Beloit College
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Academic Technology Fund

1. PURPOSE AND SCOPE OF THE ACADEMIC TECHNOLOGY FUND

As part of the College's strategic goal to achieve greater centralization and standardization of technology resources, the Information Services and Resources (ISR) Division will be responsible for planning, budgeting, and managing the funds used to support faculty and Academic Affairs staff technology needs, effective June 1, 2005.

This plan builds upon the previous process administered by the Dean's office and ISR coordinates closely with the Dean's office on faculty and Academic Affairs staff technology needs.

The funds reside in a separate budget earmarked specifically for Academic Affairs technology needs and are called the "ISR Academic Technology Fund (ATF)". This annual sum of money is expected to primarily support, on a continuing basis, the computer equipment needs of faculty and Academic Affairs staff and the plan outlined below.

2. PRINCIPLES FOR ALLOCATION OF ATF FUNDS

In order to meet as many needs as possible, ISR employs the following principles in allocating funds from the ATF:

  • The goal is to replace faculty and Academic Affairs staff office computers on a 4-year replacement cycle, depending on available funding. Printers and monitors are typically not replaced until their functionality is impaired.
  • The Fund normally supports one computer per faculty or Academic Affairs staff member, when computer usage is required as part of his/her job responsibilities.
  • Priority is given to standard, basic computer equipment. Computer standards can be reviewed on our Hardware Standards page. The recommended standards have been carefully chosen because of their power, flexibility, quality, ability to meet a wide variety of campus needs, and value for the money. Other requests are considered and funded as possible.
  • Replacement and allocation decisions are made based on age of existing technology and needs of the individual, placed within the broader context of overall faculty and Academic Affairs staff needs and available funds.
  • New faculty are handled separately and ISR coordinates with the VP for Academic Affairs' Office each year to ensure the computer needs of new faculty are met. New Academic Affairs staff member needs are handled on a case-by-case basis, as requested by the supervisor.
  • Laptop and desktop computers are deployed to meet office needs. The college expects that faculty will use their laptop computers in the classroom and is no longer providing desktop computers in all classrooms, therefore laptops are standard issue for faculty. Requests for desktops will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
  • Printer cartridges, paper, and similar supplies are not purchased with ATF monies. These items should be funded through departmental budgets or by other means.
  • Except in rare circumstances, new computers and printers are not purchased for student employee workstations and other shared-use office computers. Instead, "previously-enjoyed" equipment that meets College standards is allocated for these purposes.
  • When special situations arise, ISR may consult with the Dean's office and others to address the matter.
  • If there is insufficient funding to meet identified needs in a given fiscal year and a local/personal printer breaks, priority will be given to those without networked printer options nearby and those faculty and staff whose positions require confidential communications. Other funds must be used if a personal printer is desired, but does not meet these criteria.
  • Tenured and tenure-track faculty and continuing Academic Affairs staff members will receive priority for new equipment. Previously-enjoyed computer equipment that meets current College functional standards may be allocated for adjunct faculty and short-term Academic Affairs staff needs.


3. ISR'S RESPONSIBILITIES

ISR's responsibilities within the context of the ATF include:

  • planning, budgeting, and managing the ATF fairly;
  • managing the stock of existing and new office computers, monitors, printers, and other hardware/software including: ordering new hardware; removing old equipment and refurbishing and recycling appropriate "previously-enjoyed" equipment for redeployment to meet other needs; delivering, setting up, and supporting the computer equipment that is purchased through this Fund. In some cases it may be necessary to remove existing computer equipment from service without replacement;
  • maintaining the College's inventory database of computer equipment, regardless of funding source;
  • providing limited support and service of non-standard equipment. Requests for service of non-standard equipment are handled on a case-by-case basis and dependent on the type of equipment and software in use.


4. RECOMMENDED HARDWARE STANDARDS

At present the College purchases Dell and Apple laptop and desktop computers and Hewlett-Packard and Dell printers. Standard configuration information is located on our Hardware Standards page. The college's current recommended standards have been carefully chosen because of their power, flexibility, quality, ability to meet a wide variety of campus needs, and value for the money. These are models the ISR staff can effectively troubleshoot and for which the college maintains service agreements and can get replacement parts. These recommended standards change frequently in order to keep up with technological and industry changes, college needs, and product availability.

5. STANDARD REPLACEMENT PROCESS

On an annual basis ISR staff will identify faculty and Academic Affairs staff eligible for an office computer upgrade. Eligibility will be determined through review of inventory information, known problems identified by ISR staff through service visits, and communications with faculty and Academic Affairs staff themselves.

ISR staff will work with eligible faculty and staff to determine computing needs and replacement solutions.  Standard configurations will be ordered wherever possible; if non-standard configurations are required departments may need to contribute to the replacement cost

We recognize that immediate/emergency needs arise outside this process such as:

  • new faculty member needs;
  • new Academic Affairs staff member needs;
  • immediate/emergency needs for upgraded or different computer technology for the individual's teaching, research, or job responsibilities.

Please communicate these immediate/emergency needs to Scott Murphy, Technology Support Manager, at murphy@beloit.edu or x2464.

These immediate/emergency requests are batched when possible for efficiency. Decisions are based on an evaluation of the individual situation in relation to the replacement cycle goals above, the individual's needs, and the budget. Requests can take up to two months to process so planning ahead is encouraged.

