Academic Department Websites
How to Request Updates to Department and Faculty Pages
You may request content updates or changes to your department’s website content in one of three ways.
- Contact your department administrative assistant.
All administrative assistants receive training in the content management system (CMS) and are able to update academic department website content, including faculty web pages.
- Submit requests to the College Communications digital staff.
Submitted update requests via email to email@example.com.
- Submit content update requests using our short online form.
Please note: Academic department chairs are considered the “owners” of their departments’ website content. Please copy your department chair on any department content update requests.
Website Questions? Need Assistance?
Please direct questions or requests for assistance to the digital communications staff at firstname.lastname@example.org 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 members. These include masthead photos/sliders (slideshows) at the tops of pages and right-column callout boxes.
These component areas typically involve multiple publishing steps and require the selection, resizing, and optimizing of high-quality photos in Photoshop.
By removing these components from workflow, we are able to maintain high-quality, visual web pages while streamlining the main content updating process for content authors.
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 email@example.com or 704-894-2242.
Content Management and Training
The digital staff 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 and manage updates to their department’s web page content.
The digital communications staff focuses training and support around a manageable number of CMS authors, so we limit the number of CMS editors. All administrative assistants have received CMS training and are available to make content updates to department websites.
More than 125 faculty and staff members from across the college have received CMS training to date. 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 for access to the CMS and department websites.
Need CMS Training?
Each department can designate up to two staff or faculty members to be 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 Communications digital staff at firstname.lastname@example.org 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 and 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, must 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.
Faculty Web Pages
The primary target audiences for faculty web pages are 16-21 year-old prospective and current students and their parents. Each faculty web page 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 the 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 – In addition to the biographical content, we include a callout box in the right column of the page that includes the faculty member’s contact information: Name, title, department name, box number, city/state/zip, office phone, fax, office location, office hours (optional), link to curriculum vitae posted as PDF (optional), and link to personal website (optional).
What Not to List on Faculty Pages
Faculty pages are written in a narrative format. Avoid posting long, comprehensive lists, including lists of awards, presentations, papers, books, research projects, grants, etc. Faculty members are strongly encouraged to highlight detailed accounts of professional experiences and accomplishments in a CV attached to their faculty web page and/or provide a link to a personal website, whether hosted by Davidson College or an 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 – links to the major listing in the catalog
- Honors 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 – department can provide additional information about courses and future planning
Faculty & Staff – listing of faculty and staff members within a department along with headshot photos. Each entry includes a 1-3 sentence introductory bio written in first person.
- Individual faculty and staff pages (see Faculty Web Pages section for more details)
Research – general overview of the kinds of student and faculty research and scholarship that is happening within 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 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) and 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 Davidson’s virtual introduction 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 content across all departments is cohesive, clear, concise and appealing in structure and voice.
Audience: The primary target audiences are prospective students considering Davidson, their parents, and current students contemplating their majors.
Narrative: Tell visitors why they should consider a particular major, department or field of study, and demonstrate how the Davidson experience is uniquely compelling.
Voice: Conversational in tone. Address target audiences in second person (using “you” instead of “students”) whenever possible and reference the department in the first person plural (“we”). Individual faculty and staff member bios are written in first person singular (“I”).
Word Count: Website visits tend to be extremely short, so content should focus on *highlights* rather than comprehensive detail. An appropriate word count goal is, in general, 250-300 words (or slightly more/less). Using subheadings to break up text makes 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.