Email Communications Standards

Are you faculty or staff looking to send an official USF email to more than 40 recipients? The standards below will help you get started and do it right. 

When to use which email system

Send to Message types System to use Get started
Prospective students
Applicants
All EMT Request your campaign here »
Students Required USF Connect Log in »
Request access »
Sign up for training »
Students Class-related updates and announcements Canvas/
Blackboard
Log in »
Request access »
Sign up for training »
Faculty/staff Required USF Connect Log in »
Request access »
Sign up for training »
Students, faculty/staff, or targeted audiences (majors, minors, schools/colleges, etc.) of students, faculty/staff Optional e-newsletters, email merges, etc. iModules Request email »
Log in »
Request access »
Sign up for training »
Alumni
Donors
Parents
External
All iModules Request email »
Log in »
Request access »
Sign up for training »

Emails to students, faculty, and staff

The main goals of USF internal email communications are to:

  • Ensure students, faculty, and staff receive messages that are important to them
  • Empower students, faculty, and staff to decide what types of less important messages they want to receive.

That's why the email communication standards distinguish between “required” and “optional” messages.

Required messages are sent as USF Connect emails

All required email is easily identified as USF Connect and the footer identifies the message as required reading. If the recipient does not agree with the importance of the message, the recipient may reply to the sender. A survey is also available in the footer.

All USF Connect emails have this footer:

---
You received this USF Connect message because the university believes it is important information for you. If this is not the case, please leave your feedback through this form: http://www.usfca.edu/communications/email_outreach/usfconnect_feedback/
You can also reply directly to the sender of the email by clicking “reply” in your email browser. Read more about the USF email standards at:
http://www.usfca.edu/communications/email_outreach/internal_standards/

What types of messages are required?

You need access to send required messages if you send any of the following:

COMMUNITY-WIDE

Emergency
Target: Students, Faculty, Staff
Instructions: USF-wide by default. Admins who send emergency messages get direct access to send emergency messages without any review or delay.
Other channels: USF Emergency System, Announcement, Digital Signage, Social Media

Safety Bulletin
To increase awareness of safety issues on and around a USF campus
Target: Students, Faculty, Staff
Instructions: Consider targeting to include only those present at the affected campus location.
Other channels: USF Website, Announcement (if USF-wide), Social Media

Facilities Updates
Need-to-know notices of construction/closures that impact the USF community, or a specific USF campus
Target: Students, Faculty, Staff
Instructions: Target only those audiences who are active on the affected campus or location.
Other channels: USF Website, Announcement (if USF-wide), Social Media, Flyer/Poster

Technology Systems
Updates, downtime, and scheduled interruptions of systems that affect the USF community
Target: Students, Faculty, Staff
Instructions: Target only those affected by technology update.
Other channels: Announcement (if USF-wide), Social Media, USF Website

LEADERSHIP MESSAGES

Campus Community Updates
Significant messages from the president, vice presidents, or deans. Announcements of campus- or university-wide concern
Target: Students, Faculty, Staff
Instructions: Send only when a message to all audiences is needed to quickly disseminate correct information
Other channels: USF Website, Announcement (if USF-wide), Social Media, Digital Signage

Leadership Team/Unit Changes
Changes in leadership of USF unit, creation of new unit, changes in the organization of a USF unit
Target: Students, Faculty, Staff
Instructions: Only target students if the leadership change directly affects them. Other channels: USF Website, Announcement (if USF-wide), Social Media

Message from the President
Updates deemed by the President to be relevant to the USF community
Target: Students, Faculty, Staff
Instructions: University-wide by default.
Other channels: Announcement (if USF-wide), Social Media, USF Website, Digital Signage

Message from the Provost
Updates deemed by the Provost to be relevant to the USF community.
Target: Students, Faculty, Staff
Instructions: USF-wide by default.
Other channels: USF Website, Announcement (if USF-wide), Social Media, Digital Signage

