Effective Practices for Academic Leaders: E-Mail and Effective Communication

Overview

Executive Summary
E-mail has become the default method for almost all forms of academic communication. It is easy to use, quick, and has wide reach. But the same key features that make e-mail so effective also make it problematic for academic communication (e.g., e-mail is the wrong medium for discussing and deciding complex issues). This briefing explores the fundamental communication features of e-mail, discusses e-mail communication in specific academic contexts, and offers ...

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Overview

Executive Summary
E-mail has become the default method for almost all forms of academic communication. It is easy to use, quick, and has wide reach. But the same key features that make e-mail so effective also make it problematic for academic communication (e.g., e-mail is the wrong medium for discussing and deciding complex issues). This briefing explores the fundamental communication features of e-mail, discusses e-mail communication in specific academic contexts, and offers practical ideas and improvements on e-mail use for academic leaders. Attention is given to issues related to handling large attachments, the volume of e-mail received by academic administrators, and when to use other forms of communication or consider other digital technologies. In addition, legal issues as well as matters where the chair serves as both advisor and mediator in digital communication situations are considered. This briefing closes with a discussion of the characteristics of today’s “net generation” and suggests uses for some of the newer technologies favored by this group, such as social networks.

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