January 19, 2021

UNLV Top Tier Graduate Faculty and Student Support Committee

January 19, 2021

In attendance:

Peter Gray (Chair), Alexander Clements, Matthew Mohan, David James, Emily Lin, Han-Fen Hu, Harsha Perera, James Rich, Jichun Li, John Tuman, Joseu Epane, Laura Book, Pramen Shrestha, Susan McLennon, Thessa Higenkamp, Valarie Burke

Not present: Carola Raab, Christine Ancajas



How does UNLV Rebel email access work for graduating UNLV graduate students? How do we wish this worked? What best practices and other models can we draw on to develop a proposal for how this should work?


I.               To address the central questions of today’s Committee, we began with Committee members re-introduced themselves and then addressing the question: “How if at all do you remain in communication with the institution from which you received your terminal degree (including how they handle graduate email)? Here are sample responses:


·      USC: still allow use of then-student account plus encouraged to have an alumni account. There is value in having some kind of transitional email process.

·      KSU: fill out paperwork when leave. Provide gmail account to maintain contact.

·      Graduated before email! But alumni associations have found him and reached out. Can get a Caltech email address if join alumni association.

·      University of Toronto. Upon graduation they ask if you want to be part of alumni association and then get email via the alumni association.

·      University of Utah: can still access same email address as when a student. They ask for $!

·      University of Sydney: provide email address for forwarding and receive blasts every few months with alumni updates.

·      UNLV Law School. Rebelsforlife program noted. Consistent feedback.

·      Never got email from Florida State. But get newsletter about every 6 months.

·      University of Alabama, Birmingham. Personal email and school email remain the same. They maintain contact with fund-raising and webinars (especially during COVID times). Organize other and important events (can be Continuing Education Credit).

·      Hospitality PhD here. UNLV email for a couple of years. Note: used rebelmail email on publications and then eventually stopped. College does good job of outreach.

·      OK State and UT Austin. Used to get emails OK State—fill out form UT Austin and OK State to share phone number, email, etc. Regular newsletters plus some phone communications to reach out, and which can include grad students reaching out. UT Austin allowed email use up to 5 years. Social media, LinkedIn, etc. UT Austin engagement.

·      University of Alabama, Birmingham. Receive regular emails, phone calls, regular mail seeking donations, engagement.

·      Netherlands, Rotterdam. Different culture there: not in touch with MA or PhD alumni institutions.

·      UCLA. Pre-email days. Get regular mail from University of Chicago, Berkeley, UCLA but not email.



II.              Gray shared his screen with the bolded questions and UNLV OIT/Alumni Association responses below.

Feedback provided by Chinam Seto (UNLV OIT) and Blake Douglas (UNLV Alumni Association)


How long do UNLV email addresses of those graduating with MA and Doctoral degrees remain active (6 semester, or 2 years, is what I believe is suggested here)? Would it make sense to extend that duration, perhaps indefinitely?

· Rebelmail addresses (@unlv.nevada.edu) for all students remain active for 6 semesters (basically 2 years) after their last completed course. We send multiple email notifications to them before we disable their accounts.

· If they are GAs or employed by UNLV, they also get a UNLVMail account (unlv.edu). We disable those accounts when we receive a clearance request from HR, which is usually when their contracts end.

· When we expanded the Rebel Alumni Mail service, we looked at the possibility of extending Rebelmail access indefinitely, but we identified a number of major challenges and decided that expanding the @alumni.unlv.edu service would better serve our needs. I can discuss these challenges with you over the phone if you would like.

Is there any cost during that time to maintain an alum's UNLV email account? 

· Google provides the G Suite for Education service for free. The costs are associated with the resources OIT provides to manage and support the service and its users.


Is there any barrier to email and google drive, etc. transfer to another email account? Is the interpretation here that all such content can be transferred for free to another gmail account, which could include an @alumni.unlv.edu account? 

