ACADEMIC COMPUTING CONSULTING POLICY (3.5)

Policy Number: 
3.5
Date Issued: 
8/91; 8/97; 8/01; 11/05
Applicability: 
TOTAL UNIVERSITY

Academic Computing Services exists to assist faculty and students in the best, most comprehensive use of the computing facilities. This policy statement is not intended in any way to restrict the services the Computing and Information Technology Center attempts to provide. Because personnel resources are limited, it is imperative that some attempt be made to define what Academic Computing Services can do in a timely fashion and what may not be possible. In particular, the successful provision of Academic Computing Services requires considerable cooperation between the Computing and Information Technology Center staff on the one hand and faculty and students on the other hand.

The primary goal of Academic Computing Services is to assist faculty and students in using computing facilities. The emphasis here is on "assist." Some of the facilities users might require are statistical programming systems such as SPSS and SAS, programming languages such as FORTRAN and C, and/or other specialized academic software. The staff can also be of assistance in the design stage of research or instructional projects so that ease of use of the computing facilities is assured. With ever greater emphasis by all disciplines on computing, it is desirable for individual faculty members and students to learn to deal with the computing facilities directly, without the need for intervention by the professional staff.

In order to facilitate use, therefore, Academic Computing Services will aid individuals to learn the use of the hardware and software facilities available. Under ordinary circumstances Academic Computing Services personnel will not literally do projects for an individual, but will try to provide advice on how to complete the project most efficiently and effectively. In addition to limits on personnel time, it is not generally a good idea for a person working on a research project to maintain a position remote from the analysis of their data. The analysis of research data is an intrinsic part of the research process, and it requires the same care and understanding of the research assumptions as does the design and collection of the data.

When a project request is initiated by a faculty member or student, the staff will attempt to recommend the best approach to completing the project. If the request requires software not currently available at UNT, the staff will assist the researcher in finding appropriate software. If the project requires major program development or the expenditure of a significant amount of money to acquire the software, then the person(s) making the request must submit a proposal to Computing and Information Technology Management for review. Otherwise, the staff will seek to provide the appropriate software based on perceived need and generality of use. In general, if significant amounts of original programming support are required, and if the Computing and Information Technology Center cannot provide the personnel, the staff will assist the researcher to recruit a programmer he/she can hire with his/her funds to provide the programming support.

Notwithstanding the position taken above, there are a few problems requiring the use of the computing facilities which cannot be accomplished with existing software. It is, therefore, a major part of the mission of Academic Computing Services to bring the appropriate resources and facilities together with the researcher. It is the further mission of Academic Computing Services to provide such training and consulting services as are needed so that students and faculty members can effectively and efficiently use the computing facilities.

UNT maintains considerable computing resources for academic computer purposes and is likely to obtain more in the future. The opportunity for use is limited only by the imagination of the potential user. It is the objective of the Computing Center to provide for that use in the best possible fashion.

*Reviewed on 8/2001 by Phil Diebel; No changes made.