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Sample E-mails

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The following two emails are both good examples of utilizing audience awareness, tone, and emphasis. The first email was sent to a clerical staff member from an administrator, and the second letter is the resulting email written by the clerical staff member based on the task given to her by the administrator.

This email was sent by the administrator to a clerical staff member:

I need to update several of our faculty and teaching staff on the changes in the English department’s process for assigning teaching schedules to Graduate Teaching Assistants. As you know, the old process gave preference to more senior TAs, which led to numerous complaints of unfairness and an overall lack of clarity. Starting next semester, the English department will transition to a new rolling system that divides TAs into four groups alphabetically and ensures each group will be given first preference of teaching times once every two academic years.
This change will go into effect starting January 5, 2015. In your message I would like you to outline the new process and explain the reasons why we need to make this change. Please provide contact information for the assistant department head in case anyone needs further information. Oh, and this information will also need to be copied to the appropriate associate dean.
I appreciate your help with this.

The following email is the result of the email above. The clerical staff member who wrote it has placed the most important information early in the email and uses a professional tone throughout. Additional contact information is provided for the audience, as well.

Dear Faculty and Graduate TAs,
The English department has changed its process for assigning teaching schedules to Graduate Teaching Assistants. Starting January 5, 2015, the new process will be a rolling system that alphabetically divides TAs into four groups, with each group getting preference for teaching times once every two years. We are making these changes based on feedback from administrative staff and graduate students worried about the fairness of the system and balancing teaching with coursework.
If you have any questions, please contact the assistant department head, Dr. John Locke.
All the best,
Elizabeth Hamilton