Professor email migration sparks frustration


Baruch College Technology Center

Baruch College professors’ emails migrated from Microsoft Exchange to Microsoft 365 in the middle of final exams. The transition was announced at the end of March.

“We are pleased to announce that Baruch College is replacing our current Microsoft Exchange email system with Microsoft 365 (M365), a cloud-based email system that will greatly expand our capacity to store, share, and synch work files with students, faculty, and staff from a variety of devices,” Michael Richichi, the assistant vice president of Information Technology and Deputy CIO, said in a blogpost.

Baruch’s student email platform transitioned over 10 years ago. Queens College and Lehman College have already moved to M365 for both students and faculty.

“All CUNY campuses are moving to Microsoft 365, and Baruch is fortunate to be among the first colleges to make this transition,” Richichi said.

Despite promising that “the change is mostly on the backend,” many Baruch professors expressed that they were not prepared for the transition and as a result, they lost the functionality of their emails during a time of heightened need for professor-student communication.

During the time of the semester surrounding final exams, students often reach out to professors with last-minute questions.

“None of this is working,” economics and finance professor Theodore Joyce commented under a June BCTC blogpost that sought to aid professors. “My iOS devices receive mail but cannot send. My Office 365 account has completely shutdown even though when I configured it on Monday it said I had done it successfully.”

The difficulties transitioning ultimately caused many to feel irritated.

“I am completely frustrated and cannot use my Baruch email,” Joyce said.

The transition also caused professor emails to display their names differently.

“Please be assured that this is only temporary and your email address has not changed,” Richichi wrote in the response blogpost. “Your email address is still firstname.lastname @ The temporary setting of the Microsoft 365 email address away from was done to allow both accounts to be visible in a single instance of Outlook for Windows.  However, it is causing other issues with sending and receiving emails.  We will be setting all accounts email addresses in M365 to shortly after the end of the semester.”

The email transition also inadvertently cut professors off from their calendars.

“I have hundreds of past and future calendar appointments associated with the legacy Exchange account that are no longer accessible on my IOS devices,” psychology professor Kristin Sommer commented.

While the shift was aimed at promoting efficiency, the issues that arose as a result caused some professors to question the decision.

“Sorry, but I have to ask: how could it look like a good idea to implement changes in a way that would effectively cut off from their mail history anybody who is not using Outlook as their email client?” economics and finance professor Andrea Golfari said.