ITS seeks to provide clear and consistent communications both internally and externally to facilitate effective information sharing, collaboration, and service. This organizational communications plan is designed to help us achieve this goal. It seeks to provide clarity and greater simplicity for staff by defining communication tools and their appropriate uses.

It is an evolving work-in-progress and suggestions for improvement are welcome and sought. As a leader in investigating new technologies and communication tools, we can expect to regularly test and evaluate additional tools that may or may not become central tools for ITS communications in the future. Emerging or experimental tools will be labeled as such and we will set expectations and definitions for their use while under evaluation to ensure ongoing clarity for ITS staff.

We recognize the challenges of any organization when considering strategies for communication methods, and understand that any successful plan for communications will involve commitment by all those participating. Thank you for your part in helping to make our communications more effective.

  • Standard Internal Communication Channels

    The following methods of communication are officially supported and should be used for normal, daily communication within ITS. All ITS staff are expected to monitor these channels for ITS news and information.

    Everyone in ITS is responsible for helping to ensure that we collectively follow this communication plan. We should all be personally and mutually accountable for carrying it out. If you feel it is not being followed, or could be followed better, please let your colleagues know in a productive and encouraging way. Your input and thoughts on how well any part of this plan works is also welcome at any time.

    Everyone is expected to regularly check and monitor his or her Luther email account. If a reply is appropriate, it should be provided in a timely manner.

    Generally, information that is to be shared with multiple work groups should be shared through the ITS Blog, not email. When emailing multiple individuals/groups in ITS, use of BCC: is not encouraged. Please use the To: and CC: fields so that others can know who has been sent the information.

    Telephone / Voicemail
    Everyone is expected to regularly check and monitor his or her Luther telephone extension, Luther cell phone (if applicable), and voicemail. If a reply is appropriate, it should be provided in a timely manner. If you are to be out of the office on vacation or on professional travel, you are encouraged to set a temporary greeting.

    Campus Mailbox
    Everyone is responsible for contents delivered to their campus mailbox. ITS employees with multiple mailboxes are responsible for all of them. If you would prefer just one campus mailbox, that can be arranged.

    ITS Blog
    Everyone is expected to regularly check and monitor the ITS Blog as the primary collective tool to share information with others in ITS and others at Luther. Individuals have the option of monitoring the Blog by:

    1. Visiting the website regularly (at least daily)
    2. Subscribing to RSS feeds of Blog content (

    Appropriate and expected uses for the ITS Blog:

    • Event Notices – If you are hosting/coordinating an event for ITS or others at Luther, the Blog is the preferred communication channel to let everyone know of the event.
    • Project Updates – Periodic reports on special initiatives and projects should be posted to the Blog.
    • System Outages/Restorations – It is expected that any known system outage affecting more than one individual will be posted to the Blog within 30 minutes (preferably sooner) of its identification. Restorations in service should also be posted. ITS members will know to check the ITS Blog if there are suspected issues.

    Guidelines for ITS Blog Posts:

    • Post Titles - Keep the titles of blog posts brief, clear, and specific. If a post includes time-sensitive information, include the date in the title, for example “Firewall Upgrade Complete - 10/23/2013”
    • Description - The description field is displayed on the blog listing page, and is meant as a summary of the post.
    • Content - Keep paragraphs short, with around 2-3 sentences apiece.  For longer posts, use headings to denote majors sections. Single space between sentences and include links as appropriate.
    • Images - Include a teaser image for each blog post. Posts with the same theme (e.g. wireless) can reuse the same image.
    • Updates - Update posts, placing new information at the top and changing the title to indicate current status.
    • Terms - Use appropriate terminology (e.g. Technology Help Desk vs Helpdesk, Research Help vs Reference Help, Lower/Main/Upper Floor vs 1st/2nd/3rd Floor)

    ITS Google Group

    Everyone is expected to regularly check and monitor the ITS Google group as the primary collective tool to share information with others in ITS. Individuals have the option of monitoring the ITS Google group by:

    1. Visiting -> My groups -> ITS (at least daily)
    2. Subscribing to email updates containing content updates to the ITS group by adjusting “Membership and email settings”.

