Chapter Five:  Fiscal Affairs

Procedure Title:  Laptop Computers
Based on:  Board Policies 4 & 7
Procedure Number:  5.33
Date Adopted/Revised:  May 17, 2010; November 30, 2015; July 25, 2016; August 9, 2017

  1. Overview
    1. South Arkansas Community College is committed to providing an appropriate office desktop computer system for each full-time faculty and staff member. This policy generally addresses the need by some faculty and staff members to have a laptop computer.
    2. A decision to provide a laptop will be based upon a documented need, the President / supervising Executive Cabinet member approval, and available funding.
    3. A laptop is intended for use for College-related business as a productivity tool, curriculum tool, and for research and communication. It is not intended as a replacement for any computers that may be owned personally. Use of the laptop for personal purposes should be within the standards of good judgment and common sense, in compliance with the College's published policies on acceptable use, and as required through the terms and conditions of applicable software license agreements. The laptop program will enable faculty or staff of South Arkansas Community College to conduct College business from various off-campus locations. This program does not change faculty expectations related to teaching, service or research.
  2. Eligibility
    1. Laptops will be authorized based upon job responsibilities, demonstrated need, and school/department approvals. The laptop replacement option will be available to eligible faculty and staff members at the time their current SouthArk-owned desktop computer is due for replacement under the replacement cycle program.
    2. Criteria for Selection
      1. Faculty and staff who travel frequently (on and off campus) as part of their job
      2. Faculty who heavily use computers in the teaching of their classes, particularly online and hybrid classes
      3. Faculty and staff who need to make frequent software installations for use in multiple locations
      4. Faculty and staff who that require a particular software for research needs
  3. Approval Process
    All requests for faculty and staff laptops must be approved by the requestor's supervising Executive Cabinet member. If the laptop is being purchased as part of the replacement cycle, costs above the standard College allocation for a similar desktop will be paid by the requesting department. Otherwise, the department bears the whole cost.
  4. Approval Process Requirements
    1. Faculty and staff will need to apply for a laptop stating the reason(s) they are requesting a laptop and outline their software and hardware needs. While criteria are indicated above, it is the responsibility of each supervising Executive Cabinet member to determine whether requests are in the interest of the College.
    2. All orders for laptops (as for any technology equipment or software) must be processed through the Office of Information Technology (OIT).
    3. Ownership of the laptop computer will reside with the College and the laptop must be returned when employment ends.
    4. The department is responsible for the purchase of additional peripherals such as monitor, keyboard, and mouse, docking station, batteries or other consumables.
    5. Computers are maintained on a common replacement cycle, whatever the source of funding. SouthArk may upgrade operating systems and/or application software during that period, laptop users may not be able to benefit from these upgrades due to hardware limitations as the laptop ages. At the beginning of each replacement cycle, laptop users must re-apply to the supervising Executive Cabinet member for a laptop and if approved, the department will continue to cover the differential costs.
    6. Information Technology support of College owned laptops will be equivalent to that provided for college owned desktop computers. Direct support (with a technician physically present) will be provided while laptops are on campus.
  5. Responsibility
    1. It is the responsibility of faculty/staff members to take appropriate precautions to prevent damage to or loss/theft of laptop computers in their care. The faculty/staff member or department may be responsible for certain costs to repair or replace the computer if the damage or loss is due to negligence or intentional misconduct. Policies for appropriate use of College property as identified in the faculty/staff handbooks or elsewhere may be used to determine whether liability due to negligent behavior exists.
    2. Data files containing social security numbers, student ID numbers, or student names and addresses must be encrypted when stored on a laptop or removable media being transported off campus.
  6. Theft or Loss
    If the laptop is lost or stolen it must be reported to Public Safety immediately. For theft or loss off-campus, it should also be reported to local police. The police report should include the serial number for the lost computer. Failure to secure and submit a police report may result in personal liability for replacement cost.
  7. Upgrades and Troubleshooting
    Should a laptop require hardware upgrade (e.g., memory, peripheral, or hard disk), software installation, or have problems that cannot be resolved over the telephone, the computer will need to be brought to campus for hardware service, software installation, or problem diagnosis. Information Technology staff will not go to off-campus locations to provide services.
  8. Software Licensing
    The laptop will be configured with a standard suite of programs that are appropriate for the type of computer. It is also possible that other applications will be provided to you by the College, based upon your professional needs or the requirements of the laptop. The College policies for appropriate use of software, including the requirement to demonstrate legal license to a program before it can be installed on a college-owned computer will be applied. Users are given administrative rights to the College-owned computers they use, whether the computer is a desktop or a laptop, based on need.
  9. Off Campus Internet Access
    1. You should feel free to use your laptop to connect to the Internet from locations other than campus, such as through an Internet service provider (ISP) at your home. Your laptop will typically be configured with both wireless and wired Ethernet, the common ways to connect to the Internet through an ISP.
    2. Information Technology will neither provide Internet access to you from off campus nor configure your laptop to work with your ISP. Although Information Technology may offer some tips or advice about best practices for off campus use, it will be up to you and your ISP to make remote connections work.
  10. Backup
    You are responsible for maintaining an appropriate backup of your laptop, especially of the work-related documents and data files you create that are not restored when reinstalling the operating system and programs. Depending upon how you intend to use the laptop, you may need to store some of your documents and data files on the laptop's hard disk drive. It would be prudent to establish a process of copying the data files you use on the laptop to your central data storage area (i.e., your “L” drive) as an added precaution against data loss. You should not use central data storage to backup personal documents or data files.
  11. Virus, Hacking, and Security Protection
    To ensure that virus protection and other security patches are current, laptops must be connected to the College's network on a regular basis and users must take responsibility for ensuring that security updates take place on laptops in their care. In the case of a significant security alert, users may be contacted by e-mail and/or voicemail to bring in their laptops to ensure proper security is enabled on the laptop. Although Information Technology pushes updates to College computers, laptops that are frequently off the College network may require manual updating.
  12. Inventory Control
    1. OIT staff are required to inspect all College laptop equipment annually; this inspection will verify compliance with the software update and security policies outlined above. In addition OIT staff will make recommendations for upgrades or replacement as appropriate. Finally, they shall verify the presence of the required SouthArk inventory control tag and report any untagged equipment to the Inventory Control Officer so they may update the College’s list of assets.
    2. Employees receiving a laptop computer must sign a hand receipt, issued from the Information Technology Department, for the device at the time of issuance. Tablets or laptop computers purchased with College or Foundation funds must be clearly marked as South Arkansas Community College property (tablets should be ordered with "South Arkansas Community College" and the OIT inventory control number engraved on them).