A newly created Department of Digital Strategy plans to re-envision the digital landscape for UALR by creating content and usage partnerships, and driving a responsive, accessible, and forward-thinking web environment for the university.
The campus community and external audience can expect several changes in the coming months as the department, led by the digital strategy director, Dan Shisler, takes on new data-driven digital projects to put UALR at the forefront of higher education websites.
Already, the department has made an impact in social media, boasting accelerated audience growth and engagement in the past two months. That’s just one area benefiting from Shisler’s expertise.
“We envision a world-class online experience for prospective, current, and graduate students as well as an ecology that promotes campus involvement and interaction,” said Shisler, who came to UALR in February after managing the digital presence for Dillard’s, Inc.
Search engine marketing and optimization has been added to the department’s scope. Aaron Baker, formerly web services coordinator, has taken on the role of lead analyst for SEO/SEM (search engine optimization and marketing), ensuring that UALR and its vast array of programs, academic departments, and services are well-positioned in related searches.
The department is placing added emphasis on data and analytics in order to provide measurable returns.
Content-related communications and marketing will be in the hands of Jennifer Godwin, senior web content manager, who will take the lead in helping units across campus revamp and curate their sites.
Social and digital content strategist Meaghan Milliorn will continue her work in the social media realm, linking those channels with the larger digital mission. Recently, UALR reached its goal of 13,000 Facebook fans, which pushes advertised content to almost 4 million users, engaging them with trivia, photo cover contests, and other specialized social content.
Derrick Koon will begin as UX/UI (user experience and interface) designer for the department in June. He will help restructure the look, feel, usability, and accessibility of ualr.edu.
The department has adopted a student-first philosophy when it comes to content and design and plans to work closely with campus departments, programs, and academic areas to carry out that mission. Those on campus seeking help with a digital project can contact the department at its new home, ualr.edu/digital.
The Department of Digital Strategy is partnering with the Office of Communications to carry out marketing initiatives, develop content, and enforce brand guidelines.
Team members in the department have implemented the agile process for managing projects, which will lead to greater efficiency and coordination on a large scale.
“We have a committed and creative team ready to tackle the digital landscape and transform it into something great,” Shisler said. “Exciting times are ahead for UALR, and I am eager for us to make a tremendous impact in higher education.”