New Campus Website

Project Description

In response to the Chancellor’s challenge to improve the University’s website, the University Advancement division accepted the offer from Information Technology Services to assume responsibility for implementing an open-source content management system in support of the University website.  In consultation with the President’s Cabinet, a pilot was established.

The Pilot:

The purpose of the pilot was to assist Public Affairs in resolving problems with the University home page; to get the home page, pilot department (Public Affairs) and college (Arts and Letters) sites up in the least amount of time possible; and to support the campus’s goals of improving its outward web appearance.  Drupal was selected as the viable content management platform.

This pilot was not an attempt to redesign or rebrand the website; however, some redesign was required to resolve poorly designed elements and to take advantage of the new platform.  Because of these changes, new templates were required.  During this initial phase, ITS also prepared the underlying platform; menu structures; established the initial user administration, including assigning roles to users; and developed training and workshops.

The pilot implementation ultimately taught us how to migrate content, how to review and correct the content, and how much effort and time it takes to do this work.

The Next Phase:

The pilot implementation demonstrated that the value of the new content management system resides in the feature-rich platform that allows for easy content updates, slideshows and incorporating multimedia.  While there is an initial investment of resources required from colleges and departments, the ongoing benefits will be substantial and worth the up-front effort.

The recommended strategy going forward is for colleges and departments to opt for the partial migration of only their menu and page structure, and replace or develop new content.  Time, energy and money spent cleaning up migrated content is of limited value and distracts resources from providing fresh new images, information and creative possibilities.

Migration to this platform is encouraged, but optional for all divisions, colleges and departments.  ITS will remain available for project consultation with all divisions, colleges and departments.

Project Timeline

The scope and complexity of the overall project supports a phased implementation approach.  To that end, the following table indicates the sequence and completion dates of colleges, departments and resources now on the new platform.

Transitioned to the New Website

Go-live Date

University Home Page, Public Affairs, and the College of Arts and Letters

December 16, 2013

Charter College of Education

March, 2014

Investiture website

April, 2014

Academic Affairs, Office of

May 2014

College of Business and Economics

June, 2014

Information Technology Services

June 20, 2014

Academic Senate; Administration and Finance  (Partial migration); Student Affairs   (Partial migration)

September 17, 2014

College of Engineering, Computer Science & Technology; College of Professional and Global Education (PAGE); University Advisement

September 23, 2014

Center for Effective Teaching and Learning (CETL); Career Development Center; University Tutorial Center

October 7, 2014

Upward Bound; Student Health Center; Psychology Department

October 29, 2014

Honors College; University Strategic Plan

December 5, 2014

Accessible Technology Initiative (ATI)

December 16, 2014

Business FInancial Services; Anna Bing Arnold Children's Center; Food Services February 6, 2015

College of Health and Human Services

February 27, 2015
Quarter-to-Semester (Q2S) June 26, 2015
Department of Mathematics; Department of Natural Science; Department of Geosciences and Environment; Department of Chicano Studies September 11, 2015
Department of History; Housing Services September 23, 2016

The following colleges and divisions are currently preparing their webpages for migration.


Estimated Go-live Date

College of Natural and Social Sciences

TBD by college

Academic Affairs (remaining departments)

TBD by division and colleges

Student Life (remaining)

TBD by division

Administration and Finance (remaining)

TBD by division

User Benefits

The following illustrates the many improvements and new user benefits.

  • Built-in text editor with a display that closely resembles the final production webpage.
  • Page authors do not need to know web development applications, such as HTML or JavaScript.
  • Content is managed through a web browser.
  • Mobile and tablet responsive.
  • Built-in workflow process that allows for forwarding content to approvers and, upon final approval, content is automatically posted.
  • Revision history is retained.
  • Scheduled publishing allows web authors to pre-select a date for content to be published.
  • Ability to pre-select a “sunset” date for removal of content that is no longer applicable.
  • A simple, user-friendly interface that makes it easier to keep webpages updated, fresh and more interesting.
  • Integration with social media.
  • Built-in web accessibility scanning tool for ATI compliance.

Training and Resources

  1. A step-by-step How-to Guide is available online.
  2. The ITS Training Program provides in-person Cal State L.A. Web Platform workshops each quarter.
  3. The campus just-in-time learning resource,, provides an array of online Drupal training videos to help beginners create a web app for the first time or help pros to build a custom Drupal module.  Simply log in with your myCSULA Identity account.

Metrics and Measurements of Success

The January 6, 2014, University Times cited the new Cal State L.A. main website as getting “a wonderful face-lift.”