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E-Mail Guidelines (AP-009)



Procedure: E-MAIL GUIDELINES (AP-009)
Vice President of College Services/CIO, Ext. 7629


From time to time, when logging in to the RCC Network, all users will be required to review and accept Administrative Procedure (AP)-037, Information Technology – Acceptable Use, which includes information on email, on-line etiquette, personal use, and privacy in electronic communications.

Personal Use: Informational Technology (IT) resources are primarily for students’ educational use and employees’ business use in the performance of their jobs. The RCC email system is to be used for purposes related to the College’s mission. Limited occasional, reasonable, or incidental use of IT resources for personal, non-business use is understandable and acceptable, and all such use should be done in a manner that does not negatively affect the systems’ use for educational and business purposes. Students and employees are expected to demonstrate a sense of responsibility and not abuse this privilege. Personal email messages should not be sent or received through the College email system. Use of IT resources for personal, for-profit purposes is not permitted. All personal use is subject to RCC policies and procedures, and applicable federal and state laws and regulations.

AllofRCC Messages: The electronic mail address AllofRCC allows for college-wide distribution of messages and should be used only for messages of college-wide importance. College-wide electronic mail messages are not permitted without prior approval of the College President, or one of the College’s Vice-Presidents or Deans. That approval should be noted at the end of the email message.

Email Guidelines: Use email responsibly and professionally. Read/edit what you write. Keep it simple and clear. If you find you have too much to say, a telephone call or meeting may be a better option. A typographical error or what you perceive as a joke may be misunderstood and have harsh consequences.

Here are some general email rules partially taken from an article by Marcelle Yeager in U.S. News, dated Dec. 4, 2014, titled “Eight ways to Screw up an Email.” Yeager says “pay attention to the language you use. It should be formal (like a speech) vs. chatty (like a discussion with a friend):”

1. Be conscious of sent/received messages: Pay attention to the subject line and sender/receiver information. The receiver will often be requested to respond. A copied receiver may be getting the message for information only.

2. Subtleties/Tone: Be aware that subtleties and tone are often lost in email. Never underestimate the power of a personal visit or a telephone conversation. Be brief. Avoid long conversations or rehashing history.

3. Subject Line: If your message is for “information only,” add that to subject line. If you need a question answered, indicate that as well. Example: Subject: Quarterly Meeting (Response requested). The subject line can also be useful for organizing messages.

4. Crafting the message: Whether you are the sender or the receiver, read the entire message. As a sender, be sure to proofread and edit. As a receiver, read the entire message to determine if it has gone to the right people and whether or not a response is required from you. (Meyers 12/4/14).

A. Determining cc/bcc: Copy messages to manager’s with assistants on calendar issues and other information or requests he or she may be able to help facilitate. Also, copy any person or group being referenced in an e-mail.

Example: If you are talking about someone else’s project, program, comments, that person should be copied to avoid confusion or miscommunication.

5. Timely Response: Do your best to reply to email inquiries within 24 hours if possible. Use your “Out of Office” tool when you go out of town on business or vacation.

6. Personalized signature: Your signature line should contain contact information -- especially (or at least) a telephone number. Avoid a “busy” signature – meaning do not add distracting wallpaper and photos, quotes, large font or capital letters.

Note: Inspirational quotes may be a way to express your beliefs or personality, but in a professional context such quotes may be offensive or misinterpreted (Meyers 12/4/14).

7. Attachments: Make it easier for people by explaining attachments in the introduction of the email with a key word or words and let them decide whether they need to open them (Meyers 12/4/14). Avoid attaching unnecessary and/or lengthy attachments or attachments.

8. Reply to All: Do not use “reply to all” unless you are sure everyone in the address box needs to see your response. Examples: If someone is coordinating a meeting for 25 people, only the coordinator of the meeting needs to know whether or not you can be there.

9. Email is a PUBLIC RECORD: Email is a public record subject to subpoena. Do not reference personal or sensitive information in an email, like student’s grades or social security numbers.

10. Avoid short-hand and one-word messages: Depending on who you are working with a one word response like “ok” or “thank you” may not be necessary. If it is necessary to say thank you, don’t do it in code. Example: “TY.”

11. Forward with Care: Ensure everyone included in the forwarding lines is necessary. Remove them or list them as needed. Also, update the subject line to reflect your message and delete unnecessary content from the original email message. These tweaks will streamline communication and limit email overload (Meyers 12/4/14).

12. Save/Personalize and Delete: You may set up personalized E-mail file folders within Outlook for future reference. However be sure to review and delete those files once or twice per year. Also regularly clear “Sent,” “Deleted,” “Trash,” and “Junk” files from your system.

13. Acceptable Use: Familiarize yourself with AP-037, Information Technology–Acceptable Use.


Date Adopted: 04/25/16

Date Revised: