Hardware Acquisition & Replacement

Computer Hardware Acquisition, Disposition, Replacement, and Disposal Procedures 


  1. Introduction 

The following procedure document outlines Wartburg’s approach to the acquisition, operation, replacement, and disposal of College-owned employee and classroom computer hardware. This document establishes general expectations for the purchase, use, re-use, and disposal of computer hardware, which helps to assure that, as a community, we are being responsible stewards of College resources, diligent toward security considerations, sustainably minded, and consistent in our practices between departments, employees, and the learning environment. 

These guidelines apply to all purchases made with Wartburg College funding, including departmental funds, grant funds (while these may not specifically be Wartburg monies, these are administered by Wartburg), Wartburg ITS funds, and faculty start-up funds. 

With any complex scenario involving resources and those who require them, there are circumstances that call for exceptions. Questions concerning exceptions may be directed to the Assistant Vice President for ITS & Chief Information Officer. 

  1. Technology Purchasing 

The following section describes the rationale and best practices for the purchase of computer- related technology at Wartburg. To assure the most effective service levels and achieve the best possible pricing for all Wartburg-owned computers, computer purchases should be conducted through Wartburg ITS. Contact the Wartburg Techline to initiate the purchasing process for all computer needs. 

By working with Wartburg ITS for computer purchases, faculty, administrators, and staff can expect professional guidance that helps to assure purchased technology is supported adequately and sustainably, and remains compatible with existing campus hardware and software. In support of this endeavor, Wartburg ITS has built relationships, and negotiated purchasing agreements, with specific hardware vendors, software vendors, service agencies, and consortia partners. Involving Wartburg ITS in technology purchases, and taking advantage of pre- negotiated purchasing agreements, helps assure the needs of campus users are sufficiently met, such as: 

  • Hardware which can efficiently supported 

  • Compatibility with Wartburg’s network environment 

  • Compliance with Wartburg’s security requirements and policies 

  • Suitability, based on needs assessment 

  • Efficient and compliant distribution of software in accordance with vendor license agreements 

  • Availability of sufficient Wartburg funds (including initial and recurring costs), and to assure sales tax exempt status 

  • Equipment is properly entered into the College’s asset management system to assure the device is accounted for and replaced per the scheduled timeframe. 

  • Due to the above descriptions, ITS will not support any of the following unless procured through and/or with the knowledge and approval of Wartburg ITS : 

  • Any device that is purchased by a department for over $500 of any hardware typically supported by Wartburg ITS (computers, printers, scanners, etc.) 

  • Any device that requires connection to the wireless network on campus 

  • Any device that requires connection to the wired network on campus 

  • Any printing device regardless of the cost 

With respect to hardware purchased with College funding outside the knowledge of Wartburg ITS, while Wartburg ITS will apply the best effort possible to supporting this hardware, support may be limited. 

Departments are allowed to purchase non-networked and non-inventoried hardware under 

$500 without approval by Wartburg ITS which can include but not limited to wireless mice, ergonomic keyboards, and carrying cases. 

All software must be approved and purchased through Wartburg ITS. This is to ensure compatibility, pricing, and that there is not a comparable solution already owned by the college. 

All technology, including hardware and software, regardless of how the purchase was originally funded (departmental funds, Wartburg ITS funds, endowed funds, etc.) remains the property of Wartburg College. Wartburg does not consider requests for sale or retaining for non-College uses (“gifting”) of technology to faculty, staff, or retirees; for example, at the time of departure from Wartburg except for retirees via section 3.2a. 

In some instances, specialized technology is a requirement that is associated with a faculty member’s research. Should that faculty member leave Wartburg, there is occasionally a need to arrange for the specialized hardware or software to move with the faculty member to their new institution. At the direction and authorization of the Academic Affairs Office, Wartburg ITS will work in partnership with the faculty member and Academic Affairs Office to arrange for this exception and any associated requirements, to include documenting the transfer. 

  1. Employee Computer Provisioning 

Standardizing the specifications of purchased hardware allows the College to efficiently select and manage technology, obtain better system pricing, reduce maintenance costs, and increase access to manufacturer and vendor assistance. These standards are re-evaluated annually based on a number of evaluation criteria, including; common needs, available specifications, cost, reliability, supportability, quality, and sustainability. The current standard operating system for employee computers is a Windows based computer due to our support and security requirements. Requests for Apple computers or other operating systems require additional justification. 

