Call for Nominations for Membership of the President’s Advisory Committee on the Appointment of a Vice-President, Communications

PDAD&C#22, 2014-15

To:  Governing Council
Academic Board
Business Board
University Affairs Board
Principals, Deans, Academic Directors and Chairs
Professionals, Managers and Confidential Staff
President of UTFA
Presidents of Employee Unions
Presidents of APUS, GSU, SCSU, UTMSU and UTSU 
From:      Professor Meric Gertler, President
Date:  September 19, 2014 
Re:  Call for Nominations for Membership of the President’s Advisory Committee on the Appointment of a Vice-President, Communications 

Earlier this year, I announced that the University had begun the process of developing an evidence-based, highly focused communications strategy in an effort to tell our story much more effectively.  Complementary to this process, there was a need to confirm that the institution’s existing communications structures and processes are effectively leveraged and are appropriate to ensure success. 

To this end, I initiated a review of institutional communications at the University of Toronto, striking an Advisory Committee to evaluate proposals from several consultancies with expertise in the field. The review was not only focused on helping us tell our story better, but was also to ensure that we have a cohesive communications structure in place so that we can continue to project our voice as strongly as possible in today's challenging environment. The goal of the review was to clarify how the University can realize these objectives by delivering recommendations for implementation, focusing specifically on the organizational structures (including technology, resources, and competencies) and practices of our institutional communications units.

At the conclusion of the evaluation process, the Advisory Committee decided unanimously to engage the consulting services of Level5 Strategy Group in partnership with National Public Relations. The review process began in mid-April of this year and its extensive consultations with over 400 key University stakeholders included interviews, workshops and surveys.  Participants comprised faculty, staff, students, alumni, senior University leadership and Governors.

The consultants delivered their final report in June, synthesizing the input and advice they received from their consultations and providing recommendations to address strategic, structural and implementation issues.  Chief among the recommendations is the appointment of a Vice-President, Communications.  In brief, the mandate of the Vice-President would be to transform the University's communications function, including both centralized and decentralized elements, into a strategic asset that supports the University's goals related to funding, reputation, and ranking.  The Vice-President will achieve this by instilling a culture of client service, by leading an institution-wide integrated communication planning process, by leading the centralized communications team, and by providing visibility to progress on both communications-specific and institution-wide objectives to relevant internal stakeholders.
The Vice-President, Communications will be directly responsible for the centralized communications team. Beyond this centralized team, the Vice-President will provide communications leadership across the University. In particular, he/she will work with other members of the University’s senior leadership in management of the University's reputation.

I have accepted this recommendation and I intend to act expeditiously on the recruitment.  To that end, I propose to strike an Advisory Committee to assist in identifying an individual to fill this important position.

The Advisory Committee, which I will chair, will comprise the following:

• 2 to 3 Faculty members,
• Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science,
• Dean, Faculty of Medicine,
• Dean, Faculty of Social Work,
• 1 to 2 Students,
• 1 to 2 members of the professional communications staff,
• 1 Alumni member of the Governing Council and
• 1 Lieutenant Governor-in-Council member of the Governing Council.

Mr. Louis Charpentier, Secretary of the Governing Council, will serve as secretary to the Committee.  Additional secretariat support will be provided by Ms Sheree Drummond, Deputy Secretary.

The Committee welcomes nominations for members of the Advisory Committee.  These should be submitted in confidence via the online form available at by Friday, October 3, 2014.