Baylor Launches Redesigned Interactive Web Site

March 19, 2002

by Lori Scott Fogleman

After nine months of planning and behind-the-scenes implementation, Baylor University launched its newly redesigned web site March 14, putting in place a more powerful tool to attract students, augment communications with alumni and market the university to the world.

As part of its redesign, Baylor is using several web-based products called ActiveCampus, developed by LiquidMatrix Corp. of Buffalo, N.Y. ActiveCampus includes a comprehensive system for managing the overall look and offerings of Baylor's web site, as well as specific modules that focus on communication with prospective students, called ActiveAdmissions, and alumni, called ActiveAlumni. Baylor's web address has remained the same at www.baylor.edu.

Baylor departments, using ActiveCampus, will be able to more easily manage the content of the various web sites hosted by Baylor. A content management system provides standardized page design elements such as common graphics, fonts and colors tied closely to Baylor's overall web design. Departments also will be able to customize their pages, and web-based forms will allow staff members with little or no HTML experience to make changes to page content.

With ActiveAdmissions, interaction between undergraduate admissions and prospective students is expected to increase in a new and dramatic way. After visiting Baylor's web site and providing information about academic, extracurricular and career interests, prospective students will be greeted by news stories and other information tied closely to their indicated interests. ActiveAdmissions also allows prospective students to receive personalized e-mails from Baylor and to register online for events such as campus visits and premiere events. In addition, they can periodically check the status of their admissions application.

"We hope that the benefits of personalized information, timely communication and a user-friendly application will cause more prospective students to become connected to Baylor early in the process, to stay interested and to eventually apply online," said Diana Ramey, assistant vice president for enrollment management.

With ActiveAlumni, the Baylor Alumni Association will be able to add more online services for alumni, including personalized screen offerings, targeted e-mails, an online alumni directory and online discussion forums. ActiveAlumni also will allow for the development of online career and business networks and will help Baylor pursue online fundraising.

Representatives from Baylor and LiquidMatrix began working together in June to examine and redesign Baylor's web site.

"We recognized the need to leverage our web site to enhance the marketing of the university, particularly to alumni and prospective students," said Larry D. Brumley, associate vice president for external relations.

After gathering feedback from focus groups on existing online services, an integration team from Baylor -- including representatives from Public Relations, Information Technology Services, Admission Services, University Development and the Baylor Alumni Association -- was formed to help manage the transition to the new system.

Dr. Reagan M. Ramsower, associate vice president and chief information officer, said the LiquidMatrix products fit well with other ongoing Baylor web initiatives, such as the mix of instructional and personal web tools included under the umbrella name of MyBaylor.

"As part of the MyBaylor strategy, ActiveAdmissions and ActiveAlumni sandwich the Blackboard application that personalizes web content for faculty, staff, and students on campus," Ramsower said. "As MyBaylor efforts mature in the next few years, these three applications will fit seamlessly together to provide highly customized and personalized information to Baylor's primary constituents -- prospective students, matriculating students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends."

To protect users, all personal information retrieved through the new Baylor web site will be maintained in a secure environment. Individuals who submit sensitive information also will be able to have a say in how that information is released to other users through such offerings as the online alumni directory. In addition, Baylor's LiquidMatrix products will be maintained on servers located on campus, rather than by a private company located off campus.

For more information, contact Randy Woodruff, director of Internet services, at 710-8881 or Colin Witt, manager of Internet communications, at 710-6270. Ramsower can be reached at 710-8788 and Brumley at 710-1964.

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