Since the academic year 2009-2010, the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences of the University of Antwerp, Belgium, implemented a new communication policy.
The “old” communication policy was in fact the absence of a policy at all, all involved levels & persons acted independently in a sort of organic chaos.
To make an end to this charming but ineffective way of communicating with the outside world, a staff member was appointed as single point of contact responsible for all internal & external communication.
Several goals were set, matched with different tools/communication channels. It is our responsibility to share our expertise in a comprehensible way with the general public. Also, communicating our expertise proved to be quite a successful tool inrecruiting new students. A third goal was to strengthen our ties with our various and widely diverse external relations (academic and non-academic). Lastly, more exposure within our own university was welcome.
Apart from the implementation of various new initiatives (a series of lectures with high-profile international academics, a brand new newsletter, the use of social media), the new policy also brought some structural changes to all levels involved (bachelor, master, PhD students, academic staff, administration). It even brought changes to the curriculum at bachelor and master level. Our educational programmes are aimedat delivering young researchers upon graduation, but in “real” life our students are supposed to act professionally as evidence-based decision makers in a diverse range of sectors. Therefore, we now incorporate communication and media training courses throughout all programmes:
- 3rd year bachelor students have to publicly defend their research project in the presence of local and regional press (print + television)
- Master students have to write their own press release on their thesis; of the papers that are both “sexy” and high-scoring, the press release is distributed within Flanders
- PhD students are encouraged to act as experts in national media based on their field of expertise
Our goal is to elaborate further on the practice and results (a dramatic increase in media coverage, especially on the local/regional level) of communicating the social sciences during the PCST 2012.
">
 [PCST]
PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Communicating the social sciences
A practitioners’ point of view

Francis Loon   University of Antwerp - Faculty of Political and Social Sciences

Piet Vroede   University of Antwerp - Faculty of Political and Social Sciences

Since the academic year 2009-2010, the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences of the University of Antwerp, Belgium, implemented a new communication policy.
The “old” communication policy was in fact the absence of a policy at all, all involved levels & persons acted independently in a sort of organic chaos.
To make an end to this charming but ineffective way of communicating with the outside world, a staff member was appointed as single point of contact responsible for all internal & external communication.
Several goals were set, matched with different tools/communication channels. It is our responsibility to share our expertise in a comprehensible way with the general public. Also, communicating our expertise proved to be quite a successful tool inrecruiting new students. A third goal was to strengthen our ties with our various and widely diverse external relations (academic and non-academic). Lastly, more exposure within our own university was welcome.
Apart from the implementation of various new initiatives (a series of lectures with high-profile international academics, a brand new newsletter, the use of social media), the new policy also brought some structural changes to all levels involved (bachelor, master, PhD students, academic staff, administration). It even brought changes to the curriculum at bachelor and master level. Our educational programmes are aimedat delivering young researchers upon graduation, but in “real” life our students are supposed to act professionally as evidence-based decision makers in a diverse range of sectors. Therefore, we now incorporate communication and media training courses throughout all programmes:
- 3rd year bachelor students have to publicly defend their research project in the presence of local and regional press (print + television)
- Master students have to write their own press release on their thesis; of the papers that are both “sexy” and high-scoring, the press release is distributed within Flanders
- PhD students are encouraged to act as experts in national media based on their field of expertise
Our goal is to elaborate further on the practice and results (a dramatic increase in media coverage, especially on the local/regional level) of communicating the social sciences during the PCST 2012.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

BACK TO TOP