UAB has several options for communicating internally with faculty, staff and students. Review the ones below to determine the appropriate method to best reach your audience within UAB guidelines.
University Relations works with faculty and staff to develop and distribute institutional news and information in several ways:
- UAB eReporter
The eReporter, an electronic newsletter, is a companion to the UAB Reporter website and the recommended alternative to mass emails. It is distributed twice weekly to all UAB employees in the campus directory. To submit news and/or information to be considered for publication, use the publicity request form at uab.edu/reporter/request-publicity.
- UAB GreenMail
GreenMail is an electronic newsletter distributed to all UAB students on Wednesdays during the fall and spring semesters and alternate weeks during the summer, and it is the recommended alternative to mass emails. To submit news and/or information to be considered for publication, use the publicity request form at uab.edu/publicity.
- UAB Campus Calendar
The UAB Campus Calendar is the central location for promoting all campus events. Deadlines vary by sub-calendar; submit items for inclusion at least two business days in advance of event at uab.edu/calendar.
The BlazerNET welcome screen offers the option for displaying short messages on the portal for specifically targeted groups of students and/or faculty. Only messages that originate within the university and pertain to UAB will be posted.
To submit an announcement for the BlazerNET welcome screen, please provide:
- A one- or two-sentence teaser for the message.
- A description of the specific target audience (This can be something like "all faculty teaching in fall 2015 semester, except those in the schools of Medicine, Dentistry and Optometry" or "currently enrolled undergraduate students in the College of Arts and Sciences.")
- The start and end date for the message to display (not to extend beyond the academic period).
- Any necessary web links pointing to additional information.
IT Infrastructure Services works with faculty and staff to distribute targeted emails. For ongoing communications with specific groups within the UAB community, several options are available:
Listservs are used for a defined, static audience of information recipients and are necessary for lists that include recipients outside of UAB. The audience can be determined through self-subscription, or a list owner can add and remove recipients. Listservs may be set up as a one-way distribution outlet or as a virtual discussion community to which all members can post information. To request a Listserv, contact the AskIT Help Desk at 996-5555. Once the ticket is generated, you will need to attach an email from your supervisor stating approval. Allow seven business days for the request to be processed.
- Dynamic email lists
Dynamic email services are used for one-way information delivery to audiences whose composition may change daily, such as a specific department, a school or all occupants of a building. Each use of these services constructs its list of recipients in real-time. To request a distribution list, contact the AskIT Help Desk at 996-5555. Time required to setup a dynamic list will vary based on the selection criteria; typically 7 days should be sufficient.
- Mass emails
Personal Distribution Lists
Users may want to manage a personal distribution list for small groups that you will need to email more than once. Follow these instructions to create Personal Distribution Lists in MS Outlook.
Or, alternatively, you can create a list of emails separated by semicolons in a Notepad document and save it; when you are ready to use the list, copy and paste the email addresses into the “Bcc” field (this provides privacy for your recipients). The size limit for attachments is 30MB.
UAB Global Address Book
Lists maintained in the UAB Global Address Book are for UAB personnel only. They are reserved for a defined, static audience of ongoing information recipients. To set up a group email distribution list in the Address Book, please contact the AskIT Help Desk at 996-5555. Once the ticket is generated and approved, lists are set up by Infrastructure Services and managed by the Departmental OU Administrator. Please allow 24-36 hours for the request to be processed.
This service is intended for real-time distribution of e-mail and attachments to related dynamic populations of employees and students. Users must be specifically authorized to distribute to these populations.
In its most direct form, authorized persons can utilize PEBBLES by sending e-mail to specially formatted e-mail addresses, where the username of the address indicates a criteria for distribution. The criteria can include Oracle orgunits, school and academic department codes, class levels, and so on.
Because remembering all of the possible criteria can be confusing, the PEBBLES Wizard is available for determining and managing its distribution addresses.
A few examples of direct PEBBLES addresses include:
- firstname.lastname@example.org - distribute to all employees under Oracle unit 19 (Vice President of Information Technology)
- 19-status01@pebbles... - distribute to all full-time employees under VPIT
- PA-STU@pebbles... - distribute to all students in the Public Administration program
- EE-GRAD-STU@pebbles... - distribute to all graduate students in Electrical Engineering
Any one-time message addressed to multiple recipients that needs to be sent from a "special" address rather than a user’s personal address is considered a mass email. Mass emails sent to all faculty, staff and students are reserved for special circumstances and require approval from UAB University Relations. Mass emails sent within a school or division must be approved at the top of that hierarchy.
To initiate the process, complete the AskIT Mass Email Request form. Once all approvals are granted, Central IT will construct the list and send the email. Allow seven (7) business days for completion of the request.
General criteria for campuswide emails
UAB recognizes faculty, staff and students have an interest in keeping their accounts free of emails that are unsolicited and, perhaps, irrelevant to them. To reinforce best practices, these guidelines address instances in which campuswide mass email requests will be considered and approved:
- The message should relate to changes in programs, policies or procedures that may require action — or limit it.
- The message should be relevant to most members of the UAB community in the context of their role within the university.
- The message should be time-sensitive.
Requests that do not meet these criteria may not be approved, and requestors will be directed to Best Practices for Internal Electronic Communications to learn more about other ways to reach intended audiences.
Checklist for submitting and fulfilling requests
1. Obtain needed approvals first:
- Emails to large numbers must be approved based upon the organizational hierarchy. If the message is addressed to all faculty, staff and students, approval is required from UAB University Relations. Deans can approve a targeted distribution within their school, and a vice president can send to all members of their division, etc.
- Sending to recipient addresses that are not in the UAB Directory is problematic and may cause complaints and/or outside mail services to block email from UAB. If this is required, special approval will be needed.
2. Provide all required content elements:
- A date and time to send the message — preferably during non-business hours
- A valid From: address — usually a Resources or other non-personal departmental account)
- A Subject: line for the message
- The full body of text as it is to appear in the email distribution. Note: if the message has clickable links embedded in it, the visible URL must match the real URL, or the message will most likely be flagged as a phishing attempt and rejected by some mail systems.
3. Approve and release final draft for distribution. A proof copy will be sent to the requestor before the email is sent. The requestor must approve this final copy for it to be distributed. If necessary approvals are not submitted within the scheduled timeframe, the email will be delayed.