The development of the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School’s website and other official digital properties represents a significant investment and plays a key role in strengthening our online public image. It is, therefore, of vital importance that our community maintains *law.upenn.edu, its subsites, and other public digital properties according to best practices, institutional policies, and at the highest quality possible. With that goal in mind, this document details the online management and governance of our digital environment.
The objective of this document is to provide collaborative centralized governance for the ongoing development, deployment, delivery, and maintenance of the Law School’s public online presence and to represent our brand consistently across public digital channels through standard processes, roles, responsibilities, and practices.
This objective will be pursued with the school’s underlying strategic priority in mind: to facilitate a user experience that will develop a positive digital relationship with all visitors—particularly current and prospective students, faculty, and staff—providing them with the information they need quickly, easily, and enjoyably.
The Digital Governance Committee is composed of the Executive Director of Communications (Rebecca Anderson), the Associate Dean and Chief Information Officer (Christine Droesser), Sr. IT Support Manager (Sudeshna Dutta), and members of the Law School community. It is the responsibility of the Digital Governance Committee to set the direction and policies for the School’s public online presence.
Responsibilities of the Digital Governance Committee include:
- Establish and maintain appropriate policies, processes, and procedures to govern digital strategy and standards for public Law School-branded digital assets
- Evaluate the effectiveness of policies and standards
- Ensure compliance with all legal and regulatory standards, including accessibility, security, privacy
- Authorize global changes to taxonomy, structure, branding, look and feel, navigation, styling, etc., as needed
- Recommend new templates or changes to existing templates
- Ensure quality, consistency, and content integrity across digital platforms
- Facilitate and resolve non-compliance issues
The Digital Governance Committee (DGC) will meet at least once per semester to review any requests from academic and administrative stakeholders for major changes to the Law School website, other digital properties, and/or relevant policies and procedures. They will update Law School Leadership on project plans and disseminate information to their staff and department members, as needed.
Throughout the year, community members are invited to send ideas, requests, problems, and concerns to the Digital Governance Committee via email: email@example.com. Ideas, requests, problems, and concerns will be logged into a ticketing system and reviewed with the committee on a semester basis.
The Law School’s public online channels exist to showcase the school’s best qualities and to project a positive image of the School to the world; they are strategic assets that carry enormous influence. With a distributed content team managing these sites, guidelines that encourage clarity, accuracy, and consistency are essential to protecting our online image. While designated staff will have access to edit certain portions of the site, create new content, and remove old content, the site and all its subdomains remain the property of the Law School.
Policies and Procedures for Law School Websites
A ‘Law School Website’ is any website, including law.upenn.edu and all subsites (as defined below), are entities that represent the views and activities of the community, that is owned or managed by any staff, or that uses any of our branding. Any such website must be approved by the Digital Governance Committee and is subject to all of the requirements in this document.
Content Management System
All website content currently is held and propagated to law.penn.edu using the LiveWhale Content Management System (CMS), and in some cases, an instance of WordPress. Additional sites, upon approval, may be built using the Law School’s instance of WordPress; in these cases, approval must be given by the Deputy CIO.
Staff who have received training in CMS and governing policies and procedures will be given access to the CMS. The Office of Communications or ITS will provide initial training. Access will not ordinarily be granted to students or faculty.
Roles and Permissions
**Content editors can gain access to the CMS once they have read this document and CMS training has been completed.**
Permissions in LiveWhale are determined by roles, which are generally the same for all editors assigned to that group (e.g., all users in the “Academics” group have the same editing privileges). ITS Partners should contact ITS to request editing privileges on behalf of employees.
All staff who require editing access to the web site must complete all modules in the CMS training course before being granted access. ITS Partners can request access on behalf of new users once training is complete. The CMS training modules can be accessed at https://www.law.upenn.edu/its/docs/cms-training.php.
The designated ITS Partner should contact ITS when editors should no longer have permission to edit the site. If a web editor is leaving their position within the Law School, the ITS Partner is responsible for submitting an exit form in a timely manner so that ITS can revoke access to the CMS.
Content editors will have the ability to make small changes on all “Basic Page Templates” (e.g. any interior pages with a left side nav.) These changes do not need to be routed through ITS or Communications. If changes to widgets or larger design changes are required, emails should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org to notify Communications and ITS and set up further discussion if necessary.
Maintaining the quality and accuracy of our website is a shared responsibility that needs to reflect the brand, mission, and values of the institution. Typos, poor grammar, outdated information, etc. detract from effective communication of what makes Law School an outstanding place to study and work.
The Office of Communications has access to all areas of the main website and social media channels. To ensure quality control, the Office of Communications may edit or alter content as needed or as possible for clarity, consistency, and style to ensure quality control and to conform with school naming conventions and branding.
The Office of Communications is responsible for generating and maintaining content for the homepage and top-level landing pages, and provides content writing, editing, organization, and design guidance to departments school-wide. Communications reserves the right to revise or delete content (housed either on school resources or external resources) that does not meet University accessibility guidelines and/or our Editorial Style Guide.