    Appropriate and expected uses for the ITS Google group:

    • General News Items Of Interest to or Affecting ITS – Reminders about ITS or campus events and any general news information that it is good for us to know about.
    • Meeting Reports/Minutes – Teams and workgroups should post brief reports/notes on meetings that have content affecting others in ITS or at Luther. Content should be drafted for ITS audiences.
    • Travel Reports – If you travel on business to a conference or professional meeting, it is expected that you would provide a brief report of the event, focusing particularly on how it affects your work in ITS.

    Norse Calendar
    Everyone should regularly monitor their Norse Calendar appointments and will be held responsible for knowing what is scheduled there. When scheduling events, it is expected that everyone will use the email notification feature to let others know of the event by email.

    Your calendar should also be updated with your current availability so that meetings can be scheduled efficiently.

    To assist with event planning, it is expected that everyone will use the Reply/RSVP feature to indicate whether they plan to attend an event or not.

    Meetings: ITS General Meetings
    ITS General meetings are typically scheduled for the first Wednesday of the month from 9:00-10:15 am. All ITS employees should plan to attend the monthly ITS General staff meetings. These meetings will provide an opportunity for general news and information sharing, as well as discussion of significant events, topics, and initiatives that affect ITS and the services we provide to the Luther Community. If you are unable to attend, please speak with your supervisor.

    Meetings: Teams or Projects
    Individual teams within ITS have the authority to design their own team or project meeting schedules. Everyone is expected to participate in meetings for these groups as determined by the leader(s). If you are unable to attend, please speak with your team or project leader.

  • Special Use Internal Communication Channels

    The following methods of communication are officially supported and appropriate for special uses. Everyone in ITS is expected to know how to use them appropriately when asked or when required. Generally, ITS staff are not required to regularly monitor these tools unless under active use for a specific purpose or project.


    KATIE is available for group/course management of content, threaded forums, surveys, and other tools as appropriate for use by ITS teams.

    All ITS employees who are technicians in KBOX are expected to regularly check the system and respond to work orders there. All KBOX users are expected to professionally manage their own work queues, closing work orders as they are completed and including updates on open work orders as available.

    While not a form of communication per se, fileshares do provide an important mechanism for sharing data among ITS teams. Their effectiveness is lessened by the “wild west” approach to saving files there that seems to happen on occasion. ITS will work on addressing usability issues with fileshares by:

    • Actively working to create, encourage, and enforce organization on shares.
    • Actively working to deploy search tools on fileshares (e.g. Google Search Appliance)
    • Actively work to reduce the number of fileshares in use by ITS for greater simplicity.
  • Emerging or Experimental Internal Communication Channels

    The following methods of communication are not officially supported by ITS, but may be used by ITS employees who find them convenient and for communications with others who also use them.

    Instant Messaging
    Those who currently use instant messaging are encouraged to continue doing so. As the availability of IM grows, particularly through implementation of Norse Apps, this channel may become officially supported. For the time being, it remains optional.

    LIS has an organizational account that displays on our blog page. Twitter is appropriate for short timely notices from ITS … reminders of impending events, notice of system outages, or other small information tidbits. Individuals wishing to post to our central account can do so through their own Twitter account.

  • External Communication Channels

    It is a priority for ITS to maintain simple and effective communication channels with the Luther community. Given the breadth and depth of services supported by ITS, this is a challenge to accomplish and a moving target to hit, but one we are confident of improving and refining. We recognize fundamentally that each individual member of the Luther community has their own communication styles and preferences. Our external plan attempts to address some of that variety however will focus on the web as the primary external communication tool for ITS.

    Primary Channel: The Web
    ITS websites will be our primary method of communication with our external constituencies. We have begun and continue to migrate all content appropriate for external audiences to the web. The ITS website should be considered internally and externally as the primary reference regarding all ITS services, resources, and policies. Community members with questions regarding availability or use of any ITS-supported services should first review the ITS website for any available information or updates on service interruptions.

    The ITS Blog in particular is the central publication for news items regarding ITS. Please see the section on the ITS Blog under Standard Internal Communication Channels for more information about how the Blog is used. Content published to the ITS Blog is also available via email and RSS.

