5.20.1 E-mail

Background

Electronic mail (e-mail) is one of the critical communication channels used by faculty, staff, and students at SCSU. E-mail is extensively used in conducting the normal business of the university and is increasingly used in the collaboration and communication among the SCSU campus community. E-mail is also a major communication channel in conducting business transactions and maintaining business relationships with external entities.

In Fall 2000, SCSU undertook a major initiative to replace multiple campus e-mail platforms with a single campus-wide solution for faculty, staff, and students. A major undertaking in scope and extent, this initiative involved significant technical resources and affected every member of the campus community. E-mail is now available anytime and anywhere that a user has access to a Web browser. Today, SCSU has a robust and comprehensive e-mail environment.

The current generation of students is e-mail literate, and they expect e-mail services to be readily available at this university.

The campus community is continually developing acceptable standards of etiquette and appropriate use of e-mail. Although SCSU currently has an email policy for students, faculty, and staff (http://huskynet.stcloudstate.edu/policies/email.asp) and listserv guidelines for faculty and staff, issues needing further investigation and understanding include acceptable use of e-mail, definitions of what an official communication is, and e-mail spam.

Additional possible areas of expansion include

  • bringing voice mail into the e-mail environment
  • enhancing the exchange of data between the e-mail environment and the ISRS environment
  • assigning e-mail accounts to prospective or newly admitted students
  • enhancing email services for alumni
  • and developing policies and procedures to protect users from unwanted e-mail.

Goals

Over the next five years, SCSU will

  • consider developing e-mail as a broader, formal communication channel for official communications among SCSU and faculty, staff, and students
  • expand the availability of e-mail accounts to reach the broadest possible student body
  • investigate developing ‘e-mail for life’ for all SCSU students
  • study and enhance data interfaces between the e-mail environment and Integrated Statewide Records System (ISRS)
  • investigate the file space needs of various campus constituents and recommend adequate file space allocations for various user groups (see 5.14)
  • ensure that the e-mail environment is consistent with and supportive of the IMS environment at SCSU
  • review existing policies and guidelines and develop additional policies and guidelines to ensure an e-mail environment that fits the cultural environment and the legal requirements at the university (see 5.2)
  • provide timely and effective training to faculty, staff, and students — particularly those new to SCSU (see 5.17)
  • control the negative aspects of e-mail to reduce or eliminate unsolicited e-mail (spam)
  • ensure that remote access to e-mail is quick, robust, and feature rich
  • provide unified messaging, the combining of voice mail into the e-mail environment (see 5.20.2).

Specific Actions and Timeline

A committee comprised of technologists from LR&TS and CIS-AdC that support e-mail systems as well as faculty, staff, and students users will be created to address issues concerning SCSU's e-mail environment.

  • The committee will follow the standard timeline (see 5.0) for carrying out and reporting on specific actions.
  • The committee will evaluate the current email environment on campus as related to the other goals stated for this section.
  • Based on this evaluation, the committee will make recommendations to TLTR.
  • During the 2007/2008 academic year, the committee will produce a final report on e-mail at SCSU and a planning document for the next five-year plan. These will be submitted to TLTR by February 1, 2008, for review.

Resources

Presently, the e-mail environment is stable and robust; however, the system must be monitored and evaluated on an annual basis to develop funding lead-time for anticipated upgrades. Major upgrades or conversion to a different platform would require major investments in hardware, software, and training of technologists and end users.

Additional funding will be required to expand the account base from just enrolled students to all admitted students, to provide "e-mail for life," to support integrated voice messaging, and system replacement — when and if these events are scheduled to take place.

Evaluation

  • Is SCSU's e-mail system used effectively to provide official communications at SCSU? Informal communications?
  • Has SCSU expanded the availability of e-mail accounts to reach the broadest possible student body?
  • Has the committee investigated developing "e-mail for life" for all SCSU students?
  • Has the committee studied and enhanced data interfaces between the e-mail environment and ISRS?
  • Has the committee investigated the file space needs of various campus constituents and recommended adequate file space allocations for various user groups?
  • Has the committee ensured that the e-mail environment is consistent with and supportive of the IMS environment at SCSU?
  • Has the committee reviewed existing policies and guidelines and developed additional policies and guidelines to ensure an e-mail environment that fits the cultural environment and the legal requirements at the university?
  • Does SCSU provide timely and effective training to faculty, staff, and students?
  • Is the e-mail environment at SCSU robust, stable, secure, and highly available?
  • Is the e-mail system managed to keep the negative impact on faculty, staff, and student to a minimum?
  • Does SCSU provide unified messaging?
  • Has the committee submitted a final report in Spring 2008?
  • Has the committee made recommendations for the next cycle of technology planning?

Revised: May 2003