School looks for new web designer

The Information Technology department currently does not have a web designer for the Pierce College website. Carlos Guzman is the web architect, but is not assigned to maintain the site’s presentation.

According to Vice President of Administrative Services Rolf Schleicher, they have been looking for a web designer for some time now to fulfill requirements and guidelines set by the Americans for Disabilities Act (ADA).

The new classified position requires someone to design, develop, and maintain the college’s web portal and supporting pages. The new full-time web designer will cost $108,077.14 per year with benefits.

“The web architect can’t do all the things a web designer does, so now we want to get both,” Schleicher said. “We can make a much more useful website.”

Juan Astorga, dean of student engagement, said he would love to see a more user-friendly website that will provide students an easy-to-navigate hub of Pierce information.

“Our campus would really benefit from having a web designer, making our web page more interactive, being able to help make them more user-friendly,” Astorga said.

According to Schleicher, Pierce has a participatory governance model and a methodical budgeting process that goes through four divisions: the president’s office, student services, academic affairs, and administrative services.

“Whenever we go through this budgeting process, it’s a ranking process, there are members assigned to it and we vote democratically for what gets assigned,” Schleicher said.

According to Schleicher, they put faculty first because they want to make sure the program is available to students.

“Year after year, Mark [Henderson] had put his items on the list and wasn’t able to secure his resources,” Schleicher said. “So it came down, it wasn’t a priority for the college.”

According to Larry Kraus, there are funds waiting to be approved before moving forward.

“We’ve asked for funding for this position which was approved by our participatory governance process, and it has gone through the budget committee and through the council, and now to the president for review,” Kraus said.“It all has to do with funding availability. It didn’t take so long, it’s just a process of finding and identifying funding streams that we can use to pay for the position.”

According to Schleicher, not everyone agreed with the decision to hire a web designer until he began recommending it to faculty.

“So in our demands it was high on our list, but we only get it if everyone else agrees that it’s a high-in-demand item,” Schleicher said. “I should say that the operational portion doesn’t get supported as effectively as it should until I came in and started advocating it very hard.”

Schleicher said the website is a tool that allows the community and the students to engage with what the college has to offer.

“It’s a very powerful tool and it helps us internally too, because we can use the intranet to share forms and documents of reference points, so it becomes a kind of a file cabinet,” Schleicher said. “It’s information that people can tap into online or anywhere, internally and externally.”

“We have a web architect and we don’t have a web designer so they can’t really do the same thing,” Schleicher said. “One is the backend, the web architect, and the other on the front-end, the web designer. Two of them complement each other and provide a service.”

Schleicher said they have been trying to hire a web designer for a while. They have a list of personnel commission and they set up a panel and have interviewed candidates to get the process afloat.

“Guzman has been here since I’ve been here,” Schleicher said. “I came in roughly four years ago in September. I’ve been trying to make a lot of changes, trying to make us more customer friendly, fix infrastructure and do what I did for fortune 500 companies.”

According to Schleicher, Pierce sent a request for a proposal to help with enrollment management and marketing.

“It’s really a student-centric approach to say, ‘How do we go out to the market?’ versus just sending bodies to the high schools,” Schleicher said. “What are things we can do to engage our current student base and the future student base? We’re slowly warming up to the world of technology.”

According to Schleicher, they are currently looking into various initiatives that help get in contact with students to keep enrollment up, therefore increasing revenue toward the organization.

“The web page is really a central point, it’s kind of a repository,” Schleicher said. “Events that are happening for the clubs, fundraisers are going on, school calendars, that’s why it’s so valuable. That’s what all the new companies are made of, that connection.”

“The information from the RFP [Request for Proposal] will be utilized to help guide the web designer in what we need in the future,” Schleicher said.

Larry Kraus, associate vice president, is looking forward to seeing a revamped Pierce College website that will benefit both students and faculty.

“We’ll see some improved user interface and allow for greater flexibility by our staff to manage these pages,” Kraus said.

Astorga recommends administration to make the website easier for faculty and students to navigate the website with just a few clicks.

“One of the things I would love would be getting to the point where a student can log onto our website and begin to look at the different departments that are of interest to them, and maybe download a page of that with a few clicks,” Astorga said.

“I’m hopeful because it would allow us to have a much more larger media presence, a much more engaging opportunity for our students to feel connected,” Astorga said.

Astorga recommends that faculty in different departments learn how to make minimal updates on a more consistent basis.

“For a campus this size  to expect one person to manage the website, it’s not enough,” Astorga said. “We really have to provide a multi-pronged approach to helping the web pages be supported.”