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tennessee technological university

Web and Digital Media

1. Introduction

a.    Official Version

The official version of this document will be made available online through Web & Digital Media, a division of the Office of Communications & Marketing.  Printed versions may be out-of-date and cannot be used to clarify certain policies, procedures, or guidelines related to Web standards for the University.  Information in this policy may change at any time, and an update log will also be made available online.

b.    Purpose

The Tennessee Tech Web site exists as the University's most important communication and recruitment tool for students, faculty, staff, alumni, and prospective students.  It is critical for communication, learning, and scholarship.  Tennessee Tech has worked hard to attain the highest level of excellence in education, research, and experience.  To maintain and build upon that reputation, we must concern ourselves with the image we project.  The Web Publishing Policy exists to facilitate usability and consistency and to promote a standardized University brand with Web sites University-wide that correlate directly with University publications.    Each unit, department, club, office, and organization (hereafter ‘unit'), while having its own agenda, is also part of the whole and, therefore, needs to be clearly identified with the University brand. Accessibility is also an issue related to branding, image, and legal requirements. A uniform and professional communication standard helps us achieve this end.  This policy is supplemented by the Web Standards Guide, which contains up-to-date style guidelines, accessibility guidelines, and other information that may change on a periodic basis.

c.    Scope

Any Web document that represents Tennessee Tech University, its units and subunits, and its unit's activities is expected to follow this policy and the Web Standards supplement and should be in compliance within a reasonable amount of time after any change.

d.    Controller

i.    The Web & Digital Media Director in the Office of Communications & Marketing maintains and enforces this policy.  This office is responsible for not only developing and managing the top tiers of the University Web site, but also approving departmental requests for access to the University's Web server and conducting site reviews and approvals for units. In general, both official and unofficial information available on University servers is governed by the TTU Code of Computing Practice, which sets forth moral, ethical and legal standards for University computing activity.

ii.    The Office of Communications & Marketing also houses the Associate Vice President for Communications & Marketing, Marketing Director, Creative Services Director, graphic artists, and writers for the University.  Through these positions, University trademarks, licenses, and style guidelines for University logos, word marks, and colors have been established and coordinate with this policy and its supplements.

iii.    The Web & Digital Media Director for the University is:

Box 5056
Cookeville, TN 38505
Phone: 931-372-3916   Fax: 931-372-6138

2.    Guidelines

a.    Access

i.    Web publishers must be classified as permanent faculty or staff or an approved third-party vendor who works under the direct supervision of the Web & Digital Media Director and with the Office of Communications & Marketing.  Students are not allowed access to any official University Web server without written permission from Web & Digital Media.

ii.    Departments requesting to have student access to any University Web server must submit a request for written approval, including who is directly responsible for all information posted by that student.  Students cannot have direct publishing rights.  An approval system by the department must be in place and will be subject to audit.

iii.    Request for access must be submitted for each unit.  Access can be granted on a section, category, or individual page level.  Web & Digital Media and the unit's leader must approve each access request.

b.    Written Approvals

Written approvals are required from Web & Digital Media for any exceptions to certain restrictions set forth within this policy or its supplements. Written approval must also be granted before any Web site can be published that represents any unit, including any faculty organizations or student organizations and clubs. No unit may go outside the University to obtain web site services without the written permission from the Web & Digital Media Director and Information Technology Services.

A time period of up to 15 business days is required to review and analyze written proposals depending on size and scope. Written proposals must include the following information:

i.    Memo outlining the project, members involved, any outside vendors being utilized, and a general statement of why the University would benefit

ii.    Proposal, including general project plan, scope, target audiences, marketing research, commercial gains, etc.

iii.    Any other pertinent information, including design drafts, site maps, contracts, etc.

iv. For student access, why the department cannot handle the function internally with full-time staff, who will be the direct supervisor of this student, and an outline of the approval system in place for content audits.

c.    Appeal Process for Denial or Withdrawal of Exception

If Web & Digital Media denies or withdraws an exception approval, the unit may appeal for reconsideration.  The appeal must be made in writing to the Web & Digital Media Director within 10 business days from the date the denial or withdrawal was delivered. The request should include any desire by the unit to appear personally before an ad-hoc Web Policy Committee comprised of a pool of representatives from ITS, Communications & Marketing, and Faculty. The committee will meet and vote on, based upon the original request, the reconsideration within 15 business days of the unit submitting the written request.

d.    Accessibility

Tennessee Tech web sites must strive to adhere to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 ( and the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as adhere to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines of the World Wide Web Consortium.  These guidelines are required of all University Web sites, regardless of any written exception approvals of other restrictions in the Web Standards and Guidelines.  Example Basic Section 508 rules are:

i.    Use clear and concise language

ii.    Provide text equivalents to all non-text content

iii.    Do not use frames in any context

iv.    Use tables for only tabular data and not for layout

v.    Use descriptive links

vi.    Use headers and links to organize all your data

vii.    Test your Web pages in multiple browsers

e.    Redundancy

Do not repeat static information maintained elsewhere by the University.  Instead, use data feeds, if available, such as RSS/XML, or simply link to that specific University information.   Redundant information, especially different published versions, is confusing to our audience and may result in severe consequences if incorrect information is posted.  Example: Job listings are maintained by Human Resources and should be linked from department Web sites.  The job posting itself should not be recreated on the department Web site.

f.    Content Validity

i.    Individual units at Tennessee Tech are responsible for the content on all of their Web pages.

