I hope this is the right place for this question. I posted a version of it on the plugins forum, so apologies for the duplication.
I'm creating a website for a sizable department at a big university (I'm just a faculty member, though, not a coder - we're broke). In our current (horrific) site, faculty profile pages, which are pretty important for our visitors, are entered in by staff and rarely updated. It would be really great for us to have a way to let faculty do that work themselves -- so they can rewrite descriptions of their work and projects, add links to current projects, and add citations for recent work.
THis is confusing, though, because for the most part faculty shouldn't have the right to add pages to the website; at the same time, though, it would be nice to treat faculty profiles as WP pages. I would really like to add a whole bunch of fields to the user profile page (Current Projects, Selected Works, etc) and then automatically create pages from that information. I also very very badly want to be able to "tag" faculty members the way one tags posts and (with the help of plugins) pages. So faculty would log in, go to their profile, and edit the information; and their public profile pages would automatically be updated. Does that seem like a plausible goal to shoot for? And how might I get started figuring it out? I'm learning a little bit about custom taxonomies and I've seen modules that allow you to add fields to the user profile page, but I don't quite see how to generate a publicly-available page from that data. Also I can imagine that there are much better ways to approach the problem. I'd veyr much appreciate any direciton you cna give me! Thanks,