Skip to navigation menu

Skip to main content

Telecommunications
Teachers College, Columbia University
teachers college logo columbia univertsity logo
Information for Faculty & Staff > Policies

Site Navigation

Information for Faculty & Staff

Policies

POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

Respect for the Caller

Teachers College is committed to quality in the services we provide our community. The way we answer our telephones should promote a personal and friendly image of the College. People, rather than technology, will be the first line of contact at Teachers College whenever possible.

Voice mail is a form of technology that has numerous applications for departments and individuals. It provides an added level of support needed in some areas and overall, will drastically decrease the number of messages taken by support staff. The function of voice mail is to support people, not to replace them.

Use of the voice mail system shall be in harmony with the laws, rules, and regulations that govern other computing activities at the College. In particular, commercial or political activities are prohibited because they would jeopardize the College's tax exempt status. Activities that may constitute copyright infringement, libel, obscenity, or theft of services are also prohibited.

The College requires all users of its voice mail system to practice ethical behavior. Unethical behavior violates our Tenets of Community Behavior and may result in termination of this service for that person.

Restrictions regarding departmental and individual use of voice mail are defined below:


1. Each department will have at least one zero-out phone (or "position") which callers can reach in an emergency or when they need to speak with a live person. These department telephone extensions may only be forwarded to voice mail after business hours. The greeting must clearly state the department name (not an individual's name).

Note: Forwarding a telephone to "0" sends callers to the main TC switchboard. Departmental phones should NEVER be forwarded here. Violation of this rule may cause you to lose "call forwarding" privileges. If you wish to forward your calls to your department's "0 out" number, you must enter that extension number.

2. When a staff member who covers a department's zero-out phone steps away from that phone, he or she must either:

  • Arrange for someone else to cover that phone, or
  • Forward that phone to a colleague. This colleague should:
  • Provide full phone coverage until you return to your desk.
  • Have a copy of the department's emergency call sheet.

     

3. Personal telephone extensions may be forwarded to voice mail after 5 rings and/or if busy. The greeting must clearly state the caller's ability to reach a person by pressing [0] during business hours.

4. All departments and individuals must record a voice mail personal greeting (not the standard, computer-generated greeting). In the personal greeting, you must let the caller know: why you are not answering; how to contact another person for assistance; and when possible, a time they might reach you in person.