Walters State's new website has been named one of the best community college websites in the country. It is one of three in the nation to receive a 2012 Best of the Web award by e.Republic's Center for Digital Education.
The other two colleges honored were City Colleges of Chicago and Pratt (Kan.) Community College.
"The need for schools, universities and other educational institutions to have quality websites and applications is constantly increasing as online technologies become a bigger part of the educational process," said Cathilea Robinett, Executive Vice President of e.Republic in a press release announcing this year's award winners.
"These innovative models demonstrate the power of technology to increase learning and promote achievement. The Center is delighted to recognize these outstanding displays of creativity and ingenuity," she also said.
The Center for Digital Education (CDE) is a national research and advisory institute specializing in K-12 and higher education technology trends, policy, and funding. The Center is a division of e.Republic, a national publishing, event and research company focused on smart media for public sector innovation.
"The college's website is an integral tool in both the recruitment and retention of our students," said Walters State President Dr. Wade McCamey.
"Receiving outside recognition for our strategic efforts to develop a website that effectively supports our mission to enhance accessibility to higher education and help more students succeed is both rewarding and a credit to the individuals who developed the new site," McCamey also said.
Walters State launched its new site (www.ws.edu) in March following a two-year research, development and evaluation process, according to J.B. Pectol, associate vice president for communications and marketing.
"Our goal was not only to create a website that is more visually dynamic, but we wanted to make information about the college's academic programs and support services more accessible and engaging for current and prospective Walters State students," said Pectol.
"All phases in the development of the new site were conducted in-house by a team of faculty and staff and based on user feedback, an analysis of traffic on the website, and a review of best practices and trends," he also said.
In addition to a new design, more compelling content, improved organization, and streamlined navigation, the site includes several enhanced areas, including a new section focusing on Student Services, a new search engine, and stronger safeguards to protect users' personal identifiable information.
The Best of the Web award isn't the first time the CDE has recognized Walters State for its use of technology. Last year, the CDE named Walters State as the fifth-most tech-savvy community college in the country among mid-sized community colleges. The college was recognized for integrating technology into college curriculum, documenting use of online admissions processes, distance education, technology training for students and faculty, and use of Web 2.0 and mobile devises.