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Digital Transformation update: Launch Day

It’s all systems go for the new MSU Denver website. Here’s what you need to know, what to expect, how we got here and what comes next.

By Cory Phare

July 1, 2021

Woman reading Early Bird on computerThe newly redesigned Metropolitan State University of Denver home page will go live this morning, along with several high-traffic first-phase sites.

It’s more than a fresh coat of paint, too – the priority sites launching are initial steps in the University’s Digital Transformation initiative, creating a streamlined, accessible, mobile-responsive and intuitive user-experience ecosystem. The launch will benefit students and University employees, said Kayla Manning, director of Digital Marketing and User Experience Strategy.

Though the site will go live this morning, it might take up to a day to populate across the entire web depending on individual configurations, browsers and devices. This may mean it could look different on your desktop than on your phone (clearing your browser cache might help).

Manning noted the number of moving parts in the project spread across three environments and two Content Management System platforms, serving two sites while the content is moved. The newly launched WordPress-powered site will go live at, while a temporary site will continue to present content at through late October. For the majority of users, the web experience will be seamless as the project moves into subsequent phases (contact the Digital Transformation team to schedule/get help with this process).

“I saw the University-website migration as a great opportunity to showcase the unique and exciting things happening with the Aviation and Aerospace Science Department,” said Thomas Shriver, student-retention and academic-program analyst, Aviation and Aerospace Science. “I was pleasantly surprised to find the WordPress (content-management system) was intuitive and easily navigable … allowing me to smoothly integrate photos, content and graphics.”

To date, training has occurred for more than 115 web authors across 100 sites, with more to come. The team will continue testing for weeks to work out the inevitable hiccups.

“We can’t overvalue the partnerships that went into making the launch a success,” Manning said. “This is realistically an 18-month project we strategically condensed down into six months, which would be totally impossible without all the cross-campus collaboration.”

After a December kickoff meeting, migration began in earnest in January. Strategy, Marketing and Communications student employees Brianna Winkler, Badr Choubai and Dominick Muniz played a vital role, taking the lead on site Google Analytics reporting and best-practice audits and reports, along with content-migration support for key pages (including those for the Office of the President, the Board of Trustees, Strategic Plan 2030, Safe Return to Campus and others).

“Going from our old CMS to WordPress was exciting and a huge refresher,” said Heather Blevins, communications and outreach coordinator, Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. “The (Digital Transformation) team was able to answer my questions, also explaining to me the work they’d done … or plans to fix glitches I’d asked about.”

Cross-campus collaboration with the SMC digital-strategy team of Manning, Chris Mancuso, Kyle Bisio and collaborators Ruth M’Gonigle, Emalie Whan-Traylor, Scott Surine and Cory Phare; Information Technology Services team members (in particular Ed Jacobs, Crystal Ball and Nate Obee); and many others who provided feedback or support during the process helped deliver the initiative to this major milestone.

Also launching today is the redesigned Student Hub site, which consolidates disparate information and user paths into a more modern, streamlined and navigable experience for students.

“This initiative has most certainly taken on a life of its own over the past few months,” said Whei Wong, associate vice president for Marketing and Brand Strategy. “This milestone is a testament to what talent and teamwork can do here at MSU Denver. And there is more to be done as we continue migrating content and creating a cohesive digital presence with current and prospective students in mind.”

Stay tuned to the next Early Bird Digital Transformation update for insight into the launch of the MSU Denver intranet in conjunction with ITS.

Please contact Manning with questions or to report site issues/bugs.

CONTEST: As additional incentive, individuals who submit found issues, potential bugs or just hilarious updates as things are populating will be eligible for a prize following the launch. Please submit your screenshots directly to Manning.

Topics: Best practices, Collaboration, ITS, Strategy, Marketing and Communication, Technology

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