Baruch College faculty email migrated from Microsoft Exchange to Microsoft 365 amid final exams. The transition was announced at the end of March.
“We are pleased to announce that Baruch College is replacing our current Microsoft Exchange email system with Microsoft 365 (M365), a cloud-based email system that will greatly expand our ability to store, share and synchronize work files with students, faculty, and staff from various devices,” said Michael Richichi, assistant vice president of information technology and deputy chief information officer, in a blog post.
Baruch’s student messaging platform made the transition over 10 years ago. Queens College and Lehman College have already moved to M365 for students and faculty.
“All CUNY campuses are moving to Microsoft 365, and Baruch is fortunate to be among the first colleges to make this transition,” Richichi said.
Although they promised that “the change is mostly on the backend”, many professors at Baruch said they were unprepared for the transition and as a result they lost their email functionality for a while. a period of heightened need for teacher-student communication.
During the semester period surrounding final exams, students often contact professors with last-minute questions.
“None of this is working,” commented economics and finance professor Theodore Joyce in a June BCTC blog post that sought to help professors. “My iOS devices are receiving mail but can’t send. My Office 365 account has completely stopped even though when I set it up on Monday it said I did it successfully.
The difficulties of transition ultimately caused the irritation of many.
“I’m completely frustrated and can’t use my Baruch email,” Joyce said.
The transition also caused teachers’ emails to display their names differently.
“Rest assured this is only temporary and your email address has not changed,” Richichi wrote in the response blog. “Your email address is always [email protected] Baruch.cuny.edu. Microsoft 365 email address temporary setting away from Baruch.cuny.edu was made to allow both accounts to be visible in a single instance of Outlook for Windows. However, this causes other problems with sending and receiving emails. We will set all account email addresses in M365 to @baruch.cuny.edu shortly after the end of the semester.
The email transition also inadvertently cut professors off their schedules.
“I have hundreds of past and future calendar appointments associated with the old Exchange account that are no longer accessible on my IOS devices,” commented psychology professor Kristin Sommer.
While the change was intended to promote efficiency, the resulting problems caused some professors to question the decision.
“Sorry, but I have to ask you: how would it seem like a good idea to implement changes in a way that effectively cuts out anyone who doesn’t use Outlook as their email client from their email history?” said economics and finance professor Andrea Golfari.