While we were spending a lot of time on the back-end of our web management, our site grew, organically, freely, and not necessarily coherently. So we decided to take the next, long overdue step: to look what the actual user experience. Normally, people are scared of the audits and the consequences they might bring. We were different. We were begging for our audit. We wanted someone with hands on, real world experience to look at our site and the ways we use it.
We assembled a big representative committee with representatives of students, faculty and staff, looked at several systems, from proprietary to open-source, from commercial to free, and discussed the possibilities on Wiki as well as with vendors that were invited to present their systems. Finally, we chose Drupal, a popular open-source CMS.
There are some peculiar challenges in building a college website. One of the biggest is the fact that colleges—and thus college sites—have to serve multiple constituencies.
Most commercial sites appeal to a single group: customers. Ford.com is for people who want to buy vehicles. NBC.com is for people who like Law & Order spinoffs. Gin up a good market-research team and you can research the daylights out of your audience, then build to suit.
John Christian Rommereim
Professor of Music
Blanche Johnson Professor of Music
The professorship was established in 1997 by Harold B. Johnson Jr. in memory of his aunt, Blanche Johnson, who was a small town piano teacher, educated at the Chicago Conservatory of Music. It was previously held by Jonathan Chenette.
William D. Ferguson
Professor of Economics
Gertrude B. Austin Professor of Economics
The chair was created in 1963 by Gertrude Bishop Phillips (’09) Austin and Charles Burgess Austin, who was Instructor in Economics at Grinnell in 1910 and 1911. The previous holder of the chair was Bradley Bateman.
Jin Feng (2001). Professor of Chinese. B.A., Fudan University (China); M.A., University of Illinois; Ph.D., University of Michigan.
Vincent Eckhart (1996). Professor of Biology. B.A., Pomona College; Ph.D., University of Utah.
Timothy S. Dobe (2005). Associate Professor of Religious Studies. B.A., University of New Hampshire; M.Div., Princeton Theological Seminary; Th.D., Harvard Divinity School.