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Information and Public Affairs

University of Waterloo -- Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Needles Hall room 3041
University of Waterloo
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1
(519) 885-1211 (voice) or 888-4567 (automatic)
fax 746-8652

Information and Public Affairs is a service department of the University of Waterloo, dedicated to advancing the University and its basic mission of seeking excellence in teaching and research. I&PA; reports to Dr. Roger Downer, Vice-President, University Relations.

I&PA;'s three units -- Community Relations, Internal Communications and the News Bureau -- engage in a variety of activities and programs involving internal and external communications and public relations. Our office, as part of its mission, also seeks to promote those characteristics and strengths that help make Waterloo unique among Canadian universities. These include a commitment to high academic standards and innovative courses of study, sophisticated links with business and industry especially through its world-renowned co-op program and the transfer of discoveries and new technology to society for the greater good.

Among the many specific services and produces provided by I&PA; are news releases, the Gazette, the university's "Facts, Figures, Highlights" brochure, communication advice, special events support, the Daily Bulletin, briefings for the media, news conferences, media relations seminars and a variety of print material including campus maps and brochures. Staff in I&PA; share responsibilities but the work is generally divided into areas assigned to the three units described here.

Community Relations

Community Relations serves as a general information service and resource office for both on-campus and off-campus inquiries. The office produces campus maps, the "Facts, Figures, Highlights" brochure, a Campus Visitor Attractions brochure, and other printed materials for the public.

Services include looking after the Speakers Bureau (with listing booklet) to help community organizations find speakers and experts at UW. Community Relations also provides liaison with community organizations, including tourism promotion, operates a "hotline" of events to answer information requests, and coordinates UW's involvement in several community events. The staff are centrally involved in coordinating the annual Canada Day celebrations and UW's involvement in the K-W Corporate Challenge event.

The Office also publishes the regular In Touch advertisement in the K-W Record as a public service for the community. Staff also assists with special campus and community events when necessary and maintains an inventory of promotional and display materials for loan on request.

Internal Communications

Internal Communications is best known as "the Gazette office", responsible for the Gazette newspaper. The Gazette covers news, collects announcements, advertisements, letters and reports from many sources, and packages the information for publication each Wednesday. It is a service for faculty, staff and students, and it is distributed by Central Stores to department offices and distinctive racks around the campus.

The Gazette operates with a great deal of editorial freedom, under a policy statement first approved by UW's president in 1979, and is not intended to be a vehicle that only reflects official university policy.

The Internal Communications office is also involved in other aspects of on-campus communication. It produces the Daily Bulletin by about 10 a.m. every working day, providing the campus with a summary of current news and announcements. The Daily Bulletin can be found on the Internet newsgroups uw.general and uw.campus-news, as well as on UWinfo.

The Director of Internal Communications is a member of the UWinfo Operations Committee, which coordinates the university's electronic information system, UWinfo.

The office manages the UWevents database of coming on-campus activities that is available through UWinfo and in the Gazette's printed Billboard. Text from the printed Gazette is also available on UWinfo each week. And the office maintains general information about UW on UWinfo, as well as UWinfo's central news page with pointers to information sources about what's happening at Waterloo.

On request, staff advise senior UW officials about internal communication, and are available to all departments to offer advice and consultation on newsletters, communication tactics and similar subjects.

News Bureau

The primary role of the News Bureau is media relations and the dissemination of timely and forthright communications to inform and educate the public about University of Waterloo issues, events and contributions.

Responsibilities include local, regional, national and international coverage of UW by way of information researched, written, and distributed in news releases, the holding of news conferences and responding to media inquiries.

The News Bureau focuses its attention on effective media coverage to provide visibility for UW's faculties, institutes, groups and centres, faculty members and researchers. It shares campus expertise and knowledge in commenting on breaking news stories from around the world.

The bureau provides a liaison role between UW's news sources and the external media, and offers media training courses for faculty and staff. It prepares and distributes a daily file of news clippings of articles about UW and universities, while monitoring and assessing media coverage of the campus.

Among the activities of the News Bureau are the preparation and distribution of news releases, public service announcements and Weekbook -- a weekly roundup of upcoming events and speakers of interest to the media and the public. All these releases are available en UWinfo and posted to the newsgroups uw.general and uw. campus-news. The bureau also publishes the Media Guide, a resource of UW information and expertise.

Useful sites list

Last updated 7 June 1996