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IV. Computing and Educational Technology

The Office of Computing and Information Services (CIS) is responsible for all academic and administrative computing in the college. Led by the Chief Information Officer (CIO), CIS oversees the systems and services that support the use of information technologies by members of the campus community, and helps to guide the strategic plan for information technology at Vassar College. Faculty are provided with desktop or laptop computers that are connected to the campus network which provides access to the Internet and to an extensive set of campus resources, including email, the library catalog and reserve systems, other specialized software and file servers, and a course management system (Moodle). The College also has a campus-wide wireless network that is accessible from virtually every academic, administrative and residential building on campus as well as from a variety of outdoor locations. Multi-function Canon Printer / Fax / Scanners for faculty use are available in department offices or buildings, and the Vassar network is accessible from off campus (some resources may require the use of secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) connections; information on VPN can be obtained from CIS). Special software and equipment for multimedia development and materials production is available in the Digital Media Zone, located in the Main Library and large format color printing and scanning services are available via Media Resources, located in Main Building. All faculty are provided with a Vassar User ID which, along with their password, will be used for authentication on most campus computing resources.

For questions about Vassar accounts or other technology needs you may visit the CIS Help Desks, conveniently located in the Computer Center and College Center. You may also contact them at 845-437-7224 (x7224 from a campus phone) or via email at helpdesk@vassar.edu. The CIS Help Desks are open during normal business hours of Monday - Friday from 8:30 AM - 5 PM. For more information, see the CIS web site at computing.vassar.edu.

Academic Computing Services (ACS), a division of CIS, assists Vassar faculty to identify instructional technologies to enhance teaching and learning processes. Each academic department or program has a computing professional who is familiar not only with technology, but also with the discipline-specific problems and opportunities of the areas that they support. A complete list of ACS staff members and services can be found on the web at computing.vassar.edu/faculty

The Committee on Academic Technologies (CAT) is charged by the Governance to develop and recommend policy related to academic and educational technologies; to gather information from faculty and students about instructional technology needs and initiatives and serve as advocates for those needs; and to solicit ideas from and inform faculty and students of new initiatives related to instructional technology. It shall consult regularly with the Classroom Committee, the Library Committee, CIS (especially ACS) and other relevant groups as needed to carry out these duties. In addition, CAT, the Dean of the Faculty, the Dean of Strategic Planning and Academic Resources, the CIO shall consult regularly on technological needs and initiatives related to the educational mission of the college

Media Resources, another division of CIS, provides media and audio-visual support services for classroom/academic and administrative events as well as media productions services, equipment loans, large format printing, scanning and more. More information about Media Resources can be found at computing.vassar.edu/media-resources. Requests for media support at events should be made through your campus calendar reservations in the Event Management System (EMS). Requests for consultation can be made by calling the office at 845-437-7480 (x7480 from a campus phone.)

A. Computing Policies

The purpose of the information technology resources at Vassar is to support and enhance the college's program of teaching, learning, and scholarship. Such resources include, but are not limited to, computers, telecommunications equipment, data and voice networks (whether accessed locally or remotely), audio-visual equipment, technology and support staff. These information technology resources and facilities also provide important support for communication and administration. CIS strives to support the mission of the college by providing resources and facilities that are as extensive, effective, reliable, and as secure as possible. This goal can be met only if members of the campus community use these shared resources in a manner that is legal, ethical, and respectful of others.

Use of Vassar's information technology resources is subject to the same regulations as any other campus resources, facilities or activities. Users should be aware that laws that apply to the larger society, such as those governing intellectual property and harassment, also apply in the electronic community. Information technology resources may not be used for purposes that are inconsistent with the educational mission of the college. Users must not knowingly engage in activities that interfere with the normal operation of the information technology resources. For further guidelines in appropriate use, individuals should refer to the college regulations.

Vassar College values the privacy of individual users and will respect that privacy whenever possible. By its very nature, electronically stored and transmitted information is vulnerable to interception, so users should always take precautions to protect sensitive files. While the college reserves the right to access files and transmissions on college-owned equipment, it will not normally invoke this right without the consent of the user. If access without the consent of the user is necessary, it will take place only with the approval of the appropriate senior officer, with notification to the president, except when the college is legally required or constrained to act otherwise.
(Amended by the faculty February 15, 2005.)

