Policy 84 - Computing Centre - Role and Responsibilities

Approved Administrative Committee 264.2

COMPUTING CENTRE - ROLE AND RESPONSIBILITIES

GENERAL

1. The University provides a number of centralized facilities for the common benefit of the institution. One of these is the Computing Centre, which is designed to meet essential academic and administrative computing requirements. The University's overall policies for computing and information processing are described in Policy 80.

DEFINITION OF INFORMATION PROCESSING

2. The term "information processing" refers to the use of general purpose computing systems and special purpose systems that process electronic digital data and have the capability of transmitting, receiving or storing such data. The terms "computing" and "information processing" are used interchangeably in this policy and related policies and procedures.

RELATED DOCUMENTS

  • 3. a) Terms of reference - Advisory Committee on Computing;
  • b) Policy 80 - Computing and Information Processing;
  • c) Procedure 17-1 - Acquisition of Information Processing Equipment, Software and Services;
  • d) Procedure 17-2 - Computer usage - Allocation and Reporting System;
  • e) Terms of reference - Advisory Committee on Text Processing Equipment.

OBJECTIVE

4. The Computing Centre shall provide general purpose computing equipment and services sufficient for the University's teaching, research and administrative needs.

SERVICE SUPPORT

5. Consistent with the intent of the objective, and subject to budgetary constraints, the Computing Centre: 

  • a) shall offer interactive and batch computing with service level appropriate for the application and consistent with that at comparable Canadian universities;
  • b) shall facilitate access to the computers both centrally and at remote locations through a telecommunications network;
  • c) shall provide first level consultative support to users at conveniently accessible sites. Preference in selection of advisers should be given to suitably qualified full-time students;
  • d) shall provide special consultants and programming assistance for researchers and other users with complex problems in accordance with university priorities. The allocation and assessment of charges for such services shall be based upon a pricing mechanism established in Procedure Computing 17-2;
  • e) shall provide regular orientation and refresher instruction directly related to its services;
  • f) shall maintain as complete security and privacy of data files as may be feasible;
  • g) shall publish at regular intervals information concerning new developments and items of interest to its users;
  • h) shall acquire, implement, support and provide consultation for applications software and programming languages which have actual or potential widespread usage within the University community for teaching, research or administrative applications;
  • i) shall employ appropriate methods to monitor levels of utilization of facilities and services provided, in order to assist in planning and maintenance of suitable service levels.

PLANNNING

6. Deans of faculties and directors of services have the responsibility to assess their current and future needs for computing and information processing services and equipment, and to notify and consult with the Computing Centre on a timely basis.

7. The director of the Computing Centre has responsibility for establishing and developing long-range computing objectives and goals in consultation with the Advisory Committee on Computing, and revising them from time to time as appropriate.

8. Planning should be based on anticipated requirements for several years in the future.

9. Annual projections for computing facilities and services should be provided by the director of the Computing Centre to the Advisory Committee on Computing for information and review with respect to policy implications.

SERVICE CHANGES

10. The Computing Centre shall ensure, as far as possible, that changes in systems software and hardware will be made at such times and in such a way as to provide the minimum interference to users.

11. Users of computer services are entitled to receive adequate warning before services are discontinued. The Computing Centre should seek advice from the Advisory Committee on Computing prior to discontinuing major services.

FUNDING

12. Within its budgetary limitations the University is responsible for adequate funding for the Computing Centre to provide the service support specified in paragraph 5 above, and in compliance with Policy 80.

13. Additional funding, not part of the Computing Centre's regular budget, may be requested for special projects, new development, complex programming or any other area or application in computing which is consistent with the goals of the University.

14. Every effort should be made to obtain funds for research computing from external granting agencies. Whenever funds from an external source are not available, computing services for research projects should be supported by the University if this is feasible and provided they are consistent with academic goals.

15. Any additonal costs incurred by the Computing Centre in providing special services, equipment, terminals, programming, etc., when acquired for the benefit and use of a single faculty, school or service, must be paid for by the latter from its operating budget.

EXTERNAL USE

16. The Computing Centre may sell any excess capacity, services, etc., provided this is not detrimental to the University. Any Federal or Provincial restrictions on the external sale of excess capacity must be complied with.

17. The University encourages cooperative sharing of computing services with other educational institutions. The Computing Centre may, if desired, send certain portions of its workload to other universities and do work for them in return.

18. Preference in the external use of the University's computing resources should be given primarily to other educational institutions and secondly to governmental and other non-profit organizations.

19. In case of conflict, priority should be given to internal users subject to commitments made to external users. Therefore, the Computing Centre, in consultation with the Advisory Committee on Computing, should give due consideration to the University's internal needs before entering into long term commitments to external users.

20. The Computing Centre may execute some of its work commercially if this is economically feasible.

ALLOCATION OF COMPUTING CENTRE SERVICES

21. Effective allocation and reporting mechanisms are required in order to provide efficient controls and monitors on system usage, to enable an optimum distribution of the workload, and to assist in the control and use of funds available for computing purposes.

22. The Computing Centre shall establish an annual mechanism to enable faculties and services to inform the Computing Centre of their anticipated requirements for service from the central computing facility. Allocations for any or all types of disk or other storage space, communications lines, etc.) shall be decided by the Computing Centre in consultation with the Advisory Committee on Computing, in accordance with Procedure Computing 17-2.

PRICING STRUCTURE

23. Use of the central computing facilities is governed by the allocation mechanism of Procedure 17-2, but measurement and reporting of use shall be in accordance with a realistic pricing structure which has been developed in consultation with the Advisory Committee on Computing.

24. The Computing Centre shall prepare rate schedules which will reflect a similar pricing structure for machine usage by all University users.

25. Rate schedules and subsequent revisions shall be notified to all users by the Computing Centre at least one month in advance of the date they become effective.

26. Dollar charges shall be levied for contract research, for any recoveries of costs specified in research grants, for external sales of computing services and for special services. Sales to external users shall be charged according to negotiated agreements or contracts, including overhead costs as appropriate.

REPORTING MECHANISMS

27. Every user of the Computing Centre should have an awareness of the costs involved.

28. The Computing Centre shall compile and issue reports of machine use and related costs in accordance with Procedure Computing 17-2.

EXCEPTION

29. No exception may be made to this policy without the written consent of the Administrative Committee.

Published December 1, 1982

(Computing and Communications Services)

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