Mobile Messaging Policy
Download a PDF version of the Mobile Messaging Policy (PDF).
Mobile messaging is intended to supplement the University of the Incarnate Word communications strategy. This policy is dedicated to the texting medium managed by the Office of Enrollment Services and mobile app messaging managed by the Office of Communications and Brand Marketing.
This policy is intended for every day, non-emergency use. Emergency messages are managed by UIWPD and the Office of Communications and Brand Marketing via the RAVE platform.
General Mobile Messaging Guidelines
- Authorized mobile messaging officials must abide by all other policies regarding content, as well as ensure the following:
- Content is accurate.
- Proper grammar and punctuation are used.
- Wording is appropriate for the intended recipients.
- Tone is casual and professional
- Message clearly states the action that the recipient needs to take or how the information impacts the recipient and who to contact for/where to find additional information.
- Bulk messages will only be sent between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. Central Time. Hours outside of that timeframe are considered “quiet hours” for texting and messaging through non-emergency texting platforms.
- Number of messages distributed should be appropriate to ensure recipients will continue to regard the messages as important information.
- Messages are sent with adequate time for the action or activity.
- Mobile messaging must not be used as the sole means of communicating an essential message or announcement. The message must be supplemented by some other means of communication, such as an email, paper notice or social media content, to ensure that all intended recipients, including those who have not opted-in, receive the message.
- Non-emergency mobile messaging must NOT be used for the following:
- Sole method of communication.
- Communicating personal or confidential information.
- Personal matters (e.g., items for sale, farewell messages).
- Appeals on behalf of individuals or groups of students (e.g., to attend social, cultural or sporting events, unless the student opted-in for messages regarding these topics).
- Sending any messages containing social security numbers, passwords, credit card numbers or any FERPA-protected data. These are strictly prohibited.
- Emergency alerts.
- All non-emergency text messaging and push notification services and software must be approved by the department of Information Technology.
- Failure to comply with the outlined policy may result in the rescission of permission to send mobile messages.
Text Messaging Guidelines
Text messaging can be used by authorized University staff to relay information about cancellations, closures, admissions and academic requirements of deadlines, registration information, financial aid, student events and other matters that are time sensitive and necessary for student success. The Office of Enrollment Services will appoint at least one authorized staff member to monitor and approve text messaging requests on behalf of the Office to ensure compliance with the following:
- Students must opt-in to receive text messages from the Office of Enrollment Services and ensure their contact information held by University of the Incarnate Word is current.
- Opt-out instructions will be posted on UIW.edu for reference.
- Any opt-outs sent from the student through text messaging will be managed by the system, however, requests sent through other communication methods (phone calls, emails) must be handled expeditiously.
- Authorized text messaging officials must abide by all other policies regarding content, guidelines and general mobile messaging guidelines, as well as ensure the following:
- Tone is casual, professional and ends with a question when a response is desired.
- List of recipients is correct.
- Information within the message is directly related to the student and/or their studies.
- Number of messages received by a student should be appropriate to ensure he/she will continue to regard the text messages as important information. The guideline is to send no more than one mass text per week.
- In addition to the guidelines under General Mobile Messaging Guidelines, non-emergency text messaging must NOT be used for the following:
- Sending general information to large populations (e.g., “Fall classes start Monday!”).
- All messages must be tagged with the appropriate identifier so recipients can immediately recognize the sender. For example, if an authorized official is sending an initial text message, open with, “Hi, Becky, it’s Chris Smith from Admissions.” On all subsequent communications, authorized officials can sign off at the end of text message: “- Chris Smith, Admissions.”
- Individuals wanting a message sent on their behalf must contact the texting administrator in the Enrollment Services Communications office to coordinate a text message within the UIW guidelines. Authorized staff members do not need prior approval to send periodic messages.
- Messages should be as concise as possible (while still maintaining a conversational tone when appropriate) and should address the student directly (e.g., “Your financial aid form is due on Friday,” rather than, “Financial aid forms are due on Friday.”). They should include essential points and, if needed, further instruction (e.g., “Check your email for full details.”).
- Abbreviations, jargon and text messaging lingo should never be used.
- Approved emoticons are allowed with no more than one per message, however, not all messages should contain an emoticon. Refer to the approved list attached.
Mobile App Push Notification Guidelines
Mobile app push notifications may be utilized by any University department needing to communicate with students, employees or alumni and friends. The UIW mobile app provides a one-stop shop for UIW constituencies, primarily students, to find easy access to Blackboard, social media, news and more. Push notifications provide University departments the opportunity to reach these audiences directly on their mobile device.
Via the UIW app, the University can send push notifications via the following methods:
- General push notifications – sent to anyone who has the app and allows push notifications
- Persona-based push notifications – sent to specific persona groups (students, faculty and staff, or alumni and friends)
- Channel-based push notifications – sent to users to who subscribe to receive information on a specific topic (Ex: Cardinals’ Cupboard channel for students who need information about available food)
The Office of Communications and Brand Marketing (OCM) must approve all push notifications and the frequency of their delivery. OCM and the UIW web team will manage the delivery of approved push notification messages.
To request a push notification message, interested departments should fill out the Mobile App Notification Submission form. Requests should be made no less than 5 business days in advance.