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Email Modernization Program

The Email Modernization Program (EMP) concluded successfully in January 2019.  Content on this page may no longer be accurate.

The UW is embarking on a program to modernize its email and productivity platform services – the Email Modernization Program (EMP).  The goals of the EMP are to ensure that current students, faculty, staff, and UW Medicine workforce members have access to the latest email and productivity platform services at their disposal, to facilitate responsiveness to records requests, and to protect sensitive data.  This message explains the rationale for the EMP and how it will affect various UW and former UW populations.

On This Page

The decision to modernize UW’s email and productivity platform services was reached after careful review of the costs, technologies, and resources required for delivering email and productivity platform services as well as consideration of the effects the EMP will have on a wide variety of users.  The decision is also grounded in the counsel of the UW’s Office of the Attorney General, the Institutional Privacy Official, and Records Management Services.  UW-IT staff will be available to assist departments and people migrating from the UW email and productivity platform services being retired to other email and productivity platform services that offer a more up-to-date and cohesive experience.

View the EMP timeline and program resources

Click here for more information on the EMP timeline and program resources.

Changing technology

Email and productivity platform services have changed dramatically in the years since UW introduced and developed its own homegrown systems (i.e., Deskmail, Alpine, and Pine).  In particular, Google and Microsoft have become the dominant providers and have invested heavily in upgrading and integrating cloud-based email and productivity platform services.  At the same time, it has become cost prohibitive for the UW to upgrade its homegrown solutions so that they keep pace with the email and productivity platform services standards set by Google and Microsoft.

Legal compliance

UW email and productivity platform services are subject to numerous state and federal laws, such as the Public Records Act, FERPA, HIPAA, and other regulatory schemes. These laws and regulations require the diligent protection of certain information, thoughtful records management, and the careful review and release or disclosure of information for regulatory, investigative, other purposes. Given the tremendous growth in usage of email and productivity platform services in recent years, allowing former faculty, staff, and students to continue to use these UW services has made compliance with such requirements increasingly burdensome for the UW.

The Email Modernization Program (EMP)

UW is embarking on its Email Modernization Program (EMP) to address this changing technology and these legal concerns.  The EMP is intended to ensure that current students, faculty, staff, and UW Medicine workforce members have access to the latest email and productivity platform services, and to diminish the burden and cost of legal compliance.  The basic elements of the EMP are:

  • UW Deskmail and UW Windows Live will be retired on 12/31/18.
  • UW will provide email and productivity platform services with UW Exchange Online (as part of the UW Office 365 productivity platform) and with UW Gmail (as part of the UW G Suite by Google productivity platform).
  • UW Office 365 and UW G Suite will be made available only to current UW students, faculty, staff, and UW Medicine workforce members, with the caveat that UW G Suite is not HIPAA compatible – click here for more information.
  • UW retirees, with the exception of emeriti faculty and emeriti librarians, and UW alumni will no longer have access to UW email and productivity platform services, although they will maintain email forwarding privileges.

What this means for users of UW Deskmail and UW Windows Live

UW Deskmail (aka Alpine, Pine) and UW Windows Live will be fully retired on 12/31/18.  Access to accounts will end and all data will be deleted.  Users of these email and productivity platform services are responsible for migrating their email and files to UW Office 365 and/or UW G Suite, taking care to preserve UW records according to records management guidance and the General Records Retention Schedule or the UW Medicine Records Retention Schedule.

What this means for separating employees and upcoming retirees

Separating employees and upcoming retirees must work with their home department or unit to remove and retain official UW records which have not reached the end of their records retention period from their UW accounts within 30 days of separation. After 30 days, they will no longer have access to the account and all data will be deleted.  Inasmuch as UW policy allows for de minimis personal use of UW-IT computing services, separating employees and upcoming retirees will also need to migrate any such de minimis personal data to a personal service if they wish to preserve them.  They may not migrate any official UW records to a personal service.

What this means for current retirees

All retirees using UW Deskmail, UW Office 365, UW G Suite, and/or UW Windows Live must work with their former home department or unit to remove and retain official UW records which have not reached the end of their records retention period.  They will also need to migrate any de minimis personal data to a personal service if they wish to preserve them.  They may not migrate any official UW records to a personal service.  Access to the accounts will end and all data will deleted.

