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Distribution/Group Lists



Email distribution lists, also known as mailing lists, listservs or discussion lists, allow people with common interests to easily share information and participate in discussions by using a dedicated email address. For more information about distribution lists, see the Email Discussion Lists page.

KU IT offers two list serving methods: 1) KU Group Lists, and 2) Mailman.

KU Group Lists

KU Group Lists (Microsoft Exchange Distribution Lists) are housed on one of the university's Exchange servers. Exchange also handles university email. By creating a KU Group List on this server you can link multiple addresses to one simplified address or list of addresses. This list can be used for other purposes including group calendars and assigning rights to folders. Only KU faculty, staff and students with a KU Online ID can be included in a KU Group List.

Features of KU Group Lists

Course Group Lists

  • Instructors of Record can create course-related KU Group Lists by visiting KU Group Management and selecting "Add New Course Group" from the top menu.
  • All enrolled students for the selected course will automatically be added as members of the Course Group. 
  • When creating a new Course Group, you can :
  • Choose who can send email to your Course Group (i.e., closed, instructor only or special). Information on the Course Group request page explains each of these options.
  • Add or exclude additional members for the Course Group. This gives you the flexibility to customize your Course Group’s membership as needed. For example, you can add a GTA as a group member.
  • Preview group members to determine who is actually a member before updating the Course Group. 
  • After your Course List is created, modifications can be requested via     
  • Select “My Groups” in the upper left at KU Group Management to view your KU Group Course Lists 
  • Detailed instructions on how to create a course-related KU Group can be found at Set Up KU Distribution List for a Department or a Class in the Knowledge Base. 


Non-course KU Group Lists

  • To request a Non-Course Related KU Group List, please complete the KU Group List request form.
  • Depending on your role (see definitions in KU List Glossary below), you can view and make the following changes to your KU Group via

    Group Maintainers

    • Manually add/remove members
    • View Group info - group name, email and mail options, group expiration date
    • View membership
    • View other Maintainers

    Group Contacts or Viewers

    • View Group info - group name, email and mail options, group expiration date
    • View Maintainers
    • View membership
    • View other Contacts

    Group Members

    • View Group info - group name, email and mail options, group expiration date
    • View Maintainers
  • To request any of the following changes to your non-course KU Group Lists, please email
    • Add/remove/edit automated membership query
    • Exclude individual from the automated membership query
    • Edit Group Maintainers, Contacts, or Viewers
    • Edit Group Display Name (cannot edit group name)
  • Contacts will be collected for each KU Group List for renewal purposes. Please see the definition in the KU Group List Glossary below.

KU Group List Glossary

Authorized Sender If a group has an Authorized Sender(s), then only email sent from an Authorized Sender’s email address will be sent to the group.
Group Maintainer The Group Maintainer is responsible for determining who should or should not be a group member.
Group Moderator In most cases, a Group Moderator is not needed. If there is an assigned Group Moderator(s) for a group, then all email sent to the group will go to the Group Moderator first. The Group Moderator will approve the email before it is distributed to all Group Members. A group member must use their KU email address (i.e., to act as a Group Moderator.
Group Viewer An assigned Group Viewer can view the membership of the group – even if the membership of the group is set to "Hidden."
Hidden This refers to a group’s membership. If a group’s membership is set to "Hidden," this means that group members will not be able to see who else is a member of the group. The exception is the Group Maintainer and Group Viewer, who will be able to see the group members of a hidden membership group. If a group could be used to determine if a student is in a particular class, major, school, etc, then the group needs to have hidden membership.
Listed/Unlisted This refers to a mail-enabled group being displayed in the KU Global Address List. If a group is listed, this means that the group can be found in the KU Global Address List. If a group is unlisted, then the group will not be displayed in the KU Global Address List.
Primary Contact The Primary Contact for a group is required so that KU IT knows who to contact if a question or problem occurs with a group. The Primary Contact and Group Maintainer can be the same person.
Secondary Contact The Secondary Contact for a group is required so that KU IT knows who to contact if a Primary Contact is not available to answer questions or make decisions for a group.

Mailman Mailing Lists

Mailman is an email distribution list service that allows KU faculty and staff to create mailing lists that include external subscribers. Mailman offers a convenient, web-based interface for list owners to configure their lists, manage subscription settings, approve messages if a list is moderated, and more. List subscribers also can manage their individual preferences through a similar web-based interface.


KU Group List Mailman Mailing List
Only uses KU email addresses Can use any email address
Only for official KU departments, classes and organizations For other informal groups on campus and groups involving non-KU email addresses
Automatic creation and subscription User/Owner creation and subscription
Enhanced capabilities with Outlook Stand-alone system, no functionality with Outlook

Which Option is Best for You?

Do you want the list membership to be maintained from Human Resources and Student Records data, without any manual input? Yes = KU Group List

Do all list participants have a KU email address? Yes = KU Group List

Do you want list members to be able to subscribe and remove themselves from the list? Yes = Mailman

Will your list contain members who are not directly affiliated with KU? Yes = Mailman

Are you requesting a list for use by an informal group, club, or some other organization which is not recognized by KU in any official capacity? Yes = Mailman

Creation and Subscription Methods

KU Group Lists - Offer the ability to have a nightly program manage the membership of the list. This removes the need for anyone to manually maintain the list. Once created, the list is automatically maintained, and the list owners can be assured that it always contains the correct people. For departments and classes, this is a big advantage. However, the automatic nature of the lists, by centralizing the control of the membership, makes manual upkeep more difficult than Mailman. Any person who wants to be a part of an existing list would first have to go through channels.

Mailman Lists - Membership configurations are very flexible. List owners have control over adding and removing list members, or even opening up the list for "self-subscription." In a self-subscription list, any person who wants to join a list can do so by subscribing online (or, sending a subscribe request for closed lists). Because of this flexibility, Mailman is the best choice for informal discussion, hobby, and interest groups.

Enhanced Abilities

KU Group Lists offers enhanced capabilities with Outlook (both Mac and PC) Advantage: If the vast majority of the list members have Exchange accounts, they will be able to take advantage of the other ways which KU Group Lists can be used from within Outlook, including Calendaring features. Disadvantage: Any members of the list with non-Exchange registered email addresses will miss out on all the KU Group List usage, and can only make use of the list's email capabilities.

Allowed E-mail Addresses

Only people with a KU email address (i.e., can join a KU Group List. However, other resources in the KU Global Address Book, such as conference rooms, can also be added to a KU Group List. If a mailing list needs to include anyone outside the university, that list must use the Mailman service.

Types of Groups Supported

KU Group Lists can only be made for departments, classes, and officially approved and recognized university organizations. Campus clubs and other unofficial groups must use the Mailman service, rather than KU Group Lists. If a group attains official status, they could, upon receiving approval from the appropriate channels, request an KU Group List. Most faculty and staff requesting lists for university-related purposes are eligible for KU Group Lists.

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