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Magazine On-line [spring 2013]
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Around Campus

Screen Shot Philo page

Expanded website details programs, faculty

Students would be wise not to choose a college based on a single brochure with undergraduates smiling under cloudless skies.

Transylvania tells a more in-depth story about itself on the revamped website: www.transy.edu. The communications staff has compiled profiles on majors, minors, and faculty members for the academics pages. “The ongoing project involves adding dynamic photos, environmental portraits, and interesting feature articles to the website,” said Sarah Emmons, associate vice president of communications.

The major and minor profiles go beyond simple coursework description to show students the benefits of a Transylvania education. They list examples of where graduates have found jobs or continued their education and give career options that students might not consider—such as how an anthropology major could go on to be a community organizer.

The program profiles include a section called The Transylvania Edge. This feature, for example, lets students know philosophy majors will be members of the philosophical society, Sophia, the oldest student group on campus, and they’ll plan a conference for undergraduates from across the country.

With faculty profiles, the university’s primary goal is to show prospective students how interesting and appealing Transylvania professors and instructors are—to “flesh out their multidimensional personalities,” Web Content Editor Sallie Showalter said. “We want to entice students to come to Transylvania and spend four years with this fascinating and accomplished group of people.” Going beyond a simple academic credentials list, these pages relate stories about faculty members’ intellectual pursuits, personal interests, and how they operate in the classroom.

Each academic program section also features a spotlight, where a student or recent graduate—who isn’t much older than a high school student shopping for a college—relates stories about the benefits of choosing a particular Transylvania major. The music department’s spotlight, for instance, shows pictures of four students with a quote from each and a link that opens a more detailed page about what the student gained from Transylvania.

These stories also help parents understand how a particular degree—or Transylvania’s liberal arts education in general—will lead to gainful, interesting employment, even if a particular major doesn’t quite strike them as a professional preparation program.

On another level, these additions to the Transylvania website “encourage students to think this would be an interesting and fun place to spend four years of their lives,” Showalter said.

Web Development Manager Mariana Shochat, who designed the profiles, said a major goal is to make visitors emotionally invested in the web content. Prospective students base a lot of their decision about what school to attend on emotion.

Personal stories play a lead role. To add personality to faculty profiles, Shochat replaced small photos with environmental portraits and added large quotes from professors next to their pictures. “The contact information is not enough,” Shochat said. “It doesn’t tell a person’s story.”

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