Hardware Replacement Policy for Staff and Faculty


College-owned, individual-use computers are intended to be replaced at minimum every six years (depending on allocated budget). 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 a limited staff.


This policy applies to all Emerson College-owned, individual-use computers including thin clients, desktop and laptop computers in use by full-time faculty and administrative staff. It does not cover shared department computers used by temporary help (student employees, temporary employees, or teaching assistants) nor secondary-use faculty machines bought with departmental funds. We do, however, recommend that departments budget for and plan to replace non-refreshed, eligible computers to ensure secure and stable working environments.


User Services will engage in an annual replacement plan by examining the existing inventory of all Emerson College-owned hardware and making an initial recommendation for replacements based on the needs of various faculty and staff members as well as the funds that are available for hardware replacement.

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 only be granted if the computer meets the needs of the individual and if the operating system and other software will be supported for another year.

Users will be offered their choice of a Windows desktop, a Mac desktop, a Windows laptop, or a Mac laptop. Each machine will be based on a standard configuration determined by User Services for the year. The current User Services configurations will be available and updated each year in this article.

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

Custom Computers

Emerson IT will not pay for custom configurations. However, if faculty or staff have needs that go beyond the standard configurations, their department may elect to pay the difference between the standard and the custom amount. User Services will handle the process of getting the machine quoted and ordered.


Once we have placed a custom order, we cannot return or swap the device for another. Faculty and staff are urged to choose their preferred hardware carefully.


All configurations will have the standard package of Emerson software installed on it. This includes security software and administrator accounts that can be managed by User Services. Staff and faculty machines may NOT be deployed without security and administration tools.

User Services will also assist in the installation of any standard applications that faculty or staff need. However, for software that is not provided by the College and Emerson IT, the faculty or staff member's department is responsible for the purchase and installation of any licenses. The User Services staff will make their best effort to assist with installing custom software; or, depending on the complexity, recommend the department to directly purchase maintenance and support from a vendor. 

Data Transfer

User Services will assist faculty and staff in the transfer of data from the old computer to the new one.  Large data transfers (in excess of 50 GB of data) may take an extended period of time, and may require that your computer be unavailable for a day or more while the backup and transfer is being prepared. We will offer faculty and staff the option of working on a loaner computer during this period of time. Transfers of excessively large amounts of personal data (personal tax forms, music libraries, family photos) are not items that User Services staff are expected to help transfer as a part of their job, and are the responsibility of faculty and staff to save or transfer.

After all data has been transferred to the new machine, the previous machine will be removed from circulation by User Services. 

Newly-hired Faculty and Staff

Departments are responsible for supplying serviceable computers (either as new purchases or by identifying existing inventory) for newly-hired, full-time staff and faculty. User Services will configure new machines and re-image existing ones to ensure that they’re ready for incoming staff and faculty. We will also be available to consult with departments to help determine the best computers to purchase.

End-of-life Computers

Faculty and staff may NOT keep their old machine, nor can the machine be redeployed by the department when replaced as part of this program. Old machines will be removed from circulation and, after thirty days, will have their hard drives securely wiped. Machines will be either recycled or, if applicable, sold for parts. User Services will also accept old non-Refresh machines for recycling and will ensure that all hard drives are securely wiped or destroyed.  

Damage to Equipment

Faculty & Staff who receive a College-owned computing device (such as a computer or tablet) are responsible for basic care of the machine. Repair expenses for physically damaged machines (water spilled on a laptop, broken screens, etc), are the responsibility of the department. User Services will work with the department and outside vendors to ensure the most cost effective options for repairing and replacing damaged equipment; but costs will be the responsibility of the department that owns the computer.

Loss of Equipment

If equipment is lost, it should be reported to the Campus Police immediately, 617-824-8555, as well as the IT Help Desk, 617-824-8080. 

Printers and Other Peripherals

Most campus departments have access to a shared, multi-function printer that is managed by Business Services. For this reason, User Services does not replace campus printers on a defined life cycle, and purchasing new personal or departmental printers are the responsibility of individual departments. Departments are encouraged to use shared network printers to reduce costs and environmental impact. Other peripherals like secondary displays, docks and adapters, trackballs, etc., are also not covered by refresh, being the responsibility of the departments.

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