"Can we get Gmail already?"

This little Cub has no idea what's about to hit him.

Knowing that real lions graduate without doing the swim test, Bwog too was titillated by the prospect of casting Cubmail into the Hudson and watching it drown. But first, we had some questions about the planned switch to Gmail. Columbia Student Affairs’ Director of Communications and Special Projects Katherine Cutler answers.

Does Dean Shollenberger have any comments as to why or how this decision was made?

The decision to make the switch from CubMail to Gmail and Google Calendar came after much consideration and conversations with student leadership, various offices across the University, and the deans of Columbia College, SEAS and General Studies. Columbia been in discussions with Google regarding the new email system and contract for over a year.

What should Columbia students expect from the changes?

Beginning with a pilot phase in March, this transition from CubMail to Gmail will consist of a three phase migration process.

  • During all transitions, students will keep their same email address and still rely on UNIs and passwords to access Gmail.
  • iPhones and other smart phones can be configured by the students to access Gmail and calendaring, following directions to be provided.
  • Email clients like Outlook and Apple’s mail client can be configured by the students, again following directions to be provided.
  • The CUIT Help Desk will support Gmail and Google calendar, and a user adoption website will be able to answer many questions.

When will they be in effect?

The pilot phase of approximately 80 people, including students selected by Deans Shollenberger and Halvorson in partnership with student government from SEAS, CC and GS, will begin in March. After the pilot, there will be two other phases. Phase one of the migration will begin in the late spring 2012 and involve moving approximately 1,000 students. During phase two, all remaining undergraduate students will be moved to Gmail and Google calendaring by end of 2012.

Cubmail’s spirit animal via Wikimedia Commons