What was your goal for working with Constructive?
We’ve done a number of projects together. Constructive began working with different departs within the university over six years ago. Their first project was on a web presence for a campaign that we were embarking on, which became the largest in the university’s history. We raised well over $1 billion, I think through channels one could say were related to the website that Constructive created. That process was with our Alumni and Development Office.
They went on from that project to work with our School of International and Public Affairs. They did a redesign of our website for that school, which is massive. I think it has be many hundreds, if not thousands, of pages, and includes a very comprehensive directory of our faculty. There was another firm that had been originally chosen for that project, and we just weren’t pleased with the work that was being done. So with the success that Constructive had had on the campaign website for the university – they won a Webby Award for that – and all the great traction that we got from that, we felt confident that they step in and kind of recalibrate the site for the School of International and Public Affairs. That was around four years ago I think.
After that, I engaged them on a few different projects, some smaller things that are very important to the university’s smaller kind of center websites, institute websites etc.
Most recently there have been discussions amongst our trustees regarding our university's global presence. We’re among the most global universities in the world in that we have so many faculty and students abroad. There’s so much happening here on our campus that involves global topics; everything from languages to culture and finance, and all these things. So we really wanted to find a way to express that, and to understand that more. What is the true global footprint of the university?
So we had conversations with the heads of our different schools. We talked to the deans and talked to some of the faculty who we believe are most engaged. We spoke to the heads of our centers. We have nine of these global centers around the world, so spoke to the people there. It became clear through those discussions that there was a need for us to have a web presence that allowed people at our university, students and faculty especially, to understand what others are doing.
For example if someone associated with our university is in Cairo and they meet up with someone that they’ve never met before, but that person is also with our university and is also there studying or researching, we wanted to somehow bring that information, that knowledge, that awareness through a digital space. In this way, before one leaves for these places, they would know that work is going on and be able to have the dialog and interaction with their peers.
So we started to with Constructive on creating a website for the university. It was, I think, the largest initiative of its kind. It’s still in a beta form, we launched it last year. There's been a lot of publicity around the launch, and its a site that’s right off the University homepage, so it involved a lot of high-level contact. They worked directly with me in speaking to faculty and senior administrators.