A new era in communications

Published: July 3, 2012

A message from Frances Draper, vice chancellor for Strategic Relations and Larry Levine, associate vice chancellor for Information Technology & Chief Information Officer

Across our campus - and throughout the university – editors, programmers and project managers have spent untold hours retooling the electronic infrastructure, policies, and editorial strategy to present a new face of electronic communications for the University of Colorado Boulder. The result is a suite of three new electronic communication systems for telling the stories of our community and promoting the life of the university in engaging ways.

CU-Boulder Today, a campus news digest

One of the most exciting updates for our internal audiences is the launch of our new suite of campus communications tools, anchored by the news digest “CU-Boulder Today.” This digest of campus stories, events and vital information represents the evolution of former publications like the “Carillon” and “Inside CU,” and integrates the content that once came to people’s inboxes through plain-text electronic messages like Administrative E-Memo and the Buff Bulletin.

The first edition of CU-Boulder Today for faculty and staff will land in your inbox next week, and we're already getting great feedback on the easy-to-scan information and engaging visual presentation.

Use this new communication vehicle to share the stories and information that connect our broad campus into a community. Easy submission tools will be available on the website http://www.colorado.edu/news/campus, and there is no cost for submitting your content. We will also want your feedback on the website and the services, and encourage you to click on the feedback links throughout the site. A student version of CU-Boulder Today launches in August, just before the academic year begins.

A new internal bulk email delivery system

As part of our commitment to improve the way we share information within our community, we co-authored a new Bulk Mail Policy that reflects best practices and guidelines for sending bulk electronic messages to our campus. We encourage you to review the draft here: http://avcit.colorado.edu/content/campus-wide-it-policies and send us an email if you have any questions or comments.

We are providing tools like CU-Boulder Today and the accompanying Buff Bulletin Board to reduce the number of Administrative messages landing in your inbox. From August 1 forward, the Administrative E-memo will become solely a tool for official campus information, and as such will be provided at no cost to the campus. The goal is for each and every Administrative E-memo to be vital – news you need – and as such, each message must be approved by a Vice Chancellor before being sent to the entire campus community.

To support these upgrades to campus communications, University Communications and the Office of Information Technology have built a new email delivery system on the Harris Connect platform. But we aren’t keeping the technology to ourselves – starting in late July, units and programs across campus will be able to receive administrative accounts for this internal version of Harris Connect. Campus departments will be able to send fully-featured emails to their internal constituencies and have the ability to communicate with a constantly-updated data set of their affiliates (students, faculty and staff.) Access to the service will be free, and paid options will be available for organizations that wish to send occasional messages and not invest in training time on the Harris tool.  

Campus groups have also told us they want and need to be able to send targeted messages to specific audiences across the campus. While much of this ability was present within the Administrative E-Memo service, it never had the personal touch of coming from a specific program or administrator. University Communications - in partnership with the Office of the Registrar and the Alumni Association – can help our campus constituencies send targeted and personal emails to campus audiences, and beyond.

External audience communications via eComm

Finally, as you may have read in “CU Connections,” eComm, the university-wide electronic communications program, has begun. EComm’s goal is for all communicators who reach such external audiences as alumni, parents, friends and donors to use the same e-communications tool that feeds into the Foundation's Advance database. On campus, we already have more than 20 communicators in various schools, colleges and departments using this tool to reach alumni. Access and training for eComm is free, and there are low-cost options for organizations that don’t have the time and resources to commit to staff expertise for an occasional external communications project.

Across the four University of Colorado campuses, eComm aims to increase the accuracy of data we collect as a system, provide beautiful HTML-supported customizable e-mail templates and implement branding best practices. Users can access a wide range of analytics, including open rates to find out who is reading their e-communications.

As of July 1, campus communicators will no longer be able to pull lists of more than 100 external people out of the Advance database and will be asked to use the program’s Harris Connect email tool. To learn more, contact Ryan Niehaus, the alumni e-communications coordinator at 303-492-6635 or via e-mail at ryan.niehaus@colorado.edu. More information about the eComm program is available at http://connections.cu.edu/news/faqs-launch-of-new-cu-ecomm-program/ and on the eComm website http://ecomm.colorado.edu


It is truly going to be a new era of electronic communication, and we want to express our appreciation for the staff that have been diligent in their efforts to bring all of these programs online. We look forward to the great stories we will all be able to tell.