A Case for Email Abatement?

Dear Colleagues,

Are you overwhelmed by all of the emails that you have to navigate each day?

“When email first spread to campuses in the late 1970s, it simplified crucial tasks like communicating with distant collaborators, but as its ubiquity grew, it became a public portal through which the world beyond close colleagues could make increasing demands on a professor’s time and attention, making email into a kind of digital water torture for the scholar struggling to think without interruption.

Another factor driving the professoriate’s drift into middle management is a significant increase in administrative demands. In part, this is due to the growth of university bureaucracy, which, once established, inevitably consumes the time and attention of its subjects to justify its existence. ” writes Cal Newport, an associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University, in a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Go to this link for the entire article.


Maybe doing two simple things would be a good start to email abatement?

1. No emails between 2 pm Friday and 8 am Monday?

2. When you receive an announcement via email, don’t hit “respond all”, only reply to the sender, or to the person being congratulated?

Any thoughts/comments?

Jim O’Connor Ph.D.
Director – Center for Innovative Learning and Teaching, Western Division