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B. Assignment of Computers

All Vassar full-time faculty are eligible to receive a desktop or laptop computer, as are guest and visiting faculty members and part-time faculty members on a 50% appointment. Computers for all faculty and support staff are upgraded on a 4-year allocation cycle, department by department. Full-time faculty and support staff receive a new desktop or laptop computer, where guest, visiting and part-time faculty members receive a repurposed and refreshed desktop or laptop computer. Classroom and laboratory computers are updated via this process as well. More information on the computer allocations process can be found on the CIS website at computing.vassar.edu/allocations.

Major classroom technology upgrades should be addressed to the Classroom Committee through the office of the Dean of Strategic Planning and Academic Resources. Special or emergency needs should be brought to the attention of the CIO.

Computers held by faculty and purchased from general allocation funds are considered resources of the college and may be reassigned as needed within the institution when staffing changes occur.

Department and program chairs should discuss with the Dean of the Faculty all computer needs of visiting, part-time, and new tenure-line faculty at the time of contract negotiations so that appropriate resources can be allocated.

The college is able is to provide only one computer per person/position, except in cases where additional computing is dedicated to laboratory or research projects, or exceptional computing resources are needed. Computers purchased as a part of either internal or external research funding are not included in the regular computer allocation cycle and are typically upgraded and replaced through the use of external funding. Plans for the replacement of such computers should be discussed with the CIO prior to the initial purchase.

CIS has several laptops and iPads available for short-term loan for special use. Requests for longer periods (such as summer travel) should be approved by your department chair and made at least one month in advance. CIS can not guarantee the availability equipment for long-term loan.

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C. Location and Return of Computers

All computing equipment purchased with Vassar funds (start-up, departmental, endowment, grant, etc.) belongs to the college and must be returned to the college whenever employment is ended.

CIS has responsibility for inventory and reassignment of computers. Departments/Programs have the responsibility of knowing what computers are assigned to them and where they are. Plans to change the assignment or location of computers within a department should be brought to the attention of CIS. This enables CIS to have accurate information concerning the machines in use and their location and helps the college in planning for replacement and new technology.

Desktop computers assigned to faculty members should remain in the office. Laptop computers can leave campus. Faculty cannot be provided with two computers, one for their office and one for home. Faculty should purchase a second computer in such cases; a loan for such a purchase is available through the student accounts office.

Faculty members may also continue using their computer when on leave. If a computer is taken home, or to another off-campus location, its security (from theft and damage) becomes the responsibility of the faculty member in question. (Personal homeowners and travelers insurance may be purchased for coverage). If a faculty member will not be using the college-provided computer while on leave, it cannot be put in storage or otherwise taken out of use. CIS will aid in the transfer and storage of personal data, pending return, so that the computer can be reassigned.

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D. Software

New computers are issued with operating system and basic productivity software, including word processing, spreadsheet, email and other similar programs. CIS will update basic applications to the current level supported by the college. Additional applications, up to $500, are the responsibility of departments or users, to be purchased from their own operating budgets. More expensive software should be requested through the annual allocation process. CIS will help in reviewing new applications and finding trial copies. If, during the Allocation process, the software is made obsolete, CIS will fund the upgrade.

Repairs or modifications/upgrades should be arranged through CIS. CIS employs a full-time repair person who is able to repair some Apple equipment. Requests for repairs or upgrades to classroom technologies should be addressed to CIS. Departments and individuals should not order modifications/upgrades to college-owned equipment independently and should consult with CIS should repairs be needed.

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E. Additional Computers

Sometimes, departments/programs or administrative offices wish to purchase a computer with their own budget monies. Purchasers must consult with CIS and follow CIS protocols for computer (or printer) selection. CIS is not committed to the support of equipment that has not been approved for purchase or which does not meet current specifications. Computers purchased as a part of either internal or external research funding are not included in the regular computer allocation cycle and are typically upgraded and replaced through the use of external funding. Plans for the replacement of such computers should be discussed with the CIO prior to the initial purchase.

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