Posted Dec. 13, 2021
Department Heads and Associate Department Heads for Extension,
As you know, we have been working closely with New City to elevate the reputation of each department and the College among target audiences through an improved digital presence. The following is an update on the status of the comprehensive project to transition department websites in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
As a reminder, this project provides new, updated templates to each department, so the sites visually match the College’s website and follow university branding. These new templates allow us also to take action to ensure security and accessibility on these sites. Through this process, each department website will go through three phases: planning, development, and launch/delivery. We had estimated time from project start to completion to be 20 weeks. Since our first update, we have completed content audits and project briefs and preliminarily met with the following departments, listed below:
- Agricultural Economics
- Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications
- Soil and Crop Sciences
- Rangeland, Wildlife and Fisheries Management
- Poultry Science
- Animal Science
- Horticultural Sciences
Others are in progress or will be started soon. In that time, we also brought on a third-party partner, New City, to assist with the development of a website template. This, however, could not be done without considering the unique needs of each department and the complexities presented by our agency affiliations. Joining forces with New City allowed us to consider changes that would be occurring in tandem as the agency worked to complete the major digital project for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.
Partnership with Digital Education
As part of the planning process, we have also proactively collaborated with Texas A&M AgriLife Digital Education to identify Extension educational publications that currently live on department websites to ensure that these documents are inventoried and transitioned to AgriLife Learn, under criteria shared with Extension Associate Department Heads in October. In support of the decision by Extension leadership, this will further allow us to create a more seamless user experience that will be accomplished by linking out relevant categories from AgriLife Learn on department websites.
The Educational Product Specialists from the Digital Education team will work alongside our strategists for these departments:
- Animal Science, Casey Matzke
- Agricultural Economics, Casey Matzke and Carrie Baker
- Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications, Odessa Keenan and Carrie Baker
- Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Mikaela Seeger and Rob Williams
- Biochemistry and Biophysics, Mikaela Seeger
- Ecology and Conservation Biology, Mikaela Seeger and Carrie Baker
- Entomology, Mikaela Seeger and Rob Williams
- Horticultural Sciences, Taylor Yates and Robin Williams
- Food Science and Technology, Odessa Keenan
- Nutrition, Odessa Keenan
- Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Mikaela Seeger and Rob Williams
- Poultry Science, Casey Matzke
- Rangeland, Wildlife and Fisheries Management, Casey Matzke and Carrie Baker
- Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences, Taylor Yates and Carrie Baker
- Soil and Crop Sciences, Mikaela Seeger and Rob Williams
Revised Website Timeline
Production of the site template with our New City partner has delayed our time to completion for our first round of sites, which were set to be completed in October and could potentially delay the timeline for future sites. We are hoping to have a revised template soon and will work diligently to regain time lost. For many department sites, these transitions are complex and include not only updating the theme, but also consolidating and decommissioning old websites, migrating content and, in some instances, creating new content. We are doing the best we can to prepare for the transition of these department websites once we have the template in hand. However, we do want to be realistic about content transfer and the capacity of our team to ensure a smooth, efficient process.
We will update timelines and share as soon as the test site is in hand, and we have begun transition of the first set of department sites. This will allow us to have a better idea of the time each will take so that we can offer you our best estimate of the time to completion. Again, we appreciate your patience and cooperation as we take on this difficult, but important project. We look forward to the benefits these sites will provide to departments, once completed. While time consuming up front, this partnership with New City and with Texas A&M AgriLife Digital Education has allowed us to identify and mitigate any potential roadblocks we might discover during content transfer.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the migration of department websites specifically, do not hesitate to reach out to Carrie Baker, marketing strategy coordinator for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Questions pertaining to the website triage project across Texas A&M AgriLife can be directed to Allison LaRocca. Inquiries specific to the migration of Extension publications and other digital learning materials previously hosted on department websites should be directed to Caitlyn Calvert.
Marketing Strategy Manager
Marketing Strategy Coordinator
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Digital Learning