UAS Channel Framework

Please note, the framework provides advice and guidance about individual channels and their usage.

It is not a replacement for communications and engagement plans and strategies. If you have any questions about the framework, please contact your relevant Communications Lead.


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Email and newsletter channels for reaching all staff and students

The following channels can be used to reach all staff and students. 

University Bulletin and Student News

The University Bulletin and the Student News are sent to all staff and students respectively. The Student News is sent once every two weeks during term time by AAD Communications (see ‘key student communications channels’ section for more information). 
The Bulletin is sent on the same frequency by PAD Internal Communications – and around monthly during the vacations.  

All staff and/or student emails

Standalone emails are sent on an ad-hoc basis, very infrequently. In addition, the Vice-Chancellor sends regular emails and video updates to staff and students, on a range of topics. 

NB: all-staff emails can be targeted to University-only or both University and college staff. Student emails can be segmented to reach undergraduates, taught postgraduates and research students. 

When to use all-staff and student channels

All-staff and student channels should only be considered when information is relevant to all, or the vast majority, of staff and/or students across the University.  

The Student News / Bulletin should be used as standard; and all-staff/student messages by exception.  Examples of UAS-led activities that may be appropriately communicated via standalone all-staff or student emails are: 

  • The launch of very significant one-off initiatives that require all staff/and or student involvement
  • Important operational changes that will impact all members of staff or students
  • Very significant institutional successes

How to use all-staff and student channels

Content can be submitted to the Student News and the University Bulletin via UAS Communications Leads. UAS services looking to send all-staff or student emails, or propose content for possible inclusion in the Vice-Chancellor’s messages, should contact their Communications Lead in the first instance. 

Email and newsletter channels for reaching leadership teams

The following channels can be used to reach leadership teams across the University.

The University Cascade

The University Cascade is an operational email which provides a single source of essential updates from the University’s policies and operations. It is disseminated via divisions to departments (usually to Heads of Divisions (HoDs) and Heads of Administration and Finance (HAFs) and members of local senior management teams) and via the Conference of Colleges to Oxford Colleges (usually Heads of House, Senior Tutors, Domestic Bursars and other senior officers). It is also sent separately to senior teams in the UAS, GLAM and other parts of the University

HoDs and HAFs lists

Email distribution lists exists for reaching both all HoDs and all HAFs direct. This includes UAS Service Heads, as well as academic heads and lead administrators in GLAM, the UAS and Continuing Education. The HoDs list also includes Pro-Vice-Chancellors.  UAS and Divisional Communications Leads also manage a more granular list of HoDs and HAFs, which can be used (by exception) to reach specific groups. 

NB: Separate lists are available for key college audiences (such as Heads of House, Senior Tutors etc.). These lists and policies for their usage are managed by the Conference of Colleges. 

When to use leadership team channels 

The Cascade is the recommended channel to reach senior leaders, in particular for: 

  • Key policy decisions from University governance groups  
  • New operational University guidance (or significant updates to existing guidance) 
  • Updates about external developments that is likely to have a significant impact on the University 
  • Information about new and updated UAS services for departments and colleges 

The HoDs and HAFs mailing lists should only be used by exception, for example, in the event of:

  • An urgent operational matter that cannot wait until the next Cascade
  • An extremely important message that requires the weight of a standalone message to reach its audience

Leadership communications channels should not be used:

  • To share information which is relevant with a specialist audience, and does not require the attention of senior leaders (use specialist communications channels instead - see next section)
  • To share information relevant to all staff (use all-staff channels instead). 
  • To ask for information to be included in local channels (use 'communications through comms teams' channels instead)

How to use leadership team channels

More information about using the University Cascade is available online.  
A very limited number of colleagues can send directly to the HoDs and HAFs mailing lists. Contact your Communications Lead if you wish to discuss sending an email to them. 

About service-specific newsletters

  • Service-wide newsletters

Where possible, UAS services are encouraged to consolidate their content into a single newsletter, catering for the breadth of its audiences (for example, the AAD News Alert for those working in student-facing roles, and People News for those in the HR profession)

  • Specialist newsletters, specialist newsletters may be considered for specific audiences – particularly when they are a small sub-set of a larger audience with a clear focus (for example, Safety Officers, or staff and students with an interest in environmental sustainability or diversity and inclusion) 
  • A list of key mailing lists and newsletters is available online

When to use service-specific newsletters

Service-wide newsletters should be used to: 

  • Provide key operational and policy information for relevant groups
  • Develop a sense of community among colleagues working in professional functions
  • Share successes in a specific service (both in the UAS and the wider University)  

Specialist newsletters can be used to:

  • Raise awareness of activities related to a specific issue or cause
  • Engage staff and students with a key issue, and support cultural change 
  • Develop a sense of community within a key focus area

Newsletters should not simply repeat communications that have been included in University-wide channels.  However, they may be used to purposefully reinforce University-wide campaigns to specific audiences, where they are relevant to specific staff roles. 

