A reimagined strategic communications plan is being developed for the Faculty of Health Sciences following a needs assessment report of its public relations and communications.
The strategy will clarify available communications services; establish clear processes, resources and tools for the Faculty community, as well as develop a community of practice among those with communications responsibilities across the Faculty to enable collaboration, share best practices and amplify messaging.
“Continuing to grow the national and international profile and reputation of this innovative Faculty is extremely important,” said Paul O’Byrne, dean and vice-president of the Faculty who launched the assessment. “But we also want to ensure we are providing the quality of communications services that reflect our standing as 11th among the world’s universities for health and medicine.”
The needs assessment was led by consultant Kathy Denney who has done several evaluations of the Faculty’s administrative units, working with Linda Quattrin, executive director of the Termerty Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto.
Susan Emigh, director of public relations for the Faculty, will be working with Helen Connell, who recently retired as associate vice-president of communications and public affairs of Western University, to develop the new communications plan.
The high priority recommendations of the needs assessment are:
- Develop a strategic communications plan to enhance the Faculty’s profile by evolving content, media approaches and web and marketing tools for the digital environment,
- Prioritize and effectively resource the web transformation project, prioritizing its implementation,
- Develop a Faculty-wide inventory of communications expertise, define accountabilities, and invest in professional development and training,
- Develop the network of Faculty communicators,
- Establish and communicate the available communications services such as issues management, media training and brand resources.
“I agree with the findings of the needs assessment, and we’re already working on the plan,” said Emigh.
For example, she added, a website development committee with staff of both the Faculty’s public relations department and Computer Services Unit has worked together for the past year and established a coordinated website development process and maintenance plan.
The report was reviewed by the Faculty’s Executive Council.