Our evolving departmental print

Posted in: New initiative, Staff insight

We've been working on new versions of our civil engineering and chemical engineering departmental brochures. A lot has changed since we last updated them, so we've taken a slightly new approach this year.

CMA and its impact

The Competition Markets Authority has reviewed consumer law compliance in the higher education sector, part of which includes advice on what information we must supply to prospective students. In response to this, the University now has a more extensive undergraduate print prospectus (each course has its own page as well as an overall 'subject' page) and online course search. Both the online and print prospectuses now list compulsory units, contact time, delivery and assessment methods etc. that are updated yearly (always quite a task!).

2018 civil engineering undergraduate prospectus pages

2017 civil engineering undergraduate prospectus pages

CMA has made life more complex for university recruitment, but we now have online and offline university materials that are more comprehensive than ever before when it comes to course information and this can only be a good thing for prospective students.

What does this mean for our departmental print publications?

Our departmental brochures existed because the central university publication did not list our different courses in enough detail - the situation post-CMA is very different. With course information changing yearly, we are also struggling to update our departmental brochures fast enough to remain relevant (departmental brochures are updated on a biennial basis).

We know from focus groups that students really like having a subject-specific publication to take away with them after an open day and that they particularly like the course structure diagrams. There's also information on project work, facilities, placements and careers that the University prospectus doesn't quite cover.

So, taking all of this into account (including staff time and print costs) we've split out our departmental brochures into two documents: an A4 'introduction to undergraduate study' brochure and a smaller, one page insert with course diagrams and entry requirements.

Take a look:

An example of the one-page brochure insert:

Why's this better?

  • These brochures now work as part of a portfolio with the other print materials students receive - complementing rather than duplicating information. The undergraduate prospectus is the bible of course information, our departmental brochures provide study insight.
  • Putting the course diagram and entry requirements (information most likely to change) on an insert means we can keep this information up-to-date by printing fewer and more often.
  • Keeping our departmental brochures on their two-yearly update schedule means we can rethink rather than continually update the publications and still have time to develop all that other content (videos, e-communications, webpages, imagery, social media) that help students to make their decisions. This ensures we have a sustainable production process in place: our publications remain relevant for prospective students whilst matching the internal resources we have available.
  • Our students have more space to tell their stories! Removing course information from the brochures means we've been able to include more student case studies and images.

Looking ahead

Our print schedule is available to view for staff on the Faculty of Engineering & Design staff wiki space. Next up is our mechanical engineering departmental brochure, which is due for an update this autumn.


Thanks to Jannika, Rich, Chris and Paul for their work on these projects.

Posted in: New initiative, Staff insight