New staff profile templates for 2012
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.
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 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.
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.