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New Student Guide: Professional Communication

This LibGuide is designed for the purpose of supporting students new to Yorkville University in their understanding of the library and its resources.

Your YU Email Address

Why use your YU email address?

When you being your studies at YU, you are provided a student email address. You're encouraged to use this email address for all academic communication, in part because all communication from your instructors and staff will be directed to your YU email address. Checking your student email address regularly helps you avoid missing any important communication.

Things to Remember

Remember that not all communication is instantaneous. If you don't receive a reply right away, don't immediately send a follow up. Allow 48-72 (business) hours before sending a follow up email! An email sent on a Friday evening likely won't receive a reply until at least the following Monday. Saturday and Sunday are not working days, so this is less than a 24 hour turnaround for response!

Please also keep in mind the professor or staff member (or classmate's!) time zone - an email sent at 8AM AST to an employee on the west coast will not receive an immediate reply, as it's likely that that person is still asleep!

Finally, for many reasons, some departments may ask that you instead open a ticket with AskYU so they can better assist you.

Why be professional?

Why is professional communication important as a student?

It may seem unnecessary to use professional communication with your professors, YU staff, or your classmates as a student, but it is both important in terms of respecting those with whom you are communicating, and in terms of developing the skillset in preparation for the workforce.

Using professional communication with professors and staff indicates that you understand and respect that your relationship with them is a professional, not familiar, one. These are people with whom you are connecting, often in order to ask for help, and demonstrating respect by maintaining professional communication benefits both of you.

Using professional communication with your classmates is critical both for developing an environment of respect in the classroom, but also for exercising and developing these skills for outside the classroom. In many ways, your classmates are your colleagues.

Email Etiquette

How do you write a professional email?

Contacting your professors, YU staff, or your peers is something you’ll have to do frequently throughout your studies, possibly more often than you’d prefer. There’s no need to be intimidated, but there are a few things you should keep in mind before reaching out.

  1. Proper salutation: Always start your email with a polite “Dear” or “Hello” followed by the name or title of the person you are emailing. For example, you should use your professor’s name/title (Dr. XYZ, Professor XYZ, etc.). If you’re not sure what their proper title is, using “Professor” followed by their last name is almost always a safe bet. 
    • Tip: If you want to know your professor's proper title, check the class syllabus, or welcome message from your professor! 
  2. Introduce yourselfEven if the recipient knows who you are, it can never hurt to give a brief introduction. 
  3. Use correct grammar and spelling: An email is more formal than a text or message on social media, so be sure this is reflected in your writing (no abbreviations/acronyms). Be sure not only to use spelling/grammar checks but also to proofread the email - it's always embarrassing to realize afterwards, for example, that autocorrect resulted in misspelling your recipient's name!
  4. Maintain professional language: Remember that the person receiving your email is receiving it in a professional capacity. They are there to answer questions, provide help or support, or otherwise assist in your academic journey; email them the way you would email a work colleague or your boss, not a friend. Emails using inappropriate language may be in breach of the code of conduct (see section 5.6.5).
  5. Be thorough: Please provide as much detail as you can in your email - the person receiving your email may receive many similar emails, especially if they are your professor, a librarian, a program advisor, or work in accommodations. Including the relevant information, like which course your question pertains to, assignment details, your research topic, etc., means that the person you're emailing can respond to you more fully.
  6. Use a formal closing: Conclude your email with a closing, such as “Best regards”, “Sincerely”, or “Thank you” followed by your name.

Borrowed and modified with gratitude from Dr. Jack Olszewski.