screenshots of the wmu homepage seen on different devicesAs one of the nation's top research universities, Western Michigan University should have a website that is modern, attractive and intuitive. WMU web pages should meet or exceed standards and best practices for accessibility, security and privacy across a wide variety of platforms, browsers and devices. Pages should also conform to broader University standards for communication and branding, representing WMU in the best light possible and reinforcing that we truly are learner-centered, discovery-driven and globally engaged. Our website should reflect our quality programs, successful students and alumni, and committed employees and leadership.

To meet these needs, WMU has implemented a universitywide web content management system, WMU CMS. This is not an out-of-the-box system, but rather one built specifically for WMU using Drupal, a free and open-source platform maintained and developed by a community of more than 1 million users worldwide. The open-source model means that people are constantly working to make sure Drupal is a cutting-edge platform that supports the latest technologies the web has to offer.

Changing the way we manage the Web

What we frequently refer to as websites—the Sindecuse Health Center website, the Lee Honors College website, etc.—are actually sections within Western Michigan University's website. Every web address directly off the root of wmich.edu is a section; for example, wmich.edu/admissions is the Office of Admissions section. Likewise, every address following the section name is a part of that section; thus, wmich.edu/admissions/visit is a page in the Office of Admissions section.

Through WMU CMS, users can create and edit pages in their assigned sections, without the need for specialized web authoring software (such as Dreamweaver) or knowledge of HTML, PHP or other web programming languages.

WMU CMS is developed and supported by the Office of University Relations. Only the system administrators can alter the underlying code or change the style sheets, which significantly improves system security and allows the system to maintain a consistent style across all pages of the WMU website. Web managers at the University are encouraged to contact the Office of University Relations to suggest and collaborate on development of new capabilities for the CMS, with the goal of constantly improving the system to meet the institution's varied and changing needs.