Email Guidelines

Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version

UCLA School of Nursing Email Guidelines

These guidelines are intended to guide faculty and staff email communication in order to establish common expectations and improve clarity and efficiency of operations. Email etiquette is a separate topic (Recommended reading: “Send: the essential guide to email for office and home” by David Shipley and Will Schwalbe. Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf, NY, 2007), as are email security, UCLA policies, and legal issues.

  1. Respond to any email from faculty or staff within 36 hours (by the end of the next working day).
    • Respond even if you have not acted on the request.
    • If the email does not specifically pose a question or request some action, no response is required.
  2. If you will be unavailable for more than two days, set your “out-of-office” notification to indicate when you will respond. Links to instructions: Outlook and OWA (Outlook Web Access, i.e., the browser-based Outlook).

Action requests and follow-ups
  1. Cover only one topic per email.
    • Send multiple emails for multiple topics, even if they are to the same person.
  2. If you want action to be taken, clearly state what you want done, by who, and by when.
    • For complex topics requiring multiple actions, make sure each follow-up email states who should be doing what, by when; make clear whose court the ball is in.
  3. If you receive a request that you will fulfill, confirm via email that you have completed the action, or indicate when you will complete the action.
    • cc'ing the original sender may be sufficient (as opposed to sending an email to say you sent an email!).
  4. If you receive a request that you will not fulfill, state that clearly, and suggest how the person should proceed (usually, this means suggesting other people to contact).


There are many reasons to cc people, and frequently recipients are unclear on why they or someone else has been cc’d.

  1. Make sure it is clear why you cc’d people on an email; if in doubt, state why (e.g., “I cc’d Paul since he is interested in this project, even though he has no formal role.”).

  1. Include a "signature block" with your title at a minimum on your emails (link).
    • A phone number is usually also appropriate.
    • You don't need your email.
    • You may include your mailing address and complete title as a default, or you may add that selectively, if you want to keep your default signature block short.

Reply-all and global distribution lists

Some people do not like being included on School-wide email threads, whereas others like the sense of community created by including everyone.

  1. Use your discretion in sending email to everyone. If you are sending with Reply-all or cc’ing global email lists (Everyone/All staff/All Faculty/All students), think carefully whether your email is relevant to those 200-800 people.
    • If in doubt, err on the side of fewer recipients.
  2. Be tolerant of how others are using email that includes everyone. If you are receiving unwanted Reply-all chain emails, consider using filters (link) and the “Delete” key.

Please comment on these guidelines below.


Very well done! Common courtesy too. Thank you.

<p>Thanks! Definately needed and nicely done. I wouls also include something about watching the email Subject line. Sometimes long email threads actually change topic but the subject heading never changes. It is difficult to track and retrieve in those cases.</p>

<p>Thank you for putting this together. &nbsp;I would add that the email subject always be entered in the subject line.&nbsp;</p>

<p>Good point about the subject line, we'll add something.</p>

<P>This is helpful.&nbsp; I would echo NancyJo's comment on courtesy and respect.</P>

<p>Thank you for clarifying.</p>

<p>Thank you for posting these, It help to have guidelines out there for all to follow.</p>

<p>Thanks Paul for putting this together. Well done!</p><p>You should also write about the "forward" function.</p><p>Some emails contain information that are confidential and protected by law and should be forwarded with caution.</p><p>&nbsp;</p>

<p>Thank you</p>