March 15, 2022: The digital strategy team and what they do
By this time, you’ve probably heard a lot about the digital strategy team. But who are they and what do they do?
In 2019, CMU University Communications established a formal digital strategy team to develop a dynamic website highlighting what We do at CMU. Once the new cmich.edu launched, the team’s charge expanded to include strategic university-wide digital communications, website optimization and training to improve the user experience, and data analysis to improve search results.
Interim Director of Digital Strategy
Crystal Washburn, director of digital strategy, leads the charge. Her primary role is to oversee the team and guide its strategic initiatives. She works with university leaders and various departments across campus, including the Office of Information Technology (OIT), to ensure the website runs smoothly. Crystal was previously a project manager within OIT, which allowed her to bring a wealth of organizational and technical knowledge to this team.
Pamela Wegener, associate director of digital content, Robert (Bob) Mabbitt, Lauren Sawyer and Kelsey Whing are the team’s digital strategists. Their primary role is to provide training and support to CMU’s 200+ website collaborators. Developing best practices for page optimization, search engine optimization and website standards also fall into their scope of work. They are the key link between website collaborators and other members of the digital strategy team.
Web Development Team
Bryan Van Meter, front end developer II, Stephane Maillard, web developer/programmer II, and Trent Mercer, front end developer I, are part of the University Communications and OIT development team. Together, they work within the Sitefinity platform to develop and create solutions for our unique issues. The level of customization on our new website is due to the talent of our developers.
User Experience Team
Ashita Nichanmetla is the UI/UX designer. She is responsible for applying engaging visual design principles to our website, ensuring a positive and cohesive user experience. When she joined the team in November, Ashita figuratively stepped into the shoes of our users to discover how it felt to navigate and use our website. Now, she works closely with the team to ensure the content, functionality and data all come together to provide a seamless journey for our users.
Blaine Bendele, digital communications analyst, oversees all things analytical and metric-based. With all the information he collects and analyzes from various platforms, Blaine can present data in a clear and concise format. This allows the rest of the team and website collaborators to make decisions based on best practices and data-driven information. Making decisions based on data allows CMU to ensure our website contains relevant and engaging content.
As CMU’s initiatives evolve, so do the roles and responsibilities of the digital strategy team. While each member has specific daily tasks, they are united in working together to provide a dynamic and engaging website for students, faculty, staff and all of Central Michigan University’s stakeholders.