Computing Account Procedures for Faculty, Staff and Guests

Authority: Issued by the Vice Chancellor for Information Technology
History: First issued in 1993; updated last 5/11/2015
Scope: NC State faculty and staff

Description of service  

All NC State faculty and staff automatically receive university computing accounts. At a minimum, faculty and staff receive Unity computing account privileges, which provide access to many university computing resources. Valid NC State/Unity computing account login IDs (userids) and passwords are required to access password-protected online services and resources.

Account privileges include

  • access to MyPack Portal including Human Resources self-service features and the Student Information System
  • access to campus high-speed wired and wireless data networks
  • email services (Google email and calendaring serviceThis link will open in a new window or Unity email service)
  • free file space (disk quota), which account holders can allocate among Unity email and AFS (personal/web space)
  • support for publishing personal Web pages on
  • use of Unity computing labs and free use of many popular commercial, discipline-specific and public-domain software packages
  • NC State Help Desk and technical support

Faculty and staff may have access to additional computing resources, depending upon their departmental and administrative roles.

Groups eligible for service

Unity account privileges are available to NC State faculty and staff for the duration of their employment at the University. These accounts may be maintained after retirement. Guest accounts may be issued if required for university-related work.

Types of use

Either business or personal.

Duration of service

New accounts for faculty and staff are automatically generated when their employee information appears in the NC State Human Resources (HR) database. Accounts remain active for the duration of faculty and staff employment, unless the account holder violates policies, regulations, and rules governing computing and network services. Account creation, activation and deactivation are explained in detail below for faculty and staff, retirees, and guest accounts.


There is no charge to faculty and staff for University computing or email accounts.

To access service

Most faculty and staff use their Unity accounts from a networked computer in their office. Wireless access is also available from a growing number of locations on campus. For administrative staff, OIT provides desktop tools to access accounts and file space. Faculty and staff should contact the computing support person for their unit for information on how to access Unity account resources at work.

For other information about Unity computing resources, see OIT Web site.

Rules of use

  • All NC State computer and network resources are governed by Administrative Regulations - Computer UseThis link will open in a new window. University computing account holders are responsible for reading and abiding by these and all other published policies, regulations, and rules governing specific computing and network services.
  • Use of University accounts by anyone other than the account holder is strictly prohibited.
  • Account holders are responsible for the activities performed under their account.
  • Account holders are responsible for changing their account passwords and keeping them secure.
    Passwords can be changed at
  • University employees are required by the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. 132-1) to maintain copies of all work-related electronic records, including work-related email of a non-transient nature.

Additional service procedures/restrictions:

Unity login IDs (userids) and passwords

Unity  IDs are generated automatically, based on the account holder's first and middle initials and up to the first six letters of the last name. For example, Joe R. Johnson's userid would be jrjohnso. If there is no middle name, the userid would consist of the first initial and the first six letters of the last name. For example, Jane Johnson's userid would be jjohnso. In cases where a userid in this form has already been assigned, numbers are added to the end of the userid. For example, Jan R. Johnson's userid may be jrjohns3.

The password which is initially assigned to a University computing account is automatically generated from the last four digits of the account holder's Campus ID number plus the month and day (mmdd) of the account holder's birthday. For example, if a new faculty member, staff or student Campus ID is 000001234 and his or her birthday is July 28, the initial password assigned would be 12340728.

Changing passwords and userids

For security reasons, account holders are required to change their Unity passwords both as soon as their accounts are activated and at least once each semester thereafter. Unity passwords must be changed at least once a year and more frequently in some scenarios. Account holders should change their passwords on the Web with the Unity Password Change Tool.

Unlike passwords, Unity IDs remain the same throughout the account holder's affiliation with the university. Because many systems on campus depend upon Unity IDs, OIT will not change a user’s Unity ID, even if the account owner's university records reflect an official name change due to marriage, divorce, or some other reason. If extreme circumstances require a Unity ID change, an employee must seek approval from their Dean or Vice Chancellor or their delegates. The approver must send any request for a Unity ID change to on an employee’s behalf. The request must include the following information: current Unity ID, proposed new Unity ID, all components of the employee’s name (e.g., prefix, first name, middle name, last name, suffix), and a general explanation of the extreme circumstances for the change. Please note that a proposed new Unity ID may or may not be used as the actual new Unity ID.

Email addresses

All faculty, staff and students are issued Google Apps @ NC State accounts, which include the university's Gmail service. This is the official university email system. Sometimes these are still referred to as Unity email. Campus email addresses take the form of It is customary for faculty and staff to request an easier to remember email alias, in the form of For more information, see Mail Alias information.

Unity email forwarding

It is generally discouraged to forward NC State email to a different email account, but if necessary, this can be done through Gmail's fowarding process for either all messages or specific types of messages.  

Faculty and staff account activation, deactivation and deletion

As stated above, University computing accounts for new faculty and staff are automatically generated and activated when their employee information appears in the HR database. Accounts remain active for the duration of employment unless the account holder violates policies, regulations, and rulesThis link will open in a new window governing computing and network services.

Faculty and staff computing accounts are normally deactivated when an individual is no longer on the University payroll. When an account is deactivated, no one is able to log in to that account with that userid or access files stored under it. The current exception is that former employees are still allowed to log in to the MyPack Portal Self-Service page to access W2 information. This access remains active through the end of April of the year following their departure from the university.

Deactivation of Unity account privileges is performed monthly. However, upon written request and approval of the department head, OIT will extend account access for a brief time so that files can be transferred. During this extension period, the account cannot be used for any purpose other than transferring or retrieving files.

In special circumstances, a former employee's files in Unity file space may be temporarily reactivated after the employee has left the University but before the account and files have been deleted. A written request with the reasons for the reactivation and the approval of the former employee's department head must be sent to OIT at .

Accounts and account files are deleted one year after deactivation.

Retiree accounts

Faculty and staff may retain their existing Unity account privileges (including Unity email accounts) when they retire. Departments should enter these people into the HR system as "no-pay" employees with the job code Z968. When the retiree no longer wishes to keep the account, the department can terminate his or her no-pay status, which will also disable the Unity account.

Guest accounts

Special guest accounts may be created for applicants who are associated with the University (such as NC State-affiliated agencies, state or federal government agencies). Departments needing Unity accounts for guests should enter these people into the HR system as "no-pay" employees. The Unity accounts will then be created automatically for the guest. When the guest is no longer affiliated with the university, the department can terminate the guest's no-pay status, which will also disable the Unity account.

Additional information

The OIT Web site provides more information about Unity computing accounts.

Policy Disclaimer

This site contains information regarding policies, regulations and rules (PRRs) of North Carolina State University. To the extent of any conflict between the information on this site and the actual policy, regulation or rule, the actual policy, rule or regulation governs. NC State policies, regulations and rules can be found at the PRR Web SiteThis link will open in a new window.