October 7-10, 2012, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Session Details

Your CMS is the Elephant in the Room

#TPR3 Technical: Propeller Hats Required Track

103 C, Frontier Airlines Center


This frank and lively presentation will take you through the brief history of a college’s epic web fail after believing the University’s one size fits all CMS would cure all ills and how, after the crash, the web disaster was turned around by the presenter and his colleagues on the front lines. You will learn about the successful processes put in place that have delivered four years of web bliss; from listening to the people who actually work on the web, to the temporary patches that turned into permanent solutions.

Focused on infrastructure, and touching on management and design, this journey covers tossing out the big box CMS software for user-friendly tools like Dreamweaver, WordPress and some home grown apps running across several development and live servers. Core web technologies like XML and CSS frameworks will be demonstrated, the concept of using RSS feeds and XSLT in content management will also be covered, as will how our solution allows information to be shared across sites and lets multiple systems to perform more efficiently than a single software approach.

No matter the size of your academic institution, the primary software at your disposal, or where you sit on the org chart, you will take away important lessons on collaboration, working from the ground up, and leveraging web standards to ensure continued creative freedom.


Jeff Abuzzahab
Web and Multimedia Lead, University of Minnesota

Jeff Abuzzahab is the Web and Multimedia Lead at the College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota. A designer with a fine arts background, Jeff works in the Information Technology field where he specializes in design production. Abuzzahab started his career at the University of Minnesota in 1995 where he has been involved with research projects and online course development. In 2007 he turned his focus to administration, heading up the Web and Multimedia team for the College of Education and Human Development. Going against tradition at the time, Abuzzahab turned the team into a hybrid of communications and information technology and then hit the campus streets developing collaborative relationships with all academic and research units.

The Web Team is still going strong planning, designing, and building sites for the college. The secret to our success? The work we do all starts with content strategy.