STUDENT SPECIFIC

Academic Requirements
Information that students need to find, register for, and attend USF courses and programs
Target: Students
Instructions: Target only those students applicable to the requirements. If only undergrad, exclude graduate students. If only SF main campus, exclude students at branch campuses.
Other channels: USF Website

Billing/Tuition
Information, changes, reminders for billing related to tuition
Target: Students
Instructions: Target only applicable students. Exclude graduates if the information is only applicable to undergraduates. Exclude branch campuses if the information is only applicable to SF main campus.
Other channels: USF Website

Financial Aid
Instructions for Financial Aid
Target: Students
Instructions: Target only eligible students
Other channels: USF Website

Health Requirements
Need-to-know information relating to student health
Target: Students
Instructions: Target only affected students
Other channels: USF Website, Social Media

Registration Requirements
Information needed to register
Target: Students
Instructions: Target only affected students
Other channels: USF Website

Scholarship Opportunities
Information needed to be aware of, and apply for, scholarships
Target: Students
Instructions: Target only affected students
Other channels: USF Website, Social Media

FACULTY/STAFF SPECIFIC

Employment/Benefits/Salary Information
What employees need to know about their employment
Target: Faculty, Staff
Instructions: Target only applicable faculty/staff. Consider an e-newsletter format for less time-sensitive matters. Other channels: USF Website

Policy Updates
Announcements of new policy or changes to existing policy
Send through: USF Connect email
Target: Faculty, Staff
Instructions: Target only those affected by the policy update
Other channels: USF Website

EVENTS

Convocation and Town Hall Information
Invitations to open meetings about issues of campus- or university-wide concern
Target: Faculty, Staff
Instructions: Make sure to include only relevant target groups. Exclude branch campuses if the town hall meeting only concerns the main San Francisco campus. Send to students as [USF] email through iModules Email Marketing.
Other channels: USF Website, Announcement (if USF-wide), Social Media, Digital Signage

Graduation
Messages about graduation
Target: Students, Faculty, Staff
Instructions: Depending on the message, consider targeting by campus location, or school/college.
Other channels: USF Website, Announcement (if USF-wide), Social Media

Optional messages are sent as [USF] emails

Messages that are "good to know" but not required reading can be sent out as optional emails through the system iModules, which handles e-newsletters, emails with personalized greetings, and optional emails targeted to specific sub-segments of the student, faculty, and staff population, as well as emails to alumni, donors, parents and external audiences. These messages are easily identified in your inbox because the subject line always starts with “[USF]”. There is a link in the footer of every [USF] email that enables the recipient to set preferences for which messages to receive, or opt out.

What types of messages are optional? 

Send notifications through USF Connect or [USF] emails through iModules if you send any of the following optional messages:

TEMPORARY CLOSURES

Office Closures
Notifications to help avoid the frustration of unexpected office closures
Target: Students, Faculty, Staff who receive your emails
Instructions: Use the group with your sender name to ensure that you reach those who are interested in your services.
Other channels: USF Website

Parking Lot Closures
Notifications of limited parking and other parking availability changes
Target: Students, Faculty, Staff who are interested in parking info can stay opted in to this group.
Instructions: Send through the group “Parking Lot Information from Public Safety" in USF Connect. Note: If public streets are closed off, Public Safety sends a required message instead.
Other channels: USF Website, Poster/Flyer

STUDENT SPECIFIC

Jobs/Career/Networking Opportunities
Information related to career opportunities
Target: Students
Instructions: Select "Jobs/Career Opportunities" category in iModules Email Marketing. Consider e-newsletter format.
Other channels: USF Website, Social Media, Digital Signage, Flyer/Poster, Student Media (Foghorn/USFtv/Phoenix)

Student Leadership Opportunities
Updates about opportunities for students to engage in student organizations and clubs
Target: Students
Instructions: Send through Student Leadership and Engagement group
Other channels: USF Website, Social Media, Digital Signage, Flyer/Poster, Student Media (Foghorn/USFtv/Phoenix)

