Departmental Computers and Software

Revised March 2012

Computers and Technology Equipment

Many departments have computers, printers, or other technology equipment which is considered by the College to be "Departmental".  These items were usually originally funded by a department’s operational or reserve funds, or a faculty member’s grant or research fund.  They may be used around the deaprtment, in a research lab, or by a particular faculty or staff member as a secondary computer.

Each year, department heads and chairs are furnished with a list of computers within the department, and recommendations for what equipment should be replaced.  These come with an informational memo.  Departments are not required to replace all equipment, but should determine what will be replaced by department funds, and encourage individual members to consider funds for replacing the remainder.

We recommend replacing four-year-old or older computers.  We are unable to provide support or assistance for desktop computers older than six years, and laptops over four years.  Support of other devices such as tablets, netbooks, some mobile devices may vary, and it may be recommended to replace these with greater frequency; please query as needed.  We recommend that you plan on purchasing new equipment to upgrade research locations.   

Equipment that has aged beyond the ability to run a current Operating System must be removed from the network.  As of this writing, Windows XP (SP3 only), Vista, and 7 are permitted on the network (although only Windows 7 is supported after Sept. 1).  For Macs, OS 10.5 and newer are permitted and supported, although we anticipate ending support for 10.5 this academic year.

Individual Computers and Differentials

Faculty and staff members due for computer replacement on their primary computers will be contacted directly.  However, selection of some models requires a differential cost to be paid by department, grant, or research funds.  Individuals may contact department heads to request funds for upgrades to a standard computer model, peripherals for a laptop, or a differential cost for a Mac laptop (for FY13, $500 for 13”, $1200 for 15”).  Please note: the additional costs are solely based on their purchase price relative to the other offered models.

Visiting and interim faculty, part time and temporary staff, student workers, etc.  are assigned “upgrade” computers.   These are usually 3-4 years old and are replaced when they reach 6 years of age (sooner if stock is available).  The department may choose to pay for a new computer for temporary faculty, staff, or student workers if the one provided does not meet that individual’s needs. 

When a staff or faculty member departs the College, his or her primary computer returns to the central College equipment pool regardless of departmental  contribution, as does grant, start-up, or research fund equipment unless indicated by the Provost’s office.  Department purchased equipment remains with the department unless there is no use for it.  “Cascade” computers (primary computers replaced by IS) and  “upgrade” equipment are part of the College’s central computer pool.  If a position is vacated, the computer returns to IS for use elsewhere in the College.

Software

Some pieces of software needed by individuals or departments have a license cost that is not paid centrally by the College (although the cost is often significantly reduced).  These licenses were usually originally funded by a department’s operational or reserve funds, or a faculty member’s grant or research fund. 

Common software packages requiring licensing are Adobe Creative Suite, Endnote, Filemaker Pro, etc. Please note that many software packages such as Adobe Acrobat Pro, ArcGIS, SPSS, etc. are avialable by request and with out charge due to centrally provided licensing.

Software titles are often purchased via IS, and this is the College's proscribed practice.  Because of the variations in licensing and new software releases, we do not proactively contact departments with lists of software, but individuals should be prepared to purchase upgrades to most software packages about every two (2) years. A department will often choose to fund an individual member's software needs if the software supports an operational or pedogogical need.

Purchasing New or Replacements/Upgrades via Information Services

According to College guidelines, all computer hardware and software purchasing should be processed through Information Services.

The easiest way to get started is by contacting the Help Desk (x7447, help@brynmawr.edu). 

  • If you know what you want, you can simply request that a certain item or items be purchased on your behalf, or that pricing be provided to you.  Be sure to include your budget number for the purchase (and be sure to secure the prior approval of the budget's administrator if the budget isn't yours).
  • Or, ask for a consult to determine what equipment or software might suit your needs or be a suitable replacement for what you have now.

Please be aware that while IS can purchase a wide variety of hardware and software, not all will be equally supported.  Please query if you are unsure about the support of the item(s) you have identified.  The hardware identified on each year's standard computers list is always a safe option.

Also note that although we warranty computers for manufacturer defact and failure, and Windows machines for accidental damage (Apple offers no such protection), any repairs needed which are not covered by the purchased warranty cannot be sponsored by IS and are the responsibility of the department or research funds which sponsored the purchase (or alternate funds identified by the user).

In the future, more information will be posted about supported and recommended hardware and software.  In the meantime, IS staff members are available for a wide variety of consults.