Service Level Agreement for Departmental Labs
A departmental computer lab is a space in which the University places networked computers to support the instructional mission of a specific academic department(s). The affiliated department takes responsibility for the operation of the lab while ITS provides technical and instructional support to make the lab as available and effective as possible while maintaining the integrity of the campus network. This document outlines these responsibilities shared by the academic department.
Note: Computers at which student employees work for a department are not a departmental computer lab. Computers integrated into research instruments are not supported by Information Technology Services and do not constitute a departmental computer lab. This document does not apply to public computing labs that are not affiliated with an academic department.
To qualify as a supported departmental computer lab, the facility must have been planned and implemented in close consultation with Information Technology Services. Ad hoc facilities and those funded by faculty start-up funds can be qualified as supported labs only after having been approved by the Information Resources Advisory Committee. Computer labs initially funded from external (non-Denison) sources may qualify for Information Technology Services support and equipment replacement (at university expense) if:
- the lab becomes an integral part of the department's curricular offering, and
- a Service Level Agreement for the lab is recommended by Information Technology Services and approved by the Information Resources Advisory Committee at least two calendar years before the equipment in the lab is to be replaced.
The staff of Information Technology Services will:
- Consult with departments in the preparation of proposals for new departmental computing labs, which are forwarded to the Information Resources Advisory Committee once each year for approval.
- Provide basic technical training for students if they are hired by the departments to support their labs.
- Provide no less than one week's notice to the department liaison or managing committee for any non-transparent changes to the lab (except for security and virus patches which may have to be applied immediately).
- Consult with managing committees or faculty liaisons to design and validate all software images for departmental computer labs as well as any changes in hardware or software. Information Technology Services staff cannot work with improperly licensed software or allow unauthenticated access to the Internet.
- Provide network and hardware troubleshooting and repair services with a response (not necessarily a solution) within one business day of the problem report to the Help Desk. The University cannot maintain spares or replacements for all systems, so we acknowledge that some repairs may take considerable time to complete.
- Provide software support services with a response (not necessarily a solution) within one business day of the problem report to the Help Desk. There are four levels of support, depending on the software:
- Full support (buy, install, train and service) for campus-wide licensed applications such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Internet Explorer, Firefox (not a complete list).
- "Best effort" support, which includes installation and testing on standard operating systems, for curricular applications that are not on the Information Technology Services "fully supported" list.
- No support for improperly licensed software, or applications such as WordPerfect, Microsoft Works, screen savers, non-instructional games or audio (not a complete list).
- Post appropriate signs regarding "out of service" and "out-for-repair" systems.
- Implement changes to departmental computing labs during the summer (such as software updates). Under special circumstances, changes may be made during the semester break (December-January). Information Technology Services may apply security and virus patches at any time, providing as much advance notification as practical.
- Conduct an annual equipment inventory during the summer.
- Fund and manage the process of replacing obsolete computers (currently on a 4-year replacement cycle).
The academic department(s) will:
- Consult with Information Technology Services (specifically, the instructional technologist assigned to the department) in the preparation of proposals for new departmental computing labs, which are forwarded to the Information Resources Advisory Committee once each year for approval. Proposals should focus on the pedagogical justification for the facility and include a list of courses and number of students that will depend on the facility.
- Authorize a member of the department faculty to act as liaison for single-department labs or in the case of labs that are used by multiple departments, organize a representative "managing committee."
- Be responsible for the day-to-day operation of the departmental computer lab, including:
- Managing access to the lab, including scheduling when not done by the registrar.
- Hiring, paying and scheduling student workers, if any.
- Maintaining supply items required in the lab, including printer paper, removable media, etc.
- Ensuring that hardware and software are not removed or reconfigured.
- Securing the lab space as appropriate and encouraging practices to protect the equipment from damage, theft and misuse.
- Helping to ensure that users of the facility know they are exclusively responsible for backing up their own data.
- Conducting basic troubleshooting prior to calling the Help Desk (reboot computers, connect power and data cables, replace batteries, etc).
- Testing thoroughly all uses of technology prior to an important event.
- Reporting promptly all support calls to the Information Technology Services Help Desk.
- Communicating hardware and software needs, including desired changes or software updates, to Information Technology Services with ample lead-time to allow research and implementation.
October 9, 2003
Revised June 18, 2010