Exceptions for retirees

Emeriti faculty and emeriti librarians will have continued access to UW Office 365 and UW G Suite.  If they are currently using UW Deskmail and/or UW Windows Live, they will need to migrate their data to UW Office 365 or UW G Suite.  Other former employees or retirees may continue to use a UW Office 365 or UW G Suite if they are annually provisioned for access by a UW employee as still performing a service for the UW – click here for more information.

What this means for alumni

Alumni will no longer be eligible for UW email and productivity platform services.  Those currently using a service should migrate personal files and email to a personal service if they wish to preserve them.  If they have them, they may not migrate any official UW records to a personal service and must work with their former home department to remove any remaining official UW records.  Access to the accounts will end and all data will be deleted.


Read on for information about the program timeline and resources available to support users as they transition to new email and productivity platform services, and see the EMP FAQ.

Email Modernization Program Timeline

[Note: “Data Storage” refers to individual or shared UW NetID accounts with an associated Deskmail mailbox, who forward their email to an alternate email service such as UW Office 365, UW Gmail, or a private email address.]

Important Milestones

  • December 7, 2017: Official announcement of Email Modernization Program, including UW Deskmail retirement and Alumni/Retiree email service deprecation.
  • April 30, 2018: Access disabled and any remaining Deskmail “Data Storage” mailboxes deactivated. “Data Storage” users must complete mail migration (as desired) and manual account deactivation prior to this date.
  • July 31, 2018:  Retiree, former staff, alumni, and former students UW Deskmail, UW Office 365, and UW G Suite email and productivity platform services deactivated and all data deleted. Users must complete migration of de minimis personal email and data (as desired) to a private email and productivity platform service prior to this date.
  • December 31, 2018:  UW Deskmail and UW Windows Live accounts and data deleted.  Current employees must complete email and productivity platform data migration prior to this date.

UW Deskmail Subscribers

UW Deskmail (aka UW Email, Alpine, Pine) will be retired for the entire university on December 31, 2018. Access to accounts will end and all data will be deleted as of that date. Users of Deskmail are responsible for migrating their email and files, taking care to preserve UW records according to records management guidance and the General Records Retention Schedule or the UW Medicine Records Retention Schedule.

Resources for UW Deskmail subscribers

Retirees and Former Staff

Retirees (with some exceptions noted below) and former staff are no longer eligible for a UW email service, including users of UW Deskmail, UW Exchange Online, UW Gmail, and UW Outlook Live. Access to the accounts ended and all data were deleted effective July 31, 2018. Ability to access or log in with their UW NetID is not affected, nor will their ability to forward their UW email address to a private email service.

Separating employees and upcoming retirees

  • Within 30 days of separation, upcoming retirees and separating employees, including student employees, need to work with their home department or unit to remove and retain official UW records, taking care to preserve UW records according to records management guidance and the General Records Retention Schedule or the UW Medicine Records Retention Schedule.
  • After 30 days, they will no longer have access to the account, and all data will be deleted.
  • As UW policy allows for de minimis personal use, they will also need to migrate any personal files and email to a personal service if they wish to preserve them. They may not migrate any official UW records to a personal service.

Current retirees

  • All retirees using any UW email services need to work with their former home department or unit to remove and retain official UW records, taking care to preserve UW records according to records management guidance and the General Records Retention Schedule or the UW Medicine Records Retention Schedule.
  • They will also need to migrate any de minimis personal files and email to a personal service if they wish to preserve them. They may not migrate any official UW records to a personal service.
  • Access to the accounts ended and all data were deleted effective July 31, 2018.

Exceptions for retirees

  • Emeriti faculty and librarians will have continued access to UW Exchange Online (and UW Office 365), and UW Gmail (and UW G Suite).
  • If they are currently using UW Deskmail (aka UW Email, Alpine, Pine), they will need to migrate to either UW Exchange Online or UW Gmail.
  • Other former employees or retirees may continue to use a UW service if they are provisioned for access by a current UW employee as still performing a service for the UW. See here for more information.

