Communications Principles at the University of Jyväskylä

Approved in Jyväskylä on 26 October 2012 by Rector Matti Manninen

The goals of communications

Communications support the implementation of the University’s mission and strategy. Open internal communications support management, working and studying, as well as increase wellbeing and the feeling of community. External communications, marketing and reputation management serve to increase the University’s appeal and competitiveness. Work among interest groups increases synergy benefits and the societal impact of teaching and research. Communications are executed systematically, while also preparing for unexpected and crisis situations. The importance of communications is taken into consideration in personnel and financial resourcing in all units of the University. Communications are monitored and evaluated regularly.

As a rule, the activities of the University are public. Communications are part of everyone’s work. Complete publicity is the aim in all academic research, theses and research funding. Only in special cases, in compliance with the Act on the Openness of Government Activities, are research results and documents classified as secret. The staff must be aware of the public nature of documents and of the University’s data protection and information security arrangements.

In its communications, the University aims to be open, reliable, fair, rapid and interactive. The University also assumes a position of responsibility in negative issues relating to its field of operation. Electronic, interactive communication channels are emphasised in communications but do not replace face-to-face communication. Possibilities for encounters between people must be actively created. Due to the University's international activities and the increasing number of international staff, communication, guides and the signage system also need to be provided in English.

The organisation and responsibilities of communications

The Rector of the University manages communications. Statements on behalf of the University are made by the Rector or the Chair of the University Board. The heads of units are responsible for the content and organisation of communications in their unit. The head of the unit appoints a communications contact person and a web contact person for the unit to assist in the implementation of internal and external communication (in addition to their main duties). Under the leadership of the Director of Relations, University Communications, as a part of University Services, is responsible for planning, implementing, coordinating and monitoring communications, as well as for maintaining communications channels and for brand management. University Communications coordinates media relations and public visibility (printed and online materials, announcements and advertisements) and is in charge of maintaining a recognisable and coherent image. IT Services as a part of University Services is in charge of audiovisual and recording services as well as the maintenance of electronic channels.

The person in charge of the University’s communications has a right to attend the University Board meetings and other occasions at which information important for the community is provided. It is also recommended that communications contact persons have a right to attend the meetings of decision-making bodies in their unit.

All staff members are responsible for appropriate communication and interest group work in their field. They are responsible for informing the people in charge of communications about upcoming decisions and funding, education and research news in a timely manner. The person who prepares each decision and document is responsible for the necessary language versions, appropriate display, online publication and updates. University Communications, IT Services and other units arranging staff training regularly organise joint communications and online communications training for staff.

Areas of communication

Leadership communications and internal communications

Leadership communications aim to help the staff understand and commit to the University’s goals. Dialogue between management and the staff as well as mutual feedback are important. Communication about decision-making encompasses the following: inclusion in decision-making, possibilities to comment and the visibility of the decision for staff, students and interest groups.

Communications begin with the staff. Effective internal communications are a prerequisite for external communications. They strengthen the feeling of community, satisfaction, success and trust towards management. The staff must be provided with adequate training and essential information related to the University’s goals and the staff’s own work. Internal communications are especially important when changes take place within the organisation. The staff also have a responsibility to search for relevant information and communicate that information to others who need it.

Students are an important target group of internal communications. Interactive learning environments and active organisational communication enhance the fluency of studies and students’ wellbeing. The encounters between staff and students are essential in creating a community spirit and a university identity, which later become the foundation for alumnus identity. Opportunities for interaction are actively created and students are invited to events organised by departments and the University.

Information about University or student union events and free events intended for the University community is published via the University’s internal communications channels. Marketing bulletins are published only in advertisement forums subject to charge: [https://www.jyu.fi/hallintokeskus/intra/laitoksille/oppaat/laitosten-ja-yksikoeiden-verkkosivut]. Online communications follow the rules concerning the use of data networks: [https://www.jyu.fi/itp/ohjeet/manuals/tietoturva-ja-kayttosaannot/kayton-ja-yllapidon-saannot/referencemanual-all-pages]

Recruitment and marketing

The University targets a worldwide audience with its student and staff recruitment. The aim is to create an inviting operating environment that attracts the best experts and conveys information both in Finnish and in English. Recruitment marketing also serves to build the University’s image.

The most important forms of student recruitment are websites and online campaigns, visits to schools (school ambassadors), pupils’ visits to the University and general visibility in media and social media (student ambassadors). University Communications as well as Academic and Student Services are responsible for the production of recruitment materials at the University level. In addition, each unit that provides teaching markets itself as needed and according to the University’s common visual identity. Domestic and international alumni are important ambassadors in their own networks.

Networking among departments and staff as well as communication with international academic partners support staff recruitment. In addition to networking and headhunting, the University publishes recruitment advertisements in newspapers, online services and the major international academic forums. Open positions from all units are collected on the University’s Current Vacancies webpage two to four times per month.

