A university’s website tells a lot about it. Harvard — like all things in education and research — is a prime example.
Today’s topic is Mental Health. On any given day, it would be something else — racial bias, COVID-19, sports, education, literally anything. They would put together a bunch of research done by their faculty on that that topic, articles published by The Crimson (their student magazine) or any other such publication.
When there can be internal resources that can be linked, they’ll do that. Notice how they added a link to their libraries by calling out “Library resources to support mental health”.
Such an exposé shows what Harvard’s interested in. For people looking for random nuggets online, it is a gold mine.
On the other hand, consider MIT’s website.
This is again cool. On one side, they provide a good and useful search engine for any specific information you could be looking for. The other side shows cool research that MIT researchers have been working on.
Tennessee’s website is very audience focussed. They aim to have great undergraduate programmes and thus attract the best undergraduate students. Research is not the center of the world. It is lost in a hyperlink about “Dig deeper with research opportunities”.
At the essence, Tennessee is trying to sell its university — we are great, we help our students, we have great sports teams, come visit us! This is notably different from Harvard. Harvard ignores its own existence; rather, it focuses on the ideas. Ideas that its researchers are working on, or ideas that are exciting and relevant.
Some day, I hope to revamp my website again along the lines of Harvard — showcase ideas instead of reiterating facts. That will require significant efforts and I will have to move to Wix or something. But, I will do it. Probably this summer? Let’s see.