The importance of web governance in higher education

Mark Greenfield serves as the director of web services at University at Buffalo, and he will be presenting Web Governance at the 2017 Leadership Academy. It’s a two-day deep-dive, immediately before the HighEdWeb Annual Conference, that offers leadership training to web leaders and managers.


In October, I will be traveling to Hartford, Connecticut, to teach a half-day workshop on web governance as part of the HighEdWeb Leadership Academy. On most campuses the typical approach to address web quality is to redesign the site or invest in infrastructure such as a new CMS. Unfortunately, this rarely translates to long-term success because the real problem lies in the underlying management practices.

During this workshop, we will learn how to implement a web governance framework using my “.edu Lifecycle” framework, which includes the following four components.

The .edu lifecycle: governance surrounds operations, evaluation and strategy

Web governance

Deciding who gets to decide. Assigning roles and responsibilities, then holding those people accountable. We will walk through the creation of a web governance charter that includes roles and responsibilities, guiding principles, committee structures, web policies, web standards, project prioritization processes and resource allocation principles.

Web strategy

Understanding why you have a website and how to leverage the web to meet institutional goals and objectives. It’s important to know the problem you are trying to solve and base Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) on strategic goals and objectives.

Web operations

The biggest mistake most web teams make is thinking about the web as a project. Projects, by definition, have an end. When web teams define their work as a series of projects, the live site is often ignored as other projects become a priority, resulting in content that quickly goes out of date, the appearance of broken links, and the overall quality of the site begins to suffer and only gets addressed when things have gotten bad enough to warrant a full website redesign. We will explore web operations management and the components of a web operations plan.

Web evaluation

While web analytics are a valuable starting point, a number of additional methodologies will be introduced to measure your site’s effectiveness that focus more on the actual user experience.

Focusing on web governance is fundamental to taking a more mature approach to the web and will help convince campus leadership to move from thinking about the web as a cost center to an important strategic asset. I hope to see you in Hartford.