As most of our followers know we’ve been around awhile and have built and edited sites in a wide variety of ways – not all of them awesome. However starting about 5 years or so ago I began closing in on WordPress as a default for new sites and – eventually – the rest of the OIT Design group moved in that direction. At this point we are essentially a WordPress shop, though we still do support some sites in other environments.
Our movement to WordPress has been gradual, but happily most of the rest of our campus has been moving in the direction as well. This means we have more people to work with on development, more folks building and sharing their WordPress themes and plugins, and a supportive campus of web staff with their own WordPress experiences. While certainly not essential to success, I do think NC State’s web development community has benefited from moving in the same direction.
Since WordPress is so wildly popular it’s probably no surprise that it’s beloved on other college campuses as well. Conferences are always an opportunity to see how other university’s are doing their web stuff and many are using WordPress. So it makes sense that the success we’ve had sharing within NC State could equal more success sharing with other institutions.
Earlier this year Rachel Carden, a designer/developer at the University of Alabama had the idea to try to start a WordPress Community for Higher Ed. She started chatting with people on social media and put out a call for interested users and pretty quickly she started a group which is now WPCampus. There are many things this group wants to be – a vehicle for support and sharing, a host for webinars, podcasts, and other digital resources, and a coordinator of at least one annual conference; potentially regional ones too. Currently we’re calling for applications to host our first conference event, tentatively planned for summer of 2016.
If you’re interested in WordPress and Higher Ed – and really, if you’re not, how did you even get to this blog?! – then you should be checking out this site: https://wpcampus.org/. You can complete a form to join the group, learn more about those already involved, and apply to host the 2016 conference! If that’s a bit too much involvement just sign up and start following along – I really think this is going to be a strong community and really great resource for lots of WordPress fans.