Wartburg College will provide one standard College-owned computer to each member of the faculty and professional staff of the College, including visiting faculty, to perform the required work of their position. A College-owned computer is defined as a computer that is configured for the general activities associated with being a staff or faculty member and is optimized to work on the Wartburg network with associated adequate security provisions. For Tenure Track faculty members and full-time administrative employees, the computer will be provided based on the current replacement schedule for the position being refilled. For new Tenure Track faculty members and full-time administrative employees hired into a newly created position, every attempt will be made to provide a new computer. For visiting or temporary faculty, as well as part-time employees, Wartburg ITS may provide a new or used computer depending on available inventory. Visiting or temporary faculty or part-time employees seeking a different computer than that which is provided by Wartburg ITS, will need to obtain their division’s director approval for the change. The computers described above are referred to as the employee’s ‘primary’ computer. Please see “Multiple Computers Per Employee” section below for more information regarding ‘primary’ computers. 

2.1.1 Employee Computer Replacement Cycl

Wartburg ITS budgets for, and schedules, computer replacements across campus on a defined rotation basis to ensure that end user computing needs are met with new hardware as systems age over time. Wartburg ITS continually monitors industry trends in both hardware components, and replacement cycles, in order to maintain a balance between fiscal responsibilities to the College while being cognizant of maintaining positive end user computing experience across campus. 

Wartburg ITS is currently replacing desktop and laptop computers on a five-year cycle. As hardware become more reliable over time and the fiscal needs of the College change, this replacement cycle may change in response to these environmental factors. Should these parameters change, Wartburg ITS will provide ample communication to campus regarding any future alterations to the replacement cycle. 

Employees, whose machines are scheduled for replacement, are notified via e-mail that their primary computer is scheduled to be replaced within the current refresh timeframe. The email includes the replacement timeframe and specifications of the new computer they will be receiving. No response is necessary to the email notification unless the employee’s computing needs have changed and they require different specifications than that which Wartburg ITS is providing, for which external funding sources to Wartburg ITS will be required. Overage Charges 

If the employee’s computing needs have changed, they require different specifications than that which Wartburg ITS is providing, and the change in specification results in a costlier computer, the employee’s department is responsible for locating a funding source to support this change. In these instances, Wartburg ITS will cover the cost up to the value of the computer Wartburg ITS had intended to provide. The employee’s department is responsible for the cost differential beyond the value of the computer Wartburg ITS had intended to provide. Overage Charge Assessment 

The cost differential the employee’s department is responsible for beyond the value of the computer Wartburg ITS had intended to provide is an ongoing upcharge. Once a computer of a certain specification has been purchased, Wartburg ITS will continue to cover the cost of the standard computer. The employee’s department will need to continue to make up the cost differential with each rotation continuing forward. Full/Partial Personal Contributions to Purchases of College-Owned Computers 

It is not allowable for an individual to use their own personal resources to pay for this cost differential beyond the value of the computer Wartburg ITS had intended to provide. Doing so presents ambiguous scenarios of ownership during computer servicing and replacement. Personal Hardware in College-Owned Computers 

It is not allowable for an individual to install their own hardware (ie. hard drives, peripheral boards, graphics card, memory, etc.) in College-owned computers, unless given express permission by Wartburg ITS to do so. Unfamiliar and/or untested hardware may compromise the stability or the computer as well as the ability for Wartburg ITS to reliably support the computer and ensure operability. Additionally, installation of additional hardware components to a machine by an individual not certified by the manufacturer to do so will void the warranty of the device. 

2.1.2 Replacement Due to Accidental Damage, Loss, or Theft 

In the event an employee’s College-owned computer is lost, stolen, or accidentally damaged beyond repair, Wartburg ITS will make every effort to replace it with a computer including comparable specifications as soon as possible. There is no charge to the employee, or the employee’s department, for this first replacement. 

In the event an employee’s College-owned computer is lost, stolen, or accidentally damaged beyond repair a second (or more) time(s), Wartburg ITS will not fund a replacement computer for the employee. The employee, or the employee’s department, will be responsible for the full cost required to fund a replacement for the lost, stolen or irreparably damaged computer with 

a computer built with comparable specifications to the original device for the employee to use going forward. 

2.1.3 Peripheral and Multiple Peripheral Provisioning 

Wartburg ITS attempts to provision peripherals for computers where feasible and fiscally responsible to do so. In general, a laptop computer will be provisioned along with a keyboard, mouse, an external monitor, a power adapter, a wired headset and a docking station. 

In locations where there is an expectation for a staff member to be physically available during regular office hours, a desktop computer will be provisioned along with a keyboard, mouse, a wired headset and two monitors. 

