Hardware Replacement Policy for Staff and Faculty



College-owned individual-use computers are intended to be replaced every five 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 limited staff.


This policy applies to all Emerson College-owned individual-use computers, including desktop and laptop computers, and thin clients, in use by full-time faculty and administrative staff. It does not cover shared department computers for use by temporary help (student employees, temporary employees, or teaching assistants), or secondary-use faculty machines bought with departmental funds. We do, however, recommend that departments budget for and plan to replace non-refresh-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 College-owned hardware and 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.

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 for another year 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. Emerson IT and User Services will not pay for custom configurations. However, If users have needs that go beyond the standard configurations, the department may choose to pay the difference between the standard configuration and the preferred one, and User Services will handle the process of getting the machine quoted and ordered.

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 assist users in the transfer of data from the old computer to the new one. Note that 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 users the option of working on a loaner computer during this period of time. Transfers of excessively large amounts of personal data (for example: 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 the user to save or transfer.

User Services will also assist in the installation of any standard applications that the user needs. However, for software that is not provided by the College and Emerson IT, the user or department is responsible for the purchase and installation of any licenses. User Services staff will make a best effort assist with installing custom software, or make a recommendation that the department purchase maintenance and support from a vendor directly depending on the complexity.

After all data has been transferred to the new machine, the previous machine will be removed from circulation by User Services. Faculty and staff may NOT keep their old machine, nor can the machine be redeployed by the department.

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 funding for such purchases.  Such machines will be identified in the inventories separately and will not be eligible for replacement through this program.

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 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

User Services recycles computers responsibly at the end of their life cycle. Old machines will be removed from circulation and after 30 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 for the machine. Repair expenses for physically damaged machines (e.g., 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 lifecycle, 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, and the responsibility of the departments.

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