Computers for Faculty & Staff
We strive to provide each user with a computer and the software necessary to get their job done.
In the current environment of desktop systems, this means most users’ needs can be met with a basic system. However, we recognize that some users require more or different features. We will work with you to try to meet your needs within budgetary constraints. While we can define basic needs on a broad campus level, individual or particular needs are something to be determined (and perhaps funded) on a case-by-case basis, in conjunction with the appropriate chair or dean.
Computer Distribution Plan
The replacement cycle is effectively 4–5 years, but it’s informed by other factors beside age. Our current process is as follows:
- Each year, the Helpdesk will determine the base operating configuration for a campus desktop computer; this is based on technical requirements of certain campus-wide software packages, availability/necessity of new peripherals, etc. At least two times a year, likely at the end of September and at the end of April, Helpdesk will compare this base specification against existing machines to identify machines for upgrade in the coming year. Individuals and sometimes entire departments will be notified of the schedule for their upgrade after each of these reviews.
- Independent of the above, any user can request that their machine be evaluated for upgrade at any time. The Helpdesk will review the users’ needs and work out a plan that may include a complete replacement or component upgrades such as RAM or hard drive space. Requests for review should be made directly to the Helpdesk.
- Users with medical issues or special needs that require changes in or additions to standard computer equipment, should first contact Human Resources about such needs; this is done to protect the individual’s privacy and to maintain confidentiality. Human Resources will then contact us to arrange accommodations.
- Users with particular needs that go beyond standard configurations may ask that their machine be considered for upgrade and that the cost of an upgrade be applied to the purchase of a more expensive machine (such as a notebook), with the understanding that the balance of the cost will come from the users’ departmental budget. Please note that this is best done when a machine is actually due for an upgrade. If the machine is not due for an upgrade and the individual still wishes to upgrade, any costs involved may fall to the department alone. Again, requests for review should be made directly to the Helpdesk.
Computers are now placed for faculty and staff based on the following three criteria:
- Compatibility with assigned duties — The “one-size-fits-all” model works for most users, but can be counterproductive for users who do not need as much power as our basic systems offer or for those who need more power. Prior to placement, the Helpdesk will work with the individual to assess their needs and match them with available resources. If additional resources are required, we will work with the individual to identify funding sources and expedite acquisition.
- Compatibility with workgroup environment — Interoperability with colleagues within a workgroup can be important for some departments. Where this is true, the Helpdesk will work with the department’s staff to ensure that systems are as compatible as possible, even if they do not have identical configurations.
- Availability of resources — Expectations often exceed one’s grasp. The Helpdesk will do their best within our budget to address the needs of each user. As noted above, this does not mean that new personnel get new computers, but rather that each user receives a computer that is as compatible with their needs and workgroup environment as possible. Exceptions to this are arrangements made by other parties, perhaps as part of negotiations during hiring, to acquire specific hardware or software. We will assist with the acquisition, installation, and support of such items that meet our standards; however, we are not responsible for the budgeting or funding of such items.
Part-time staff (including adjuncts and job share environments) — In the past, part-time staff relied on the placement of recycled machines. Recognizing that multiple part-time staff members may share a single space and equipment such as computers, we will place machines in office spaces that are shared by staff whose combined effort equals 0.75 FTE or higher according to the same rules as full-time staff. Part-time staff spaces that do not fit this criterion will continue to be outfitted with recycled systems.
Note: Our ability to keep accurate records and therefore make timely and effective decisions about upgrades and placements hinges on the cooperation of all users. Specifically, we need all users to log into the network every time they restart their machines. If a user skips the login screen on restart, we will not be able gather data about their systems that we use to make upgrade decisions. In addition, failing to login will also defeat measures designed to keep virus protection up to date. Users who feel they have a good reason not to login must then accept responsibility for reporting data to us and for keeping virus protection up to date on their machines.
We do not provide personal printing devices. Users are encouraged to make use of centralized secure printing on departmental copiers. Each user is given a mailbox and pin number to be used to retrieve prints jobs on the copier equipment. Most departments also have at least one networked B/W laser printer to be used as a backup in times of heavy copy/print volume or in the event of a copier failure. Please contact the Helpdesk or your department secretary for assistance with mailboxes and pin codes.
As part of the campus computer replacement program, ITS offers eligible faculty and staff a choice to upgrade their desktop computer to a combo that also includes a Chromebook computer. This offer is made possible because of the significant savings available from Chromebooks.
Each faculty and staff member, when eligible for an upgrade can choose to have both a desktop and Chromebook to use in tandem. This includes the ability to use Chrome’s Remote Desktop protocol to connect to your desktop computer on campus while you are at home or away so you can access your files remotely.
Chromebook Program Upgrades
In general, our Helpdesk staff will contact you when it is time for an upgrade, but if you are interested in obtaining a Chromebook you can also contact them if you have any questions (518-564-4433, email [email protected]).