Web Partners are responsible for ensuring the quality and accuracy of all content changes made on their department pages.
If error(s) appear on a page, the Office of Communications will correct the error(s) and contact the Contributor responsible to advise on style and best practices. If quality control issues recur, the Office of Communications will relay the concern to the department administrator and may suspend editing privileges until it is resolved.
An annual content audit will be conducted on all department web pages. It is expected that academic and administrative department heads will consult with Communications staff in reviewing their site audit and will take an active role in addressing issues regarding content on any given department or program site.
ITS and the Office of Communications are responsible for ensuring that the website complies with all University guidelines.
Key Marketing Landing Pages Maintenance
Each academic year the Digital Governance Committee will convene pertinent department heads to discuss language for key landing pages as defined below. This will ensure that our messaging to prospective audiences is fresh and cohesive.
Key Marketing Landing Page Name
Content Audit Schedule
Each academic year
Impacts & Insights
September and June. Should be reviewed to ensure that the Law School’s competitive strengths and innovative programming is highlighted. Note that this content may not need updates but should be at least reviewed twice per academic year.
Admissions Landing and Degree Program Landing Pages
Each academic year and update featured degree module monthly. The Communications team will periodically audit to ensure that content is relevant and up to date.
Each academic year
Each academic year
Faculty & Research
Each academic year
Toll Public Interest
Each academic year
Equity & Inclusion
Each academic year
Types of Website Updates and How to Execute Them
This section defines types of changes to the website and how to collaborate with team members to execute them. Changes are classified as follows:
- An update or fix that is required to immediately restore service, fix unintended behavior of a page/content block, or to avoid an outage where no other workaround is available.
Examples of urgent fixes include:
- incorrect data fed from third party services;
- inconsistent cross-browser support;
- errors in site search; or
- anything that impacts core functionality and operations (e.g., course directory), CMS performance, or that exposes the school to security or legal liability (e.g., PennKey/Law Key authentication errors or failure to meet University guidelines for accessibility).
- Urgent fixes should be reported via email@example.com.
- Small, day-to-day changes to a page’s content (i.e. copyediting and updates to images) on “Basic Page Templates” (e.g. any page with a left side navigation)
- These do not need to be routed or requested through ITS or the Office of Communications, unless the department feels they need additional help.
- All changes to landing pages (e.g. any page without a left side navigation) will need to be made in collaboration with the Office of Communications.
- Any change that impacts the information architecture, organization, and search engine results of the site.
- Examples of “medium” changes include: modifications to site navigation, the creation of new pages, or the reorganization or renaming of existing pages.
- Medium changes must be implemented in collaboration with Comms and ITS web team members with specialized knowledge of best practices in content strategy, web usability, information security and accessibility, and search engine optimization (SEO).
Medium changes may require approval of the Digital Governance Committee. Requests should be submitted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
A “Large” Change
- Any change that impacts the data structure, theme, or functionality of the site.
Examples of large changes include:
- the creation of new sections or content types,
- modifications to the look and feel or user interface design of the site,
- modification to an existing feature,
- creation of a new feature or interaction, or
- integration with a third party system or service.
- Large changes must be implemented in collaboration with web team members with specialized knowledge of best practices in web design and usability, information security and accessibility, and web development, and have experience with our implementation of WhiteWhale.
- Large changes typically require approval of the Digital Governance Committee. Requests should be submitted via email@example.com.
A Subsite is a website hosted under the Law School domain name that bears the school’s name or logo or that otherwise purports to represent the opinions or work of the Penn Carey Law but is not directly part of www.law.upenn.edu.
Subsites must be sponsored (“owned” and “maintained”) by a current faculty member or administrator and be related to a Law School-affiliated research center, program, or initiative.
All new subsites must be approved by the Digital Governance Committee (see below). Subsites must meet the following criteria:
- Support the Law School’s mission
- Provide lasting value to the Law School
- Satisfy an unmet need
- Have approval from the Digital Governance Committee
- Have an ongoing staffing and maintenance plan
- Demonstrate adequate funding to meet start-up and ongoing maintenance costs (if school funding is not available)
- Register relevant ownership and technical details with ITS and Comms, enabling them to make changes in hosting plans or content, as required or needed
- Requesting a Subsite
- To request a new website, administrators should contact firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of the web team will respond to your request promptly, as conditions allow.
All websites must comply with University of Pennsylvania Web Accessibility Standards.
Vendor contracts for web/application development or hosting must conform to WCAG 2.1, Level AA guidelines.
All websites must comply with University of Pennsylvania ISC Security Policies.
Subsite Content Quality Standards
It is the responsibility of the Site Owner to ensure that content is accurate, up to date, and complies with University guidelines.
To prevent the dissemination of conflicting information, subsites must not duplicate official school information. Rather, they should link to the authoritative source. Official school information includes but is not limited to:
- Tuition, fees, and scholarship information
- Academic requirements
- Academic calendars and deadlines
- Course descriptions and schedules