The University of Newcastle, Australia

Communication is key in a changing world

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

The changing nature of our internal and external environments make it more important than ever to communicate and engage across UON and within our work areas. There has been significant effort across UON to create more opportunities for staff to engage and help shape their employment experience.

For Academic Division, the Your Voice outcomes highlighted the need for increased efforts in promoting the positive contribution that the Division makes to the University, and that the University makes to its communities. To this end, the Division has initiated a new governance framework to support stronger collaboration and communication across the units within the Division and externally. This approach, introduced by Professor Darrell Evans, will support a better understanding of achievements and challenges, as well as better sharing of best practice and use of resources. The University Library is leading the way with a new approach to communication through the development of a Communications Roadshow for all staff. This activity has produced:

  • a new Communications Framework, including guidelines and templates.
  • Streamlining and development of the UON Library Governance and Advisory Group framework.
  • Development and implementation of a Digital Workspace utilising Office 365 applications, to enhance collaboration and communication amongst library units and locations.
  • Establishment of a Library Capability Matrix, building upon the UON Capability Matrix for Professional Staff, to inform PRD and Development/ Training activities.
  • Monthly F2F Library Staff information sessions, highlighting activities within the library and other areas of UON as well as providing a forum for presentation of new ideas/concepts gleaned from conference or workshop attendance.

With a new structure in place the Research and Innovation Division has been working on establishing (or re-establishing) opportunities for the team to come together. Informal collaboration sessions have been well attended and a number of continuous improvement workshops are planned throughout 2017. The next session will occur in May 2017 and will provide further opportunities for staff to engage as a Division, develop professionally and contribute to R&I planning.

In the International and Advancement Division, the 2016 Your Voice results formed a key mainstay of the first internal strategic planning workshop of 2017. Held in February, the first of four quarterly collaborative sessions focused on reviewing alignment of divisional effort across offices, in terms of staff professional development opportunities, open communication of issues, opportunities for cross-unit collaboration and enhancement of PRD rewards and recognition.

The Division has emerged from an intensive change with increased engagement and connectedness across teams and offices. Supporting recommendations emerging from the 2016 Your Voice results, a more holistic and collaborative approach has been taken to developing our 2017 priorities. Projects have been identified where staff have opportunities to work across the division within different units and new initiatives include co-delivery of services across the Division, and reviewing the timing of activities to spread workload throughout the year and maximise the impact to achieve stated outcomes in the corporate plan 2017.

“We took the time to discuss what the big issues were last year and what we could do to significantly improve on for 2017, including meeting the professional development needs of our colleagues, and how finite and valuable resources could be deployed across faculties and divisions to meet shared goals and objectives at UON,” Deputy Vice-Chancellor, International and Advancement, Winnie Eley said.

Facilitating the Ma & Morley Scholarship with the Jack Ma Foundation – the largest philanthropic commitment in the history of UON – was a university-wide collaboration led by the International and Advancement Division, showing a strong commitment to working across functions to advance UON under NeW Futures.

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