The University Policy and Standards Program will work with policy owners to release new or amended policies or standards. Below are considerations that are intended to assist policy owners in rolling out and communicating the release of policies to the university community.

What is a communication plan?

A set of communications and actions intended to facilitate the clear understanding of a policy or policy amendment. A communication plan may target different audiences for different purposes, and may include things like:

  • Targeted communications to units affected by a new policy
  • Broad communications to the university community to raise awareness of a policy
  • Advance communications to leadership about significant policy actions

When might a communication plan be necessary?

All university policies will be accompanied by a minimum communication plan—that is, the policy will be posted online in the OSU Today

Some policies, depending on their nature, may require more extensive communication plans. Consider the following when determining whether a communication plan is required:

Audience. Policies that affect a broad audience may require a communication plan to reach the appropriate individuals.

  • Who is required to comply with this policy? OSU employees? Students? Contractors or third parties?
  • Who will implement this policy? A single office/unit? Many offices across the university? Individuals outside the university?
  • Are new training materials required?
  • Would the policy affect or be of interest to a broader community?

Significance. A communication plan may be required for policies or changes to policy that significantly alter university operations or have a high profile.

  • Would the policy entail new requirements?
  • Would failure to comply with the policy subject individuals or the university to significant risk?
  • Is the policy particularly complex or could it potentially be misunderstood?
  • Will this policy raise controversy within or outside of the university?

Timing. A communication plan may be required when it is important to coordinate the release of a policy with other events or actions.

  • Is the policy being released simultaneously with another policy, action, meeting, or event, particularly one that affects a broad or different audience?

What might a communication plan entail?

All university policies will be posted online into the University Policy and Standards Manual and compiled on the What's New page. The University Policy and Standards Program will work with the policy owners to determine whether additional communication activities are necessary.

Additional elements of a communication plan may include one or some combination of the following:

Advance communication of the policy with stakeholders

  • Targeted meetings with relevant leadership prior to policy release to note any potential concerns that may arise with new policy
  •  Targeted meetings with policy users to raise awareness of any new requirement

Direct dissemination to policy users

  • Convey the policy to the heads of relevant units to share with their staff
  • Meet with relevant units to raise awareness and answer questions

Coordinated release of policy

  • Time the release of the policy to accompany an event or announcement

Identify individuals to champion a policy

  • Policy owner—leader who can announce and explain the policy
  • Validators—respected stakeholders who can lend support to the policy, if needed

Develop and disseminate training or education materials to policy users

  • Operating procedures, user guides, FAQs, etc.

Broad dissemination of policy to university community

  • OSU Today
  • Facebook
  • Twitter—university-wide or unit-specific Twitter accounts
  • Local media—newspapers, radio

Develop communication materials for consistent messaging of policy

  • Press release
  • Talking points
  • Fact sheet