Award-winning research writer credits teamwork for accolades

It wouldn’t be possible for him to write about the research successes of the University of Windsor without the cooperation of the school’s faculty and students, says Stephen Fields.

A research communications officer in the University’s Office of Public Affairs and Communications, Fields won a gold medal for excellence in news writing from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education’s second district, which includes 700 schools in Ontario, New York, Pennsylvania, and the eastern United States.

“I get a lot of support from the faculty and student researchers,” he says. “They are obviously key partners in the effort to find a broader audience for their work.”

That effort often results in attention far from campus. A piece Fields wrote in July on doctoral student Osama Batiha’s work with fruit flies generated great media interest.

“That article was picked up right across the country, carried in newspapers coast to coast,” Fields notes.

He says that spreading the word about the research conducted here is a way to educate the public of its importance: “One of the most gratifying things about my job is seeing the impact these stories have on the broader community.”

Besides Fields’ gold medal, UWindsor collected two additional awards in this year’s CASE Accolades competition. The Are You Proud? campaign to highlight institutional achievements received a bronze in the Institutional Media Relations Program category, and efforts to promote the University’s Spring Open House received an honourable mention in the Advertising category.

“This is an outstanding achievement and we’re truly honoured to receive recognition of this calibre among our peers,” says chief communications officer Holly Ward. “Congratulations to our award-winning department.”

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education is a professional association representing more than 3,400 schools in 74 countries. Its Accolades Awards program recognizes best practices, programs and communications in 39 categories ranging from Web design and campaign publications to special events, alumni programs, mobile apps, and college magazines. A reception honouring 2012 award recipients is set for January 23 in New York City.