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E-mail @ UW
E-mail is one of the primary means of communication in today’s workplace. Communication by e-mail presents a variety of social, administrative, and legal considerations. This information is intended to provide resources and guidance on efficient, professional use of your University e-mail account.
When communicating University business by e-mail, you represent the University and your department. Here are 15 e-mail etiquette tips to help you respond professionally.
1. Respond to e-mails in a timely manner
2. Consider a phone call instead of an e-mail for sensitive or confidential issues
3. Use subject line to indicate topic, purpose, content
4. Ensure a courteous greeting and closing
5. Don’t hesitate to say thank you or I appreciate this e-mail
6. Keep messages brief and to the point, while including relevant details and information
7. Be sparing with group e-mails and use of “reply to all”
8. Utilize professional wording and treat each e-mail as if it were a traditional printed document
9. Think twice before sending a humorous message
10. If the e-mail is emotionally charged, walk away and wait to reply. Review sender’s e-mail again before composing and sending reply
11. Perform final proof before sending, using spell and grammar checks
12. Verify proper addresses in the “to” and “cc” fields
13. Use a signature with contact information
14. Keep personal (non-University) communication to a minimum
15. Do not use University e-mail for anything that could be considered as personal gain. The Classifieds channel on WyoWeb is available for the posting of personal items for sale.
E-mail can be overwhelming and keeping it under control and organized is a challenge for everyone. Following are some tips and resources to help you gain control and manage your e-mail.
1. Learn and receive appropriate training to make your e-mail system work for you by setting up rules and folders to keep e-mail organized.
2. Link to files on shared drives when possible instead of sending attachments.
3. Consider obtaining a UW Special Account for e-mail shared for department functions from UW Information Technology. Agree on folder configuration for the shared account.
4. Consider saving critical office e-mails as PDF files on shared space.
5. Know responsibilities and procedures for record retention to meet legal and administrative requirements before you delete any electronic files. The American Heritage Center offers assistance to University offices in the maintenance and disposition of records, including retention schedules through the University Archives and Records Management Program.
6. Do it! A system that is set up and maintained will save time in the end.
Appropriate Use of UW E-mail accounts
Below are some important administrative, legal, and policy considerations to keep in mind when using UW e-mail accounts and other technological resources of the University.
Intellectual property considerations: Particularly in creative work and scholarship, ideas or concepts may have considerable financial or legal value as they develop into intellectual property including inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images and designs used in commerce. The University of Wyoming has several Regulations which deal with and provide guidance on intellectual property and through the Office of General Counsel. In addition to these considerations, both university and non-university records may be discoverable or public records under Wyoming law.
Public records requests: The Wyoming Public Records Act defines a list of documents and correspondence as public records, regardless of their physical form, and this may include e-mail and its attachments. There are categories of records that are protected from requests, however, in all cases the Office of General Counsel can provide guidance and should be consulted when a public records request is received and prior to withholding any public records.
Discoverability of e-mails: The important consideration in determining whether your e-mail messages could be used in resolving a legal matter is whether the content you are developing is part of university business or not. If it is, then it could be subject to discovery, even if it is an e-mail message produced, sent, or received on a personal account. Consulting with your supervisor or administrator, and following direction from the Office of General Counsel is advised and important. The policy, “Administrative Procedures for Electronic Records Retention” (June 8, 2012) contains sections on university and non-university records that provides assistance in this regard and can be found under the Office of General Counsel website under other University Policies.
Liability for improper or illegal use of e-mail: (personal as well as institutional). It is important to understand that, if you are using resources for non-university activity, and the use is deemed illegal or improper, you may be subject to internal discipline by the university, and the university may refer suspected violations to the appropriate law enforcement agencies. UW Regulation 3-690 regarding proper use of computing and data communications facilities operated by the Division of Information Technology.
To Summarize, users of e-mail should remember that,
1. University e-mail accounts are intended primarily for use that relates to the university’s research, instruction, and public service missions.
2. There are generally accepted guidelines to avoid improper usage, and users should be sensitive to them.
3. Users cannot assume that their computer communications are private, as they can be accessed by the University, without permission, if determined to be in the best interest of the University.
UW Training Resources
Additional UW Resources
- UW IT E-mail Information
- UW Ask IT - E-mail Help Documents
- UW IT Exchange Unified Messaging in E-mail