Work to re-envision and redesign Central Michigan University's websites is underway.
The comprehensive effort is being led by an executive sponsor team:
- Sherry Knight, associate vice president, University Communications.
- Angelica Gomez, deputy chief information officer, Information Technology.
- Steven Johnson, vice president, Enrollment and Student Services.
- Roger Rehm, vice president and CIO, Information Technology.
- Betty Kirby, interim dean of the College of Education and Human Services.
- Ian Davison, interim senior vice provost, Academic Affairs.
Initial discussion has focused on improving the websites for use as a recruitment tool. The resulting site should be easy to use, advance CMU's brand and reputation, drive interactions among target audiences, and reflect the university's strategic plan and values, Knight said.
"With technology advances and continually increasing mobile usage, we have a tremendous opportunity to enhance CMU's reputation and identity through our web presence," Knight said. "Our website must convey who we are and reflect the experience students will have at Central."
The executive sponsors will identify an external vendor by the end of February to support an assessment and redesign process, including the gathering of stakeholder input. A timeline and next steps will be developed once a vendor has been secured.
The last redesign of Cmich.edu and CentralLink.cmich.edu occurred in 2013. Go.cmich.edu, a marketing microsite for prospective undergraduate students, had a redesign of top-level pages this past fall.
"This undertaking will consider how our websites are used, what the goals are and what platform we ultimately should use," Rehm said.
Johnson noted that websites are a primary resource for prospective students as they explore university choices, determine which to visit and ultimately, which one they will attend.
"Our website must become a competitive advantage," Johnson said. "It must provide succinct content that engages prospective students of all ages, regardless of academic level or program, career goals, or plans to study on our main campus, online or at a satellite location."
While CMU is a complex organization, Davison said the university's website should be cohesive, straightforward and simple to navigate by prospective and current students.
"The website should promote the quality education students receive," Davison said. "Nearly every prospective student and parent will visit our website en route to deciding whether to attend CMU."
This redesign is an opportunity to re-envision not only the design, but how to deliver the most critical information in a compelling, straightforward way, Kirby said.
"Students should learn from the site why CMU is the best choice for them. They should be able to research programs and services, register for a visit, and apply. Students should get a sense of our community and know how we'll help them be successful," she said.