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Computer Replacement Cycle

Purchase College Computer Replacement Cycle Policy - 2013

A computer in good working order that is able to run current versions of various software is an essential component of today’s learning, teaching, and working environment. To ensure that students, faculty and staff have access to the computers and services they need to fulfill their roles, the College has instituted a variety of policies and programs to ensure that computers are maintained and replaced on a regular basis.

For computer labs:

The faculty Instructional Technology Advisory Committee (ITAC) is responsible for managing the  replacement cycle for the ~50 computer labs around campus. Each year, approximately $350,000 in ITAC funding is provided to ensure that the academic computer labs are maintained and upgraded so that they meet the teaching needs of our academic programs.

Each spring ITAC issues a call for proposals to the faculty and academic divisions. Proposals for ITAC funding must be endorsed by the Board of Study Head, the academic unit Chair/Director, and the Dean. During the spring semester ITAC reviews and prioritizes the proposals it receives, making award decisions by the end of the spring semester so that upgrade/replacement implementation can occur over the summer. 

For Full-Time Faculty:

Faculty Support and development are the responsibility of Academic Affairs. Every faculty member should have a computer for communications with students and colleagues, for use with the Moodle Learning Management System, for research, and for administrative tasks like advising and grading. Each full-time faculty member should have a computer able to run current versions of software needed for their discipline.

Faculty are typically provided with one reasonably current desktop computer. In cases where additional justification is clearly warranted and documented, Academic Affairs may choose to provide one reasonably current Laptop computer for faculty use instead of a desktop computer. 

To ensure faculty have appropriate access to computers and electronic services, in 2007 the Provost’s Office instituted the Faculty Computer Replacement Cycle. Under this program, full-time faculty will typically receive a new computer every 3 to 5 years. There are about 200 faculty, and each year an allocation will be made for faculty replacement computers, as funding allows.

Each spring CTS prepares a report for the Academic Affairs Office showing all FT-faculty computers, with out-of-warranty computers highlighted for further review. Specific requests for new computers are also forwarded for consideration. Following administrative review and funding allocation, CTS orders the computers and arranges their delivery to individual faculty members. 

In cases where a faculty member has more than one computer – such as a desktop and a laptop – as long as one of them is a current model and still under warranty, replacement of their second out-of-warranty computer is at the discretion of Academic Affairs.

Full-time faculty receiving a new computer must turn in the old computer to CTS for refurbishment/recycling.

For Part-Time and Adjunct Faculty:

Adjunct and part-time faculty computers remain the responsibility of the individual unit managers. Academic units should ensure that part-time and adjunct faculty also have access to appropriate computers.

There is no central funding pool for adjunct or part-time faculty computers. While CTS can provide refurbished and out-of-warranty machines where there is a special need, these computers are typically 5+ years old and are intended for temporary hardship cases only. Individual unit managers should plan and budget for computers appropriate to their employees needs.

For College Staff:

College staff computers are the responsibility of their unit managers. Individual units should ensure that part-time and student staff also have access to computers appropriate to their needs.

There is no central funding pool for staff computers. While CTS may choose to provide refurbished and out-of-warranty machines in extreme cases where there is a special need, these computers are typically 5+ years old and are intended for temporary use only. Individual unit managers should plan and budget for computers appropriate to their employees needs. Staff receiving a new computer must turn in their old computer to CTS for refurbishment or recycling.  

Typical Computers:

New York State negotiates contracts with major computer vendors each year. The current contract holder for PCs is HP, which offers a standard desktop and 20” monitor for $600, including warranty.  For Apple computers, the standard is the 21” iMac, for which the college currently pays $1,448, including warranty.

Since there is a significant cost differential between PCs and Apple Computers (2:1), and since both PCs and Apple computers are equally capable of running the same software (MS Office, Adobe Creative Suite), the College will provide HP PCs by default. Faculty requests for Apple computers must be accompanied by written justification for the additional expense, endorsed by the chair/director, and sent to the Academic Affairs office.

Since there is a significant cost differential between desktop computers and Laptop computers (almost 2:1), and since both desktop and laptop computers are equally capable of performing the same functions, the College will provide desktop computers by default. Faculty requests for laptop computers must be accompanied by written justification for the additional expense, endorsed by the chair/director, and sent to the Academic Affairs office.

Typical Software:

The College provides both Microsoft and Apple Operating systems and licenses for Microsoft Office desktop productivity software (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook.) In addition, the College provides concurrent licenses for Adobe Creative Cloud (Photoshop, Acrobat, Illustrator, Premier, etc.), SPSS, and many others via our Sassafras license server. Any other software needed by an individual employee is the responsibility of their administrative unit.

Typical Computer Warranties:

HP, Dell and Apple computers purchased through Purchase College are typically purchased with a 4 year warranty covering hardware replacement and next-day on-site service.  In accordance with the State contract with HP, the warranty is included in the price of the computer. If you are purchasing an Apple, you must add the cost of the Apple Care warranty for the same 4-year period.

While out of warranty computers may be functioning and still serve the user’s needs, these computers become a liability due to increasing cost in time and labor as they age.  When hardware problems arise and repairs are no longer covered under warranty, they take an inordinate amount of time and effort to repair. 

All Computers are College Property:

Whether purchased by the College, Research Foundation, or individual units, all computers and the software they contain remain College Property, and will be managed by CTS. In addition, appropriate use of these devices is governed under the NYS Cyber-security Policy, the Purchase College Computer Ethics Policy, the Purchase College Computer Privacy Policy, and the Purchase College Mobile Device Policy.

Computer Refurbishment and Recycling:

Whether new computers are provided by the College or the unit, the computers being replaced will revert to CTS for disposal (computers are classified as hazardous waste due to the heavy metals they contain).

In rare cases where a replaced computer still has some life left in it, CTS may choose to refurbish it and reassign it temporarily to a staff/faculty member in need.  These refurbished computers should in no way take the place of a new computer purchases, but rather serve as a loaner computer for the staff/faculty member to use during times when they are awaiting the arrival of a new computer that was ordered by their department for them.  Once their new computer is delivered, the loaner computer will be brought back to CTS for retirement and disposal.

In many cases the cost in personnel time keeping old hardware running exceeds the cost of a new computer.

While CTS understands departmental desire to save money by holding onto computers that still run, a decision to keep an old computer comes with a steep price in increased support costs, yielding less than desirable results for the College. For that reason, CTS may decline to provide service in cases where the computer is out of warranty. In addition, the “keep our old computer” problem is often compounded by cascading upgrades - we are asked to give the old computer to so-and-so, and so-and-so’s old computer goes somewhere else – multiplying the workload for CTS.  Therefore, CTS may decline to perform these “cascading upgrades” where we determine that course of action to be inadvisable.     

(Last updated August 2017)