Resources for retirees and former staff

Retirees and former staff may wish to explore the following resources regarding email service and migration options:

Alumni and Former Students

Alumni and former students are no longer eligible for a UW email service, including users of UW Deskmail, UW Exchange Online, UW Gmail, and UW Outlook Live. Access to the accounts ended and all data were deleted effective July 31, 2018. Ability to access or log in with their UW NetID is not affected, nor is the ability to forward their UW email address to a private email service.

Graduating and departing students

  • On the 10th day of the second quarter in which they are not registered as a student, graduating and departing students will receive an email notification that their computing services, including their email account, will expire in 14 days.  After the date of the email notification + 14 days, they will no longer have access to their email account, and all data will be deleted.
  • They will need to migrate any personal files and email to a personal service if they wish to preserve them.
  • They may not migrate any official UW records to a personal service and must work with their home department or unit to remove and retain official UW records, taking care to preserve UW records according to records management guidance and the General Records Retention Schedule or the UW Medicine Records Retention Schedule.

Current alumni and former students

  • Those currently using a UW email service should migrate personal files and email to a personal service if they wish to preserve them.
  • They may not migrate any official UW records to a personal service and must work with their former home department to remove any remaining official UW records, taking care to preserve UW records according to records management guidance and the General Records Retention Schedule or the UW Medicine Records Retention Schedule.
  • Access to the accounts ended, and all data were deleted effective July 31, 2018.

Exceptions for alumni and former students

  • Alumni and former students may continue to use a UW service if they are provisioned for access by a current UW employee as still performing a service for the UW. See here for more information.

Resources for alumni and former students

Alumni and former students may wish to explore the following resources regarding email service and migration options:


EMP FAQ

Why is UW making changes to email services?

The UW is modernizing its email services for three main reasons:

  • To ensure that current students, faculty and staff have access to the latest email collaboration and productivity tools
  • To facilitate responsiveness to public records requests
  • To protect sensitive data

This decision was made after careful review of the technologies and resources required for delivering these services, as well as consideration of the anticipated impact to our alumni, former students, and former staff. The decision also reflects the advice of the UW’s Office of the Attorney General, the Institutional Privacy Official, and Records Management Services.

Am I losing my @uw.edu email address?

No, you will not lose your @uw.edu email address. You may continue to use your @uw.edu address to send and receive email, but you will need to forward email sent to your @uw.edu address to a private email service, such as Google or Microsoft, and set up the ability to send from your @uw.edu. See below for instructions.

What is the difference between an email address and an email service?

An email address is not the same as an email service. An email address is your @uw.edu address. An email service refers to the technology infrastructure that stores and delivers your mail, such as Deskmail, Microsoft Exchange Online/Office 365, or Gmail. Although the UW will no longer provide email services to former students, faculty and staff, the current changes will not affect your ability to send and receive mail from/to your @uw.edu address. You will retain your UW email address. However, you will need to take steps to have email sent to you at your @uw.edu address forwarded to a private email service.

Can I still receive email from my @uw.edu email address?

Yes, you will be able to continue to receive email sent to your @uw.edu address. In order to do this, you will need to forward email sent to your @uw.edu address to a private email service, such as Google or Microsoft. This means that when someone sends an email to your @uw.edu address, you will receive this email in your new email service. The sender will not need to change your email address. You can set forwarding for your @uw.edu address here: https://uwnetid.washington.edu/manage/?forward.

Can I still send email from my @uw.edu email address?

Yes. Many email providers will allow you to send from your @uw.edu address, but you must first set up this service with your new email provider. Once you have completed the setup, the email will come from your @uw.edu address. Google has instructions on how to accomplish this hereInstructions for using Outlook.com are here.

Will I lose my UW NetID with this program?

No, you will not lose your UW NetID with this program.

How are costs influencing the decision when cloud email services are free?

Although Google and Microsoft offer the higher education community some services for low-to-no-fees, delivering the services do involve costs to the UW. The services from Google and Microsoft do not include end user support, the engineering time to integrate them with the University’s information technology systems, or the legal and compliance staffing and resources needed to comply with state and federal laws. These represent significant and rapidly increasing costs, as the Google and Microsoft services have complex functionality, employ rapidly shifting technical architectures, and contain tremendous amounts of data when compared to UW’s simple, homegrown email systems.

