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Academic Software Acquisition and Support Policy (ACIS Policy)

Statement of Policy

This document outlines acquisition and review policies and the assignment of support levels for academic software used by Lehigh University faculty, students and staff. Its intent is to enhance the stability and predictability of University computing resources, to optimize software acquisition and maintenance, and to guide the allocation of computing consultant time and expertise.

Acquisition

Library & Technology Services (LTS) acquires academic software that is requested by Lehigh faculty, staff and students, and/or recommended by LTS staff for campus-wide usage. Decisions about purchases and planning are undertaken by the LTS Software Committee in close consultation with faculty. Funding priority is given to applications that address a wide range of disciplines for instruction, academic research, and productivity (e.g., SPSS, Maple, Matlab, Microsoft Office suites) and software to be used with a course or for development of course materials. Items considered when evaluating software for acquisition and support include, but are not limited to: the number of potential users on campus; initial and ongoing costs; the ability of the software to run on Lehigh's computing systems; comparisons with other software of the same type; industry trends; and the level of staff support needed. If LTS concludes that it is not possible to provide support, then the requester must assume local responsibility.

Support Levels

LTS provides two levels of academic software support to Lehigh computing clients: full and limited. Each operating system and application that is made available by LTS falls into one of these support levels. This is true for all platforms and distribution methods including the Application Servers (serving Windows and Macintosh based software to the public computing sites and classrooms, university departments, and S.T.A.R.S./student residential), and Research Computing servers. In selected cases, LTS will also provide limited support for software not installed on LTS computing systems.

Full Support

Full support is given to academic software useful to broad segments of the University. LTS encourages clients to adopt fully supported software whenever possible. LTS staff and consultants provide installation services, technical support, and training for this software. LTS strives to develop in-depth knowledge about these applications and will pursue solutions to problems that may arise in their use at Lehigh. Training is provided, based on need, through the LTS seminar series or cooperative arrangements with departments. LTS may have vendor documentation for reference, and may have developed local documentation.

LTS also provides within a reasonable time current versions of fully supported software on its computing systems. Software upgrades are executed with a view to minimizing disruption for clients. Before an upgrade, appropriate user groups are contacted by Client Services team members to ascertain potential problems and arrive at an upgrade date. Software upgrade requests need to go through the LTS Change Management Process prior to being performed. Upgrades affecting clients will be announced prior to execution.

Limited Support

Limited support is assigned to academic software for which there is less need to recommend a standard or to provide a full range of services. This category of software is generally useful to fewer clients than is the case for full support software. The assignment of limited support is based on current client need and LTS resources. The consultant(s) will be familiar with this software and will provide installation and technical support. If a consultant is unable to answer a question, she or he may suggest strategies for resolving problems, or suggest other sources of assistance such as a vendor knowledge base or user groups. Training is not provided for limited support software. LTS may have vendor documentation for reference, and may have developed local documentation.

Other Services

Upon client request, following published guidelines and timetables, LTS may install on selected computing systems appropriately licensed, client-provided academic software. A copy of the license must be provided for LTS records. In concert with the requester, LTS also installs on its computing systems software which is intended to provide a convenience—through ease of accessibility—to clients. For software installed under either of these two conditions, requesters are expected to assume local support responsibilities and collaborate with LTS on upgrades and patches. LTS cannot provide technical support, training, or local documentation.

Support Assignments and Changes

At the time of an academic software acquisition, a support level is assigned. Current software, as well as software installed as a courtesy to clients, is evaluated annually for relevance to the Lehigh community, hardware and software support investment, and price increases. A list is maintained on the Web that specifies support level and support consultants for each application. The support level list is reviewed and modified twice a year.

Original effective date: April 1, 2000
Revision effective date: February 15, 2015

For additional help, please contact the LTS Help Desk at 610-758-4357 or helpdesk@lehigh.edu