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One of the greatest conveniences offered to UR students is the automatic address book in our emails — if one just begins to type in a fellow student’s name when sending an email, the recipient’s email address automatically pops up as a suggestion, even if the email author has never previously emailed the student. It’s a simple way to easily keep the student body in touch without creating any hassle in trying to contact a peer. The one shortcoming of this system, though, is that its database (for students, at least) is currently limited to only providing contacts for other students.

Meanwhile, the contacts for UR faculty members are not provided in the email directory. If a student has previously corresponded with a faculty member, his or her email address will appear, which is a standard feature of GMail — otherwise, the student will have to find the address manually. Though the inconvenience of this may seem rather trivial, it can be problematic in that it can potentially prevent effective communication. Professors in various departments might have department-specific email addresses which are different from the usual address, something students might not be aware of when trying to contact  them. Additionally, a good number of professors prefer to use an email address different from their Rochester account. For students who are not aware of this, it could prevent or delay important correspondence.

The solution to this is, of course, very straightforward — expand the email database to include faculty contacts. If a faculty member prefers to correspond through an email address different from his or her Rochester account, perhaps he or she could even provide the preferred email address so that it appears in the database. The email database is a fantastic tool for conveniently keeping UR students in touch and available for communication. The only way to improve it is to open it up even further and encapsulate the entirety of the UR community — or, in other words, to reflect the totality of information available from an official online Directory.

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