Introduction to University Group Email
University Group Email (hereafter, GEM) is used to send important, university-sanctioned messages to specific populations in the university community.
At least for now, GEM is used for community-internal messages only, specifically for individuals with regular, not guest EIDs. Where external recipients must be included, Eloqua (University Development Office) and utlists are currently better options. Class emails can be sent through Canvas. Other university administrative groups are available from the Austin Exchange/Office 365 group. Utlists is probably the most generally convenient service to use for small ad hoc lists.
GEM can send messages from Official accounts, which community members cannot unsubscribe from. There are also non-Official/Informational accounts, from which community members can unsubscribe.
Official: A communication that is a required notification or requires some action on the part of the recipient, or an important communication from an executive officer or designated representative. Important and impactful operational messages may also be sent as Official. Examples:
- Message from Payroll regarding how to claim W-2 forms.
- Message from President’s office introducing new Provost, Dean, or VP.
Informational/non-Official: Any communication that increases the awareness of campus activities, events, or services. Please note that University Communications can amalgamate such announcements into newsletters such as Texas Today, so in some cases individual emails may be discouraged, especially when sent to a general audience such as All Employees or All Students. Examples:
- Message to all Engineering College students and faculty concerning an engineering conference.
- Message to all benefits electing employees regarding Healthpoint and UT Health activities and services.
Everyone on campus is a contact. Contacts are primarily identified, not by group, but by contact fields, which collect information about individuals – some Yes/No, such as Is Student, and some short answer, such as Staff Council District (which is either blank or a number). Such information can be used to personalize email content, but GEM uses the information primarily to identify who should receive a given message. In what is in essence a query concerning fields, dynamic groupings called segments can be identified to use in determining a message audience. The GEM stewards and governance envision that the majority of messages will be sent in this way.
There are also static groupings of individuals called groups available for short term use. GEM stewards plan to clean up each group after its purpose is fulfilled.
The biggest challenge for UT usage of Emma may be the fact that the principal division of entities is not by message audiences, but by the division which is responsible for approving particular messages. These accounts, or more properly, “subaccounts” each contain subsets of the entire University population, particular segments and groups, and has only certain of the available contact fields defined. More recently, new subaccounts may also reflect the organization sending the emails or even a predetermined topic, such as summer camps. Subaccounts can be confusing, because Users can be authorized for more than one, and Segments are routinely shared to multiple Subaccounts.
Within each subaccount, message senders can be “Managers” or “Authors”. Authors need to have their messages approved, and Managers can approve Author messages.
Messages can and should be saved as Drafts quite often. In addition, Authors and Managers can save a particular Draft as a Template for future use. This is particularly important because all Messages in Emma are initiated from a Template. A Message is generally considered what goes out to the Audience, and each Message will have Response Data associated with it (including recipients, bounces, unique opens, and click-rates), all of which is available to all Authors and Managers in the Subaccount.
Emma terms and concepts:
Author: User in Subaccount who can create messages and attach sender/receivers but requires Manager approval to send a message. Authors have access to information about the messages (only) in the Subaccount.
Contact*: Potential message recipient.
Contact field: Any attribute of a Contact from a database or from an action taken by the Contact.
Group: Grouping of contacts through simple listing, providing a static grouping.
Manager: User in Subaccount who can create, send, approve and deny messages. Managers have access to information about the messages and the people in the Subaccount.
Segment**: Grouping of contacts by rule involving one or more contact fields.
Subaccount: Primary organizational entity in UT Austin’s Emma account, reflecting which group is tasked with approving messages as well as which audiences can be contacted, and which templates and messages can be shared. An Emma Subaccount has its own Authors, Contacts, Contact fields, Drafts, Groups, Segments, Drafts, Templates, and Messages.
If you may need to send University Group Emails in the future, please request authorization for the Emma Training Subaccount to email@example.com, and let the GEM stewards know whether you will need to be trained as an Author or a Manager.
* The summary for a scheduled message uses the term "members" instead of "contacts".
** The summary for a scheduled message uses the term "searches" instead of "segments".