MCCC mass emails are approved before being sent out

An e-mail asking for personal information is not usually trusted, but it was sent through MCCC’s e-mail account.  So is it safe?

One specific e-mail asked for your name, phone number, race, age, hair and eye color, as well as a digital picture.

This e-mail was sent by the iGroup, which is a talent agency located in Southfield, MI.

If you were interested in participating as an extra in an independent feature film, you could e-mail the iGroup with your personal information.

Mass e-mails sent through the college’s e-mail account must be related to MCCC and approved by college officials.

The iGroup was able to send a mass e-mail, because President Nixon and Director of Marketing Joe Verkennes approved their message.  These college employees considered the e-mail safe.

“The call came late in the game; it was a few days before they needed movie extras,” Verkennes said.  “They needed students and needed them fast.”

Verkennes said the iGroup’s request could develop into a learning experience for interested students.

“It was an opportunity for students to get involved,” Verkennes said.

Some of the filming for the iGroup was also done on MCCC’s campus, making it more relevant to MCCC students.  However, this was not mentioned in the mass e-mail.

The request from the iGroup is one example of the information that could get sent as a mass e-mail through the college.

“We’ve been very conservative with the college e-mail accounts,” Verkennes said.  “We are really cautious and contemplative about what we send out.”

Verkennes said the number and types of requests have been fairly reasonable so far.

“We haven’t had to decline any requests. There also aren’t that many requests that we’ve even had to deal with,” he said.

“If we get requests on a regular basis, we will need to set up a policy to regulate them.”

Most requests have been related to student clubs and activities.

Randy Daniels, vice president of Student and Information Services, is involved with the approval of e-mails related to student services, activities, registration, and instruction.

“The point of approval depends upon the content of the message. The goal of getting an approval is to make sure that the student system is not bombarded with junk mail or proprietary messages,” Daniels said.

The college e-mail account is not meant for solicitations.

“The e-mail accounts are a key method of communicating with students,” Verkennes said.  “We want students to open their e-mails and take them seriously.”

Another method of communicating with students is MCCC’s Facebook page.
Members of the college are working on a new medium to provide information related to MCCC.

Work is being done with Blackboard, the students’ e-learning system, to create a new outlet for student information.

Verkennes said he has met with Director of Institutional Advancement Suzanne Wetzel, Manager of Information Systems Brian Lay, and Information Systems Technician Jason Broadway to discuss the idea.

Blackboard has shown to be an effective way to reach students.

“Two-thirds to three-quarters of the students are utilizing it on a regular basis,” Verkennes said.

He said students could choose to view different topics that relate to MCCC through Blackboard, creating an “Intranet” for students.

This system would help to lighten the number of e-mails sent to students, Verkennes said.

Another meeting is planned for the discussion and progression of this concept.

Before the college provided an e-mail account, information was sent to students via the email addresses they provided on their applications for admission.

“Approval was required for this as well,” Daniels said. “The MCCC e-mail address provides a cost-effective way to share information with the entire college community.”

Blackboard could provide more of a pull system for students as opposed to a push system in obtaining information related to MCCC, Verkennes said.  It will allow students to focus on the information they are interested in.