department menu

CSUSM Telephone System

CSUSM Transitions to a New Phone System

Prior to Covid, IITS was in the process of replacing the obsolete 1,600 phone system with VoIP (voice over internet) desk phones. In one of the more fortuitous events of virtual work, Microsoft Teams has become a widely adopted platform accross the campus community, and along with that came a highly sophisticated telephone system native to Teams that offers substantial benefits. Given the need for mobility and flexibility, Teams is now able to serve as the Unified Communications platform that CSUSM was looking for back in 2018. 

At present, IITS is in the process of transitioning faculty and staff to the Teams phone service that will add campus extensions to any device with the Teams app. In a first for our campus, Teams phones will allow all lecturers to have their own extension, which they can utilize even when not physically on campus. General deployment of Teams phones is being prioritized to faculty during the spring semester. Faculty will have the option of using the Teams client for their extension or installing a desk set in their office. 

Lecturer faculty will have the option of choosing a Teams phone with their own extention (see Option #1 below) or a shared desktop phone in their assigned office (Option #2). 

See Options for Telephone Service below for more details and to choose your campus phone system.

Microsoft Teams Offers Mobility, Flexibility, Access

When faculty and staff shifted to virtual in March 2020, many quickly saw the shortfalls of having our telephones tethered to our campus offices rather than telephones accessible from any location, be that an office, at home, or even at a conference.

In responce to this need for flexibility and ease of access, campus phone extensions are moving to the Microsoft Teams platform, giving faculty and staff their campus phone on any device that's running Teams. With Teams, you can call any phone number using your campus extension from any location! 

How Does a Teams Phone Benefit Me:

  • Mobility - Your existing university extension will be mobile – you can make and answer calls on any mobile device or computer running the Microsoft Teams App. Your phone number is no longer tied to your desk/physical location.
  • Access - Teams phones will enable CSUSM to offer every lecturer on campus their own phone extension for the first time. 
  • Privacy - Your Teams phone will allow you to call anyone, including students, from any location without ever having to use your personal phone number, in that way protecting your personal information. You will also see who is calling you and be able to easily block any caller
  • Ease of Use - With Teams and Teams phones, you can use a single app to communicate in a variety of ways, from phone calls to text chat to video and audio meetings (even to collaboratively edit files), all in what we call a Unified Communications Client. 
  • Voicemail Transcription - Teams will automatically create transcripts of any voicemail messages. You can view the transcripts and recordings right in your Teams app as well as in your email inbox.
  • Call Flexibility - Using the Teams App,  you can have a conversation that includes both Zoom-like video participants and participants you call using your phone extension.
  • Managing Your Extension - With Microsoft teams you can delegate others to make and receive calls on your behalf and/or easily forward calls to other individuals or groups.

Available Options

OPTION #1 (Recommended) - Teams Phone Services

Campus employees who select the Teams phone will be able to access their campus extension from any device with Microsoft Teams installed. The client will allow for all standard calling features, additional accessibility features, and integrates with Teams so that you can have mixed calls with Teams video and standard telephone conferencing all in the same session. Lecturer faculty who choose Teams phones will now have their own extension and voicemail.

OPTION #2 - Desktop Phone

CSUSM will continue to offer a desktop phones, but, given the limitations of the platform, it is not recommended.  While Teams provides access to an extension from anywhere, a physical device limits inbound & outbound calling to your office location. If any member of the campus community prefers a traditional telephone device, IITS can install a desk phone in their office. Desk phone users will not be able to make and receive calls through the Teams app, and voicemail will be delivered via email.

To share your phone preference with IITS, please complete the form below.

Telephone Choice Form 

CSUSM Technical Guide & Videos

While Microsoft Teams is easy to use, IITS has created a campus guide and a  few short videos to help you get started using some of the key features.


  • What is a Teams phone?

    A Teams phone will allow you to make and receive calls from any device with Microsoft Teams installed.  Even from your personal smartphone, a key benefit is that you can place calls that will route through the campus phone system and display the campus information versus your private number.   You can receive calls and even have voice callers join Teams calls in progress simply by entering in the phone number.
  • When are Teams phones being deployed?

    IITS is working with various groups to deploy Teams softphones during the Spring and Summer terms of 2021.  If your division, college, or unit have not been contacted, please email to begin the transition process.

    Please visit the project website for more background on the Campus Phone Replacement (VoIP) project.

  • How do I move over to Teams phones?

    IITS will advise you of the date and time when your extension will move.  At that time the old phone set will no longer work and a new Calls button will appear in Teams.  You can dial a number by tapping on the Calls button or by typing in a phone number into any contact search box.  

    IITS will be removing your old phone from your office at some future date and will advise regarding scheduling.


  • Do I need a headset or earbuds to use Teams Phones?

    Similar to Zoom and Microsoft Teams video calls, these virtual platforms use your phone or system speakers and mic to communicate.  However you currently connect to your video conferencing platforms will work for Teams Phones. 

    Other options - Often the built-in device audio quality is considered less than optimal.  IITS is in the process of making recommendations for headsets and earbuds.  It has not yet been decided if this is a unit or IITS expense.

  • Can I make calls to any phone number from my Teams Phone?

    All voice calls made through Microsoft Teams will route through the campus phone system and charges are applied to the CSUSM campus phone bill.  General Fund units are no longer being charged for individual calls, but excessive use/charges may incur chargeback to your budgetary unit.
  • How do I get trained on Teams Phones?

    The Teams Phone has a very straightforward and easy to use experience.  IITS will also be providing onboarding sessions.  More information will follow on this page.
  • Why can't I just keep my old phone?

    The Pointspan system has been out of support since 2019, and for financial and operational reasons, the system needs to be shut down during the 2021 calendar year.  The system utilizes an obsolete phone platform and was a serious deficiency during the transition to virtual instruction in March 2020.  Our obsolete phone system, tied to physical locations, made answering calls from home offices difficult in those early days of our transition.

    Regardless of the option selected above, the telephone in your office will need to be removed or replaced as its old digital technology is not compatible with any of the platforms CSUSM will be using at the completion of this project.

Project Leadership - Points of Contact

William Craig  -- Unit/Service ManagerDirector of OperationsIITS OperationsCraven Hall 2237(760) 750-4713

Carlos Arciniega  -- Service & Technical Lead
Network Operations LeadIITS Operations - Network OperationsCraven Hall 2245