ii.    Content must be up-to-date and follow all sections of this policy and its supplements, as well as federal, state, and local laws and codes.

iii.    The verbiage surrounding links to Web pages outside of the University structure cannot be written in such a form that implies endorsement, sponsorship, or other corporate gain.

iv.    Web & Digital Media has the right to remove the link from all University Web pages to any units that do not follow this policy and its supplements (exceptions are those units that have specific, written permission not to follow certain restrictions).  ITS has the right to physically remove files and/or change DNS settings to units that do not follow this policy and its supplements.

v.    No official unit may go outside the University Web structure and represent itself, its subunits, or activities on another Web server or domain without written approval from Web and Digital Media.

vi.    Third-party software may not be installed on the University's Web server without approval from the Web and Digital Media Director and the ITS Web Administrator.  Approval will require submitting a security and maintenance plan, as well as the standard approval documents.

vii.    Visible credits such as "Site powered by..." or "Site created by..." are prohibited.

viii.    According to University and Tennessee Board of Regents policies, University Advancement must process all gifts.  University Advancement maintains the sole "Online Giving" site for all gifts to the University or Foundation.  Departments may link to this site, but cannot establish their own online giving application/site or use a third-party vendor.

g.    Copyright

i.    All University Web pages should follow copyright laws.

ii.    Publishers must have permission from any copyright holder to use text, photos, graphics, sounds, or movies to which the University does not hold copyrights.

iii.    Under the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the University is obligated to take appropriate action if it receives a complaint that copyrighted material is being published over the network without permission from the copyright holder.

iv.    The DMCA Agent for the University is:
Reid Christenberry
Chief Information Officer
Box 5071
Cookeville, TN 38505
Phone: 931-372-3387  Fax: 931-372-6172

h.    Style & System

i.    Official University style guidelines must be followed on all Web sites.  These guidelines are outlined and detailed in the University Style Guide, which is maintained by Creative Services in the Office of Communications & Marketing.

iii.  All official units (including academic and administrative) must use the designated system or software as directed by Web & Digital Media.  The current system in place is TechCMS, a University-specific distribution of an open source content management system.

iii.    Web-specific styles, including, but not limited to, templates, headers, footers, navigation elements, specific required tags, and other required information are outlined in the Web Standards Guide, a supplement document to this Policy, and must be followed at all times.


3. Social Media 

a. Purpose

As a result of today’s rapidly changing communication technology and media, OCM’s Social Media Team implemented an update to the current web policy to deal with the growing use of communication platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube when used on behalf of the university. More and more, Tennessee Tech University students, faculty, staff, alumni and donors are using social media outlets, especially Facebook, as a primary means of communication. Adoption of a comprehensive policy and guidelines for best practices in this area will help to ensure the university’s best interest – that is to represent the university in a fair, accurate and legal manner while protecting the brand and reputation of the institution.

This policy would apply to all social media accounts created to represent official university departments, programs, entities, offices, centers, and recurring festivals/series (hereafter known collectively as “units”). Groups that are not permanent components/functions of the university or one-time events will not be permitted to establish a social media presence. Student groups are exempt from this social media policy.

University employees acting in an individual capacity should exercise caution to communicate clearly that the opinions expressed on their personal accounts are solely theirs and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Tennessee Tech University. Refer to Tennessee Tech Human Resources’ Administrative Policies and Procedures at

b. Application of Policy

    1. All units must notify the Social Media Team of any pages, accounts or profiles that have been created on any form of social media and give the team administrative powers.
    2. Should a Tennessee Tech employee administrator of an account leave the university for any reason or no longer wish to be an account administrator, it is the unit’s responsibility to designate another administrator and remove the former employee’s administrative permissions to the account
    3. If a student worker, intern, graduate student, etc. posts on behalf of the unit, a Social Media Authorization Form must be completed and turned in to the Office of Communications & Marketing. 
    4. Use good judgment about content posted to unit accounts. Respect privacy and copyright laws. Do not post any threatening or obscene content. Do not include confidential information about the university, its staff or students.
    5. When posting content to any social media site, it is understood that the account administrator has all of the rights necessary to lawfully use that content or that the use of the content is permitted by fair use. Account administrators also agree that they will not knowingly provide misleading or false information, and that they will indemnify and hold the university harmless for any claims resulting from the content.
    6. All comments, links, photos, videos, etc. posted to the unit account must be on topic and relevant to the office and its audience.
    7. The OCM Social Media Team will assist units in initially setting up social media accounts and in creating a communications plan for their accounts. Additional assistance will be provided as needed. However, units will ultimately be responsible for maintaining and updating their social media accounts.
    8. Each page must show a level of activity and/or audience interaction to remain relevant to the university’s overall communication goals or the account will be unpublished by the Office of Communications & Marketing. The OCM Social Media Team will work with units to engage activity before unpublishing an account.
    9. A unit’s account may only “like,” fan or link to other official university accounts – not celebrities, businesses, products, games, etc.
    10. On Facebook, all unit accounts must be created as pages instead of profiles or groups.
    11. The official name of a unit’s social media account must be consistent with overall institutional branding – use “Tennessee Tech” not “TTU” or “TN Tech” – in the official name.

c. For more information

    1. Refer to Social Media Guidelines for best practices tips on getting the most out of your unit’s social media account. 
    2. Unit administrators may contact OCM’s Social Media Team at any time for consultation. Email Lori Shull at or call (931) 372-6328 in the Office of Communications & Marketing.