Penn State to adopt single email, calendaring experience with Office 365

Karlin Andersen
Office 365 branding

All students, faculty and staff members will gain free access to the complete suite of Office 365 applications

April 6, 2018

Beginning this spring, and continuing through the end of 2018, all Penn State students, faculty and staff members will be part of a University-wide transition toward a unified, modern email and calendaring experience. The effort, which is in pilot stages involving a number of Penn State campuses and colleges, will bring the industry-leading Office 365 software suite to the University community at no additional cost.

What this means

Over the course of 2018, faculty and staff members will be transitioned from such existing email and calendaring platforms as WebMail or University Collaboration Suite (UCS) to Microsoft Outlook as well as the full suite of Office 365 applications. Students will receive access to the suite of applications throughout April and will be transitioned from WebMail to Outlook over the summer.

“We are excited to be moving the entire University to a modern collaboration and productivity platform. There are a number of tools included, beyond email, calendar and common Microsoft Office applications, that we believe will be useful to all students, faculty and staff,” said Michael Kubit, vice president for Information Technology (IT) and chief information officer. “We are particularly excited to offer access to Office 365 to our students, as part of our commitment to investing in their skills that help to differentiate Penn State graduates in the workforce.”

The University will provide training to all students, faculty and staff members in a multifaceted approach, giving options for live-online, in person, and self-guided training, Kubit said. In addition, those who use specialized software will receive all necessary support as the transition takes place, Kubit added.

Regular and ongoing communications will be shared with students, faculty and staff members throughout the transition by email and on Penn State News as well as through unit and department leadership and IT professionals. The transition is part of strategic efforts to drive digital innovation and collaboration at Penn State, and ultimately is in support of the University’s broad mission of teaching, research and service, Kubit said.

Visit the Office 365 at Penn State website for frequently asked questions and much more information about the transition.

When will this take place?

Students will receive access to all Office 365 applications throughout April. Their email will be moved from WebMail or UCS to Microsoft Outlook throughout the summer. As the transition approaches, students will receive email notices containing instructions and all necessary information.

Faculty and staff members will be transitioned on a rolling basis throughout 2018, on a timeline determined by college, campus or unit leadership and IT professionals. Faculty and staff can expect regular communication as the transition approaches, by email and through their unit’s IT professionals.

What are the benefits?

Students, faculty and staff members will gain access to 15 new Microsoft applications. Ranging from the familiar Word, Excel and PowerPoint, to Teams and OneDrive, the entire suite will be available to students, faculty and staff members at no additional cost.

Moving the University to Outlook, a modern email and calendaring system, is an important step to protect users from phishing. It also reduces complexity in University email systems, while allowing use of supported email clients throughout the transition.

“Email, calendaring and productivity software are fundamental to many of us in our daily work at Penn State,” said Kubit. “We will be working closely with IT professionals across the University, at each campus and in each college and unit, to assist in a smooth transition and to answer your questions throughout.”

For more information on the applications, along with the project plan and updates, frequently asked questions, and training resources, visit Penn State’s Office 365 website at office365.psu.edu.