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102C, Wisconsin Center

Shine the Light, Cast out the Demons: Reforging Faculty Directories into a Mighty Tool of Power

Presented by Brett Davis

Universities are large and sprawling conglomerations, at any size. They are old, dusty, wheezing tomes; and they are a brand new, unpredictable fire of ideas. Before the golden age of the CMS, most of these odd contradictions made their way onto the web domain: Winding overgrown navigation schemes, a diverse biosphere of living brands in bloom, over-scaled images of tiny proportions hanging in pixelated neglect, beautifully shot and expensive virtual tours. And then, elusive and shifty, suddenly there appears the departmental faculty directory, the conduit to the people that helped build this place.

Faculty directories and faculty profile pages can be better!

Consistent, organized faculty information is sought after by many visitors, including prospective students, other researchers and universities, the media, businesses and corporations, the general public, lawmakers, and more. Learn how we approached turning our huge jumbled mess into a tool that helps make connections, reduces time and effort to maintain, looks professional and represents our university well to our students, our state, and beyond.


Brett Davis

Director, Web & Digital Communications

Brett Davis believes in the power of higher education, and especially likes it when he can support this lofty mission by writing weird code that talks to other code and then does things that are of use. Judging by the age of the legacy web applications he is bound to support, Brett's code will likely be around for a long time. Also true: Brett's enthusiasm is tempered by knowledge that code always betrays us in the end.