Hardware Replacement

Hardware Replacement Policy

(Note: Italicized text reflects changes from the latest revision)

1.0 Overview

College-owned individual-use computers are “generally” replaced every four years, and classroom computers every five years. This is done for several reasons: to provide community members with the current operating systems and sufficient power for the latest software applications; to protect our campus network by updating the security protections that come with more recent operating systems; and to maintain a reasonable number of hardware configurations that can be well supported by limited staff.

VoIP (Voice over IP) phones are generally replaced every six to eight years or sooner if the service provider such as Zoom mandates an upgrade. 

2.0 Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines for the replacement of all College-owned hardware, outline LTS recommendations for standard configurations, and establish responsibilities for departments wishing to exceed those configurations.

3.0 Scope

This policy applies to all Wellesley College-owned individual-use computers, including desktop and laptop computers, in use by faculty (tenured, tenure-track, ISLs, PERA professors of the practice, lecturers, and leave replacement) administrative staff (working a minimum of .5 FTE for 9 months or more in a year), and shared department computers for use by temporary help (student employees, temporary employees, or teaching assistants).

4.0 Policy

Library & Technology Services (LTS) will engage in an annual replacement plan by examining existing inventory of all College-owned hardware, making an initial recommendation for replacement based on the needs of various faculty and staff members and the funds that are available for hardware replacement. The Department Chairs or Administrative Department heads will then review these recommendations to make the necessary adjustments to arrive at the final plan. Depending on the adjustments made, allocations of hardware are likely to be changed, particularly if there are funding constraints within the department. For example, if the initial recommendations from LTS included fewer laptops than the final number requested, then the total number of computers that can be replaced will be less to compensate for the higher cost of laptops over desktops.

Individuals will be notified prior to the replacement of their computer and will be given an option to request delaying their replacement by no more than one year. This extension will be granted if the computer meets the needs of the individual for another year, and if the operating system and other software will be supported for another year.

The plan will take into consideration the budget constraints and the academic cycles of various academic and administrative departments to schedule the purchase and replacement of hardware. LTS staff will contact the Chairs or the Administrative department heads in advance of replacement for consultation, scheduling and training.

LTS will assist users in the transfer of data from the old computer to the new one. LTS will also assist in the installation of any custom applications that the user needs. However, LTS cannot assist in transferring any custom applications that are not supported by the College that the user had installed on their own on the older computer. In many cases, these installations will require serial numbers for which the user is responsible.  Therefore, any reinstallation of these applications is the responsibility of the user.  After the data has been transferred to the new computer and the user confirms that everything has been transferred correctly, LTS staff will remove the older hardware usually within a day or two.

LTS maintains customized software images for the following standard configurations:

  • Windows Desktop Computer  - This will be the standard computer for faculty or staff requesting a Windows desktop computer. 

  • Windows Laptop - Ideal for anyone who travels a lot, and for use in both office and home.

  • All-in-One Mac “Desktop” - This will be the standard computer for faculty or staff requesting a Mac desktop.

  • Mac Laptop - Ideal for anyone who travels a lot, and for use in both office and home.

For more detailed information about the configurations, go to: http://www.wellesley.edu/lts/techsupport/configurations

In addition, LTS will recommend standard, advanced configurations for Windows PC Desktop, Windows PC Laptop, Mac Desktop and Mac Laptop, if requested. If a faculty or staff member eligible for replacement needs an advanced configuration, they are eligible for an allowance if they agree to purchase an LTS-recommended advanced configuration. In these cases, LTS will provide an allowance equal to the base price of a machine with the same operating system and the faculty or staff member would identify the funding source for the difference.

If a faculty or staff member requires more than one computer, they are required to identify funding for such purchases.  Such machines will be identified in the inventory separately and will not be eligible for replacement through this program.

LTS will not be responsible for supporting any machines that a faculty or staff member purchases that is not on the list of approved configurations. However, LTS will be happy to refer the faculty or staff member to contact other professionals to diagnose and fix problems.

Newly-hired faculty

Each new tenure-track faculty member will be provided with a standard desktop or laptop Windows or Mac computer at the beginning of their first year.

Current faculty

All tenured, tenure-track, ISLs, PERA professors of the practice, and lecturers on continuing appointments are eligible for an appropriate Windows or Mac notebook or desktop computer when their existing computers are due for replacement.

Leave replacement faculty

Leave replacement faculty are eligible for a desktop computer.   LTS will provide a temporary desktop for the leave replacement faculty.

Part-time faculty

Faculty working part-time are eligible for a desktop computer.

Permanent administrative staff of .5 FTE or greater

All administrative staff working a minimum of .5 FTE for 9 months or more in a year are eligible for one of the LTS suggested configurations.  LTS will recommend a configuration (e.g., desktop, or laptop) based on the staff member’s position requirements.  If a department would like to contribute toward a higher priced configuration such as a laptop instead of a desktop, LTS will provide an allowance equal to the base price of a machine with the same operating system and the employee’s department would identify the funding source for the difference.

Shared Computers

There are many offices that require additional computers for their student employees, temporary employees, or teaching assistants. LTS will assess the need in these areas and provide the minimum number of shared computers.  LTS will manage these requests by purchasing some of the base desktop configurations as well as use some of the computers that are being replaced for this purpose. 

Donated Computers

LTS recycles computers responsibly at the end of their life cycle.  LTS reviews desktops and laptops to determine if they are still usable for basic computing purposes (e.g., editing documents, web viewing, etc.)  LTS has a process for receiving requests for donations to charitable organizations and for student projects. Once a computer is donated, LTS is no longer responsible for repairing the equipment.  This includes upgrades and repairs to the operating system and hardware.  In good faith, LTS will remove all College-licensed software and install the version of the operating system that was purchased with the original equipment.


VoIP Phones

Use of a VoIP phone number does not require a physical phone. Calls can be placed and received using VoIP software on laptops, on desktops, or on smartphones. 

Physical phones will be allocated based on the following criteria:

  • Service desks

  • Safety phones in a lab or classroom

  • Faculty or staff has a desktop computer without a microphone

  • Faculty or staff share an office space or work in open cubicles

  • Faculty or staff has regular private conversations about sensitive matters

For those who qualify for a physical phone, LTS will provide an option for a basic headset in lieu of a phone and replace it every ~3 years, as appropriate.  

Damage to Equipment

Faculty & Staff who receive a College owned device (such as a computer, laptop, or phone) are expected to return it to LTS at the end of its life cycle.  In the event a college provided device (e.g. computer, phone, headset) is damaged (e.g., water spilled on laptop), the department will be responsible for the repair or replacement of the device.  In these cases, LTS will provide the most cost-effective solution taking into consideration factors such as the age of the device and the extent of the damage.

Loss of Equipment

If the equipment is lost on College property, it should be reported to the Campus Police immediately and LTS will find an appropriate replacement computer for the faculty or staff who lost the computer. If the equipment (such as a laptop or tablet) is lost outside the College property, then the department is responsible for the cost of replacing the equipment with an appropriate device.

5.0 Effective Date

This policy was implemented June 7, 2011, and updated June 7, 2021.