My New E-Mail Policy, for my Classes

I’ve gotten a ton of really ridiculous e-mails this semester. I’ve decided to implement the following policies for my courses…. taken right out of my syllabus.

E-Mail Communication

E-mail, via, is the only preferred method for direct communication in this course. Because our relationship is a professional one, all e-mails between us should be considered a professional communication. Professional e-mails include:

  • A subject that summarizes your message – course name and the message purpose
  • Greeting or salutation addressing the e-mail to me
  • Content which includes the following information, all written with proper grammar, spelling and punctuation:
    • The course you are enrolled in – course title and meeting time suffices.
    • Purpose of the e-mail – is it a question, comment or concern?
    • A thorough description of the issue at hand.
    • Any resolution or response that you are requesting.
  • A signature that includes your full first and last name.

Example of an acceptable e-mail communication:

Example of an unacceptable e-mail communication:

E-mails that do not meet these basic requirements, or that are insulting, impolite, demanding or otherwise disrespectful will be ignored. Do not send e-mails that ask for grades (these are posted on Springboard) or for attendance considerations. E-mails that can be construed as aggressive, harassing or threatening will result in disciplinary action through the university.

The e-mail account will be checked once per business day.  If you send e-mail to that account, you should expect to receive a reply within one business day, and no sooner.  I will not be answering e-mails on Saturday, Sunday, any holiday that brings the cancelation of university classes, or during breaks.  If you send e-mail during those times, you can expect a response sometime during the next business day.  Do not send multiple e-mails within 24 hours of your first e-mail demanding immediate response; that will be considered harassment!
I really think it’s sad that I have to tell students these details, and trust me, if you’d seen the e-mails I’ve gotten this semester, you’d agree this was necessary (another post for another time, perhaps).  I thought it was basic common courtesy, but… I guess it’s better that I do than their future boss.

Author: Andrew Shears

Andrew Shears is an Assistant Professor of Geography at Mansfield University in Mansfield, Pennsylvania. His research interests lie at an intersection of the human-environmental nexus, and includes branches of mapping, technological, memorialization and urban geographies. He lives in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania with his wife Amy, a professional photographer.