North Central College - Naperville, IL

North Central unveils new website design, features

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Contact: Nancy Dunker, associate director of public relations, 630-637-5306, nadunker@noctrl.edu

Nov. 12, 2010—North Central College recently unveiled a new look and new content to its website and invites the public to take a look at www.northcentralcollege.edu.

Viewers will notice vivid colors that reflect the College’s Cardinal spirit, easy “go to” buttons on the homepage, and photos and features throughout the site that communicate stories about North Central College’s student and faculty accomplishments, vibrant campus life, news, majors and degrees, and events that are open to the community.

“We determined early on that the key viewers of our website are prospective students and that includes high school teens, parents and those looking at graduate school,” says Jim Godo, assistant vice president for marketing and communications. “We wanted our site to really connect with them. That meant having fresh and interesting content; clear descriptions of our majors, minors and programs; real-life stories of our students, faculty and alumni; and flexibility to add new media whenever and wherever we want.”

Godo says this is only the first phase of the new design. More areas will be programmed and incorporated over the next 12 months. Pleased with the launch so far, he’s especially excited about the site’s ability to communicate news where prospective students naturally look for it. “Our strategy has been to place and publish content across the site and to do it efficiently.”

There were other reasons behind the new design and structure, says Kathy Wilders, assistant vice president for information technology services. “The content management system we were using just wasn’t flexible and we wanted to be in a position to make very unique changes quickly, adapt with new technologies and do things we wanted. As a result, we’ve adopted an open-source software called Drupal that’s very popular with colleges.”

One benefit to using Drupal, says Wilders, is the ability to marry the College’s events calendar system throughout the website. As events are publicized, they’re tagged to automatically appear at designated places throughout the site, eliminating duplicate human effort. Editing content and including videos are much easier too.

Upgrading to Drupal was possible, says Wilders, because of her staff’s capabilities. “We can handle this; we’re staffed to program, adapt and maintain this type of project.” She explains that Drupal is a free software. No one owns it, but users like the College are free to develop it as they want and share modules they create. Her staff has developed the software to fit the College’s needs now and for the future.

The College’s athletics at http://northcentralcardinals.com and fine arts websites at www.northcentralcollege.edu/show are accessible from the homepage as well.

Founded in 1861 and celebrating its Sesquicentennial in 2011, North Central College is an independent, comprehensive college of the liberal arts and sciences that offers more than 55 undergraduate majors and graduate programming in six areas. Located in the Historic District of Naperville, Illinois—rated by Money magazine as among the nation’s “Best Places to Live”—North Central College is just 30 minutes from Chicago’s Loop. With more than 2,900 undergraduate and graduate students, North Central College is committed to academic excellence, a climate that emphasizes leadership, ethics, values and service, a curriculum that balances job-related knowledge with a liberal arts foundation and a caring environment with small classes.

11-12-2010