During my first 18 months as chief information officer at the University of Oregon, I have been delighted to find a wide variety of partnerships across campus. Technology supports our mission and helps us reach our potential through collaboration across campus, and around the Pacific Northwest, the country, and the world.
To enhance our ability to work together collaboratively, I am very excited to announce a project to improve email service at the UO. We have begun a process that will consolidate email and calendaring services for all students and employees to one service by 2023. In an additional email improvement, all new university alumni may now keep their university email addresses for their lifetimes via an email forward, which we started offering this past June.
The email consolidation project will move students and employees to UOmail, a cloud-hosted version of the Exchange email service that is currently used by two-thirds of UO employees. Moving everyone to UOmail will provide a number of benefits, including:
- Consistent user experience
- Significant feature enhancements
- Improved collaboration throughout the university
- Improved information security and operating efficiency
Currently, university IT staff operate multiple, duplicative email services. This results in inconsistent user experiences, operational inefficiencies, and increased costs for support and maintenance. Students currently use a different email service than most UO employees, which creates a barrier for collaboration and previously hindered our ability to offer students the use of their UO email addresses after graduation.
In planning this change, we have worked with President Schill; Provost Banavar; the Academic Leadership Team, including the deans; the IT Steering Committee; University Senate leadership; and campus IT directors. Microsoft’s cloud-based email service was selected for UOmail because of its features and price, and Microsoft’s ability to meet the university’s data security requirements. That service also integrates with Office 365 and OneDrive, which are widely used on campus already, and the university will benefit from Microsoft’s highly available cloud services.
Because email is essential to our work, some people may be concerned about how these changes will impact them. Most employees will not need to make many changes when moving to UOmail because much of the work will occur behind the scenes. For employees who need to switch, university IT staff will coordinate the work with you and help you learn how to use the software and features offered by UOmail.
This project will provide UOmail to all new students and employees starting in summer 2019. The next major milestone of this project will move the remaining one-third of employees from their current mail service to UOmail by September 2019. By 2023, all remaining students will be using UOmail, and the transition will be complete. During all phases, Information Services will work closely with departmental IT staff to coordinate the transition.
We will share details of this project and its progress on the Information Services website at is.uoregon.edu/projects/email. The university and Information Services are committed to working with IT staff to minimize any impacts and ensure a smooth transition to the new system. We look forward to improving email and calendaring services for our campus community.
Vice Provost for Information Services and Chief Information Officer