Changes coming to FYI email system

Over the course of spring quarter the faculty of Bellevue College participated in several presentations meant to improve the Bellevue College ‘FYI’ email system. According to the Office of Information Resources website, the FYI email system is a distribution list that includes the emails of every Bellevue College employee, student employees included. Meant to be an effective information distribution system, many ended up finding that it had become overbearing.
According to Evan Epstein, Public Relations manager at BC, “Bellevue College employees currently use the ‘All-BC FYI’ email address to send alerts, updates and general information about events. On any given day, employees may receive several of these emails – sometimes into the double digits, thus diluting their effectiveness.”
During the sessions, several suggestions for changes were made. “We heard overwhelmingly that many people would like to de-clutter their inbox, have a place to see recent posts and a way in which to integrate these updates into personal and departmental calendars.” said Russ Beard, vice president of Information Resources. At the moment, changes are being made in response to these problems, and to better serve the faculty/staff, and by extension, the students of BC.
These changes include improvements to the BC calendar system. The previous email system is being changed to a ‘digest’ that all faculty will be able to submit information to in addition to an improved exchange between department calendars and BCs main calendar. “We will be retiring the existing FYI emailing method as we currently know it and implementing a website that will allow BC employees to submit an FYI as well as view what’s been previously submitted to the daily digest email,” stated Beard. “By doing this we hope to ensure a consistent, branded voice for BC, encourage effective and thoughtful messaging, and ensure that messages are available to every employee.” Epstein was of the same mindset, stating that “Our goal is for a continued free-flow of information across the institution that cuts down on email clutter and that also ensures all messages are accessible to every employee. By making this change, we can ensure that anyone using reader technologies won’t have difficulty learning about campus events.”
While important, these changes aren’t going to happen quickly. Currently, the changes are scheduled to happen over the course of the next year. “This process, while it may look simple and straight-forward on the surface, has been a rather large undertaking.  We began examining the current system and meeting with various campus constituents to discuss options last fall quarter,” said Epstein. “We are using the college website for both the submission process as well as a way to store previous FYI messages so that our campus community has the ability to view previous messages. We’re currently assessing what type of technology we want to implement for the calendar integration.”
Technology isn’t the only obstacle to the program however. “We have a small but diligent army behind the scenes, working to make this happen, but as with any large undertaking, there will be a few hiccups along the way,” said Beard. The support necessary to keep the program running won’t stop when it is implemented. “Once all the technology components are in place, there is still the personnel time and continued commitment that must be accounted for as we roll out the changes and respond to any hiccups we may encounter.” continued Epstein. “I have confidence that our campus community will be understanding and patient as we work to ensure as smooth a transition as possible.”
If all goes well, the FYI system will be ready for use by the end of Summer Quarter, and the project as a whole should be completed by the end of Spring Quarter of 2015.