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Communications principles

We have developed these communications principles for students and staff to ensure consistent expectations around how we communicate with each other. By following these principles you will ensure that you get faster responses to your queries and don’t miss any important information from staff across the University.

You may also find it helpful to refer to these other important University documents:

  • Communication principles for students

  • 1. Regularly check your Middlesex student email account. We expect you to check your emails at least once every 48 hours during term-time, although more regular checking is recommended. You can access your emails at any time through MDXapp and we have produced guides to help you easily access your student emails through your phone.

  • 2. Use your Middlesex email address when contacting members of staff to avoid emails being caught in University spam filters. Please also always include your student number when contacting staff.

  • 3. For all queries that don’t relate to your programme of study (e.g. fees, wellbeing, accommodation, IT issues, etc.) you should directly contact UniHelp rather than your Programme team. This will help ensure you get a response more quickly.

  • 4. For all course related queries, you should contact your Module or Programme Leader depending on your type of query. You can find key contact details within MDXapp.

  • 5. Take time to write polite emails (as you would in professional employment) in all communications with staff. This should include use of a clear subject line to indicate the subject of your message including module/programme name or code.

  • 6. Check UniHub and MDXapp regularly during term-time for any other notifications or announcements. Attempt to look for basic answers to questions (e.g. by using UniHub or MDXapp) before contacting staff.

  • 7.Respond to emails from staff within three working days (i.e. not including weekends, bank holidays or University closure days) and allow staff the same period of time (three working days) to respond to your queries. Whilst staff may occasionally choose to respond to emails outside of normal working hours (Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm), this should not be expected as standard.

  • 8. If you don’t hear back from a member of staff within the three working days timeframe, then sending a reminder email is encouraged. You can also try raising the question with a different member of staff – e.g. your Module Leader, Programme Leader or Personal Tutor. You can find contact details for these members of staff within MDXapp. If a staff member is away from work, they may have set up an 'out of office' automated email that will provide instructions of how you can get your query answered in their absence - so make sure that you carefully read any such messages.

  • 9. Contact your module leader(s) and / or Programme Leader if you are absent for any period of time and cannot attend scheduled teaching.

  • 10. Raise queries promptly and be prepared to book an appointment with your Personal Tutor or other member of your Programme Team to talk through more complex issues or queries.

  • Tips for how to ask useful questions to staff

When you contact your tutor, Programme Leader or UniHelp, here are a few tips that you may consider using:

1. The more precise your question is the quicker it will be answered.

2. When you are reaching out for support, try to offer some information about what you have already done to find a solution. This will help the recipient of your request to act quicker and will also reduce the amount of emails exchange.

3. Have a look at this interesting blog on this topic with examples of templates how to formulate useful questions that will help your tutor to respond quicker and effectively:

  • Communication principles for staff

  • 1. Staff will acknowledge all emails within three working days (i.e. not including weekends, bank holidays or University closure days). In most cases, it is expected that staff will be able to deal with some questions within this timeframe, however for more complex cases staff may respond with a provisional holding email and deal with the query fully as soon as possible.

  • 2. Staff will direct you to contact UniHelp if you have asked a question not related to your programme of study (e.g. fees, wellbeing, accommodation, IT issues, etc.). You can therefore save time by making sure that you contact UniHelp for non-programme related matters.

  • 3. Staff should include clear contact details in all communications with students. This should include use of an email signature containing full contact details and working patterns – e.g. (virtual) office hours for student drop-ins.

  • 4. Part-time / hourly paid staff may wish to include details of working patterns within an automatic reply or within their email signature to help set expectations. If a particular member of staff is not best placed to respond to student queries within the three working day timeframe, then they will set up an automatic reply, which includes an alternative contact email address for you to use.

  • 5. Staff email signatures and out of office messages will also provide contact details of at least one other member of staff that you can contact if you do not receive a reply (i.e. to help with situations when staff may be ill and unable to turn on their out of office message).

  • 6. Staff are asked to model polite email etiquette to students in all email correspondence, so that you can learn by example. This also includes having preferred pronouns within their email signature, which students may also want to adopt.

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