Reputation management and university image

Reputation is built on deeds, demonstrations, practices and communications. Image building and reputation management demand a clear profile, community awareness and an understanding of the changing expectations of partners. Responsible operations, open decision-making as well as coherent and effective communications prevent damage to the University’s reputation and diminish the need for crisis communication.

The University’s official name in Finnish is Jyväskylän yliopisto (abbreviated as JY), in English University of Jyväskylä (abbreviated as JYU) and in Swedish Jyväskylä Universitet (abbreviated as JYU). The University has a distinguishable visual identity [https://www.jyu.fi/yliopistopalvelut/intra/henkilostolle/oppaat/graafisetohjeet]. This identity must be complied with in all graphic and electronic appearances as well as in all signage and guide systems. The University and each of its units feature the torch logo with various language versions. Logos for individual units and projects are not designed.

The University participates in the brand work and regional joint marketing of the Human Tech Center Finland based in the Jyväskylä Region.

Science communication and media relations

Science communication refers to researchers’ appearance in the media as well as in domestic and international dialogue with citizens and communities. It is important that researchers offer their expertise to support decision-making, working life, families and citizens. University staff are encouraged to publicise their research and participate in public debate about their area of expertise.

The University actively strives for media coverage, primarily in editorial sections and in advertisement sections for recruitment- and training-related issues. It is particularly important that scientific breakthroughs receive proper media coverage. The University’s internal and external coverage as well as bulletins and press conferences are organised on a centralised basis through the channels supported by University Communications. Under all circumstances, the principles of openness and impartiality to all media must be adhered to. Within their area of expertise, each member of staff can freely give interviews and write to media outlets of their own choice. However, members of staff cannot give statements on behalf of the University. The University invites the general public to scientific events and public events organised on a regular basis, including science education events for children and young people.

The University’s media channels:

  • interest group magazine Tiedonjyvä and its online version
  • Sähköjyvä: internal weekly online bulletin published on Thursdays
  • the University’s website (e.g. Uno staff portal, Isa student portal, Wolmar interest group portal, event calendar)
  • Moniviestin: pictures, speech, sound and video (live and recorded)
  • community profiles in social media (granted to communities by community managers).

Interest group communication

In interest group work, it is important to identify the synergy benefits of cooperation and the partners’ expectations of the University. The staff and units should actively nurture the cooperation partnerships they have built by doing impressive work and maintaining regular contact with partners. The University’s expertise and services are described clearly and marketed in a client-oriented manner through various channels and at meetings.

University Communications organises university-level functions, receptions and VIP visits. It also provides templates for invitations, remembrance cards and programmes as well as a selection of business gifts for use by the units. The units attend to their own public relations by offering their partners and guests reasonable hospitality.

Each unit documents its interest group work preferably in a special customer management system, which serves as a basis for the university-level customer register. The register is utilised for regular communications and mailings.

Communications of the University organisation

The subsidiaries of the University follow the Communications Principles and visual identity of the University as applicable. For the purpose of distinguishability, the logo of the University must be included in the visual identities of all subsidiaries. Additionally, in presentations of a general nature, the logos of the company’s other possible shareholders must also be visible. Each subsidiary compiles its own communications and marketing plan, which is approved by the Rector.

Political and commercial communications

The staff and students of the University are encouraged to utilise their expertise as active members of society. During times not occupied by teaching and research, the University facilities are offered for rent to events of all legal communities and companies. During some political elections, the University complies with a specifically instructed “election quarantine”.

As a rule, the University does not participate in the support advertisements of organisations and communities or buy advertorials. The Director of Administration (or unit director) makes decisions about the University’s sponsorship and cooperation contracts. Advertisements are sold for the University’s internal media channels, but not for the University or faculty websites. The University has its own online shop and e-payment service.

Social media

Online peer communication (i.e. social media) emphasises inclusive, interactive communication. Social media has a role in reportage, in building the University’s image, in recruitment and in the communication with the communities linked to the University. The University has its own community managers and student ambassadors for domestic and international communities. A community profile on behalf of the University can be created by any member of staff, student or alumnus once permission is given by a community manager. For instructions on social media activity, see appendix 1 (Instructions for the use of social media).

Crisis communication

The University has a separate plan and instructions for crisis communication (appendix 2,  Crisis communication). In addition, there are separate instructions for accidents and dangerous situations [https://www.jyu.fi/yliopistopalvelut/intra/henkilostolle/oppaat/turvallisuus/toimintaohjeet] and for information security [https://www.jyu.fi/itp/ohjeet/manuals/tietoturva-ja-kayttosaannot/referencemanual-all-pages].
Crisis communication is managed by the Rector or Vice Rector together with the Director of Administration and Director of Relations as well as by other possible experts in charge.

Laws and statutes related to communications:

The Constitution of Finland (731/1999)

Universities Act (558/2009)

Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999)

Administrative Procedure Act (434/2003)

Personal Data Act (523/1999)

Language Act (423/2003)

Copyright Act (404/1961)

Non-Discrimination Act (21/2004)

Act on the Protection of Privacy in Working Life (759/2004)

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