Higher Ed

Higher Ed Funding: Taking the First, Painful Step

Missouri looks to cut funding for higher education, and there are no shortage of opponents. But maybe higher ed needs its funding cut in order to survive.

January 17, 2012 — 1 Comment

Do Long Scrolling Pages Work?

Super long pages are a growing design trend in higher education. Do they work? Do visitors read the content? Can you measure it? You sure can.

December 21, 2011 — 1 Comment

Design Convergence in Higher Ed Websites

There are over 4000 higher ed institutions in the United States. With largely similar audiences (prospective students, current students, parents, faculty, alumni, donors, etc.) and goals (recruitment, retention, donations, etc.) we’re certainly not alone in our challenges. Thus, when faced the same problems we come up with the same solutions. This is what I call design convergence.

September 02, 2011 — 2 Comments

"That Sucks": Negative Feedback after Launch

On July 1, we launched ND.edu 4.0. This was a new look and feel for the site, as well as a conceptually different approach to the homepage and navigation. But the biggest change was a fundamental shift in who our audiences were. I’ll elaborate on these later, but that’s not the point of this post. The point? Every time we make a major change to the design of the ND.edu homepage, we get feedback. And it’s overwhelmingly negative.

August 16, 2011 — 5 Comments

Afraid of Letting People Work from Home?

Last year during a higher ed panel discussion, I mentioned that most of my team works from home several days a week. In fact, sometimes an employee is only in the office one or two days a week. This immediately generated questions about productivity, how I keep tabs on their work, and whether HR ...

August 09, 2011 — 6 Comments

Rising Boats: Colleague Education

Every month, we offer “brown bag” presentations to our fellow campus communicators. These staff and administrators are responsible for some kind of communications role, whether for their program, department, or entire college or division. The skills and backgrounds vary widely, leadin...

March 24, 2011 — 1 Comment

The Holy Grail of Higher Ed Web Governance

Every website has a consistent look and feel, one that clearly identifies itself as part of the institution. The overarching themes and messages come through loud and clear, never varying. Every sentence has a common voice. Everything is completely up to date. And the site goals get measured and ...

March 17, 2011 — 0 Comments

Horizon Report 2011 for Marketers

Last year, we looked at the 2010 Horizon Report and the emerging technologies that are expected to affect our institutions in the next five years. Now, the 2011 Horizon Report is out, and as it is with every year some technologies creep closer and others mysteriously fade away. Let’s take a...

February 11, 2011 — 0 Comments

Our Higher Ed Web Journey

When I joined higher ed in 2005, marketing seemed to be a dirty word. Web designers were starting to add reflections and big rounded corners. Many developers were still building with tables and font tags ran rampant. To many, terms like “information architecture” and “content st...

February 10, 2011 — 0 Comments

Q&A: We Charge for Our Work

At Notre Dame, we charge our clients for the work we do. Many schools are tinkering with their internal business models and testing the options. We’re partly funded by the University, so we’re required to recover part of our budget through chargebacks (also known as cost recovery). I...

December 13, 2010 — 0 Comments

Emergencies and Your Web Design

After a major campus crisis, schools often respond by scrambling to put together a crisis plan. Often this stops with a “business continuity plan,” or how they’ll keep things going despite a crisis. At Notre Dame, my colleague Julie Flory helped establish a Crisis Communications...

November 18, 2010 — 2 Comments

Observations from HighEdWeb 2010

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the HighEdWeb 2010 conference in Cincinnati. This was a wonderful conference and I highly recommend it to anyone in our industry. Because I went on Notre Dame’s dime, I had to present something from my trip there. I gathered together a few reflectio...

October 20, 2010 — 0 Comments

St. Peter, Patron Saint of Website Content Management?

Josh Stowe posted a series of tweets today about the Notre Dame Alumni Association implementing a central editing and approval process for all of their website content: Excited about switching to a centralized content approval process. Anyone can draft, my team approves/publishes, and thereR...

September 16, 2010 — 0 Comments

Can students really design their own education?

I recently wrote about DIY U and students creating their own majors. A great comment on Andrew Careaga’s recent review of DIY U suggests this isn’t as easy as it sounds: However (there’s always a however), I have a couple of concerns with the premise that students right out of ...

May 13, 2010 — 0 Comments

What the Higher Ed Revolution is NOT

I’m loving the high-profile attention to the changes we’re experiencing in higher education, and the tremendous shifts coming our way. From DIY U to Frontline’s College Inc. to Seth Godin’s recent post, people are taking note. But I’m also frustrated by a disconcert...

May 08, 2010 — 0 Comments

Across the Silo: New Studies for the New Student

I am both excited and terrified for higher education. For many industries, it’s no longer enough to design your offerings to the customer’s demands. Customers don’t just want input – they want control. This means more customizable products, more responsive services, and m...