If your need isn't of an immediate/emergency nature we request that you follow the replacement process (outlined above) or wait for the next replacement cycle.

6. NEEDS BEYOND THE STANDARD/ADDING COMPUTER EQUIPMENT

We recognize that in certain circumstances there may be a need for something other than the new standard version of the equipment currently deployed in an office or the need to add computer equipment where none has existed before. Typical types of requests include:

  • New equipment where none has existed before request: you are requesting to add a computer or printer where one has not existed before;
  • Early replacement request: you are requesting to replace a computer, monitor, or printer before the equipment has reached its standard end-of-life point (generally four (4) years for computers, when warranted for printers and monitors);
  • Customization request: you are requesting to upgrade your existing computer (i.e. add RAM) to meet new needs, your needs exceed the capabilities of the College's current standard configurations (standard configuration information is located here), you are requesting a different brand than the College supports or you have other special requirements.

If one of these situations describes your needs, please contact Scott Murphy, Technology Support Manager, at murphy@beloit.edu or x2464.  A clear and thorough explanation/justification of your needs is required before any decision can be made.

ISR will evaluate the request based on technical needs and will weigh available resources and competing needs to determine which exceptions to make. The decisions may be to purchase a new computer, printer, or monitor; to recycle a better but "previously-enjoyed" computer into the location; to upgrade the existing computer; or to make no exception. There may not be enough funding to honor all requests. After the decisions are made, notification will be sent to all who made special requests.

7. PURCHASE AND REPLACEMENT OF EQUIPMENT BOUGHT WITH GRANT, ENDOWED, OR SPECIAL FUNDS.

ISR is available to provide planning, pricing, and technical information and assistance to individuals and departments using grant, endowed, or special funds to purchase office computing equipment. ISR acts as purchasing agent for this equipment. See the College's Technology Hardware/Software Purchase Policy (hardware/software/audio-visual) for more information.

Although you are not required to purchase computer hardware that conforms to College standards when using grant, endowed, or special funds, there are major advantages in doing so:

  • more economical - you can realize cost savings, over and above the educational discount, when purchasing the College's current standard models through ISR;
  • higher level of service - equipment that conforms to current College standards is supported by ISR. If you purchase non-standard equipment, ISR will provide more limited service. Requests for service of non-standard equipment are handled on a case-by-case basis.

Since grant, endowed, and special funds are often one-time money or represent special situations, office equipment funded from these sources is not generally placed in the replacement cycle.

When office equipment purchased on these special funds is no longer needed for its intended purpose, there are several disposition options:

  • the equipment may be re-deployed by the individual or department to meet another College need, providing this change has the approval of the granting agency and the equipment still operates effectively;
  • the equipment may be given to ISR, providing this change has the approval of the granting agency. Depending on the type of equipment and its age, ISR may re-deploy it to meet another College need or recycle it.

All computing-related equipment purchased with grant, endowed, or special funds is ordered by ISR, is considered College property, and is added to the College's technology inventory database maintained by ISR.  See the College's Technology Hardware/Software Purchase Policy (hardware/software/audio-visual) for more information.

8. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

I can find the same or similar gear elsewhere at a cheaper price. Can I purchase it myself or have you purchase it from the other company?

While we appreciate the desire to save a few dollars for the College, there are many considerations that must be taken into account in supporting College computing, not just the initial purchase price. We choose our vendors carefully with an eye towards competitive pricing, responsive pre-sales consulting, accurate billing, timely shipping, trustworthy service, and dedicated technical support. ATF purchases must be made through ISR from our standard vendors.

If I cut back on the configuration of the computer awarded to me can I use the cost savings to buy other items?

Awards from the ATF take the form of devices, not sums of money. The College's standard hardware configurations have been chosen for their power, flexibility, quality, ability to meet a wide variety of the campus needs, and value for the money. Consistent configurations also aid efficient service.

What if my computer, monitor, or printer malfunctions or a new need arises outside the standard replacement process outlined in Section 4 above?

Malfunctioning equipment: If your computer, monitor, or printer breaks, first contact IT Support for service. Depending on the situation, your computer will be repaired or replaced. ISR maintains a small stock of loaner equipment that may be utilized if your computer is out of service getting repaired for a significant length of time. A small contingency fund is maintained if your computer or printer is out of warranty and needs replacement.

New needs: Should new faculty/staff office computer needs arise outside the replacement process outlined above, please follow the procedures outlined in Section 5. ISR maintains a small contingency fund for emergency situations. Requests can take up to two months to process so planning ahead is encouraged.

What if I don't want to upgrade my computer on ISR's schedule?

We know how attached and comfortable some people get to their trusty computers. However, to facilitate budget planning and ensure efficient support and effective network operations, it is necessary to upgrade on ISR's schedule.

What if I want to "cascade" a computer within my department - "handing down" an older one to someone else?

ISR will consider "cascade" requests on a case-by-case basis.

What if I have questions or a special situation not covered by this document?

Please don't hesitate to contact IT Support if you have any questions.

9. REVIEW OF THE PLAN

The ATF's resources will be evaluated each year as part of the College's budgeting process and adjustments made as necessary and possible.