SMU OIT to implement user preferences for bulk e-mail lists

Originally published Aug. 20, 2013.

SMU bulk e-mail list usage, 2010-12
This graphic shows the increase in campus bulk e-mail messages over the past three years, 2010 to 2012 (via SMU Office of Information Technology).

SMU’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) has responded to requests from the Student Senate and the faculty-led Information Technology Advisory Council (ITAC) to let users take more control of their campus e-mail subscriptions.

The President’s Executive Council reviewed a revised University bulk e-mail policy that allowed individuals to opt out of certain types of information. This policy was approved in August 2012. Implementation of the new subscription management solution will begin Monday, Sept. 9, 2013.

As part of its implementation plan, OIT has developed a portal,, that will allow each user to manage all nonessential e-mail preferences with a single login.

The new service helps the University to achieve two goals:

  • Ensure that essential messages are delivered to faculty, staff and students, while also enabling those recipients to opt out of nonessential messages they do not wish to receive.
  • Improve the effectiveness of essential communications by empowering recipients to limit nonessential messages to their own areas of interest.

University bulk e-mail lists sent out more than 3,200 messages in the 2012-13 academic year. The volume of e-mail has decreased the effectiveness of these lists in communicating critical information to appropriate audiences, according to the OIT. The new system will group SMU e-mail lists as follows:

Essential Lists

Current e-mail lists for faculty, staff, undergraduates and graduate students will be maintained, and membership to these lists will continue to be mandatory (users may not opt out of receiving messages). However, only essential messages related to safety and health, and those related to personnel and academic business, will be delivered. In addition, the ability to send to these lists will be restricted to a select group of accounts.

Managed Lists

New lists will be created for the communication needs of departments, programs and schools. Initially, these lists will be populated with all campus e-mail addresses. However, individuals will be able to unsubscribe from a managed list through an automatically generated link in each e-mail message, or to adjust their subscription preferences through These preferences can be changed at any time.

Departments are encouraged to review their current communication plans and strategies to help encourage individuals to remain subscribed to their lists. These strategies may include increased use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook to distribute updated or time-limited information.

For more information, contact Rachel Mulry in the Office of Information Technology.

> Find more information at SMU OIT’s Bulk Lists information page

Weekly events highlight Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Infected laptopOctober is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and SMU’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) will celebrate with several events designed to inform and engage the University community.

Awareness Month begins with a kickoff event 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Crossing.

Events will culminate with OIT’s first annual Technology Fair 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 30 in the lower level of the Hughes-Trigg Student Center. Representatives from Apple, Dell, Verizon and other vendors will be on hand.

The fair will also include brief sessions on security, software and applications such as Locker and Office, as well as a Blackboard Help Desk and a Cell Phone First Aid table. The festivities include table giveaways and a drawing for a USB hub.

In addition, OIT will host weekly brown-bag sessions on issues such as malware, desktop security and identify theft. The complete schedule:

  • Oct. 2: Identity Theft
    Noon-1 p.m., Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum
  • Oct. 8: Yours, Mine, and Ours – Protecting Personal Information
    Noon-1 p.m., HR Training Room, 208 Expressway Tower, East Campus
  • Oct. 16: Passwords Are Like Underwear
    Noon-1 p.m., 112 Laura Lee Blanton Student Services Building
  • Oct. 23: Phishing, Spyware, and Worms, Oh My!
    Noon-1 p.m., Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum
  • Oct. 30: Desktop Security
    Noon-1 p.m., Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum (during the Tech Fair)

Visit the Office of Information Technology online
Learn about National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
More about malware from Wikipedia