University Selects Google as Student Email Provider
Google has been selected as the finalist to provide the new student and alumni email solution at The University of Texas at Austin.
In May 2010, a student-led committee began investigating options for improving the existing email service for undergraduate and graduate students on campus-a population of close to 60,000 people.
"We started looking at alternatives for student email because students want more features, a user-friendly interface and a larger inbox size," said Chelsea Adler, president of the Student Senate and a key member of the project task force.
"It's taken a lot of work to get to a recommendation and the committee has been excellent about considering the needs of students first," said Scott Parks, president of the Student Body and task force member. "We're excited because students will now be able to keep their email address after they graduate."
The transition from the university email solution to Google will only affect students and alumni, not faculty or staff.
The university used the state-mandated procurement process in making the selection. The task force, made up of representatives from across campus, defined the requirements, contacted references for the two top vendors and submitted additional questions to both finalists to gather more detailed information. Two subcommittees reviewed these responses and Google emerged as the top choice.
Next steps in the process include formal review and acceptance of the recommendation by Information Technology (IT) governance, contract negotiations and agreement on an implementation timeline.
"Until we have a contract, we won't know the timeframe to get the new email option up and running." said Adler. "Scott and I are hoping for some time in the 2011 spring semester and look forward to the new features a Google solution offers students."
Brad Englert, chief information officer, expressed his excitement about the progress that has been made towards providing students with a new email solution after many years of discussion.
"I want to thank the task force, especially our student leaders, for making this happen," he said. "Student involvement throughout all phases of the process was critical to reaching a successful recommendation."
Englert will share the recommendation with the Information Technology governance committees, and will be working closely with the university's Purchasing and Legal departments on contract negotiations.
"It's not a done deal until IT governance approves and the contract is signed," he said. "We are excited about moving ahead with Google to offer a more robust email solution for our students."