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An integrated online college experience

Graphic provided by Ryan McNamara.

Led by Strategic Communications and Marketing, Commonwealth University has launched the Web Consolidation Project, merging the integrated university websites and a microsite to create a unified platform.This new website will provide detailed information on the university, including sections for each campus and user-friendly features like filtered content.

The project kicked-off in January of 2023 and the new commonwealthu.edu website will launch in late June of 2024, according to the leading team of the project. Ryan McNamara, Senior Director for University Marketing and Brand Management, served as a co-lead on the project along with Stephen Filipiak, Associate Director of Web and Digital Strategy. “We oversee the day-to-day responsibilities, work directly with our strategic partner, oversee the core team and content specialists, engage with the university community, and ensure the on-time and successful completion of milestones”, says McNamara.

Students and employees from all campuses contributed feedback via surveys and stakeholder interviews, and student assistants are actively participating in content development, which is reviewed by subject matter experts from throughout the institution during the review process. Jacob Eiden, a senior Bloomsburg student, works within the marketing and communications department as a Marketing Web Assistant. He played a strong role through the development of this ongoing project and is just one prime example of students involved.

Jacob Eiden at the 2024 Career Intensive Bootcamp. (Cole Kresch)

A stress-free online experience

The project streamlines website maintenance by using a single system rather than three different ones. This means that editors will have an easier time updating substance across all sites. The team is migrating the commonwealthu.edu website to Drupal, which most affiliated web editors are already familiar with.

The consolidation is eliminating the need for users to access multiple websites to find information. The Husky community will still be able to access the important information and links specific to the Bloomsburg campus, while also having CU resources readily available. The new commonwealthu.edu will also provide an alleged improved college search experience for many. Academic program pages will provide relevant information along with campus location and instructional modalities.

“The current bloomu.edu website is primarily a representation of Bloomsburg prior to integration. The new website seeks to reflect our current reality as Commonwealth University, a single university with several unique campus experiences.”, says McNamara.

As for our NCAA sports, this project will not affect the athletic websites. Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield Athletics will continue to maintain their own, separate websites dedicated to providing news and information about the various athletic programs. This follows suit with keeping each team identity with their corresponding campus.

A positive digital impact

“In many ways, it will be a familiar experience for the Husky community as the new website was built off the current bloomu.edu site. The difference will be that on the new site, Bloomsburg users will have easier access to Commonwealth University resources and information along with information about opportunities at other locations of CU.”, says McNamara.

He continued, “The most exciting part of this project is that we will provide a consistent website experience for students, faculty, staff, alumni, and other stakeholders across all campuses of Commonwealth University (Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, Mansfield, and Clearfield). A single website and CMS will allow our web team and web editors to be more efficient in providing up-to-date and relevant information for all visitors.” The leading team learned that teamwork and organization have been necessary to making this dream into a reality. Within working with so many individuals across multiple campuses, many are ready to pitch in and make this work for the betterment of CU and its students.

When the website launches, the work is not over for the core team. Optimization and refining the website to best serve the CU community will continue to be a consistent goal for Strategic Communications and Marketing.

More information is available to the university community and public at https://www.commonwealthu.edu/website-consolidation

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