This policy uses the phrase “communications work” to describe operational activities that are conducted daily such as internal communications, management support, website work, public relations work, marketing, research communications, and work with social media. Other concepts used are “systematic communications work;” what is then meant is long-term and structured quality assurance work. Together, this forms the university's communications platform and brand strategy.
This communications policy sets the framework for the university's underlying strategies, plans, guidelines, and procedures when it comes to communications.
Important starting points for the university's communications are the university's vision statement, "Together, we take responsibility for the future. Through continually developing distinctive education and research, we make a difference” (Reg. 727-19) as well as the university's education and research strategy developed in 2020.
This policy provides a rationale for the university's approach and how systematic communications work should be conducted at the University of Borås. In this way, it provides the conditions for a common understanding of areas such as responsibility, target audiences, and keywords.
This communications policy describes the purpose of, and takes a number of basic positions regarding, the university's communications work. This policy does not distinguish between external and internal communications as the target audiences often overlap and a stakeholder can belong to multiple audiences. This policy should be easy to understand; therefore, it does not go into depth in the explanation of concepts or theoretical background. The policy is reviewed once a year and can be adjusted at that time. The purpose of the document is that it should be functional over time; therefore, specific channels or activities are not described – these are found in underlying documents and/or on the website.
The purpose of systematic communications work is to:
- contribute to the achievement of goals at all levels;
- convey an accurate picture of the university; and
- strengthen the university's brand.
The systematic communications work is to be integrated into all processes that relate to the university's operations.
Strategies, operational plans, objectives, and work approaches are to be specified in the communications steering documents.
Keywords for the content of the communications work are:
- Adapted: The content is to be adapted based on the needs and prior knowledge of the recipient. The language used and ways of speaking are to be targeted. The needs and preferences of the target audience and the purpose of the communications effort are to be in focus.
- Uniform and clear: There should be no doubt as to whom is the sender.
- Relationship creation: Content is to encourage greater engagement of the target audience; there are to be opportunities for dialogue and the mutual exchange of information.
- Fast and proactive: As far as possible, communications work should anticipate the demand of target audiences.
- Accurate and accessible: The content is to be reliable, clear, easy to find, and open to review.
- Open: As an authority, the university is to provide information, guidance, and advice on matters relating to the university's areas of activity.
All employees at the university are responsible for contributing to good communications. Employees also have a responsibility to seek the information that they need to do their work and notify their immediate manager in case of deficiencies.
The Communications Office is responsible for structured, quality-assured communications work, and is an operational and strategic support to managers and employees in communications issues.
- The Vice-Chancellor has the ultimate responsibility for the university's communications work.
- The Director of the Communications Office is responsible for the strategic and day-to-day communications work for the university at large. This includes development, implementation, and follow-up of the university's communications work.
- Managers are responsible for their own organisational unit's communications work.
- The Deans of Faculty/Director of Research and Innovation are also responsible for the marketing and brands of their own Faculty or unit.
- Programme Coordinators are responsible, within the framework of their role, for education-specific communication with their students.
- Researchers are responsible for communicating their research.
- Students are responsible for searching for and retrieving the information they need for their studies.
5. Strategies and guidelines
This communications policy, the communications strategies, and the brand platform direct the daily and operational communications work.
Separate strategies are developed, for example, in relation to the university's student recruitment, educational communications, and research communications. These strategies include long-term goals to be achieved linked to, for example, the university's vision statement as well as which messages, target audiences, channels, follow-up work, and evaluation are to be used. There are often one or more communications/activity plans linked to the strategies, which run over a shorter period.
There are also guidelines governing the university's communications in various areas, such as gender-neutral writing, general writing rules, news values, and image management.
These documents are continuously updated and the latest version is to be available on the university's employee website (at the moment, however, it is being re-worked due to the development of a new research and education strategy).
The brand platform includes, among other things, the university's graphic profile, target audience analysis, and brand manual (these documents will also be revised in 2021 due to the university's new vision statement adopted in 2020).
6. Target audiences and channels
Communications are to take place through the most appropriate channels in order to reach different target audiences in relation to the objective of the specific communications effort. Consideration is also be given to the university's goals of sustainable development, collaboration, internationalisation, and gender equality.
At the university, we communicate both externally and internally. Internally, the target audiences are divided into employees and students.
Externally, there are many more; our most common are (in no particular order), prospective students, prospective employees, industry and collaboration partners, other researchers and research funders, politicians and officials, the media, as well as the general public.
For a detailed list of the university's channels, see the university's employee website. Strategies and communications plans specify which channels are prioritised with regards to different target audiences.
7. Laws and regulations
Some of the laws and regulations to be considered in communications:
- The Instrument of Government (corresponding to the Swedish constitution) and the Freedom of the Press Act regulate, among other things, everyone's right to freedom of opinion and freedom of expression, as well as the individual's right to anonymity in publishing information, the right to access official documents/the public's right to transparency in public activities, and freedom of information.
- The Administrative Procedure Act regulates the university's duty of service to citizens and the general public.
- The Higher Education Act sets out the university's obligations to interact with the rest of society through collaboration, promoting utilisation, and informing about its activities.
- The Higher Education Ordinance regulates the right to educational information.
Other laws to take into account include the Web Accessibility Directive, the Copyright Act, the General Data Protection Regulation, the Discrimination Act, the Public Procurement Act, the Co-Determination in the Workplace Act, the Work Environment Act, the Legal Deposit Act for Electronic Materials, and the Ordinance on the Reporting of Studies in Higher Education.
* Can be Head of Department, Director of Studies, Programme Coordinator, or Course Coordinator.