Happy New Fiscal Year!

Somehow, unbelievably, it’s July! I’d like to share an update from our team, and get some information from you about your web needs for the coming year.


My name is Brian DeConinck, and I’m the interim team lead for the Design & Web Services team. I’ve been a web developer at NC State for almost 6 years, so a lot of you already know me. But if you don’t: Hi! I’m Brian!

Team lead means I’m the “new Jen.” I’ll be responsible for project management, coordinating SLAs and billing, and generally being your go-to person for anything and everything web. Jen McFarland is still with OIT and is now leading the ServiceNow team, where she’s going to do some great things for NC State.

That job transition roughly corresponded with a bunch of things happening at the same time—a global pandemic, stay-at-home orders, school and daycare closures, and everything moving online. It’s been a wild ride, and I know I’ve dropped the ball on some emails over the last few months. I’m sorry for that, and please feel free to reach out to me about anything you might be waiting on.

As I get myself up to speed, Lauren, Robin, and Leo have done a tremendous job keeping everything running along the way. For my first time managing a team, I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to work with. We also have a new developer joining the team later this month, and I’m excited for us to really get rolling heading into the fall.

Your Web Needs

There’s a lot of uncertainty heading into the fall semester—uncertainty about what you will be asked to do, where you’ll be working, and in many cases what kind of budget you have to work with. Even so, now is a great time to start thinking about what your web needs are for 2020-2021.

Examples might include:

  • Maintenance and support for your WordPress websites
  • Migrate your web content to the block editor
  • Fix accessibility issues detected in the Web Accessibility Challenge
  • Display calendar events from Localist, Google, REPORTER, EMS, or other campus systems
  • Restructure and redesign content on high-visibility pages
  • Completely redesign your website
  • … or anything else!

I’m going to be reaching out to all of our clients individually over the next couple of weeks. But you can get a head start by filling out a short super-unscientific survey about your website and your web needs. It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.

It’s totally understandable if there’s a lot you don’t know yet. But any information you can give us now helps us prepare and prioritize for your needs in the fall.

Our Long-Term Plans

Last fall, we began re-examining the services that we offer to campus. Even before the staffing changes and worldwide drama of this spring, we were struggling to keep up with the workload we have. I’m hopeful that we can make some announcements about our future service offerings later this summer.

As a sneak preview, I’ll say this:

We’ve been working with our colleagues on the IWS team on a new web hosting infrastructure for WordPress websites. This new hosting setup should be more reliable and significantly faster than where websites are hosted now. The transition to a new infrastructure also opens up possibilities for new tools that help keep campus websites secure, accessible, and usable. If we do it right, the new service should also cut down on some of the day-to-day maintenance tasks that keep us busy when we should be writing code and building things for you.

We’re still working out the details—what the rules for the new service will be, how we’ll approach that transition, and how much it will cost compared to existing services. There’s a lot of potential for campus in this new setup, and we want to make sure we get it right.

In the meantime, we’re still here doing what we’ve always been doing. Let us know what you need, and we’re eager to help!