Web operations moves to Hopkins, bolsters alliance with Communications

On Monday, the web operations team relocated from the Office of Information and Technology (OIT) in Jesup to the Office of Communications in Hopkins Hall after structural considerations revealed common objectives between the web operations group and the Office of Communications.

“The director of communications and the director of web operations partnered and worked with a web working group and focus groups representing faculty, staff and students to redesign the Williams web,” Dinny Taylor, chief technology officer, said. “The mission was to create a best-in-class website that better represents the top liberal arts college that we are.  It would feature dynamic content, better use of multimedia and social media, be easy to navigate and foster people’s engagement with the College and with each other, whether they are prospective students, alumni, current students, faculty, staff or visitors.”

The web operations group, created as a department within OIT in 2010, was largely responsible for improving the College website and transitioning department websites to the WordPress format. This year, the College decided to relocate the web operations group in order to facilitate a partnership between that group and the Office of Communications, which increasingly relies on Internet-based communications. “This realignment acknowledges the fact that, today, the work that we do in communications is primarily web-based,” Angela Schaeffer, director of communications, said. “It allows us to move forward with the College’s communications goals in a way that fully realizes the potential of that integration.”

The Office of Communications and the web operations team are currently developing a new design for the College’s website, a project that is indicative of the College’s larger trend towards web-based communication. The redesign project remains on schedule for unveiling in the fall of 2012, and Schaeffer believes this integration will help expedite the process. “The realignment will affect the redesign project in a positive way,” she said. “It’s an opportunity to fully integrate what we’re doing.”

The transition will also bring personnel changes within the web operations team. Former Director of Web Operations Scott Pittinsky has resigned from his position in order to relocate to California. In his absence, Carl Strolle, who currently serves as a web developer for the web operations group, will serve as the interim manager of the group and will be the project manager for the website redesign.

Schaeffer emphasized that Strolle’s new role is a reflection of the progress made by the website redesign project, which is currently wrapping up an extensive information-gathering phase. “The project now naturally shifts into more of a ‘development-heavy phase,’” she said. “That work needs to be managed on a day-to-day [basis] by somebody within the web team. Carl is going to be the person that does that. His job will be about setting specific milestones for the project and making sure we’re staying on track.”