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Communications Specialist

Date: February, 2016
Reports to (Job Title): Communications Officer - Science
Jobs Reporting (Job Titles): None
Department: Dean of Science Office


Main Campus -ESC


25 hr/wk

Primary Purpose

In keeping with the Faculty of Science’s strategic priority area of enhanced visibility, reputation and community, the Faculty of Science Communications team’s purpose is to provide leadership across the Faculty in the development of effective and professional communications strategies and to facilitate and support for their implementation.


The Communications Specialist’s role has responsibility for story identification, acquisition of supporting research, content development, and distribution through appropriate channels (i.e., web, social media, print).

Key Accountabilities:


Using a strong working knowledge of the Faculty of Science’s activities, strategic priorities and objectives to:

  • Build a repertoire of contacts and inventory of successes that can be drawn upon for communications pieces and to facilitate review and coordination of communications generated by other groups (i.e., marketing and recruitment, advancement).
  • Solicit news and information from researchers and departments on a regular basis.



In collaboration with the Communications Officer, serve as a primary writer for:

  • Research profiles of faculty members.
  • Stories and press releases related to research accomplishments.
  • Other stories (student, alumni, friends) that enhance the profile of Waterloo Science.

Develops in-depth understanding of the conceptual and technical aspects of Science research projects with the purpose of accurately conveying concepts and implications using language that resonates with a target audience.

  • Interviews faculty members; conducts subsequent analysis of content; engages faculty in a review process.
  • Serves as a primary contact and facilitator for conversion of challenging and complex subject matter into communication pieces. Pieces may be used directly for institutional press releases and/or in support of MSC objectives.
  • Provides continuity in writing style and content level of science research new stories across Faculty of Science webpages for the Schools and Departments



In conjunction with the Communications Officer, facilitate a range of communication strategies:

  • Identify news and items for dissemination through social media.
  • Prepare pieces and/or repurpose items for inclusion in the Daily Bulletin.
  • Support the review and editing process for print communications arising from within the Faculty of Science and requests from MSC.



Coordinate and support development of new content for Science websites:

  • Provide support for web content on Faculty of Science level pages and specific departmental level pages as required. Support ranges from proofing and editing to advising on writing approach and preferred style.
  • Conduct “gap analysis” of web content on a routine basis. Advise content editors and managers of the “gap” and follow-up to ensure edits have been made. 
  • Provide guidance and support for content development for research-group sites on a discretionary basis.
  • Provide support in the form of story or editorial input into video-formatted content for communications purposes.



Collaborate with the  Web & E-Communications Officer:

  • Identify and refer requests or issues related to web or information hierarchy and structure.
  • Support communications aspects related to development of forms and tables for the web.
  • Play a role in the integration of print and online publications within the Faculty of Science.



Provide communications advice and direction within the Faculty of Science:

  • Foster consistency and compliance with WCMS structures in departmental web pages.
  • Encourage and support adherence to the Science brand and institutional style guidelines for print publications and projects initiated at the departmental level.
  • On a case-by-case basis, provide guidance and direction to departmental-specific projects such as newsletters and/or publications intended for general marketing purposes (i.e., outreach, advancement, recruitment).




Provide photography support for Faculty of Science Communications team:

  • Where possible, attend Science events and activities to photographs to be used primarily for social media and web purposed

Position Requirements


University degree in Science; post-graduate education preferred.



MS Word Excel PowerPoint Other

MS Office

(Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook)




Social Media



Web-based Content Management



Digital Photography



Nature and Scope

Interpersonal Skills:

This role requires well developed interpersonal and communication skills. In particular, a high level of comfort with interviewing and the ability to engage with scientists is essential. The ability to comprehend scientific concepts and to decipher technical jargon is necessary to facilitate engagement with faculty and researchers. The ability to influence stakeholders with respect to their purpose and the value of their support in executing communication strategies is also essential to the role.



Internally, collaborates with, and seeks engagement from:

Level of Responsibility:

Decision-Making Authority:

Physical and Sensory Demands:

Role requires a high level of attention to detail and ability to work in multi-tasking manner. The role also requires physical or sensory effort associated with computer use that could result in moderate fatigue, strain, or risk of injury.

Working Environment:

Travel: Some local and regional travel may be required. Examples include: covering public lectures, conferences, alumni or recruitment events.


Working Hours: Regular working hours, occasional evening/weekend work required. Flexibility with working hours may be required during times of peak activity.


Risks – physical and psychological:

Physical risks: Typical of those associated with occasional outdoor events.

Psychological risks: Minimal exposure to disagreeable conditions typical of a specialist position.