To help better address the needs of its faculty and staff, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) created an easy-to-use professional website platform that helps them manage their own university web space.
Officially launched in 2018 as part of the CLAS website migration — the largest in university history — Warrior Sites is available to the college’s faculty and staff to support/represent professional and educational activities in conjunction with their university affiliation.
“Warrior Sites gives faculty, staff and departments the ability to showcase work and interests beyond the scope of our official department sites,” said Mel Mills, web content administrator for CLAS. “In addition, it provides faculty, specifically, with an easy to use, professionally branded platform and creative space to showcase their research, even if they don’t have any experience with coding. This dedicated space allows everyone to create a home for their work and contributions that students, the community and institutions across the world can engage with.”
Physics Professor Peter Hoffman was the first official Warrior Sites tenant, Mills said, and a big reason it came to fruition, pushing for the project during his tenure as associate dean of research and technology.
“When I initially brought this idea to the table, Peter was on board from day one and lobbied for us to secure approval and funding to go forward,” Mills said. “He believed in the vision we presented for this project, but I'm especially fond that he believed in and trusted us to bring it to completion and serve this area of need for the college.”
The long-term plan is to expand Warrior Sites university wide.
“Even though it's beginning as a CLAS project,” Mills said, “we intentionally designed and branded Warrior Sites with enough generic branding and rules to expand to the larger university, beyond a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences platform.”
All Warrior Sites are emblazoned with the Wayne State logo and colors, helping to protect the brand and reputation of the university, Mills said. In addition, regular workshops are hosted and tutorials given to help users get acclimated with using the platform.
Some of the uses for Warrior Sites include:
- Professional academic faculty/staff websites
- Research, projects and related academic work
- Academic groups
- Conference websites
- General blog or informational websites
“Warrior Sites has been very well-received,” Mills said. “Like with any major undertaking, it hasn't been without its share of bumps in the road. But it's already accomplished what we set out to do, in terms of fulfilling this need for faculty and supplemental department content.”
The Humanities Clinic needed a place for students, faculty, community partners, sponsors and anyone else with an interest in the clinic to find out more about the work they do. The Humanities Clinic’s Warrior Site is where community partners can find a link to its Twitter feed and the current Call for Proposals, which is how many Detroit nonprofits and businesses learn about and apply to partner with the clinic.
“As the clinic has grown rapidly in the last year — bringing together students and faculty from eight different academic departments and working with nearly 20 community partners — we needed a single site that was easy for everyone to access and use,” said Lillian Wilson Szlaga, coordinator for the Humanities Clinic. “It's increased our visibility and made it easier for people at WSU and beyond to learn about us. And having one place where people can find out how to get involved with the clinic has streamlined our process of attracting interns, community partners and sponsors.”
Michelle Serreyn, program coordinator for the Office of Teaching and Learning, had something she wanted to share as an individual with the Wayne State community. Serreyn uses Warrior Sites for her Warrior Wildlife blog, in which she writes about what occurs “right under our noses and over our heads in the natural world around Wayne State.”
“It introduces the ‘wild’ side of campus life,” Serreyn said of her blog. “My special interest is nature, and even though that's not something we associate with an urban setting like ours, it's actually surprising how much nature we have.”
Serreyn has published stories on Isabella and Freedom, a bonded pair of Peregrine Falcons (aka Wayne State’s celebrity birds of prey), Midtown’s squirrely residents, (a must-read, especially for anyone on campus), and how animals survive the winter. Serreyn admits she is not the most tech-literate person, but said Warrior Sites is user friendly.
“So far, it's pretty easy and accessible, especially since it seems to be set up like most of the other text editors we have, such as those in Canvas,” she said. “I'm waiting to have time to play with all the other cool stuff.”