If I were evaluating Open Source CMSs for use in a Higher Ed. environment, here are the three I would look at with a brief description why.
- Moodle - A Free, Open Source Course Management System for Online Learning
Moodle is specifically tailored for use as a CMS in Higher Ed. It integrates with Shibboleth and was designed around the different information architecture that exists at a University (in comparison to most commerical vendors who have only dealt with an company's IT architecture ). There is, also, a comparison of using Blackboard vs. Moodle and how well they enhance the learning environment. There is a commercial arm of Moodle who will do things like demos, installations, provide support, etc.
Drupal has been making some big inroads and is in use by a lot of Univerities; either in the form of weblogs (like weblogs.ucalgary.ca) or being used as the full-fledged CMS like at Purdue (there is a great presentation on the use of Drupal at Purdue located at http://cyberdash.com/files/tlt2005presentation.swf).
Don't know much about it, but it is from the Apache Foundation; and they tend to produce some pretty good software. The feature list is fairly complete. And, because it comes from Apache, you know it uses standards everywhere which is good (good for Pubcookie, good for Shibb, good for LDAP, good for all around). Plus, it has a plugin architecture (plugin architectures are good) based on Cocoon, a "web development framework built around the concepts of component-based web development and separation of concerns, ensuring that people can interact and collaborate on a project without stepping on each other toes."
And, there's also Mambo; but I don't know much about that one.
Regardless, not evaluating a couple of open source offerings in this arena would be foolhardy. With something like a CMS, having your hands tied would be extremely limiting.