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Saint Mary’s Web site restructured, updated years

Rohan Anand | Thursday, February 8, 2007

Visitors to Saint Mary’s homepage might have been surprised at what they saw when they accessed the Web site after Jan. 12. After nearly six years, the College’s homepage unveiled its new look in early January – an initiative freshman Ashley Nealon deemed a “good public relations move.””[The content] does seem a little less religious-based, but it’s going to help the college increase enrollment,” she said.Keith Fowlkes, chief information officer at Saint Mary’s, explained from a technological standpoint that a Content Management System (CMS), which allows for easier updating, more interactive features and the ability to share information amongst multiple sites on campus, now drives the new system.”Basically, it’s the newest, latest and greatest edition of software allowing us to keep up to date and manage all of the information on the Web site,” he said.Fowlkes also mentioned that the OIT system at Saint Mary’s would no longer use an HTML editor for creating web pages. In addition, the internal Web site has new forums and discussion centers which will allow visitors to partake in interactive surveys and polls.”The main purpose of our new design was to add a little bit more flexibility for our visitors,” said Janet Flahaven, assistant director of marketing-web communications at Saint Mary’s. “Our old design, which hadn’t been updated since 2001, was a little more static, but these changes will give us more freedom to move things around and feature new things.”Flahaven also mentioned that feedback from faculty and students has been, on the whole, very positive. “People seem to appreciate the fact that the Web site is easier to navigate and operate,” she said.The tinkering, however, isn’t quite yet finished. Employees at Saint Mary’s Office of Information Technology are still working on other projects to increase ease and convenience for students and faculty. “We still have some projects with CMS that we’ll be working on for the next few months, including chat services and blogs for admissions and alumni relations,” Fowlkes said. “The software gives us so much levity in what we can do, and we’re still trying to figure out what’s best for the college and its outside constituents.”