· Alumni account owners can transfer their Rebelmail messages to their Alumni accounts via Google Takeout (or any personal @gmail.com accounts). Google Drive is not available on the Rebel Alumni Mail domain, so they will have to transfer drive data to a personal account.


Is there any cost to creating and maintaining an @alumni.unlv.edu email account? 

· Google provides the G Suite for Education service for free. The costs are associated with the resources OIT provides to manage and support the service and its users.

What would you advise (i.e., best practice) for graduate alumni email accounts? 

III.           Discussion then ensued that built on current UNLV email policies as ensuing notes illustrate. Discussion highlights a need for UNLV Graduate College to provide best practices and guidance to students to manage the email transition based on existing practices and to raise further questions with OIT about potential alternatives.

Discussion of files/attachments in current gmail but what happens to those items during about transition to other institutions? Or UNLV may need to reach a student about a petition or issues related to having served as an instructor-of-record. An example given of a grad student creating google drive for a project involving others but losing that google drive after email terminated. Also some discussion of legal issues as a reason why students are told to use rebelmail for official university communications, as that’s searchable if needed for legal reasons; however, this also raises the question of what happens if access to those accounts sought if they’re closed? There’s also some overlap with marketing/job tracking aspects of graduate student communication.

·      At what point (e.g., time of graduation) do we want to communicate information about email issues to graduate students?

·      Should UNLV solicit a secondary email address? There are challenges just trying to use the one with which a student applied (might be out-of-date, etc.). This could be done around the time of graduation. Noted that at the time students complete a graduate exit survey students are asked for email. Idea raised: pursue multiple paths to try obtaining non-UNLV email for subsequent engagement.

·      Another possibility is to encourage students to sign up for the UNLV alumni email account, with details on this website: https://www.unlv.edu/alumni/rebel-alumni-email A secondary email address can also be added to other contact information if clicking on an address (including email address) change link from that unlv alumni email page. However, there were concerns expressed that many students might not sign up for this alumni email address.

·      Are there any other ways to obtain alternate (non Rebel mail) emails for graduating students? Can find some graduates via LinkedIn or google searches but limited and not efficient. Also noted that recently on Reddit, there was a thread asking for alumni email. They want it for educational discount for Apple products! (and some software)

·      Idea raised and echoed that UNLV should alert all grad students and post docs to the fact that their unlv.edu email and Google Docs access is cut off as soon as their contract terminates, so that they should NOT save any academically important documents in that drive or email. Instead they should save their documents in their rebelmail drive and email (@unlv.nevada.edu), mainly to help to preserve academic data and manuscripts, communications with colleagues and collaborators and maintain academic productivity. Students and post docs should also be told up front that there is a 2 year clock on their records in rebelmail. The reason why this cutoff exists should be communicated to students. Also note other services cut off such as ACE account.

·      Perhaps there can be some flexibility that if a graduate is working on a project that the email access can be extended. Example: USC extended mine when I requested it. What about another model in which could pay to extend access beyond the current cutoffs?

·      Does UNLV re-cycle email addresses? Might some past student’s email address become some future student’s email address? This is a question for OIT as if this happens could have other complications (e.g., authorship contact information).

·      What are the reasons why extending student email access longer isn’t feasible? Server capacity or data limitation issues? Encourage students to back up files and information so don’t lose that during email transitions.

·      Idea: use a page like the name/address change one in the UNLV alumni email website, but expand it to options other than name change. It would be great to use a page like this for all new alumni to transfer their email and saved files to the @alumni.unlv.edu address. It would be good to offer students step by step instructions on how to transfer their files etc. Perhaps through explanatory videos. This amounts to providing grad students with best practices of benefit to the students but also others (e.g., research collaborators, legal).


IV.           Summary Takeaways


·      Develop rebelmail best practice recommendations for graduate students based on current UNLV email guidelines.

·      Discuss with Chinam Seto potential alternative UNLV email practices such as paying for rebelmail service maintenance beyond two years.

Peter Gray and Valarie Burke will discuss details of these takeaways and whether any follow up on this topic is warranted at the February 16 Committee meeting.