How to use service-specific newsletters

The recommended frequency for these newsletters is monthly – or two to three editions per term (unless there is an operational need for a higher frequency). 
All newsletters should utilise Upland Adestra, as the University’s approved email automation solution. PDFs should be avoided (for accessibility reasons), as should Outlook (due to its inability to track content which users engage with).

Newsletters should contain brief entries (ideally less than 100 words each) to allow the user to scan the information that is relevant to them. Further information should be linked through to relevant intranet or website content. More e-newsletter guidance is available on the Communications Hub. 

Please note: any new newsletters must be approved by the Head of Communications – Professional Services and the relevant UAS service head.

About standalone specialist emails

Standalone emails can be sent to groups of colleagues in specific staff, students and other groups.

When to use standalone specialist emails

Where possible, UAS services should look to use newsletters whenever possible - to reduce and consolidate the number of communications sent. Standalone emails should be used when there is a requirement to send detailed operational information to specific groups of colleagues, particularly when information is either too in-depth, or too time-sensitive to be included in a newsletter.

How to use standalone specialist emails

The UAS email protocols provide in-depth advice about selecting and using the right email lists, and email best practice. These protocols must be adhered to at all times. Data privacy rules must be adhered to, and are particularly important in relation to communications to external audiences.

About websites, intranets and Teams

  • Mosaic: All UAS websites are built on the University’s web publishing platform, Mosaic. There are around UAS 30 websites in total, catering for both internal and external audiences. The majority of the content is open to the public; while some pages are hosted behind Single Sign On (SSO).   A small amount of UAS content is also hosted on the main University website on OxWeb
  • SharePoint: SharePoint is the University’s internal content-sharing and collaboration tool. UAS services are able to host content on the platform for staff and/or students (and subsets of these groups), and make use of functionality such as document management.
  • Microsoft Teams: Teams is a collaboration tool. As well as chat functionality, it allows services to create private groups with their own chat areas, document storage and more. NB: SharePoint and Teams are linked at the ‘back end’, with all Teams groups benefiting from their own SharePoint library.

When to use websites, intranets and Teams

  • At present, information for the public, and for large groups of staff and students should be published on Mosaic or OxWeb (Guidance is available to help decide when content should be placed behind SSO)
  • SharePoint should only be used when the content contains sensitive information, or is relevant only to colleagues outside a specific UAS section.  SharePoint sites should complement not replace Mosaic sites and do not appear in external search results. More information is available about using Mosaic and SharePoint sites
  • Teams – particularly private channels - can be used to share news and updates with specific audiences

How to use websites and intranets

  • UAS staff should follow the in-depth UAS Mosaic guidance when using UAS Mosaic sites
  • There are currently no content guidelines or support available for SharePoint, and very limited governance in place regarding its usage. As such, it should be used with caution
  • Teams can be used to engage specific audiences and share news with communities (although it should not be used as a replacement for website, intranets and newsletters)
  • UAS services must not use any other websites, intranet or private messaging services
  • Requests for new Mosaic websites must be approved by the relevant Service Head and the UAS Mosaic Steering Group

About events as a communications channel

  • University-wide staff events
    University-wide events take place once or twice per term, managed by the PAD Events and Internal Communications teams. These include Open Forums (which focus on specific topics), and In Conversation with the Vice-Chancellor (more general Q&A events)
    Occasional all-staff events also take place, to discuss specific topics and activities impacting all staff
  • Regular service-specific events
    Specific events can be used to reach specialist audiences regularly - either for a service as a whole (e.g. the Academic Registrar’s Briefing), or for specific audiences (e.g. the Risk and Compliance Network).
  • Standalone specialist events
    More specific events can also be organised to discuss more specialised topics with specialist audiences on specific topics.

When to use events as a communications channel

  • All-staff events can be used to communicate to an all-staff audience, in particular when there is a new strategic development which requires buy-in from all members of staff, or there is a need to build a University-wide consensus around a topic
  • Regular service-specific events can be used to:
    • Provide key operational and policy information for relevant groups
    • Develop a sense of community among colleagues working in professional functions
    • Share successes in a specific service (both in the UAS and the wider University)
  • Standalone specialist events can be used to:
    • Raise awareness of activities related to a specific issue or cause
    • Engage staff with a key issue, and support cultural change
    • Develop a sense of community within a key focus area

How to use events as a communications channel

Any requests for University-wide events should be discussed with the Head of Communications – Professional Services and PAD Head of Communications in the first instance. They will need Vice-Chancellor approval before proceeding.

