posted on Aug. 16: Board members sought for new electronic newsletter


Is there a colleague you admire and want the McMaster community to meet? Has someone in your department achieved a milestone that should be shared? Do you pen short stories or shoot photos you'd like to show off?

You now have the opportunity to meet these creative needs by submitting items to a new electronic newsletter launched by and for McMaster employees. The publication date for the first issue is targeted for January 2002.

Project organizers are looking for volunteers to join the publication's inaugural editorial board and are asking employees to submit potential titles for the new newsletter. The deadline to volunteer and/or submit a title for the newsletter is Sept. 21.

The goal of the electronic newsletter is to bring the McMaster community closer together. It was recommended by the staff involvement work group established as part of the Reacon staff survey follow-up project. The newsletter's audience includes all McMaster employees (i.e., Faculty, Hourly, Staff, TMG, etc.).

Earlier this year, the employee newsletter task team was formed to investigate the possibility of establishing such a vehicle. The team tabled its findings last month before the leadership committee and received its endorsement to move ahead with the newsletter's development.

“The new publication is intended to provide a bridge for employees at all McMaster locations, opportunities for employees to learn more about one another and a forum for constructive discussion,” says Kathy Ouellette, who chaired the task team.

It is expected that board members will be provided some release time for the project and a budget has been proposed to provide interested employees with basic computer and newsletter layout/design skills as necessary. Anyone interested in serving on the volunteer board should submit his or her name to or via internal mail c/o “Employee Newsletter Editorial Board”, GH-202. The task team will select a balanced editorial board from the total of interested employees and then will update all those who submitted their names.

The volunteer board's role is to oversee the production and maintenance of the newsletter. The board will consist of five to 10 employees who will serve for one year and whose duties will include establishing the content of each issue, assigning items, soliciting copy, editing submissions, directing photographers and laying out the newsletter.

“The (editorial) board will ensure the newsletter is a relevant, useful communications tool, designed to celebrate the human side of the University, to provide information unavailable in other University communication vehicles and to act as a forum for constructive discussion,” says the editorial board protocol developed by the project task team.

The task team is also seeking potential titles for the new newsletter: employees can submit ideas to or via internal mail c/o “Employee Newsletter Title”, GH-202. A short list of three names will be drawn up and employees will be asked to vote for their choice.

In determining the feasibility of introducing a new publication on campus, the task team did considerable research. It surveyed programs, departments and faculties to determine what areas had internal communication vehicles in place to network with employees; analyzed major communication tools on campus and generated a profile of University employees to better understand the target audience for such a newsletter. The team also investigated newsletter production, maintenance, ownership, cost, format, frequency and content issues.

“On the basis of the research and results, the task team determined that a niche exists for a new newsletter by and for employees of McMaster,” says Jason Cole of Human Resources, who facilitated the team.

Features, human-interest stories, personal employee achievements, submitted birthdays, retirements, obituaries, photographs, works of original fiction and literature and letters to the editor are among the items that are expected to appear in the publication. It is anticipated that the newsletter will be published five times per year.

Construction and design of the newsletter Web site is also under way. Employees who do not normally have access to a personal computer will be able to receive the newsletter in hard copy.

In addition to Ouellette, employee newsletter task team members include Janet Delsey, Cathy Emick, Andrea Farquhar, Joanne Kehoe, Frank Millette, Rowena Muhic-Day, Catherine Smith and Patricia Vinton.