“The top three takeaways we had from our faculty and staff were they wanted one place to read all the University news and information, they wanted it to be online and they wanted an email vehicle on top of an online location to distill news down on a daily basis, if possible,” he said.
Curran said his department worked with UNC’s Information Technology Services (ITS) to develop The Well based on faculty feedback. The entire process, from conducting research on what faculty wanted to designing the site with ITS, took about two years.
Curran said his department has completed its goal of offering a one-stop, online location for faculty news and is now working on developing an email vehicle to distill daily news for readers.
“We’re excited to be able to bring this new communications channel to our employees,” Jane Calloway, director of internal communications, said. “It’s something they told us they wanted, and we took their feedback directly as we developed this site for them.”
The Well will focus specifically on news that impacts faculty, such as road closures and updates on employee benefits.The site will also publish new initiatives and information from schools and departments across campus.
Curran said the team that produces The Well is comprised of the same writers who worked on The Gazette, many of whom are former journalists with extensive contacts across the University.
Calloway said The Well will not only strive to produce relevant news content, but will also highlight exceptional work among UNC faculty.
“We look for news about major initiatives that are happening at the University, but we also look for stories about people who are bringing the University's mission to life,” Calloway said.
Though the outlet has only been available for a few days, Curran said early feedback has been positive.
“I think it’s great because I think digital access just makes it easier to get to than having to go wait for a print version," Lindsay King, a professor in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media, said. "It also allows you to get new information quicker than waiting every month.”
Curran said The Well plans to incorporate the department’s “Focus Carolina” series into the website, a partnership with local radio station WCHL that profiles impressive faculty and their work. He said one of The Well’s main goals is to connect faculty and raise awareness about the work they do.
“It’s very easy, especially among faculty, to be very focused on your school or department,” Curran said. “We hope that this will make those stone walls on our campus even lower.”