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Equipment Evaluation Procedures

If the amount exceeds $50, the requests will go to the Committee for evaluation. If it is less than $50, the chair of the computer committee will handle the request.

Evaluation procedures

The rest of this page describes how the Equipment Committee operates. If you have suggestions, please let us know!

The committee examines the department’s needs and purchase requests submitted by faculty and staff, and tries to fund as many as possible, starting with those which get the highest rating.

Evaluation procedures

The Committee regularly holds meetings to examine department’s needs and purchase requests submitted by faculty and staff.
The Committee ranks each request as high, medium, or low priority.
If the Committee does not have enough information to rank a request, the staff or faculty making the request is invited to explain his or her justifications.
Until close to the end of a fiscal year, the department, therefore the Committee, is unsure how much money will be available for equipment. As the money is made available, the Committee will try to funds purchases, starting with those, which get the highest rating.
As new requests are submitted to the Committee or as more money becomes available, the priority list is updated.
All priorities are assigned relative to current requests and funding. Therefore, just being in the same situation as another individual in the past doesn’t imply the same treatment in the future.
Considerations and guidelines used for priority ranking

Degree of need. Some needs are more urgent than others. For example, if a departmental network printer in SAS breaks down, the Committee would consider the need as urgent. On the other hand, if a faculty member requests a printer cartridge for different fonts, the Committee would usually consider the need not as urgent. A large monitor may be essential for certain administrative staff. But it may just be convenient for a typical faculty member. Thus the same request for a larger monitor could be ranked differently.
The number of persons being affected. The number of persons that will be impacted by the equipment will also influence the ranking. For example, a notebook PC that could be checked out by any faculty received higher considerations than a work station used only by one person.
Comparison with needs of other labs or people. Some labs may have been more recently updated while others may have only outdated equipment. If this is the case, the ones with older equipment may be given higher priority.
Impact to the department. Some equipment may not be essential, but is important to department’s growth and its ability to attract faculty and students. One example is the workstations provided to our graduate students.
Matching funds. Equipment requests that come with matching funds are sometimes given special considerations.
Costs. With limited funds available, the Committee has to make trade-offs between the need and the cost.
Recommendations to the Department Head according to priority

High priority. The Committee makes sure that funds are available for those requests ranked as high priority and recommends to the department head to approve the purchase as requested.
Medium priority. If there is still money left after all requests for high priority have been met, some of the requests originally marked as medium will be reranked as high priority and recommendations will be made to the department head for his approval of the requests.
Low priority. Requests marked as low priority are unlikely to be funded unless the final funding for computing equipment is substantially larger than originally expected by the department and the Committee.
Classification of equipment requests and sources of funding

Department-wide operations and support. This group includes equipment supporting the need of administrative staff and equipment supporting a large number of faculty and staff. Departmental funds are used for this group.
Teaching laboratories. Equipment used in labs is primarily paid from lab fees.
Teaching needs for faculty not on tenure track. The Department pays for equipment that is needed for teaching for instructors and other faculty who are not on the tenure track
Needs for tenure-track faculty. This usually refers to equipment used by a faculty member in his or her office for personal use. If equipment will be only used for teaching, then the department will try to provide a computer, suited for the task. If the computer will be used for teaching and research, the faculty member is expected to seek resources outside the department for the research portion of the costs. The new NSF guidelines no longer allow computers bought from grants to be used for any office or teaching tasks. The department will try to buy a small portion of these computers so that they can be used for these tasks as well.
The faculty can request matching funds for research equipment, but preferably these requests should be negotiated directly with the COS research office.