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👨🏽‍💻 Virtual event | July 18TH, 2024 | 10AM EDT, 3PM BST

.edu: WordPress in Higher Ed – event recap

What an event it was 🎉 we were thrilled to invite a whole host of WordPress and Higher Ed experts to join us for the .edu virtual event on July 18th, 2024.

Whether you missed it and are looking to catch up, or just wanted to revisit your favourite sessions again, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know below.

.edu WordPress in Higher Ed: Event highlights

💡 Accessibility and innovation at Harvard Gazette

Molly Miles, Digital Project Manager for Harvard Public Affairs & Communications, and Joeleen Kennedy, Senior Web Engineer, Human Made


When the Harvard Gazette relaunched its website earlier this year, it established a new benchmark for immersive, interactive storytelling in the higher education space. 

Emphasis was placed on delivering a scalable design system, prioritizing ease of use to reduce training time, and on creating custom blocks to captivate readers and tell new kinds of stories — all while maintaining the highest accessibility standards. This was possible thanks to a hugely successful partnership between Human Made and the Harvard Gazette team.

In this keynote session from Human Made and the Harvard Gazette, we take a deep dive into the features developed to simplify publishing workflows, make accessibility more approachable, and empower creators to produce beautiful, engaging content. We’ll also hear about the ways in which WordPress is underpinning success for the Harvard Gazette team.

📈 Beyond the build: how to succeed with SEO in Higher Education

Carolyn Shelby, Principal SEO, Yoast


Open source tools like WordPress mean teams working in higher education can create incredible digital experiences to ensure they remain successful in a competitive environment. But building the platform is just the first step. It’s essential your content is seen by your intended audience, and that’s what this session is all about. Yoasts’s Carolyn Shelby will explore practical strategies for maximizing the potential of WordPress-built websites in higher education.

By bringing real-life examples, key SEO trends, and best practice into the spotlight, this session will equip higher education professionals with the knowledge to transform their websites into powerful recruitment tools, capable of helping facilitate growth and success, as universities are forced to compete in an increasingly digital world.

🕸️ Managing a multisite network using GitHub Actions

Ruthwik Reddy, DevOps Engineer, University of Illinois Chicago, and KAdam White, Principal Engineer, Human Made.


Managing a codebase across hundreds of sites is a frequent challenge for small technical teams working in higher education, and it’s far from easy. But this is the exact scenario Human Made set out to tackle for the University of Illinois Chicago’s Technical Services team when they partnered up recently. 

The project saw a centralization of UIC’s primary website codebase into a single repository using continuous integration workflows. Human Made also combined UIC’s pattern library and website codebases, managed plugin dependencies, modernized the build process, and introduced GitHub Actions’ deploy workflows to automate pushing to Pantheon servers. 

The completion of this workflow and tooling project enabled the UIC’s Technical Services team to manage their network efficiently from one codebase while empowering new contributors to participate in site improvements. 

In this talk, we’ll learn more about the decisions behind the project, focusing on how and why we unified UIC’s codebases, set up GitHub Actions, automated deployment, implemented security and code quality tools, and used Dependabot for updates.

📊 Higher ed web trends 2024

Josh Koenig, Chief Strategy Officer, Pantheon


With customers drawn from across the higher education space, WebOps platform Pantheon has a unique perspective on the sector’s most significant trends in 2024. Here, Josh Koenig, Chief Strategy Officer, shares insights drawn from across their portfolio.

Highlighting real-world experiences across their customer base, Pantheon will provide a comprehensive overview of the latest thinking and areas of focus in higher education websites. The session will touch on areas such as best practice for managing large WordPress site portfolios, how organizations integrate design systems effectively for brand unity and accessibility, and the benefits of bringing in AI search to enhance user experience.

👨🏾‍🎓 Showcasing student work: Forging ahead with WordPress

Steve Ryan, Senior Web Developer, Arizona State University


Arizona State University’s Engineering department maintains and operates a student research showcase website, which features more than 1200 projects gathered from over the last 12 semesters. This fantastic collection is made possible thanks to a huge collaborative effort bridging content submissions, website management, interviews, photography, organising proposals and research stipends, and the facilitation of an in-person event.

Thanks to its ability to organize all of the data and establish regular workflows for numerous editors and operators, WordPress makes all this possible. During this presentation, we’ll hear about the tools and processes leveraged to shape the content experience, how the team added a virtual event component during the pandemic, and how the university benefits from committing to the large undertaking required to support the project long-term.

🎤 Panel discussion: open source and higher ed – a perfect match

Rachel Cherry, board member, WPCampus


Open source technology – and WordPress specifically – plays a huge role in allowing universities to attract students, represent their brands online, and thrive in an incredibly competitive digital environment. 

This panel discussion will dive into why this technology is so well-suited to such a wide variety of higher education use cases, explore real life success stories, and imagine the ways in which WordPress can evolve in the future to ensure its ongoing value to the sector.

Nature, Outdoors, Sky

Quotes from the experts

In higher ed we work with all types of users, and not everyone wants to build a ‘scrollytelling’, immersive story – they just need to be able to get content out there quickly and easily, and this really helps with that.

Molly Miles

Molly Miles

Digital Project Manager for Harvard Public Affairs & Communications

We need to build strong foundations, with WordPress and with plugins. We need to be employing effective content strategies that we’ve thoroughly researched. We need to be keeping up with current SEO trends, and embracing the future, like with AI and all the new innovations coming down the pipe.

Carolyn Shelby

Carolyn Shelby

Principal SEO, Yoast

When you’re thinking about a campus with different departments, different schools, the design system approach is pretty much universally heralded as a good use of time and improved what the university was doing online, and also improved the work/life experience of everyone who works in and around look and feel and design.

Josh Koenig

Josh Koenig

Chief Strategy Officer, Pantheon

We wanted developers to work more independently and work on improving and providing new features instead of maintaining the infrastructure… we had a great time working with Human Made and have now made our process very automated.

Ruthwik Reddy

Ruthwik Reddy

DevOps Engineer, University of Illinois Chicago

WordPress is extendable in a bunch of different ways. It’s very useful to understand how WordPress’ extendability can take the information that you have in a particular place and make it happen in a different way.

Steve Ryan

Steve Ryan

Senior Web Developer, Arizona State University

WordPress in Higher Ed: The Definitive Guide

Learn how unlock the full potential of your university’s digital presence. This comprehensive white paper delves into the transformative power of WordPress in the higher ed sector.

Front cover and preview of pages from WordPress for Higher Ed: The Definitive Guide

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