About Frostburg State University
Frostburg State University, located in Frostburg, Maryland, is a public university and a four year institution in the University System of Maryland. The university offers 47 undergraduate majors, 16 graduate programs, and one doctorate degree across its three colleges: the College of Business, the College of Education, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Its current enrollment is approximately 5,400 students. Frostburg State University offers a wide variety of exchange and partnership programs, affording students to study at 140 locations world-wide.
Prior to switching to Cascade CMS in 2015, Frostburg State University used a different content management tool, which wasn’t robust enough to meet the university’s needs. In addition, the vendor was not able to provide the level of support that was needed. As a result, the university made the decision to evaluate other products and services. The timing was right, as it coincided with a redesign of the university’s public-facing website.
Two of the key requirements were that the new CMS be intuitive to end users and require less involvement from technical resources.
While the Marketing team was the final decision maker, the IT department also provided their pain points and desired outcomes of the switch, identifying reducing the number of helpdesk tickets as an important and measurable goal. Users on campus should be able to edit their content and publish it without any interaction with IT.
For their CMS selection process, Frostburg looked for CMSs on state contracts that they could leverage. Another institution in Maryland, Salisbury University, had just finished an RFP and selected Cascade CMS. This led Frostburg’s team to review the product to make sure that it met their needs and would help the University achieve its goals.
As soon as Cascade CMS was rolled out on campus, the number of helpdesk tickets plummeted. In fact, it cut the number of overall tickets in half. In September 2016, the IT team received 355 tickets. By September 2018, the number had dropped to 277, and in 2019, it was only 164 tickets. According to Reid Bluebaugh, Associate Director of Applications and Development, the dependency on IT for content contributors has significantly lessened.
Content contributors are able to make updates much faster than before, while IT resources are able to focus on other strategic priorities. Bluebaugh states, “Giving the power to users was great as it cut down on IT resources. In fact, we had three team members on the web and we were able to move one of them to another IT role as things got more streamlined. The users are happier because they can get their updates done quickly and easily. IT’s focus has been more on training and helping users improve their pages.”
As Frostburg rolled out its new website in Cascade CMS, the focus was on streamline content. It makes sense to do a content audit prior to migrating existing content into your new CMS. Prior to moving to Cascade, the university had 5,726 pages. After eliminating 62% of the content, the website was down to 2,176 pages. This was crucial, as Bluebaugh stated, because “the users were more focused on the important content and got rid of the fluff.”
Frostburg State University has 83 content contributors. The learning curve for Cascade CMS has been low, allowing the team to do one on one training sessions for a smooth rollout. In addition to the training sessions, Frostburg has also created documents to help the users stay on track.
Frostburg State University is looking ahead and planning a branding overhaul in the next year. As users are more engaged with their CMS and focused on the content rather than the presentation layer, changing to a new look will be fairly easy, especially since Cascade CMS can output each piece of content in as many different ways as needed.