have up to two people trained to use the CMS. If you would like to be trained how to use the CMS, talk with your department chair about your request. Questions or requests for assistance can be directed to the College Communictions digital staff at email@example.com or 704-894-2242.
Website Target Audiences
The primary target audiences for academic and administrative department websites are prospective students, current students, and parents. There are secondary target audiences, including faculty, staff, alumni, other colleges, friends of the college, among others, but much of the Davidson website is directed at an external audience that is less familiar with Davidson College than members of the internal campus community.
We have a limited amount of time to capture the attention of prospective students and parents, so content on the Davidson website, including academic department pages, needs to be relevant, current, and easily found and scanned by target audiences.
Importance of College Websites to Prospective Students
In a recent Ruffalo Noel Levitz E-Expectations Survey, 80 percent of prospective students said schools’ websites influenced or highly influenced their interest in specific colleges or universities.
The primary target audiences for faculty webpages are 16-21 year-old prospective and current students and their parents. Each faculty webpage should feature the following content:
- Faculty education – education and degrees (undergraduate, post-graduate)
- Faculty biography – short biography written in the first person (no more than 300 words). The biography can be broken up into sections: Background, Research, and Teaching. Bios should include information about a faculty member’s specialty and discipline, their passion for teaching, how they involve students in their research and scholarship, and how they mentor students in producing original work. Bios should be done in a short, narrative format and be conversational and welcoming in tone.
- Faculty contact information, CV, and link to personal website – Every faculty webpage right column includes a faculty member’s contact information: Professor name, title, department name, box number, city/state/zip, office phone, fax, office location, office hours (optional), link to curriculum vitae posted as PDF, and link to personal website (optional).
What Not to List on Faculty Pages
Faculty pages are written in a narrative format. Posting content as long, comprehensive lists should be avoided, including listing out awards, presentations, papers, books, research projects, grants, etc. Faculty are strongly encouraged to highlight detailed accounts of professional experiences and accomplishments in a CV attached to their faculty webpage and/or provide a link to personal website whether hosted by Davidson College or external host.
Academic Department Website Navigation
Standard Department Navigation
The following pages are found on department or program websites. Deviation from navigation standards typically requires approval from Academic Affairs.
Department Homepage – short paragraph or two covering the focus of the department
Department pages can also feature masthead photos and sliders at the top of the page; news, events, and social media accordions in the center of the page and department contact information
Major(s) – information about major and major requirements
- College Catalog – just a link to the major listed in the catalog
- Honor Program – information about the department’s honors program and honors requirements,
Minor(s) – information about minor and minor requirements
Interdisciplinary Minor(s) – information about interdisciplinary minor and requirements
Courses – general course listing for the department pulled from Banner.
- Spring Courses / Fall Courses – spring and fall semester course listing pulled from Banner
- Course Schedule Planning – departments provides additional information about future courses
Faculty & Staff – listing of faculty and staff within a department and headshot photos. Includes 1-3 sentence bio written in first person.
- Individual faculty and staff pages (see Faculty Webpages section for more details)
Research – general overview of the kinds of student and faculty research and scholarship that is happening in a department. This is a generalized narrative overview and not a listing of past research papers.
Study Abroad – marketing information covering department-sponsored programs, information about the value of study abroad, and highlights of past study broad experiences, outcomes, etc.
Internships, Careers, and Graduate School – focused on student outcomes and opportunities for graduates and provided in a narrative format.
Student Organizations – information about student organizations and activities commonly available to students.
Depending on the department, other standard department links include: facilities, facilities and equipment, among others.
Archive pages are considered non-standard pages and will eventually be removed from academic department websites. These include: current and past event pages in the CMS (all events are managed and archived in the EMS master calendar), pages featuring long lists of past student theses, past student awards, past student research projects and papers (featuring links or attachments), student outcomes included in a list format, etc. These types of pages receive very little website traffic and divert the attention of departments from focusing their time on top-level department pages.
College Digital Standards and Policies
The website is the Davidson’s virtual window to the world and is the college’s most important communications and marketing vehicle viewed by millions of visitors each year. Like any publication that is updated by many authors, having a common set of standards, guidelines, and policies in place ensures consistency across the website.
- Digital Governance and Standards
- Graphic Identity Standards
- Social Media Graphic Identity Standards
- Social Media Guidelines
- Online Style Guide
Department Website Style and Content Guide
Purpose: To ensure the look, language, and tone of all departments is cohesive, clear, concise, and appealing in structure and voice.
Audience: Primary target audiences are prospective students considering Davidson, their parents, as well as current students contemplating a major.
Narrative: Tell visitors why a major, department, field of study, and the Davidson experience are uniquely compelling.
Voice: Conversational in tone. Address target audiences in second person using “you” instead of “students” wherever possible and reference the department in the first person plural “we.” Individual faculty bios are written in first person singular.
Word Count: Webpages should trend more toward *highlights* than encyclopedic knowledge, and website visits tend to be extremely short. So the word count goal—in general—is for pages to contain 250-300 words or less (or slightly more) when possible and multiple subheadings to break up text to make content easier to scan.
If you need assistance with a website content update or other Web-related project, complete our project request form and a digital communications staff member will contact you.