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101CD, Wisconsin Center

The Hierarchy of Needs for Higher Ed Websites

Tuesday, Oct 15 2:45 - 3:30

Presented by Steve Persch

University websites must balance many competing priorities. The web presence needs to encourage undergrad enrollment, direct current students to needed resources, inform people visiting the physical campus, and much more. A small web team can feel like they are torn in different directions when they know they need to increase conversions while often struggling just to keep on-premise hardware up and running.

Organizing competing priorities gets easier when viewing them as building on one another. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a helpful metaphor for seeing how a university can leverage a stable foundation to achieve goals now and in the future.

This session emphasizes ways higher ed web teams can rely on automation and standardization at one level of the hierarchy in order to move their focus to a higher level.



Steve Persch


Steve Persch is a developer with 13 years of experience building WordPress and Drupal sites. While interning at a theatre company in college, Persch overheard the artistic director say they needed a blog and an online magazine. Persch volunteered to build the sites and WordPress 2.0.4 got the job done. His path was changed and he's been building sites since. Persch spent much of his career at Palantir.net, a Drupal-focused web agency. Working at Palantir, Persch built sites for a range of clients including Foreign Affairs, Marketplace, Public Radio International, and many higher education institutions. Persch was a co-maintainer of the Workbench suite of modules. You can find patches from Persch all over Drupal core and contributed modules. In his role at Pantheon, Persch works primarily with agencies as they learn Pantheon's tools. Often that means guiding developers as they use Terminus, Quicksilver, and other Pantheon power tools.