Drafted and Adopted October, 1995

Revised April 2010

The Associate Provost is the primary decision maker with regard to the assignment, upgrade and replacement of computers in faculty offices. The Associate Provost has adopted the following guidelines to assist in this role.

    • 1) 
      • A. Ideally, budget planning should assume a four-year replacement cycle for computers in faculty offices. The useful life of a computer can be extended by upgrading its memory and peripherals, and we should take advantage of these possibilities.
      • B. Older computers are not usually without value. It is probably best to think of all computers on campus as being the "property" of the university's office of Information Technology Services (ITS). They are "loaned" to academic departments on an extended basis, but are inventoried by ITS and supported by ITS. When they are replaced, they are reclaimed by ITS and normally are reassigned to other locations which can still make effective use of them.
    • 2)
      •  A. Not all faculty have equal needs and, within the four-year cycle, differences in needs should be taken into account. Faculty at the technological edge need more frequent upgrades. Faculty with less demanding applications might manage quite well with somewhat older machines.
      • B. To assure the best possible matching of computers with needs, departmental requests should indicate the applications for which an upgrade is required or desirable, and the role that these applications play in the faculty member's teaching and/or research. These requests should be made in consultation with the Assistant Provost and Chief Technology Officer; see 2d, below.
      • C. The Associate Provost has the primary role in assessing the relative academic import of these needs. In this assessment -

-- first priority should go to faculty whose on-going teaching and/or research is threatened by the obsolescence of their equipment;

-- second priority should go to faculty who have demonstrated a clear commitment to a new teaching and/or research initiative that requires new equipment;

-- lowest priority should go to faculty who wish to explore new teaching and/or research initiatives, but who have not yet demonstrated a commitment to pursuing them. These faculty should be encouraged to make use of the Mellon Teaching Center first.

The Associate Provost should also take special circumstances into account. For example, a new office computer is sometimes promised in hiring a new faculty member.

The Associate Provost will not be able to meet all requests. He should give timely written feedback to those whose requests can not be met.

      • D. As stated above, all requests should be made in consultation with the Assistant Provost and Chief Technology Officer or his designee. Sometimes, new applications really do require a more powerful processor; sometimes they require only some additional memory. The Assistant Provost and Chief Technology Officer is in the best position to judge which applications actually need particular upgrades. His role should not be to judge the academic import of the application. His role should be to assure the Associate Provost that requests reaching his desk are for the right technology, given the proposed applications.
    • 3) The Associate Provost should circulate these guidelines to department heads. Department heads will be asked to assess their department's technology needs at least annually. If an academic department wants to expand its computer inventory for certain purposes, then this would normally be made as a permanent equipment request to the office of the Associate Provost. This request would be evaluated and prioritized relative to needs for computers elsewhere on campus.
    • Departments cannot expect to retain all the computers originally assigned to them, as then the total University computer inventory will expand exponentially. We are already supporting a large number of computer systems (on the order of 1,000), and we are trying to keep a "steady state" in as many areas as possible.

By managing the University's inventory of computer systems, we strive to provide academic departments with effective technology while at the same time balancing the present and future budgetary requirements for technology funding.

October 1995 (Academic Computing Committee)

Rev. April 2010

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