Last Updated: December 2016
Broadcast emails are used by the university’s senior leadership to communicate time-sensitive, campus-wide messages to faculty, staff and students.
Examples include strategic updates from the President and UBC Executive, invitations to complete the Workplace Experience Survey or notification of UBC’s annual flu clinics.
While broadcast emails can be an efficient means of distributing information, it is critical that the university is sensitive to the needs of the community and keeps broadcast emails to a minimum.
Broadcast email differs from ordinary email mailing lists in that messages are sent to individuals, regardless of whether or not they have subscribed to receive the message.
When and how broadcast emails are sent
Broadcast emails are typically issued Monday to Thursday, before 3pm (allowing time for messages to make their way through the system), with a maximum of one broadcast email permitted each day.
UBC uses an on-premise email distribution tool for broadcast emails.
Emergency broadcast email
An emergency broadcast email is a message that is of immediate, critical importance to the health and safety or wellbeing of the university community. Examples include university-wide alerts regarding snow closures, water quality or wide-area power/systems outages, or natural disasters.
Please note that due to system limitations, broadcast emails are only used as a supplementary channel in the event of an emergency.
UBC Alert is a separate emergency communication tool that sends text messages to your cell phone in the event of an emergency on campus. All faculty, staff and students are encouraged to sign up for UBC Alert.
Vice-President or Associate Vice-President approval
Broadcast email requests require approval from the office of a Vice-President (VP) or Associate Vice-President (AVP). If you have any questions, contact the Internal Communications Team:
To be considered for broadcast email, the subject matter must adhere to the following criteria:
- Timeliness: The information must be timely and must have significant importance for the majority of individuals within the intended audience (students, faculty, staff), and/or the operations of the university.
- Approval: The message must have approval from, and be attributed to, a Vice-President (VP) or Associate Vice-President (AVP).
- Relevance: Unless they are of significant relevance to university operations, announcements and the promotion of events are typically not suitable for broadcast emails.
- Adherence to existing policies: All existing UBC policies governing communication shall be applicable to broadcast emails. See in particular Policy #96: Communications (PDF) and Policy #104: Acceptable Use and Security of UBC Electronic Information and Systems (PDF). The text of these policies are available on the University Counsel web site.
When considering a broadcast email, please ensure that you are clear on your applicable and relevant audiences. UBC has a range of channels to communicate to faculty, staff, and students – some of which may be more appropriate and more effective than broadcast email.
Broadcast emails for faculty, staff, and student employees are sent to the primary email address listed in the Human Resource Management System (HRMS).
Broadcast emails for UBC students are currently sent to the primary email address listed in the Student Information System (SIS).
The broadcast email system allows recipients to unsubscribe. However, UBC highly recommends that faculty, staff, and students remain subscribed to broadcast emails in order to ensure they receive key updates, including updates about campus safety.
Limitations of broadcast email
Not all UBC faculty, staff, and students check the email address listed in the Human Resource Management System (HRMS) or the Student Information System (SIS). Therefore, it should not be assumed that the entire UBC community will be reached if a broadcast email is sent.
Depending on the number of recipients, it can take several hours for broadcast messages to reach all individuals within an intended audience. Slowing the rate of email delivery (also known as throttling) is necessary to prevent external hosts from blacklisting our servers. If smaller groups are targeted, it can be expected that delivery will take less time.
Duplication and overlap of messages received
Although every attempt is made to reduce duplication in messages sent and received, it is possible that individuals may receive multiple copies of broadcast messages due to forwarding, aliases, and other email issues.
Due to cross-postings, job classifications, and other related issues, it is possible that some overlap between groups will occur (e.g. some faculty members may receive a broadcast email sent to the staff audience, and vice versa).
The faculty and staff audience is identified by the HRMS database. It is possible that those at other locations such as hospitals, Robson Square, Victoria, and overseas may receive a broadcast email destined for the Vancouver campus.