Student Senate
Updates from the (Graduate) Student Senate
Target: Students
Instructions: Send through "Student Senate" or “Graduate Student Senate” groups Other channels: USF Website, Social Media, Flyer/Poster, Digital Signage, Student Media (Foghorn/USFtv/Phoenix)

FACULTY/STAFF SPECIFIC

Finance Counselor
Upcoming dates for finance counseling on campus
Target: Faculty, Staff
Instructions: Send through Human Resources group. Consider (including in) e-newsletter format.
Other channels: USF Website

Grant/Award Achievements
Announcements of grants and awards won by USF students, Faculty, or employees, or other achievements
Target: Faculty, Staff
Instructions: Sent through respective sender group. Consider e-newsletter format.
Other channels: USF Website, Social Media

Grant/Award Opportunities
Upcoming deadlines for grants and awards
Target: Faculty, Staff
Instructions: Consider e-newsletter format.
Other channels: USF Website, Social Media

Health Initiatives
Messages to help manage and improve employee's health
Target: Faculty, Staff
Instructions: Sent through respective sender group. Consider (including in) e-newsletter format.
Other channels: USF Website, Social Media

Technology/Professional Training
Upcoming training opportunities for USF employees
Target: Faculty, Staff
Instructions: Sent through respective sender group. Consider (including in) e-newsletter format.
Other channels: USF Website, Social Media, Poster/Flyer

EVENTS

Athletic Updates
Updates, promotions, and events from San Francisco Athletics
Target: Students, Faculty, Staff
Instructions: Consider (including in) e-newsletter format
Other channels: USF Calendar, USF Website, Digital Signage, Social Media, Poster/Flyer, Student Media (Foghorn/USFtv/Phoenix)

Information Sessions/Fairs
Invitations to sessions or fairs
Target: Students, Faculty, Staff
Instructions: Sent through Human Resources or Student Life groups
Other channels: USF Calendar, USF Website, Digital Signage, Social Media, Poster/Flyer, Student Media (Foghorn/USFtv/Phoenix)

Public Lectures/Seminars
Upcoming USF lectures/seminars open to a wider (USF) audience
Target: Students, Faculty, Staff
Instructions: Sent through respective sender group. Consider e-newsletter format.
Other channels: USF Calendar, USF Website, Digital Signage, Social Media, Poster/Flyer, Student Media (Foghorn/USFtv/Phoenix)

Student Organization/Club Events
Upcoming events organized by student clubs, organizations
Target: Students
Instructions: Sent through Student Life and Engagement group in USF Connect and/or the e-newsletter The Phoenix.
Other channels: USF Calendar, USF Website, Digital Signage, Social Media, Poster/Flyer, Student Media (Foghorn/USFtv/Phoenix)

Note that required USF Connect email as well as optional [USF] emails are first sent to the Office of E-Communications for review and then scheduled for send-off. This is to ensure a coherent use of the email templates and optimal readability of the outgoing messages.

How do you become a USF Connect or iModules email admin?

  • Get approval from your supervisor to send out emails on behalf of your school, office, or department
  • Fill out this form to request admin access
  • Attend the email admin training. Upcoming sessions: CIT training schedule
  • Pass the lesson to gain access and start sending messages

The other option: Request your email

Sending out a one-time message or don't want to go through training? Request that the Office of E-Communications prepare the email outreach on your behalf. Estimated turnaround time of such a request is 4-5 business days. If there is already a trained email admin in your office or department, we'll direct your request to them. Request your email through this form.

Emails to external audiences

  • Messages to alumni, donors, parents of current students and other external groups are sent out through the iModules system and can also be requested through this form. Estimated turnaround time is 4-5 business days.
  • Messages for prospective students are requested directly from the Office of Admissions and Enrollment through this form.