Thursday, July 16, 2009

  • "How to better tell the Waterloo story"
  • McLaughlin passes; other briefs
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

"How to better tell the Waterloo story"

(The following joint memo was sent out yesterday to all staff and faculty from President David Johnston and Meg Beckel, vice-president, external relations.)

Meg BeckelPres. David JohnstonThe University of Waterloo is one of Canada’s finest universities but are Canadians, and international audiences, aware of all that we offer? In particular, are future students, employers, and funders aware of what we can offer them?

In a recent national reputational survey, we learned that respondents see Waterloo as a regional university and very few people outside Ontario were even aware of Waterloo’s reputation or what sets us apart from other schools. Although we “owned” the innovation- and industry-connected categories, we were not known for specific strengths.

It seems we need to work harder at telling our story to those who matter. With unsettling economic times, more revenue coming from students than government, and ambitious sixth decade plans for faculties, schools, and departments, a number of task forces have been working hard at doing just that. This memo is intended to share with you some of the ways we want to better tell our story.

What has taken place

Several task forces have been thinking about how to better tell the Waterloo story. Specifically, they have been reviewing communications needs, structures, resources, and training at the centre and distributed levels; addressing strategy; reviewing our web presence; and focusing on how to present our university’s greatest strengths –the “promise” we make to our most important audiences. We believe it is this promise that separates our university from other institutions.

Over the past year, these teams have developed a positioning framework, which includes our vision, values, positioning attributes, and our promise – “building the future through innovation and experience.” They have also worked on a new identity to visually present Waterloo and a roll-out process and schedule for the new positioning and identity framework.

Guiding principles to roll out the new approach

A number of guiding principles have been established to support the new way that we will be communicating our story. For example:

  • We will present a consistent message that focuses on our attributes in order to separate our efforts from those of other universities.
  • While the message from our diverse university community must be consistent, processes on how the plans will be implemented will be collaborative in nature, allowing for individual creativity and faculty- or unit-specific messaging.
  • The changes needed to advance the new positioning and identity framework will be undertaken in phases (introduced as current promotional materials become depleted) since both the positioning and identity frameworks will involve re-writing and re-designing many communications and marketing pieces.
  • Training will be undertaken as necessary to ensure that all members of the Waterloo community will be comfortable with any changes and will have the skills needed to do their work within the context of the new positioning and identity frameworks.

What’s next

Later in the summer we will outline the positioning framework in a follow-up memo to the campus including some descriptions of what it could mean for each member of the campus community. In the fall, we will host a Town Hall meeting where more details will be shared about the positioning framework, the new visual identity, and the roll-out plans.

In the meantime, please visit UW Opinion on the Bulletin website to provide comments and questions (or other calls to action), read regular updates in the Daily Bulletin and plan to attend one of the faculty/department visits Meg will be conducting in September and October leading up to the late October Town Hall.

Sneak peek!

In late July, we will mount updated street pole banners reflecting the spirit of the new marketing-oriented visual identity for Waterloo. You will see new colours that will be associated with each faculty and bolder use of line, character font, and colour.

This is an exciting and challenging time for Waterloo. We have a powerful and compelling story to tell and our marketing communications efforts are key to getting that story out. Thank you to the members of the Identity Task Force and the Marketing Communications Task Force for their time, energy, expertise, and commitment.

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McLaughlin passes; other briefs

Wally McLaughlin, former dean of engineeringWallace (Wally) McLaughlin (right), former dean of engineering, died July 5. He began his career at Waterloo in June 1961 as assistant professor in civil engineering with a special interest in highways and traffic engineering, becoming full professor in 1969. He served as chair of civil engineering from 1966 to 1972 and as dean of the faculty from 1974 to 1982. He retired on April 1, 1992. When, soon after, he was named an Honorary Member of the university for outstanding service, the citation read, in part: “As dean he laid important foundations which have enabled the faculty to cope with the funding constraints of the past decade and maintain its pre-eminence among Canadian engineering schools." Professor McLaughlin is survived by his wife, Phyllis.

Learn to prevent drowning

The Lifesaving Society has launched National Drowning Prevention Week, July 18 – 25, to draw attention to a recent “spike” in drowning deaths in Canada, from 433 in 2004 to 492 in 2005, after years of steady declines. “We are working on the 2006 and 2007 data to learn if this increase is a trend,” said the society’s Barb Byers in a recent news release.

More facts and figures from the release: Drowning is the third leading cause of accidental death among Canadians under 60 and the second leading cause of death for children under 10. Ninety per cent of people who drowned while boating were not wearing a lifejacket; alcohol was involved in a third of the drownings.

