Email is the official mechanism for university communications to students. The University expects that email communications will be received and read in a timely manner.
College of Liberal Arts students are directed to obtain a free university email address and check it a minimum of twice per week. Students should be aware that many outside email providers (e.g. Gmail, Yahoo) often treat university communications as spam messages. It is all students’ responsibility to regularly read emails sent by the university, the college, and their academic advisor.
Secure Academic Notes
Secure Academic Notes (SANs) are secure messages that allow university advisors and administrators to correspond with students concerning sensitive issues, such as scholastic, disciplinary, or fiscal matters.
An ordinary email is sent to all the recipients of the message. The subject line identifies this email as a SAN notification. The text of the message includes a link to the SAN website (to the new message posted). Students who have unread messages in the SAN system will also see a UT Direct Notification to that effect on their UT Direct homepage.
Tips for Writing Emails to Faculty and Staff
- Write from an email account that’s appropriate for academic use. Your @utexas.edu account is the best choice.
- Use an email account that shows your full name. Many people will not open an email message if they don’t recognize the name or address.
- Use a helpful subject line. The simplest way is to include the course number or a clear message about the intent of the email (e.g. “question about film assignment”).
- Choose a greeting that is appropriate. “Dear Professor ___,” for faculty, or “Hi Ms./Mr. ___,” for staff. Ask your instructor how they would like to be addressed if you aren’t sure how to do so.
- Identify yourself and your issue/question in the first sentence. “My name is Kelsey Harris and I am a student in your RHE 306 class. I have a question about the essay due on Friday. The syllabus says to turn it in at discussion group and I have to leave for NCAAs on Thursday (as we discussed). Can I turn in the essay at your office after our class on Wednesday?”
- Avoid text or instant message abbreviations and acronyms. “IMHO,” “TYVM,” etc., are not suitable for faculty or staff emails.
- Proofread your message. This is a chance to make a positive impression.
- Include identifying information in your signature. Faculty and staff will need such information as your name, EID, and class unique number to identify you and the class you are enrolled in.
- Reply to your professor’s response. Even a quick “Thank you” lets them know that you got their message and appreciate their time.
- Take your emails to staff and faculty seriously. Learning good email skills is important. It’s always useful to be able to write short, effective notes; this will prove invaluable in future work settings.