Department Phone & Email
In order to ease internal and external communication with College of Arts and Sciences departments and programs, all such entities must:
- Designate one phone number within their area as the "main phone number".
- Establish a "departmental" email address that is not ultimately forwarded to an individual. Access to that email address will be via a separate account under a local email client or via UVM webmail.
- Have a "Contact Us" main menu item leading to their main phone
number, campus mailing address and departmental email address or the same
information clearly presented on the root page of the departmental website.
Reason for the Policy
Our lifeblood is communication between and amongst students, faculty, staff and administrators. The first step for any of our constituents is to determine whom to call, email or write. If we provide our constituents with a standardized location for general contact information, then we've given them that first step.
At present, the information we provide is inconsistent, often resulting in frustration being the first experience of someone trying to connect with a department or program in our college.
Many departments do not clearly designate one phone number as "main" or "general" so that callers may be unsure as to whether they're calling the person most able to help them.
Many departments list individual email addresses instead of one "main" email address, adding to the uncertainty.
Additionally, listing individual personal
email accounts as a primary departmental contact means that mail won't be
answered during vacations, and departmental email will need to be extracted
email when positions turn over.
Lastly, as a division, we do not consistently provide our departmental contact information on our web sites in an easy to find location.
Applicability of the Policy
This policy applies to all academically oriented departments and programs within the College of Arts and Sciences. We also encourage other non-academic entities (outreach programs, grant funded projects, etc.) to follow these standards.
Main Phone Number
Every College department or program must designate a single phone number as their "main" number. This number should have the following attributes:
- It must remain unchanged regardless of employee turnover.
- It must be clearly listed on all departmental communications, including email, the department/program website and departmental/program letterhead.
- Efforts should be put into having someone available to answer the "main" phone number during all normal University business hours.
- A voicemail message should be associated with this "main" number and should identify the number as the main department number, and give the caller a realistic expectation regarding when they can expect to receive a response.
Departmental email address
- Every College department or program must have a departmental email address (e.g. English@uvm.edu) rather than providing individual email addresses of pertinent staff, program directors or chairs.
- Every department or program already has an account housing their website, therefore a departmental website may already exist, or a "friendly" alias to the existing account can easily be added.
- The account and its password should become part of departmental "lore" and stored in a permanent and secure location that is passed on when staff move on or when there is a change of chair or director.
- Access to this departmental email account can be delegated amongst several people, ensuring that incoming email is dealt with regardless of vacations, illness or turnover.
- Department-related email is stored in one location ensuring preservation of historical information, and paper trail.
Contact Us information on every web site
Every department should have the following information either on the root (i.e., first) page of their website or below a "Contact Us" main menu item on the left hand menu:
- Department Mailing Address
- Departmental email
- Main department phone number
- Department fax, if any
Outgoing departmental email
Email sent as coming from the department in general, as in mail merges to large blocks of recipients: majors, incoming students, departmental alumni, etc.
Designate a main phone number
To designate a main phone number
- Identify the staff member who is primarily responsible for answering incoming general department phone calls.
- List that person's extension on the departmental website, stationary and in the signatures of departmental email as the main contact number for the department.
- Ensure that subsequent employees performing the same job function are given the same phone number.
Establish a departmental email address
To establish a departmental email address
- Contact Account Services (firstname.lastname@example.org or 656-2006) and request an email alias linking your existing departmental Zoo account to the most obvious email address (e.g., http://www.uvm.edu/~anthro receives email as Anthropology@uvm.edu).
- Inform the Dean's Office of your new departmental email address.
- List your departmental email address on your website, departmental stationary and in the signature of outgoing departmental emails.
Add Contact Us information to every website
To standardize the Contact Us information within the College:
- Establish the above two information points
- List both, along with your departmental mailing address on the departmental website, on departmental stationary and in the signature of outgoing departmental email.
CAS Computing Services - 656-7971 or email@example.com
Account Services, 656-2006 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Effective Date: September 2, 2008
Last modified September 12 2012 03:29 PM