“Children under the age of five have a particular drowning risk because of their almost magnetic and fearless attraction to the water.... A child can drown in as little as 10 seconds.”

The Lifesaving Society urges Canadians to
• take a lifesaving course and learn how to reduce the risk of drowning, as well as what to do if something does go wrong;
• when boating, don’t drink, and always wear a lifejacket or flotation device;
• keep children within arm's reach and, whenever possible, swim in an area supervised by a lifeguard.

The University of Waterloo offers swimming lessons to all levels of swimmers and for ages infant to adult. Lessons are available through the rest of July and August. Register at the PAC office or by phone at 519-888-4567, ext. 35869.

Alternatives calls for queries

This call for article queries comes from Alternatives magazine. “Could resilience replace sustainability as the organizing principle of the environmental/ecological movement? ... Alternatives is interested in articles that deal with the push/pull that exists between, for example, returning to nature and technical fixes.... In particular, we are looking for practical applications of resilience, innovation and transformative change within an environmental context.”

Queries can be about, but need not be limited to, practical examples that deal with the tensions between production and/or distribution, protection and/or rehabilitation, community and/or global responsibility, markets and/or governance, culture and/or cultures, livelihoods and/or imagination.

Email submissions to executive editor Nicola Ross by July 31. More information here.

CPA staff

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Link of the day

Roald Amundsen

When and where

Farm market operated by UW food services and volunteers, today, 9 to 1, Environment I courtyard.

Surplus sale of UW furnishings and equipment today, 12:30 to 2 p.m., East Campus Hall.

Orchestra @ waterloo concert. Rossini, Beethoven, Bizet, today, 1-2 p.m., Student Life Centre Great Hall. Free.

Career workshop: “Business Etiquette and Professionalism” today, 3:30 p.m., Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Strawberry Social by UW Sustainability Project. Baked goods, drinks, local strawberries; plants for sale. Any donations go to the new woodland fern garden. Today, 4:30-6:30 p.m., outside EV2 in Rock Circle by Ring Road.

Late Night at the Movies sponsored by WPIRG and Federation of Students: “Motorcycle Diaries”, today, 9 p.m., Humanities building courtyard.

Arts Expressintegrated arts camp” performance Friday, 1:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Kicks for a Cause: five-on-five soccer tournament, Saturday, 9 to 5, at UW CIF Fields. Winning team faces Warriors soccer team. Register by July 16, 7 p.m. Details.

International teaching assistants: “What Successful ITAs Do” workshop organized by Centre for Teaching Excellence, Monday, July 20, noon, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Reception for Ursula Thoene, computer sciences, retiring after 28 years at UW. RSVP by July 20. Event is Thursday, July 30, 4 to 6 p.m., Davis Centre room 1301.

Job information sessions for graduating students, Tuesday, July 21, 10:30, and Thursday, July 23, 2:30, Arts Lecture Hall room 116. Attend if you are on a work term September-December, for information about on-campus recruitment and career services.

Career workshop: “Successfully Negotiating Job Offers” July 21, 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Falun Gong Club “Sandstorm” Tuesday, July 21, 8 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Career workshop: “Work Search Strategies” July 22, 10:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

PDEng alumni lecture: three recent graduates speak on “Beat the Traffic: from University Avenue to Career Highway” Wednesday, July 22, 11:30 a.m., Davis Centre room 1304.

Institute for Computer Research seminar: Robert Kroeger, Google, “A General-Purpose Caching Architecture for Offline-Capable Web Applications” Wednesday, July 22, noon, Davis Centre room 1302.

‘Dealing with Difficult Students’ workshop organized by Centre for Teaching Excellence, Thursday, July 23, 10:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Shad Valley program open house to show off teenage participants’ achievements, Thursday, July 23, 1:30 to 4, Conrad Grebel University College great hall. Details.

SDE 3rd-year student design exhibition, Friday July 24, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., Davis Centre room 1301

Disorderly Conduct: conference on language and concepts in a shifting model of medical and clinical care, UW and WLU, July 24-25. Details and to register.

Waterloo at the Zoo outing to Metro Toronto Zoo for alumni, family and friends, Saturday, July 25. Details.

One click away

What does Waterloo have that Toronto doesn't? (Globe)

K-W Little Theatre moves into its rebuilt home

UW's Rome architecture studio featured in Air Canada magazine

A search for the perfect assembly-line house (Prix de Rome winners)

UW-based swimmer brings home a medal for Canada

NY Times reports on UW psychologist's where-am-I book

Controversy over UW site in Huntsville continues (Imprint)

Yesterday's Daily Bulletin