User Support Policy

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The ITS mission statement and its accompanying goals provide basic information about the service and support available to members of the academic community. The statement and the goals are quite general and provide the flexibility necessary to make adjustments when necessary. This document is intended to clarify several more specific issues that relate to the supported environment.


The Acquisition Process

It is important to clarify the distinction between college-owned and personally-owned computing equipment. ITS is fully responsible to maintain the functionality of each college-owned computer. This subset includes all computers that are provided for employee use whether acquired through normal capital improvements each year or through the special acquisitions associated with grants and endowed chair enabling funds. It also includes the computers acquired for use in laboratories, both general-purpose and discipline-specific. It does not include computers acquired by individuals for their personal use.


Accordingly, the acquisition process for college-owned computers is somewhat centralized. It is necessary that all computers acquired for employee and laboratory use be appropriately configured to function efficiently within the Centre College network environment. It is also necessary to properly inventory and account for all equipment paid for by college funds – both for proper accounting procedures and insurance coverage, noting the characteristics and location of each. Furthermore, ITS has established key contacts with vendors that enable the College to enjoy significant pricing discounts and reduced shipping costs.


For these reasons, all computer equipment acquisitions are initialized in the requisition/purchasing system by the office manager in ITS. ITS staff are available to help configure requested systems and normally do so in consultation with appropriate members of the professional staff. When a new computer arrives, it is unpacked, configured for the local environment, tested for full functionality, logged into the inventory, and delivered to its designated location. Appropriate users are notified of the unit's availability.


Support Services

The support provided to these college-owned systems is for the hardware and a predefined set of supported operating systems and software applications. There is also support for use of special equipment available to produce technology-enhanced instructional activities. The High Performance Computing Center (HPCC) provides a rich setting of equipment and software to faculty for this purpose.


ITS now employs two staff professionals to assist members of the community in the use of the existing environment. The focus of the Instructional Technology Coordinator is the academic arena, providing a wide range of support to activities that are directly beneficial to the instructional program. The Instructional Technology Design Specialist assists both faculty and staff in the use of equipment and applications within the campus network environment. S/he delivers a program of training in small group settings for a comprehensive set of technology environments. Other members of the staff give greater attention to the technology environment, ensuring a dependable infrastructure and a robust collection of user applications.


Service of personally-owned computing equipment is the responsibility of the owner. Members of the ITS staff do not service computers owned by individual employees or by students, even if that equipment is used for professional, college-related activities. ITS staff also will not troubleshoot or support environments that are created for personal use such as a personal web site. The College is not an Internet Service Provider. Employees are expected to make their own arrangements for Internet service using local ISPs. A small capacity dial-up server is available for use by designated college officials who, by virtue of the travel associated with their professional responsibilities, require a dependable – albeit slow – remote access to college systems.


Who is Included

Every employee and student of Centre College is provided an account and access to e-mail and the Internet using a browser. An account also provides a finite amount of file storage and web development space. If one's work responsibility requires a computer, the College provides an appropriate workstation. Those employees for whom computing is not part of their regular duties access computers that are provided in small clusters near their working environment.


The College provides office space to emeriti faculty in support of their continued scholarly activities. E-mail accounts remain active, and web space is provided to support the scholarly and professional pusuits. Normally the College provides computers to emeriti only on a shared basis. ITS provides the same level of support to emeriti engaged in these activities within the same guidelines as outlined above for college-owned machines in the campus environment.


In some cases the College has work-at-home license agreements for software that is available on campus. These arrangements are made possible by the software licensing agency and generally have very strict requirements. There is some cost associated with the at-home software, but it is almost always at a price significantly lower than retail. Not all software vendors provide this perk; a list of those that do is available at http://centre.onthehub.com .