Capital Request Process
Each fall, the Financial Planning and Budgeting Office conducts the capital budget request project. As part of that project, “Computer/Technical Enhancement” requests are considered. However, unlike other capital budget request categories, “Computer/Technical Enhancement” requests require a collaborative process between Academic Affairs and IT. As a result, the process for these requests has created some confusion and, in some instances, duplication of requests. The following information is provided in the hopes of clarifying the process and the logic behind that process. In accordance with the procedures established by the Financial Planning and Budgeting Office, there are three basic categories for IT Systems and Equipment:
- Desktop computers and shared printers (under the four-year replacement plan). Please note: This is not a part of the department capital budget request process and is therefore handled strictly through IT by means of the procedure explained below.
- Major IT systems and equipment (Academic Affairs/IT capital budget request).
- Minor IT systems and equipment (departmental operating budget request).
Desktop Computers and Shared Printers (Four-Year Replacement Plan)
The current “four-year replacement plan” for desktop computers and shared printers is not handled through the department capital budget request process, but rather, the plan is administered separately through IT’s capital budget. The four-year replacement plan covers inventoried computer equipment including all unit-for-unit equipment replacements as well as new equipment for qualified new hires and incoming tenure-track faculty.
Each fall, the Computer Depot manager will contact department chairs or program directors in areas identified for equipment replacement under the four-year replacement plan (see spring IT newsletter for list). To begin the process, current equipment will be identified and inventoried and a needs assessment will be conducted. The needs assessment will include consideration of increases or reductions in staff, technology requirements of individual faculty and staff, platform migrations (Mac to PC or vice versa), and changes in configuration; e.g., desktop to laptop, etc. Unless otherwise approved, each unit identified for replacement will be replaced with a corresponding standard configuration unit. Incoming tenure-track faculty, prior to arrival, will be given a choice between a desktop unit or a laptop unit, but not both. Docking stations are not included as part of IT’s four-year replacement plan budget and therefore will require purchase and funding from department operating budget funds. Computer units may not be purchased with startup funds unless prior special approval has been granted from the Dean of the Faculty’s Office.
Major IT Systems and Equipment
The director of User Services will work with each department chair or program director
in identifying additional needs above and beyond unit-for-unit replacements including
unique configurations that fall outside the standard computer configuration identified
by IT and any off-cycle equipment replacement needs. A faculty member (with prior
approval of his or her chair or director) will be required to contact the director
of User Services to discuss additional or off-cycle needs and then provide that information
to his or her chair or director for submission through the department capital budget
It is the responsibility of the director of User Services to synthesize all IT-related requests and provide feedback, including pricing and product information, to each chair or director. It then becomes the chair’s or director’s responsibility to submit “Computer/Technical Enhancement” requests (located in the drop-down list under “Categories”) through the capital budget request process. Each request must be submitted individually and must include the following: a pedagogical justification for the request, the pricing and product information that was provided by the Computer Depot manager, and finally, the designation of a priority designation within the other requests of the department or program.
All Academic Affairs/IT-related capital budget requests should be submitted only by department chairs or program directors and will not be accepted from individuals through IT. Examples of such Academic Affairs/IT-related capital budget requests include:
- A department or program has a technological need to replace a computer off-cycle at the two-year mark (versus the standard four-year cycle).
- A department or program has a pedagogical need to upgrade from IT’s standard configuration to a more robust platform.
- A department or program has a need to add a projector or computer to a specific classroom identified as not currently in line for a projection unit.
- A department or program, on behalf of a faculty member, requests a lab computer not covered by his or her own startup or grant funds.
- A department or program, on behalf of a faculty member, wishes to have a computer replaced that was initially purchased outside the scope of the four-year replacement plan, for example, with startup or grant funds. These computers are not identified or maintained in the four-year replacement plan. Please note: These requests are not automatic and will require prior approval from the Dean of the Faculty’s Office before the department or program submits such a request.
- A department or program is required to upgrade certain software (in excess of $1,000) due to technology changes imposed by IT; i.e., operating system upgrades such as Tiger (10.4) to Leopard (10.5).
After requests are submitted, the dean of faculty and/or the vice president for academic affairs will further evaluate each request and work with IT in determining the weight of each request. Requests that are approved by the DOF/VPAA are then forwarded to the Financial Planning and Budgeting Office for budgetary consideration in conjunction with IT. Upon final approval of the Academic Affairs/IT-related capital budge requests, funds will then be allocated to the IT capital budget for approved requests. It is then the responsibility of the director of User Services to work with each department chair or program director with respect to making the purchase(s) for all approved requests.
Minor IT Systems and Equipment
Minor equipment requests, such as software, personal scanners, digital cameras, etc., that fall under the $1,000 mark should be submitted as part of their departmental operating budget through the annual operating budget request process. The director of User Services is available to speak with all chairs and directors, regardless of where their department fits into the four-year replacement plan, with respect to pricing and product information. Once approved, these funds are deposited into each department’s operating budget. The director of User Services is available at that time to facilitate purchases if necessary.
Computer Hardware/Software Capital Request Process—Administration
All of the above applies to administrative offices with the exception that the directors of each department should vet similar requests in each of their areas, with their respective division heads. Each capital request is submitted by the department and final consideration is handled by the Financial Planning and Budgeting Office in conjunction with IT.