Additional monitors as well as any other peripherals are the responsibility of the employee’s department to fund unless they are determined required as part of the position duties. 

2.2 Classroom, Lab, and Public Space Computer Provisioning 

Similarly to employee-use computers, Wartburg ITS budgets for, and schedules, computer replacements in classrooms, labs, and public spaces on a defined rotating basis to ensure that end user computing needs are met with new hardware as machine hardware becomes dated over time. 

2.3 Scientific Instrumentation and Special Use Computer Purchasing 

Computers which support faculty research, specialized equipment, or computers in private labs are typically funded by departments, grants or committees. These categories of equipment are the property of the College and are not eligible for replacement using Wartburg ITS funds. 

Replacement of such computers is the responsibility of the department. Grant funding or departmental funding should be considered for replacement funding when these machines near the end of their useful life, as defined below. Wartburg ITS will provide support to the extent feasible given the skills and knowledge of current Wartburg ITS staff members. In some cases, departments may provide their own staff to support such computers, however these computers are still subject to the College’s technology policies. 

3. Computer Disposition 

The following section describes aspects of computer use on campus, tangential to provisioning and lifecycle, which includes exceptions and re-use of existing computers for secondary uses. 

3.1 Multiple Computers Per Employee 

Multiple computers per employee naturally incur added support burden for Wartburg ITS due to; additional systems for support technicians to maintain, added costs at replacement time, additional licensing fees for software and inventory applications, and added hardware costs when components fail and need to be replaced. Therefore, as stated in the Employee Computer 

Provisioning section above, Wartburg College will provide one College-owned computer (primary) to each member of the faculty and professional staff of the College, including visiting faculty, to perform the required work of their position. Any subsequent computers used exclusively by an employee are considered and are referred to as the employee’s ‘secondary’ computer(s). 

However, as also stated earlier, with any complex scenario involving resources and those who need them, there are circumstances that call for exceptions. The section below discusses acquiring, retaining, and supporting ‘Secondary’ computers for employees (ie. any computer used solely by an employee that is not their ‘primary’ computer). 

3.1.1 Acquiring Multiple (Secondary) Computers 

Employees can acquire secondary computers via the following avenues: 

  • Purchasing the computer with departmental funding 

  • Purchasing the computer with startup funding 

  • Purchasing the computer with grant funding 

  • Requesting the computer though a governing committee 

  • Requesting the computer from their division head with justification for the need 

  • Requesting the computer through the Assistant VP for ITS with justification 

Note that if the request is to accompany a primary desktop computer with a 

secondary laptop for mobility purposes, it would be preferable to attempt to replace the desktop with a laptop and peripherals to maintain one primary computer which satisfies both needs. 

3.1.2 Support for Multiple (Secondary) Computers 

The following points outline the support and lifecycle parameters of secondary computers which have been acquired via any means other than division head approval: 

  • Wartburg ITS will label secondary computers as ‘secondary’ in the asset inventory system. 

  • Secondary computers will NOT be replaced as part of the normal Computer Replacement Cycle (see section titled ‘Employee Computer Replacement Cycle’ above) 

  • Employees may retain the secondary computer for as long as it is supportable by Wartburg ITS (see section titled ‘End of Life’ below). 

  • Employees will need to seek a funding source to renew/replace the computer when either they, or Wartburg ITS, determines the device has reached the end of its supportable life (see section titled ‘End of Life’ below). 

  • Software on secondary computers will be supported by Wartburg ITS for the useable life of the device. 

  • Hardware in secondary computers will be supported by Wartburg ITS so long as replacement hardware is readily available in inventory. Replacement hardware will not be purchased by 

Wartburg ITS, but Wartburg ITS will assist in affecting physical replacement of hardware components which the employee has obtained via other funding sources. 

3.2 Reassignment and Re-Use 

Computers must be returned to Wartburg ITS when they are no longer needed and/or the employee using the computer is no longer performing work for the College. Wartburg ITS staff will work with departments to determine whether computers are no longer needed and if replacement computers are necessary. In the event an employee leaves the College, Wartburg ITS must be contacted so that the computer can be reformatted, the asset inventory system is updated, and the needs of any newly hired employee can be evaluated. 

3.2a Buyout Provision for Retirees 

When an employee officially retires from Wartburg College, they have the option to purchase their College owned laptop so long as an acceptable computer is available for their replacement. The purchase price will depend on the current cost of a replacement laptop with the following schedule within the 5 year rotation plan: 

< 6 months – full replacement price 

< 1 year – 90% of replacement price 1-2 years – 80% of replacement price 2-3 years – 70% of replacement price 3-4 years – 60% of replacement price 

> 4 years – 50% of replacement price 

**ITS Staff have no obligation to provide technical support for the laptop after this purchase. However, ITS will assist in hardware warranty issues as the warranty is registered to Wartburg. 

