Administration announces website redesign, brand development

Chancellor Thomas Keon announced a 14-month initiative to redesign PNW’s website and develop a cohesive PNW brand platform on Oct. 31, referring to the initiative as a “top priority” for PNW’s administration.

Keon said the website acts as “the primary front door to the university” for prospective students, adding that the design and functionality of the website could be a factor in increasing student enrollment.

Kris Falzone, project manager and assistant vice chancellor of Marketing and Communications, said the project’s objectives are to update the website to reflect PNW as an institution, improve the website’s usability and ensure consistency across all of PNW’s branding.

“The PNW website was developed in a relatively short time frame during unification when most of PNW did not yet exist,” Falzone said. “The current website derived from compiling together the websites from the two former universities, and has been refreshed over time as PNW has evolved.”

PNW is partnering with two firms, mStoner and bvk, for the website redesign and brand development project. Falzone said the two firms have an extensive history with higher education website design and branding. She said the estimated budget for the web redesign is $336,700 over two fiscal years and $165,000 for the brand platform over two fiscal years.

Falzone said a search committee is currently looking to hire a full-time director of web services, a new, fulltime position, tasked with managing the website and working with PNW leadership to ensure that “the website’s content is kept current, as well as branded and targeted to key audiences.”

Faculty Senate members raised questions about the prioritization of the website redesign and brand development as well as the addition of a new position during the Nov. 9 meeting.

Ralph Mueller, vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost, said that two to three people previously managed different aspects of the website and that now, a sole employee will be in charge of updating and monitoring the website and its content. He added that part of the website’s importance stems from its role in the decision-making process of prospective students.

Falzone said the discovery phase of the project will begin on Nov. 12. During this phase, the two firms, mStoner and bvk, will meet with student leaders, Faculty Senate executive committee members and staff members who manage web content for their respective colleges within PNW.

“Input from students, faculty, staff, alumni and the community, as well as analysis of our peer and competitive institutions, will form the basis for updating the website and brand platform,” Falzone said.