The recommended frequency for regular service-specific events is termly, and should be managed by individual UAS service teams.

The decision whether to make an event online or in-person should be taken on a case-by-case basis, depending on the audience and content matter. Information about running online and hybrid events is available online (SSO required)

If running a large event, hybrid is most suitable when there is minimal requirement for two-way interaction from audience members (separate online and in-person events should take place if significant interaction is required).

More guidance about running events at Oxford is available in the Events Toolkit.

About social media channels

  • University corporate social channels
    The University’s main social media channels cater for a very general, global audience, including content about Oxford’s research and teaching from across the central University, departments, colleges and subsidiaries. They are on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Instagram, Threads, TikTok, Xand YouTube.
  • Service-specific social channels
    UAS services maintain their own social media channels, for reaching specialist external audiences and interest groups

NB: There are also University-wide social media channels for students. Go to ‘main student channels’ for more information

When to use social media channels

  • The University’s corporate channels can be considered when UAS activities have global interest. They should not be used for reaching staff or students (although they can be used to promote staff and student activities externally where there is a strategic reason to do so)
  • Service-specific social media channels can be used to reach specialist internal and external audiences. However, they should not be used as a primary method for reaching intended audiences. They should be used for:
    • Engaging audiences in support of building communities
    • Amplifying (or as an alternative to) newsletter content
    • Seeking audience feedback on initiatives or ideas

How to use social media channels

  • Corporate channels can sometimes be used to promote UAS activities, so long as there is a broad, external interest. They are managed by the PAD Digital team
  • Service-specific channels can be used to reach specific audiences. They are usually not the best channels for reaching broad internal or external audiences
  • Teams managing service-specific social media channels should be able to commit to posting at least once per week. If this is not possible, they are encouraged to consider closing the channel.
  • Please note that:
    • Confidential or sensitive internal information should never be posted on social media
    • The launch of any new social media channels requires the approval of the relevant Communications Lead and Service Head.
    • If you have a concern about sensitive posts, contact the PAD Digital team

About communications teams channels

  • Communications Community Digest
    The Digest is sent about fortnightly by the PAD Internal Communications team to around 400 members of staff on the ‘Comms Officers Mailing list’, providing updates that are relevant to those working in communications across the University
  • Communications Community Teams channel
    An active opt-in Teams channel for anyone working in communications. It is often used to share best practice, ask for advice and guidance on communications activities. It also includes an archive of suppliers
  • Communications packs for divisions and colleges
    Academic divisions are able to send communications packs (template social media and newsletter, images and videos) to communications contacts in departments. A separate College Communications Officers group is able to do the same for communications teams in colleges

When to use communications teams channels

The Digest and the Teams site can be used to raise awareness about campaigns and major communications activities, and to ask for communications advice and guidance.

The Digest can also be used to share information about communications vacancies.

The Digest and Teams channel should not be used as a method of disseminating information to local Communications Officers for inclusion in local channels. Communications packs should be used for this purpose instead to your specific audiences. 

How to use communications teams channels

You can find out more about, and join the Communications Community online

To include content in the Communications Community channels, speak to your UAS Comms Lead in the first instance.

About student channels

  • Student News
    The Student News is sent once every two weeks to all students during term time (separate Undergraduate and Postgraduate - taught and research combined - editions). It includes information about academic studies, as well as student life and community activities.
  • Oxford Students website
    Provides a one-stop-shop for all University-wide information for on-course students – from starting at Oxford, through to graduation. Includes a news page for student-specific stories
  • Oxford Students social media channels
    Separate channels on X and Instagram provide information for all on-course students, including regular student takeovers
  • Oxford SU
    An independent student group which manages its own channels. This includes social media presences, newsletters, and regular in-person and online events with different student groups.
  • M/JCRS and Student clubs and societies
    Junior Common Rooms (for UG students) and Middle Common Rooms (for PG students) are student groups focused on specific colleges. They maintain their own websites, social media and newsletters, and host regular events within colleges

When to use student channels

These University channels should be used to reach an all-student audience. If a topic or piece of content is relevant only to a specific student audience, alternative channels such as departmental and college communications packs (see Communications Community Channels for more information) should be used.

Oxford SU and M/JCR channels should only be used as secondary, after University and departmental channels have been considered. They can help to amplify messages and help target specific groups, and cannot be unsubscribed to. 

How to use student channels

University student channels should be used in the first instance.  To include content in these channels, contact AAD Communications (

You should speak to AAD Communications before contacting Oxford SU – so that they can advise you on the best approach.

UAS Services must not contact MCRs or JCRs direct. Any communication with student group must be via AAD Communications and the Conference of Colleges.