3.3 Refurbed Computers 

When a computer is at the end of the lifecycle prescribed in the sections above titled ‘Employee Computer Replacement Cycle’ or ’Classroom Computer Replacement Cycle’, Wartburg ITS may choose to re-designate the computer as a ‘refurbed’. Refurbed computers are gently-used computers which are used in locations where basic computing resources are needed and the use of a new computer is unnecessary. Refurbed computers may be used for student-used computers where only web browsing and/or light work is needed, or for temporary staff, where the specifications of a new computer would not be a requirement for daily use. Wartburg ITS labels refurbed computers in the asset inventory system and replaces them as needed, usually, with newer refurbed computers as they become available via established replacement cycles. 

3.4 Emeriti Faculty 

Emeriti faculty are not eligible for College-provided computer hardware and are expected to return their primary computer at the time of their retirement unless taking part in the Buyout provision in section 3.2a. Emeriti faculty may be provided ongoing access to shared computer resources within their academic department in coordination with their department chair and the Academic Affairs Office. Software may be provided to emeritus faculty when it can be done in compliance with current license agreements. License agreements limit what Wartburg ITS can provide and can change from year to year at the software license provider’s discretion. In particular, software licenses may require Wartburg ITS to install software only on College- owned computers or require a College affiliation of ‘current faculty, staff or student’. Wartburg ITS will not provide support to personally owned computer hardware at the time of or after retirement. 

3.5 Asset Management 

Wartburg ITS installs client software on College-owned computers to track inventory information about devices, which is essential for installing software and security updates, making configuration changes, and assessing where the computer is deployed as well as where it is in its lifecycle. It is not permissible to alter or disable the client software on any college- owned system. 

Wartburg ITS reserves the right to apply security measures , updates, and modify operating system settings and functions on College-owned computers in the interests of protecting College data and the College community as a whole. 

4. End-of-life 

The following section describes the processes by which computers and peripherals are off boarded. 

All computers and equipment must be returned to Wartburg ITS at the end of their useful life and are not, automatically, eligible for replacement. Wartburg ITS generally defines the “end of usable life” as equipment that meets one or more of the following criteria: 

  • is unable to run a supported operating system 

  • requires an operating system that is considered by the vendor as “end of life” 

  • is greater than 7 years old 

  • lacks necessary specifications (hard drive space, memory, etc.) to apply critical security patches or software updates 

  • is damaged and is too expensive to repair 

When a computer is at the end of the lifecycle (as prescribed in the sections above titled ‘Employee Computer Replacement Cycle’ and ’Classroom Computer Replacement Cycle’, has completed service under ‘refurbed’ designation, and/or meets the “end-of-life” criteria above), Wartburg ITS may choose to liquidate the computer via one of the three following methods: 

4.1 Resale for Revenue 

The newest decommissioned employee and classroom computers, which are not serving in a refurbed role may be sold to third-party vendors to provide a valuable revenue source to fund new computers each year. Where fiscally, and contractually, feasible, Wartburg ITS will make every attempt to use local vendors for this effort. 

4.2 Resale of College Computers to Employees 

Employees are able to acquire computers for personal use that have been purchased with College funding. These computers are refurbed computers which are no longer needed. The computer will be sold with an operating system, but no other software. The price will be set by Wartburg ITS. There will be no warranties, guarantees, support, or service after the sale of the computer. 

4.3 Non-Profit Organizations 

Wartburg ITS reserves the right to donate refurbed computers no longer needed in that role to local non-profit organizations. 

4.4 Hardware Recycling 

The oldest hardware coming out of service that cannot be sold or donated, is disposed of via the materials recycling service contracted by Wartburg ITS. 

4.5 Data Security on Decommissioned Computers 

For security purposes, the hard drives of ALL decommissioned computers are wiped using Department of Defense compliant erasure software with multiple zeroing passes to assure college data is completely destroyed before hardware leaves campus. 

History/Revision Information 

Responsible Division/Office: Wartburg ITS 

Creation Date: 03/04/2020 

Amended Dates: 6/1/2020;8/13/2021;8/15/2022 

Effective Date: 8/15/2022 Next Review Date: 6/30/2023 

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Article ID: 3416
Tue 2/14/23 8:59 AM
Wed 2/22/23 10:41 AM