One of our biggest clients has always been the Division of Academic and Student Affairs (in all their past name variations) and their units. In case you’re not aware, there are a LOT of things that fall under DASA, probably more than you think. Years ago we first partnered with their Director of Technology Services, Leslie Dare, and a very rich – and busy! – partnership was born.
Leslie has always endeavored to provide her unit with excellent web options and support and over the years she’s worked with us through several solutions, most notably Drupal, and now WordPress. Late in 2014 Leslie and her colleague (co-conspirator) Justin Hammond, the Director of Marketing and Communications for DASA, started the bid process to get designs for a new DASA WordPress theme. Once those came in, and were vetted by Campus Communications, we took the designs and built them a theme. At the same time we worked on getting them set up in a multisite environment. Since Leslie had so many sites, with so many domains and sub-domains it was truly a challenge to untangle everything and get both the WordPress environment and the cPanel backend to resolve everything correctly. It was an excellent learning experience for all concerned.
After many months of development, testing, troubleshooting, configuring, documenting, and training we are entering the final(-ish) phase of transition. The main DASA site launched February 27th and other sites began to transition into the environment with a child version of the main theme. Sites continue being moved; Leslie and Justin are assisting the various DASA units with questions and training them on WordPress generally and the DASA theme specifically. They have provided best practices for guidance and have their own “office hours” for people to come and ask questions as they finish migrating their site content and prepare for each “go-live.”
To date, DASA has more than 60 sites in their new environment, all with a shared repository of plugins and a consistent look-and-feel made possible by a branded and compliant theme. It’s been a great project and hopefully will be a model for similar consistency in other campus colleges and departments. It’s been such a delight to team up with Leslie and Justin for this project and we look forward to many more years of collaboration!