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We have recently seen a significant spike in the number and frequency of mass email messages to university faculty and staff from undergraduate and graduate students seeking participants in class and research projects, including theses and dissertation projects.  Some faculty and staff have begun to question the practice and administrators are concerned about the impact of survey fatigue on their own polling activities.


I’m leading a small task force charged with recommending:

·         which university affiliates (e.g., prospective students, students, faculty, staff, retirees, etc.) may be recruited as research subjects or class project participants using their university email accounts as a recruitment tool;

·         which university affiliates should be authorized to conduct such email recruiting, along with any related parameters or conditions; and

·         contraints, criteria, policy statements, procedures, and gatekeeping responsibilities for governing such recruitment to best satisfy the interests of all parties.


Members of the task force include:

·         Chair of the Texas State IRB

·         Associate Dean of the Graduate College

·         Representative from Texas State’s Institutional Research department

·         Representative from Texas State’s  Research Support and Evaluation Center

·         A member of the Graduate Faculty


At present, Texas State’s staff and faculty email addresses are public information and students have access to the email addresses of their classmates.  Faculty have unfettered access to their student’s email addresses.  Mass email from the university to students, faculty, and staff is supposed to be channeled through a limited number of departments with authorization to send to dynamic mailing lists maintained by IT for that purpose. 


I’m interested in your thoughts related to this topic and even more interested in reviewing any related policies, procedures,  or practices in use at your institution.  Thanks in advance for your assistance.





Don Volz

Special Asst to the VPIT

Texas State University


Voice: 512-245-9650

FAX: 512-245-1226


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