As you know, last year’s attempt to upgrade the EVMS web site encountered significant problems. As soon as issues surfaced, our first priority as an institution was to stabilize the site, ensure that all information was available online and, to the extent possible within the new site structure, make the information easy to access. This stabilization effort took several months.
Another high priority was to find a highly qualified vendor to assist EVMS in constructing a web presence that serves the needs of our various customers (students, residents, faculty, staff, research partners, community, etc.). To this end, we invested significant time in reviewing requests for proposals (RFPs) from other higher education institutions and candidly evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of our current site to clearly establish a statement of need.
Eastern Virginia Medical School is seeking a vendor to help us determine whether we can work with the content management system and structure we have or whether we should begin from scratch. We want to contract a vendor that has experience not just in making a web site look good, but also has a long history of extensively testing site usability.
Because we wanted to ensure we did this right (not just quickly), the RFP development phase took some time. The resulting 24-page document outlines our needs in a new web site. The RFP was posted in March 2010 and seven vendors (both local and national firms) responded by the April 2010 deadline.
A group of seven volunteers from across campus agreed to review the vendor responses. This review committee includes:
- Phil Copley, End User Support Specialist, Office of Education
- Jeff Johnson, Executive Director of Compliance, School of Health Professions
- Kim Lewandowski, Web Technologies Manager, Office of Marketing & Communications
- Judith Robinson Mercer, Associate Dean for Library and Learning Resources, Brickell Library
- Vincent Rhodes, Director of Marketing & Communications
- Debbie Taylor, Chief Information Officer, Academic Computer Center & BFIS
During May and June this committee reviewed more than 300 total pages in the submitted proposals and looked at various website samples from the vendors. The review committee narrowed the list to four candidates and checked references in July. They selected three semi-finalists for two-hour presentations. Based on those presentations (to be conducted in the last week of August), the committee will select two finalists.
These finalists will be invited to present to the larger web overhaul steering committee for final selection. Any faculty, staff or students interested in viewing these presentations will be welcome to attend. Details regarding times and dates for those presentations will be posted on this blog once a selection of finalists has been made.
The goal of this web overhaul project will be to minimize the disruption to campus and ensure implementation of the most useful and efficient web site possible. We want the process to be as transparent as possible. To that end, we launched this blog to provide regular updates on our progress in selecting a final vendor and the work that follows.
Please rest assured that there will be opportunities for student, faculty and staff input during the research phase of the project.
Should you have any questions or concerns about the process, feel free to contact Vincent Rhodes , director of marketing and communication, or Kim Lewandowski, web technologies manager. We’ll also be inviting your feedback on this blog.
As always, we thank you for your patience and your participation in the process.