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Account name changes
We do the same thing.
This change is a major effort. As a result, these requests get forwarded to IT management and we have a discussion with the person by phone about the options and the pro's and con's of each choice. It goes to IT management because it requires sensitivity and tact when you are having the discussion. It turns out what appears to be easy also has some effect on the person and we will need to coordinate this with them while expressing empathy for their situation and wanting to show we care.
In most cases we find that showing them how to set up an email alias and configure their mail to go out under their email alias works. I find using the alias is associated more with getting re-married. I have talked to a few women that have had difficult situations and the last thing they want is to be tied to their husband's name (if using last name for username). In those instances where they want this changed we will work with them. We usually set up an alias immediately and then develop a plan for doing the transition in the summer or winter. I think showing you are sensitive to these issues is important in supporting people in your community.
One, variant on this is we don't reuse former name space. You can't say that the person who had firstname.lastname@example.org left and I would like to move to that address. That is a bad practice and there are some requirements for the NSF supercomputing sites that require you not do this which we point to as reason's for our policy.
jack suess, UMBC