April 06, 2010 — 2 Comments

Faculty Blogging: Academic Reputation, Rankings, and Scholarship

ND is rolling out Blogs at Notre Dame, a blogging platform using WordPress MU. We’re hoping to get some of our brilliant and interesting faculty members blogging. This raises a lot of questions: There’s been a lot of talk about blogging for admissions and student recruitment, but sho...

March 18, 2010 — 1 Comment

How to Get Your Résumé Tossed

Note: I know very well that the word is spelled résumé but for whatever reason my blog won’t display the é character unless I explicitly state it with an HTML entity code . Argh. I’ve been doing a lot of hiring lately. This time around, I took careful note of the ...

February 26, 2010 — 0 Comments

Marketing and the 2010 Horizon Report

If you haven’t checked out the Horizon Report in the past, it’s an annual publication that highlights key technologies expected to affect higher education in the next five years. This year’s report was published on January 14 and has some real gems, as usual. What’s On the...

January 16, 2010 — 0 Comments

An API Culture

In software, an API is a way to get data into or out of a system. It stands for “Applicant Programming Interface” and basically allows outsiders to access or manipulate the information in the software. The Twitter API lets you access tweets, search users, post tweets, and so on. The A...

December 03, 2009 — 0 Comments

My Professional Development Plan Toolkit

Higher ed loves conferences (as do I). My boss has been live-tweeting the AMA Higher Ed Marketing conference for the last day or two. We’ve sent people to eduWEB Conference, South by Southwest Interactive, CASE, EDUCAUSE, RubyConf, RailsConf, and plenty of others. But these things cost mone...

November 17, 2009 — 0 Comments

The Mobile Horizon

This week I presented to our team at AgencyND about Mobile – what’s the deal and what’s coming. I call this the Mobile Horizon, as a nod to the Horizon Report which aims to inform higher education about the future technologies and their implications. Mobile is all the rage, and ...

November 05, 2009 — 0 Comments

How Universities Can Prepare for the Future

If higher education is to avoid a painful death in the coming decades I have a relatively simple plan: create an R&D process. Add it to the Strategic Plan Executive leadership, the board, deans, and officers of the University must be aware of this effort. The goal isn’t survival –...

November 01, 2009 — 0 Comments

Predicting the Death of Higher Education

It’s a hot topic. It’s been a hot topic for over a decade now. The dramatic societal and cultural shifts that have come with nearly ubiquitous technology and connectivity have permeated every facet of our lives. We’ve seen how this shift has had dramatic effects numerous industr...

October 25, 2009 — 0 Comments

Foreshadowing of Information Democracy

In researching and writing an upcoming post, I came across this prescient quote from the President Emeritus of the University of Michigan, written in 1997: “Who needs specialists in an age where intelligent software agents may soon be available to roam far and wide through robust networks ...

September 15, 2009 — 0 Comments

Why Things Suck: Culture and Infrastructure

If people want to do something great but don’t have the tools, support, processes, or resources, that’s an infrastructure problem. If people don’t want to do anything great, or change at all for that matter, that’s a culture problem. Infrastructure is easy to create, but c...

September 03, 2009 — 0 Comments

Reflections on eduWEB 2009

From July 20-22, 2009 I attended (and presented at) eduWEB Conference 2009. Go check out my presentation slides on Budget Usability Testing. Things I Noticed There’s a wide spectrum of experience, beginner to expert. Some sessions are designed more for one or the other, and it’s not a...

July 22, 2009 — 0 Comments

Smarter IA Naming by Reducing Cognitive Load

One of the frequent debates in web projects is around naming of elements. When our team recommends a label or title we usually do so from an outsider’s perspective. We make a lot of arguments for our position, but sometimes there’s resistance. So we do some user testing. Usually, it&#...

May 19, 2009 — 3 Comments

Social Media Tools and Playing Spectator

On Sunday May 17, 2009, the University of Notre Dame held its University Commencement Exercises. Unlike previous commencement events, it was surrounded by controversy and buzz. A highlight of the ceremony was the commencement address by President Barack Obama. His policies and positions on aborti...

May 18, 2009 — 0 Comments

The Higher Ed Advantage

Working in a higher education environment can be really tough. It’s often accepted that the pay is lower, resources are scarce, and the culture is risk- and change-averse. It can be tough. But there are some great things about working in higher education, too. Learning Online learning from...

May 14, 2009 — 0 Comments

Why Higher Ed is Always a Step Behind

Higher education is often a slow beast, lumbering forward amidst a fast-paced world of technology and innovation. Karine Joly asks, Why don’t we talk more about the mobile Web and its possibilities for our field? But it’s not just mobile Web, is it? Why is higher ed so slow to adopt n...

