Last modified 10/27/2023

Listservs are automated email service that is most commonly used to receive announcements and to communicate about classes, business, technology, and many other issues. A listserv can be thought of as a mailing list or distribution list. 

For assistance with a Mass Email communication (sending a one-time email to more than 100 recipients), please refer to  How To Send Mass EmailFor more information on Email at Illinois State University review Email.

Listserv Owners and Members 

Listservs are used at Illinois State University by faculty, staff, and students. 

All listservs must have at least one Faculty/Staff owner who is responsible for maintaining the listserv and adding and removing members or other owners. For announcement listservs, the owner is typically the only person who can post, or send messages to the listserv, which are in turn delivered to the listserv’s subscribers/members. 

Listservs members, sometimes called subscribers, receive emails sent to the listserv. Discussion listservs allow members to post just like owners. This allows all listserv members to participate in the discussion. An email sent to a listserv by one member is delivered to all the listserv’s members. 

Listserv Management 

As a listserv owner, you can manage your listserv through the Listserv Management website at 


Types of Listserv Emails 

  • Announcements: A one-way listserv is used to send announcements. Instructors, managers, and campus administrators use this type of listserv to notify students, faculty, and staff about important topics. 
  • Discussions: A discussion listserv is used for back-and-forth discussion between listserv members. Instructors, managers, and campus administrators use this type of listserv to engage students, faculty, and staff on various topics for purposes of discussion. 

Public and Private Listservs 

Some listservs are public, which means anyone can sign up and join the listserv to receive announcements or participate in discussions. You can also leave a public listserv at any time. 

  • Example: is a public listserv that anyone can join. This discussion listserv focuses on technology issues at Illinois State University. 

Some listservs are private, which means there is no open sign up. The only way to join a private listserv is to be added by the listserv owner. You can usually leave a private listserv at any time. 

  • Example: A manager might create a private listserv for a small working group to discuss budgetary issues. By making it a private listserv, the owner controls its membership and prevents people who should not be involved from joining the discussion. 


Requesting a New Listserv 

When you request a new listserv, you are designated as the listserv owner. As the listserv owner, you can make changes to the listserv and add new subscribers. 


Subscribing and Unsubscribing 

Before you can participate in a listserv, you must subscribe to it. When you no longer want to receive listserv emails, you must unsubscribe. 


Still Need Assistance? 

For Technical Assistance, Submit a Help Ticket, or contact the Technology Support Center by calling (309) 438-4357, or by email at 

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