    General information about ITS services, resources, and policies is also posted to ITS websites. This process is currently managed by the Executive Director and the Digital Initiatives Librarian.

    Supporting Channel: All-Campus Email
    In some cases where immediate or specific communication is necessary for the community, ITS may send all-campus email messages via campus lists (flist, staff, students). Generally, this will only be done in rare cases where the content of the communication specifically requires such distribution.

    The Executive Director will approve all messages to the community delivered via direct email. These messages will also be approved and delivered by the Director of Publications.

    ITS will never ask for account information of community members via email. Email communication from ITS will also include the names of ITS staff. If a community member is suspicious of any communication perceived to be from ITS or regarding ITS services, they should contact the Help Desk to inquire about the message prior to taking any action.

    Supporting Channel: ITS Weekly
    ITS maintains an opt-in weekly email newsletter written for the Luther community. This newsletter is published by the Executive Director and is a digest of news regarding ITS services, resources and policies. It also contains information on useful Internet tools, and links to current events in the library and information technology professions.

    Any member of the Luther community may subscribe to receive ITS Weekly on the ITS website.

    Supporting Channel: Tuesday / Bulletin / DeaNotes
    ITS regularly includes announcements about events, new or updated services, and resources in regular email publications such as Tuesday and the Bulletin. Such announcements are brief and should always include a link back to the ITS website where more information can be found.

    Supporting Channel: Annual Report and Snapshot
    Each year, ITS publishes a full annual report which is available to the Luther community via the ITS website. This report includes a full overview of ongoing support work and special projects undertaken by ITS. A summary Annual Snapshot is also available via the ITS website, and is distributed in print to select individuals and offices on campus.

    Supporting Channel: ITS Welcome Guides
    ITS publishes and maintains a brief guide for each major constituency on campus (students and employees) that contains central and important information regarding ITS and our services. These guides are available for download from the ITS website, and are provided in print to new members of the Luther community.

    At the beginning of the fall and spring semesters, ITS will deliver via email an electronic update for each guide to the appropriate constituency.

    This combined print and electronic publication will be the primary channel for educating new community members about ITS services, resources, and policies.

    Other Methods
    From time to time, ITS may use other methods as appropriate to communicate with the community, principally via staff/faculty meetings, special email distribution lists, advisory groups, campus and local media, etc. Doing so will be done in addition to using the general channels described above, and will be considered supplementary and on a case-by-case basis.

  • Communication Tone

    Along with defining appropriate communication tools for use within ITS, we also seek to define boundaries for how we will use those tools with one another to ensure a positive, honest, and welcoming work environment. In every communication we have with our co-workers and with our users, we have a choice to make regarding the tone and motivation of the communication. Some choices result in “above the line” communications, and others may result in “below the line” communications.

    In ITS, we will hold one another accountable to “Above the Line” communications with one another and with our users. It is important for everyone to do so, and to feel the freedom to do so, no matter their position in the organization. Holding one another accountable is not a hierarchical function, but an organizational one. As all ITS staff are part of the same organization, we each carry the responsibility to maintain accountability.

    If you observe communication tones, behaviors, or feelings that are below the line, please address the situation directly, and with “Above the Line” communication tone and behaviors.

    Please see the attached chart for further information.

    Attachment Size
    CommunicationTone.pdf 80.59 KB
  • Service Disruptions

    When ITS becomes aware of a significant disruption in service, ITS will inform affected members of the Luther community using an appropriate method. Methods may include:

    • Twitter
    • Banner across ITS and Help Desk Reason sites
    • Directly contacting the affected group through email
    • Maintenance page to replace landing page on affected service
    • Notices on digital signs
    • Emergency alert system
  • Dress

    You are expected to dress appropriately while working in the library. If you have questions about what is appropriate, please check with your supervisor. YOU MUST WEAR SHOES AT ALL TIMES! Other tips: refrain from wearing torn or tattered clothing, revealing tops, shorts, or pants, or any clothing with offensive and/or controversial words or images.

Last Reviewed: Aug 1st, 2017