May 06, 2009 — 6 Comments

Colleges are Not-for-Profits

We often forget that our higher education institutions are not-for-profits. They rely on fundraising and program fees to make ends meet. They succeed and grow based on their reputation. And transparency is critical as donors and participants demand higher performance and accountability. Not only ...

March 31, 2009 — 2 Comments

The How, What, and Why of Mobile in Higher Ed

The How of Mobile Mobile development in 30 seconds: Schools create separate websites for mobile access. Some schools use special stylesheets on the same content. MIT establishes a platform-specific approach to serving content to mobile devices. Stanford students create an iPhone app suite for Sta...

March 08, 2009 — 0 Comments

What I'm Reading

When you get a chance to introduce people to social media, what do you cover? What resources do you recommend? I had a meeting today with a new-to-social-media-but-diving-in-headfirst communicator on campus and we covered some pretty basic stuff like Twitter, Google Analytics, and Technorati. I o...

March 06, 2009 — 0 Comments

My Secrets for Infiltrating the Bureaucracy

In large companies, there’s a top-down mentality that allows leadership to issue edicts and expect them to be followed. Or, you know, you’re fired. In higher education, though, there’s a notion of academic freedom that allows academic entities – centers, institutes, colle...

March 01, 2009 — 0 Comments

Stolen Videos: 3 Ways to Protect Yourself Before You Need To

From the Chronicle of Higher Education: A new company called Academic Earth offers free online videos of lectures from some of the world’s most renowned scholars teaching at leading universities. The company has simply grabbed the videos off the universities’ own Web sites and plans to offer too...

February 24, 2009 — 0 Comments

Content Management Isn't What You Think It Is

Content management means a lot of different things. Consider these: HR policies that need to get updated and revised Video content that is consistently tagged with appropriate metadata, that feeds to multiple delivery channels Institutional information such as award winners or past presidents...

February 24, 2009 — 0 Comments

Making Nobody Happy: Web CMS

Web content management systems can be many things… free to super-expensive, lightweight to ultra-complex, clunky to flashy. Today, I want to focus on one particular range: self-explanatory to 850-page manual. The Infinitely Extensible This kind of CMS is super-customizable, doing anything ...

February 16, 2009 — 0 Comments

Who Owns My Expertise?

When I write about admissions recruiting, donor communications, or any of the dozens of usual topics I cover on this blog, I sometimes wonder: Am I going to get in trouble for this? I rarely write anything specific to my work at Notre Dame. I don’t mention many specific clients or projects....

February 14, 2009 — 0 Comments

Marketing Down the Admissions Funnel

The funnel is a common visualization tool borrowed from the business world, where customer acquisition may follow a similar path. Many have applied this model to the admissions process, helping them to identify conversion points where schools can change their strategies for recruiting students. ...

February 09, 2009 — 1 Comment

Committees: the 10 Percent Rule

Some morning wisdom from an unlikely source (emphasis mine)… “You know,” says a [Muzak company] spokesperson, “pollsters have done research of the electorate, and they found that there’s a certain percentage that is just anti-everything. You have a hard core that...

February 07, 2009 — 0 Comments

eduStyle's Higher Ed Design Mistakes

Go read Top 10 Higher-Ed Web Design Mistakes in 140 on eduStyle. While you’re there, go ahead and create a profile and vote for all of my team’s sites.

February 05, 2009 — 1 Comment

The University of 2030

Thirty years from now the big university campuses will be relics. Universities won’t survive. It’s as large a change as when we first got the printed book. Peter Drucker, Forbes That was 1997. Today, students don’t need to memorize because they can pull it up on Google. They c...

February 01, 2009 — 0 Comments

The Meaning of Life for Higher Ed Marketers

I had a fascinating conversation with my boss, an experienced marketer from an agency background. The argument (because any conversation with either of us is typically an argument) sprang from my question: What’s the goal of our homepage? Looking at a handful of other higher-ed sites, we de...

January 27, 2009 — 2 Comments

Web project philosophies: a comment from uwebd

Someone on the University Web Developers community on Ning asked a question about having a “mission statement” for their website. Not about posting a mission statement for your organization, but the very mission of the website itself. That is, what the website’s purpose is. This...

August 23, 2008 — 0 Comments

How to Become a Full Professor in 11 Steps

In higher education, marketing is a dirty word. Some faculty members believe that self-promotion is offensive to their intellectual, academic pursuits. What these purists don’t realize is that they’ve been marketing for their entire careers. They do this through the normal course of t...

June 21, 2008 — 0 Comments