Staff profiles – who are they for and what do they do?

You might be reading this and thinking that you don’t need to read any further, however, before I lose your attention, just because you already have an ‘awesome’ staff profile, or you don’t have a staff profile doesn’t mean you won’t pick up some hints and tips. 

Last year (July 2018) saw our new web site go live and, as I’m sure you have seen, it is pretty spectacular. The launch of the new website saw everything remodelled and updated, our staff profiles changed and now look better than ever.  

Old style staff profile:

New style staff profile:

As displayed above, our new staff profiles have much more wow factor and look so much more visually appealing. With this in mind, our ‘image style’ changed from a headshot to a shot in action. This displays our staff in their natural environment and gives the profile personality and character.  

Since the launch of the new site and a fresh look on our staff profiles, we have seen an increase in visits to our staff profiles. In the year July 2018 to July 2019, we have had 334,595 visits to all the pages in our staff profile area compared with 229,561 visits to all pages in the staff profile area from July 2017 to July 2018That is an increase of 45.75% and highlights the success of our new look staff profiles (Google Analytics, 2019). 

Furthermore, in the first year that our new website has been live, we have seen a decrease in bounce rate by 5.20% showing that users are interacting better with our new staff profiles. (Google Analytics, 2019) (For those who do not know what a page’s bounce rate is, it is the percentage of visitors who leave our website after viewing that page) 

Why do we need staff profiles? 

Staff profiles are great as they offer a place on the website our academics and support staff can make their own. Its somewhere that can showcase your research, expertise and industry experience but, most importantly, it’s the area of the website where you can show your personality. This is why we want you to write your staff profile in the first person (I am …) so you are talking directly to your audience. 

There is some essential information that we require on our academic staff profiles: 

  • About – this should summarise the main aspects of your job roles and what your focus is (teaching, research, management etc)  
  • Teaching responsibility – this should outline what courses you work on, any particular modules etc 
  • Research interests – this should describe briefly the research topics you are involved in 
  • My qualifications – highlighting what you have achieved 
  • Experience in industry – any experience you have in industry (past or present) 
  • Recent publications – this is where you can list your most recent work in date order 
  • Abstract – every member of staff has to have an abstract on their profile that is a summary of their main roles at the University written in the third person (Callum is …)  

With support staff profiles, you may not have any teaching responsibilities, but we still want you to show a high level of experience and expertise. 

Who looks at our staff profiles?  

We have a couple of two main groups of individuals who look at our staff profiles. 

  • Business and external stakeholders 
  • Current students and prospective students (Google Analytics 2019) 

Business and external stakeholders are looking at staff profiles to identify what research our academics are involved in and to learn more about what our academics achieved here at the University of Derby.  

Prospective students looking at staff profiles will be researching the academic teams on courses they are looking to study. They will be looking to see what research these academic are involved in and what industry experience they have. They are using staff profiles at the beginning of the recruitment cycle when they are looking at where to study, after an Open Day when they have discovered what our University has to offer and have spoken to academics and, finally, before arriving at University in to begin their time studying with us.  

Current student are using staff profiles for getting in contact with staff. They also allow students to discover which academics would be the best to work with when they are looking at research areas for independent studies. 

Which staff profiles were in our top 15 search results?  

  1. Professor Kathryn Mitchell (ViceChancellor) 
  2. Professor Ashiq Anjum (Professor of Distributed Systems) (Engineering and Technology) 
  3. Hari Punchihewa (Deputy Chief Executive and Finance Director)  
  4. Professor Lu Liu (Head of School and Professor of Distributed Computing) (Electronics, Computing and Mathematics) 
  5. Professor Antonio Liotta (Director of Data Science Centre) (Electronics, Computing and Mathematics) 
  6. Michael Sweet (Associate Professor in Aquatic Biology) (Life and Natural Science) 
  7. Professor Tristram Hooley (Professor of Career Education) (International Centre for Guidance Studies) 
  8. Professor Dennis Hayes (Professor of Education) (Arts, Humanities and Education) 
  9. Professor Miles Richardson (Director of core Psychology Programmes) (Life and Natural Science) 
  10. Professor Philp Hodgson (Head of Law, Criminology and Social Science) (Business, Law and Social Science)   
  11. Professor Alex Nunn (Professor of Global Economy) (Business, Law and Social Science) 
  12. Ian Turner (Associate Professor in Learning and Teaching) (Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching) 
  13. Professor Malcom Todd (Provost)  
  14. Professor Judith Lamie (Pro Vice-Chancellor, External Affairs) 
  15.  Dr Ian Bake (Senior Lecture in Psychology) (Life and Natural Science)  

What can you do to improve your staff profile? 

Content is key when it comes to staff profiles. The more that you can put on your staff profile, the more someone can get to know who you are. What you get up to in your research and work is important, so why would you not want to share this? As well as ensuring the right amount of content is on your profile, it is also important to remember to keep your content up to date. If you keep up to date with your content regularly, changes won’t feel like a huge task compared with if you rewrite all of your content every few years.  

Do not forget that we are more than happy to help you out with your staff profiles. We have our online guidance and as a team, we run our a fortnightly digital drop in session, where you can sit down with one of the team to discuss staff profile content, how to structure content on your staff profile or even how to use our content management system (CMS), Terminal Four. 

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