What does legal compliance have to do with email services?

The Google and Microsoft email, collaboration and productivity services offered by the UW are subject to numerous state and federal laws, such as the Public Records Act, FERPA, HIPAA, and other regulations. These laws and regulations require the diligent protection of certain information, thoughtful records management, and the careful review and release of information for regulatory, investigative, and other purposes. Given the tremendous growth in usage of these email, collaboration and productivity services in recent years, allowing retirees and alumni to continue to use these UW services has made compliance with such requirements increasingly time-consuming and expensive.

Why is my email a privacy concern?

Email and data on any UW email service may be subject to legal discovery or a public records requests made to the UW. This means that the UW may be legally obligated to release your information to the requestor, even if it is of a personal nature. This exposure applies to any email you send and receive on an UW email service. A benefit of moving your email to a private email service is that your data will not be exposed in this way.

In addition, the effort and expense of responding to discovery requests, including the staffing to sort through and provide this data, or to defend the decision not to release records, has grown tremendously over the last couple of years. These compliance and privacy challenges are just a few examples, and drive the concerns of the UW’s Office of the Attorney General, the Institutional Privacy Official, and Records Management Services.

Can I keep my UW email service if I am actively involved with work at the UW?

We understand that many alumni, former employees, and others in our broader community contribute to the mission of the UW. To support that work, the UW will make it possible for alumni, volunteers, or retirees who are still actively working with the UW, to keep their UW Microsoft or Google services, as long as they are endorsed on an annual basis by a current UW employee. The tool to provide this endorsement will be available in March. The link to this tool, when ready, will be on the Email Modernization program web pages.

Can I pay for UW email service?

No, under state policy, this is not permitted. According to Washington state law, RCW 28B.63, and UW Administrative Policy Statement, APS 59.5, the UW cannot sell the UW Microsoft or Google services to alumni or retirees. Doing so would also violate the University’s contracts with those companies.

Why is Deskmail being decommissioned?

Email services have changed dramatically in the years since the UW developed and introduced its own homegrown systems (i.e., Deskmail, Alpine, Web Alpine and Pine). In particular, Google and Microsoft have become the dominant providers for higher education, government, and business. Both companies have invested heavily in upgrading and integrating cloud-based email services, coupling them with a wide variety of collaboration and productivity tools. At the same time, the UW’s homegrown solutions have aging codebases that are no longer actively maintained and are running on end-of-life hardware, increasing the risk of system failure over time. As a result, it is cost prohibitive for the UW to upgrade its homegrown solutions so that they keep pace with the email services and technology standards set by Google and Microsoft.

What do I need to do if I have official UW records in my email?

Please work with your former home department or unit to remove and retain official UW records if you have them, taking care to preserve UW records according to records management guidance.

For further information about Records Management and retention of these records at UW, please contact Records Management Services.

For further information about Records Management and retention of these records at UW Medicine, please contact UW Medicine Records Management Services (RMS).

If you have questions about how to do this, please contact urc@uw.edu.

As an alumni, member of UWAA, or a retiree, don’t I have UW email services for life?

You will retain your @uw.edu address and can continue to use it to send and receive email. However, you will need to forward email sent to your @uw.edu address to a private email service, such as Google or Microsoft. You can set forwarding for your @uw.edu address here: https://uwnetid.washington.edu/manage/?forward. In addition, you will need to set up the ability to send from your @uw.edu. Google has instructions on how to accomplish this hereInstructions for using Outlook.com are here.

What about Emeriti Faculty and Emeriti Librarians?

Emeriti Faculty and Emeriti Librarians are considered active members of the UW community, and will be able to continue to use a UW email service (UW Exchange Online/Office 365, UW Gmail) unless using Deskmail. If that is the case, Emeriti Faculty and Emeriti Librarians will need to move to either UW Exchange Online/Office 365 or UW Gmail.

Conclusion

UW-IT offers a range of online resources and migration tools to help all users with the implementation of the EMP and the transitions it requires.  Affected users receive email messages from the EMP with detailed program information and instructions on how to proceed with the migration of data before access to accounts end and data is deleted.

Please contact help@uw.edu with any questions or concerns.

Last reviewed September 15, 2020