Higher Ed Rocks Confab: Web Governance at Normandale

On the second day of Confab, Normandale Community College’s Lynne Figg took the stage to talk about how her college undertook a web governance initiative to address content ownership and quality issues.

We interviewed Figg and colleagues Mary Krugerud and Matthew Crawford about the project:

Below is our Storify of tweets from the session:

Normandale Community College Case Study: How governance changed our website

Lynne Figg, Web Architect, Normandale College, presented on this topic at Confab 2012 on May 16.

Storified by Meet Content · Wed, May 16 2012 17:03:01

undefinedTrying to maintain content quality on any website can feel like a losing battle. Who owns the website? Who owns the content? With many su…
A session strictly on web governance. An essential piece of content strategy equation. And presenter is in #highered. Let’s go! #confab12Joel Dixon
The session began with some reassurance.
There is no wrong place to be in your governance journey. Lynn Figg. #confab12meghscase
What is governance?
Governance: provides the structures which will help produce high-quality websites." -Welchman #highered #confab12Gigi Griffis
Normandale undertook a major governance initiative, which had its share of challenges.
Normandale commandment: Thou shalt create a web advisory committee. #highered #confab12Gigi Griffis
Committee challenges: lack follow-through on strategy, hierarchy clashes, membership not strategic, decisions overlap. #highered #confab12Gigi Griffis
Challenges at Normandale: fear of change, isolated initiatives, conflicting experiences. #highered #confab12Gigi Griffis
Yep, governance can be scary sometimes.
The word "committee" frightens me. #confab12Melissa Allen
But turning away users with crappy content is even scarier.
If you can’t look at a website and know within 3 secs what it’s about, it’s a bad website. #highered #confab12Gigi Griffis
Assess your climate: who values your website? Where’s the money trail? Who has budget? #highered #confab12Gigi Griffis
How do you make a web governance committee work?
We decided that our committee needed a neutral chair. Knowledgeable abt web & campus. But like Switzerland, neutral. #highered #confab12Gigi Griffis
Committee charge: communicate w/stakeholders, approve policies & guidelines, determine format, function & content. #highered #confab12Gigi Griffis
Governance documents: social media guide, style guide, responsibility matrix, policy, web publishing guide. #highered #confab12Gigi Griffis
Lynne Figg says "We have over 75 content contributors" like that’s a lot. Sigh… #confab12 #bumming #higheredJessica Franken
Policy put in place to ensure that publishing is professional, consistent, and reflects mission & image. #highered #confab12Gigi Griffis
Web publishing guideline lays out: rationale, roles & responsibilities, structure & governance. #highered #confab12Gigi Griffis
"We all work for the same team. We want consistent presence." #highered #confab12Gigi Griffis
We use an agenda to stay focused during committee meetings. #highered #confab12Gigi Griffis
Lynne Figg says: have an IT person on the board. Someone who cares about web. #highered #confab12Gigi Griffis
Q: How often does your governance committee meet? A: 1.5 hours 1 time per month. #highered #confab12Gigi Griffis
Don’t create delays by canceling your governance meetings. #highered #confab12Gigi Griffis
Q: Do you certify your 75 contributors? A: We’re wrestling with this still. We’ll have in-house trainer soon. #highered #confab12Gigi Griffis
Q: Why committee? A: Most people think web is marketing domain. But all depts are contributing! Need more input. #highered #confab12Gigi Griffis
We changed "curriculum" to "courses offered." Students don’t go…"Hmm, what curriculum do I want…?" #highered #confab12Gigi Griffis
Q: How do you get a committee consensus? A: We sometimes take a vote. Sometimes leadership expedites decisions. #highered #confab12Gigi Griffis

Thanks, Gigi Griffis, for being our unwitting ace correspondent at this session!

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About Rick Allen and Georgy Cohen

Rick Allen has worked in higher education for over twelve years, helping to shape web communications and content strategy. As principal of ePublish Media, a web publishing consultancy in Boston, Mass., Rick works with knowledge-centric organizations to create and sustain effective web content.

Georgy Cohen is associate creative director, content strategy, at OHO Interactive, a digital agency based in the Boston area. Previously, she worked in content roles at Tufts University, Suffolk University, and her independent consultancy to higher ed, Crosstown Digital Communications.

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