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CALS IT laid the groundwork for new Campus CMS service

Did you know there are nearly 200 individual websites hosted by CALS IT for our college’s departments, centers, research labs, and faculty members?

On June 30, 2018, CALS IT successfully migrated all of them to the newly-launched Campus CMS service, marking a milestone in a three-year process involving committee work and planning by numerous groups across campus. It also serves as a framework for how campus partners can collaborate with DoIT on services. Administration-focused websites, also hosted by CALS IT but separately on https://cals.wisc.edu, will transition in early August 2018. Information on the transition, and how customers will need to prepare, will be relayed in late July.

History and background

The CALS IT unit has professionally managed numerous iterations of WordPress services for CALS administration, departments, and other campus customers since the late 2000s. As UW–Madison units are extraordinary in their collaborative instincts, it was natural for CALS to join forces with the College of Engineering and the School of Education in early 2016 to form the WordPress Consortium. The consortium – housing nearly 500 individual websites across campus at its peak – became a robust model for supporting a campus-wide WordPress hosting service that shares resources and web hosting experience, as a cloud-based centralized IT offering.

The Campus CMS project dates back to 2015, when a cross-campus team began an in-depth assessment of websites and content management systems (CMS) in order to understand how the campus’ needs had changed. After a detailed analysis, one of the team’s initial recommendations was to move forward with WordPress. In the summer of 2016 after a second phase of the CMS assessment, campus governance endorsed and recommended the WordPress Consortium as a provider of centralized WordPress CMS services.

A new opportunity to collaborate and steer the direction of campus services arose when DoIT’s WiscWeb team migrated all of their websites to WordPress in late 2016. With CALS IT leading the way, members of the WordPress Consortium soon joined forces with WiscWeb and representatives from numerous other campus units, embarking on a multi-year project to create a new, cost-free, cloud-based, campus-governed, central CMS service with WordPress as its first offering.

This first phase of merged Consortium and WiscWeb services delivered in June are the fruits of this multi-year process involving so many people dedicated to the project’s success.

Questions

For questions, comments, and concerns, we encourage customers to reach CALS IT at our website, https://webhosting.cals.wisc.edu, or write us at websupport@cals.wisc.edu.