Type of entity
Authorized form of name
University Communications and Marketing
Parallel form(s) of name
Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules
Other form(s) of name
- Information Office (1966-1972)
- University News Service (1972-1988)
- Media and Public Relations (1988-2006)
- Public Affairs and Media Relations (2006-2015)
Identifiers for corporate bodies
Dates of existence
University Communications and Marketing has overall responsibility for strategic communications at Simon Fraser University. At the time of writing (Feb 2022), its responsibilities included communications planning for internal and external audiences, management of media relations and stakeholder outreach, university website design and SFU visual brand guidelines and standards, and the creation of media productions (photographs, video, online, print) that support the university's vision and priorities.
Interest in SFU grew rapidly after the university opened its doors in 1965. To provide information to the public, SFU first relied upon the Executive Assistant to the President. This position was held for the first two semesters by R. J. Watts, an instructor in the English Department, and, in an acting capacity during the summer of 1966, by E. N. Turner, a graduate student from the same department. In August 1966 the University hired Dennis Roberts, an experienced newsman and public relations director as its first full-time information officer. Roberts wrote news releases, prepared brochures, began a speakers' bureau to address off-campus groups, and started a campus tour program. He was assisted by a secretary and student tour guides. Because there were no vice-presidents or other senior officers in those years, the Information Officer also acted as a special assistant to President Patrick McTaggart-Cowan. Roberts wrote many of his speeches, and McTaggart-Cowan even deputized Roberts as speaker at several meetings.
With increased funding, the Information Office gradually expanded its scope. The Director hired an information assistant, and, in 1972, changed the department's name to University News Service (UNS) to better describe its functions and to avoid confusion with the term "information systems." In addition to press releases, UNS produced a series of publications – SFU Week, Comment, and Takkali. Roberts also took on responsibility for the SFU Pipe and Drum Band for eight years. After his retirement from SFU in 1982, the university made an arrangement with the Port Moody Pipe Band to perform as the SFU's band. In his spare time, Roberts produced SFU-oriented greeting cards and cartoons for faculty, students and staff.
Roberts' long-time assistant Ken Mennell succeeded him as Director from 1982-1998, followed by Kathryn Aberle (1998-2006), and Don MacLachlan (2006-2013). During this period, the office was renamed Media and Public Relations (MPR, 1998-2006), then Public Affairs and Media Relations (PAMR, 2006-2013). A substantial reorganization of the portfolio occurred in 2014 with the establishment of SFU Communications and Marketing. This brought into the portfolio responsibility for brand management, as well as Creative Studio, a unit with a long tradition of education media production at SFU. Prior to the merger, Creative Studio was a unit in the VP Academic's portfolio, mostly tasked with the creation of educational media, and was itself the successor of a number of earlier incarnations with similar functions: the Audio-Visual Centre (1967-1981), the Instructional Media Centre (IMC, 1981-2000), the Learning and Instructional Development Centre (LIDC, 2000-2011), and the Teaching and Learning Centre (TLC, 2011-2013). Other names for this unit included Media Services, Media Design, and Creative Services. Since the 2014 reorganization, Communications and Marketing has been headed by an External Director, first Sarah Temple (2014-2016), then Kristin Linklater (2016–).
For most of its history, University Communications and Marketing and its predecessors have reported to either the President (1966-1971 and 1976-1981) or to the senior executive (typically a Vice-President) responsible for external relations. For a visual presentation of the unit's administrative history, see Appendix A in the hardcopy and pdf versions of the F-61 finding aid.
- Information Office (1966-1972)
- University News Service (1972-1982)
- Media and Public Relations (1982-2006)
- Public Affairs and Media Relations (2006-2014)
- University Communications and Marketing (2014–)
- Dennis Roberts, Information Officer (1966-1972), Director (1972-1982).
- Ken Mennell, Director (1982-1998)
- Kathryn Aberle, Director (1998-2006)
- Don MacLachlan, Director (2006-2013)
- Sarah Temple, Executive Director (2014-2016)
- Kristin Linklater, Executive Director (2016–)