Campus News

Bowdoin College Launches Improved Web Site

Story posted August 23, 2004

Bowdoin College has launched a redesigned Web site (http://www.bowdoin.edu) aimed at improving the timely flow of information while better reflecting the academic mission, breadth and depth of programs and activities, and the energy and beauty of its 210-year old campus. The new site -- which was designed, developed, and implemented completely "in-house" -- was launched Friday, August 20.

"Bowdoin's new Web site is a strong testament to the creativity, innovative thought, and technical abilities of our students, faculty, and staff -- groups that were all involved in its development and implementation over many months," said Bowdoin College President Barry Mills. "We believe it will be a very useful tool for members of the College community, for prospective students and employees, and for the general public, and that it better reflects to the world the strengths and vitality of this historic institution. I couldn't be more pleased with the result."

The principal goals of the redesign effort were to improve the flow of information and compliance with Web standards and "best practices," while more accurately reflecting the intellectual and residential life of the College. Accordingly, navigation and search functions on the site have been improved, the presentation of news and events has been enhanced, and information on academic department pages has been expanded. The redesigned site is compliant with standards consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It provides additional opportunities for photography and graphics, and will ultimately improve the site management system used by individual departments to make changes to their pages.

The site redesign is primarily the work of an internal Web team composed of staff members from Bowdoin's Information Technology (IT) department as well as representatives from the Library and the Office of Communications and Public Affairs. Additional assistance came from academic departments and administrative offices, including Academic Affairs, Communications and Public Affairs, Events and Summer Programs, Human Resources, Student Affairs, and the Treasurer's Office, among others. As an initial step in the redesign process, the Web team conducted an exhaustive review of other college and university Web sites and solicited reaction to preliminary design proposals from Bowdoin students, faculty, staff, parents, trustees, and alumni. A group of a dozen students worked throughout the summer with IT staff to implement the final design.

"This has truly been a collaborative and inclusive project that would not have been possible without the interest, support, and assistance of many members of the Bowdoin community," said Mitch W. Davis, Bowdoin's chief information officer. "From the Web team itself, to the students who worked tirelessly all summer to update thousands of pages, to the faculty and staff members who offered advice, ideas, and expertise - Bowdoin owes each a debt of gratitude to all for their contributions and effort."

Future work on the site will include additional options for content management, constant review and updating of information for accuracy and presentation, and additional opportunities for the personal customization of information on gateway pages.

"The nature of the Web is that it is always a work in progress," said Davis. "Today, we launch the new site. Tomorrow we start work on improving it."

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