Saturday, January 26, 2008

updated group webpage + grad recruiting

It took a little work, but I finally did a major overhaul of my group's webpage. It's hard to get a good sense of how important it is to have a good webpage. My impression is that prospective students put a surprisingly large amount of weight on this, and I'm pretty sure that many others (funding agency personnel, referees, news media) do a lot of web-based background chasing, too. Nothing says "disorganized" like having a webpage that clearly hasn't been updated in four years.

My department is in the process of overhauling its webpage as well. We are very interested in increasing our applicant pool, and this certainly can't hurt (provided that it's done well, of course). Rice's big challenge is one of overall visibility, in my opinion. I just want to make sure that undergrads at the top 25 places in the country are at least aware that we have a thriving graduate program. That's easier said than done.... When I was a senior Rice was not even on my radar screen - growing up and going to school in the northeast, I just didn't think about them. Of course, the best thing to do to boost graduate applications is to do great science and make sure that people know about it, but that takes time.

7 comments:

Schlupp said...

Nice, your new page!

Anonymous said...

Doug,

There's something funky going on with the group picture on your Group Members page. The picture looks fine upon initial loading of the page, but floats above the rest of the text/pictures as I scroll down. I'm using IE 6.0 here at work, which may explain why this happens, though if I see it here, it's at least possible that the problem exists on other browsers/versions as well.

Doug Natelson said...

Thanks, schlupp.

Anon. - Weird. It renders ok under Firefox, IE 7, and Safari. I hadn't checked under IE 6. Must be some weird stylesheet problem. Does it work ok on the main page (group.html)?

Aaron said...

I checked out the new page; it looks nice. I think you should keep the old school picture with Bill Nye, though. It tells potential students that, "if you work in the Natelson Lab, you have the chance of meeting famous people!" I'm sure this is a huge factor for most prospective graduate students. It doesn't hurt that I was in the picture, as well :-P.

Anonymous said...

On group.html, there is no opportunity for scrolling in the frame that contains the picture, so there it looks fine. I checked all your other pages. The group picture is the only thing that doesn't behave properly in IE 6. You have another picture on one of the other pages. Is there a difference in how that image is formatted vs. the group pic?

Doug Natelson said...

Aaron - I'll put that picture back up on the group member page soon.

Anon - you can look at the source for the pages; there's no difference at all in how the images are called, though the one on the members page is inside of a set of center tags. Also, I don't use frames; it's all done with cascading style sheets. I can only conclude that IE 6 isn't standards compliant (which is well known, I think).

Cindy Margott said...

The group picture is the only thing that doesn't behave properly in IE 6.