Forum will discuss Gmail pilot for faculty, staff

The campus is in the initial stage of considering options to enhance the features and capabilities of email service for faculty and staff. One option is to move to a commercial service, such as Google's Gmail and related Google Apps. Information and Educational Technology is developing plans to investigate the feasibility of such a move.

On Feb. 17, the Campus Council for Information Technology (CCFIT) will sponsor an open campus forum to discuss plans for a Gmail pilot project for faculty and staff. Professor Joe Kiskis, chair of CCFIT, will host the session.

All members of the campus community are encouraged to attend and join the discussion at the forum. The feedback will help inform the plans for the pilot.

On the agenda:

  • Why UC Davis is examining possible alternatives to the current central email service (known as Cyrus) and is conducting a parallel but related review of the central Microsoft Exchange (Xeda) services on campus;
  • The objectives for the focused eight-week pilot program, including determining the extent to which Gmail can meet the communication needs of faculty and staff, and the extent to which they integrate properly in the campus environment;
  • An overview of Gmail and other Google Apps, such as calendar, documents and spreadsheets, groups and sites;
  • The mechanisms by which faculty and staff can join the pilot and stay informed, including the project Web site, comprehensive FAQ, and orientation sessions;
  • A Q&A with the Gmail project team.

The forum is scheduled 2 to 3:30 p.m. Feb. 17 in Ballroom B of the Activities and Recreation Center (ARC). Seating is limited, so please RSVP at gmail-pilot@ucdavis.edu by Feb. 11.

The council sponsors open forums to engage the community and collect substantial input from interested campus members about current issues and initiatives related to campus information and educational technologies. Last November, it sponsored a successful forum on the recent upgrade to SmartSite.

Find more background material--"Next Generation Email and Communication Applications for Faculty and Staff Proposed Pilot Project Overview," a FAQ on privacy and security questions, and the "Academic Senate Committee on Information Technology Consideration of Gmail for Faculty and Staff"--on the CCFIT site.