Have you ever thought we could do a better job communicating as a campus community? Have you ever thought that the technologies we use to communicate could be more effective? You are not alone.

At the urging of senior leadership this fall, we began to think about the college’s current, discrete and unconnected systems for email, calendar and scheduling. We came to the unsurprising conclusion that Bates needs an integrated email and calendar system.

After looking at available products and talking with other colleges who face similar issues, we arrived at an equally unsurprising solution: for Bates to adopt the use of Google Apps for Education as our officially supported email and calendar platform for the all faculty, students and staff.

Google Apps for Education will replace our current email systems, including Webmail, and Meeting Maker. We’re moving forward with this change and expect the work to be complete by August 1, 2012.

Why is Google Apps the best solution for Bates?

  • It works and it’s free. Available choices for an integrated email/calendar service are, Microsoft Outlook, a system called Zimbra and Google. Microsoft Outlook costs more than $100,000 annually; reports from schools that adopted Zimbra are not favorable; Google is both a solid product with a satisfied user base and currently free of charge to educational institutions.
  • By partnering with Google, Bates frees up resources to focus on other technology matters important to the college.
  • Google has been tested and widely adopted by our peers, increasingly becoming the industry standard for colleges like Bates.

Moving our email and calendar systems to Google places Bates in the good company of many other colleges and universities, including Brown, Colby, Colgate, NYU, Northwestern, and Wellesley, to name just a few.

Moving to Google also allows the college to consider the effectiveness of using email lists for promoting events. Alongside the work of email and personal calendaring, we will be improving the process and tools for events calendaring and space/resource scheduling. Towards this end, we will be upgrading the system supporting events.bates.edu to insure a much more user-friendly, interactive, and effective experience. We anticipate this work to be complete by January 2013.