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New staff profile templates for 2012

Posted on: 3 February 2012
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Filed under: Development, Redesign, Research

The recent restructure of the University of Westminster website allowed us to capitalise on the opportunity to restructure, not only the presentation of courses throughout the website but many areas that are indirectly linked.

Staff profiles throughout the University have never had a consistent template. The issue pre-dated the current website and was mainly due to the old website being split into separate schools. The consolidation of those separate websites in 2009 left us with a mixture of staff profile templates in the new website.

It didn’t seem too bad at the time because each school ended up with their own section. Therefore, you would never viewed  a Law professor in the same area as a member of staff in the Business School.

With the 2011 restructure, we were able to consolidate the profiles again into one area under a new academic staff directory.

Static to dynamic

We are in the process of migrating static text into metadata. This method allows us to dynamically generate lists and pages throughout the website based on that data.

For example, the staff member has their school, department and research bodies attributed to them.

The subsequent areas of the website can include dynamically generated lists of the specific members of those groupings.

Display options

The way we display this information can also be repurposed wherever we see fit. The school pages may necessitate a table of all staff members, their phone numbers and email addresses.

A staff list in a research centre may just need their name, biography and photo.

These pages can all be generated dynamically if entered as metadata within the page.

The profile

The profile template itself will be managed in one place. If we were to redesign in the future, the template can be replaced and it will instantly update the 800+ profiles that we hold on the website.

Staff profile mockup

Moving forward we want to promote our staff and their presence on the web. We can provide links to promote their personal website, LinkedIn profile or twitter feed. These links will prove attractive to prospective students because they will be able to find out if their potential tutors have links into industry. It will also help to promote collaboration in the academic arena.

A further development will allow us to integrate a dynamic feed of the staff member’s publications directly from our online research repository.

The template is being finalised as we speak and we will be entering the data entry phase of the project in the next few weeks.

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5 Responses to “New staff profile templates for 2012”

  1. Will this functionality apply to support staff as well as academics e.g. Academic liaison librarians and training team?

  2. At present, there are no plans to roll this out to support staff within the public website, but it could be addressed as a new project afterwards if necessary. The template may have to be tweaked because certain sections will not apply to those staff.

    The priority at the moment is to apply uniformity to the profiles and dynamically feed in publications to make the courses more attractive to potential students by presenting teaching staff in a professional way.

  3. The academic staff profile developments sound really positive and will help greatly in promoting our research and helping external research users to navigate to the relevant expertise. It would be worth expanding this to include professional support staff in due course, for the same purpose – to make visible the expertise that exists and help users (internal and exteral) to navigate to it.

  4. Please can you tell me how to go about updating our webpages?

  5. You can visit this page and either fill in the form, or download the word template:
    https://www.westminster.ac.uk/staff/changes-to-our-online-presence/updating-the-website/staff-profile

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