SRI update regarding staff computers

This message is sent on behalf of Provost Rogan Kersh and Senior Vice President Hof Milam:

We write to update you about one aspect of our ongoing Strategic Resource Initiative (SRI). This group of faculty and staff continues to work hard to identify spending practices and policies that enable us to repurpose funds for the announced SRI efforts: support merit compensation, student financial aid, and strategic initiatives. One item under consideration involves computers that are made available to staff. (Faculty and student computers are evaluated via a parallel process by our IT Executive Committee, or ITEC.)

Historically, all eligible staff have received laptop computers as part of the College’s “student laptop program.” With recent advances in technology, laptops are more reliable than they were just a few years ago. By increasing memory and switching to solid-state drives to boost performance, we expect laptops to serve us well for four years.

Laptops are easy targets for theft and they are neither as reliable nor as powerful as desktop workstations. Staff who do not have a regular need to work away from their desk would be better served by desktop computers.

Indeed, we can purchase higher-performing desktops at considerably lower cost than laptops, providing better equipment for job performance and saving university funds. Comparative analysis shows that such a higher-performing desktop can be expected to last for five years.

Thus we will be extending our rotation period for desktop and laptop computers. The standard will be to provide staff members with a desktop computer. Only staff whose roles require laptops will be provided these instead of desktops. For staff who have only occasional needs for a laptop, departments may choose to purchase or rent loaner laptops for that purpose.

All eligible staff members whose primary laptop is three or more years old will receive a replacement computer. Our Information Systems (IS) team will soon contact department heads with a list of those staff and with details on criteria for qualifying for laptops. IS will forward laptop requests to the appropriate Vice-President or the Provost for approval.

Thank you for your cooperation as we work together through this new process.