Software Funding and Administration
This document describes the procedures that faculty members and departments should take when attempting to purchase and/or maintain licensing for software. WCTS and AITAG developed these procedures in consultation with the Provost and Dean of the Faculty, and the Committee of Division Chairs in order to provide better oversight, both in the acquisition and administration of software on campus, particularly in cases of significant expenditure. Individuals and departments should still feel free to make small purchases, as their budgets allow (see point 3 below)
How to request funding for new software
WCTS and faculty members will communicate regularly to gauge interest in the acquisition of new software by faculty. Acquisition of new software can occur:
- through a request made on behalf of faculty, nested inside WCTS’ yearly budget request to the College;
- by applying for funding from the WCTS Technology Experimentation Fund;
- outright by department(s), using faculty members’ individual funds, department funds, grants, etc.
1. Funding through the annual college budget process
WCTS and AITAG will collect requests from faculty for funding or administration of software during the budget request/approval process, thus assisting the Committee of Division Chairs in their budget preparation and priority setting.
Requests generated for the annual budget/approval process will need to include a written justification that explains:
- Type(s) of technology
- Timeframe for implementation
- Costs, including description of other sources of funding, ongoing and/or future costs, etc. Requests should explain why their departmental budget can not currently support the proposed purchase
- Articulation of the idea: justification of the request by describing why the software is needed, how it might benefit curricular and/or research agendas, what individuals and/or departments will use or benefit from the software, as well as how the efficacy of the implementation will be evaluated
- Support: If the request is granted, how can/should WCTS provide support? Are there other types of support needed?
Consultation and/or collaboration with WCTS staff member(s) prior to generating written justifications is highly advisable, since WCTS is familiar with which software is currently available on campus, techniques for negotiating prices with vendors, and resources regarding successful implementation of particular software packages into pedagogy and scholarship.
Requests must be submitted no later than September 15th (same date every year) to David Sprunger, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Requests will be evaluated and prioritized by AITAG based upon the description and rationale provided.
After AITAG prioritizes the requests, WCTS will submit requests through their annual budget request in October. Successful funding, determined by the College in February, will result in WCTS purchasing and administering the software at the beginning of the next fiscal year.
2. Funding through the WCTS Technology Experiment Fund
Not every need for software can be anticipated during the college annual budget process. Faculty/departments with an interest in acquiring and experimenting with software can apply at any time of year for funding from the WCTS Technology Experimentation Fund. Use of these funds is intended to foster both experimentation and/or short-term execution of pedagogical or scholarship goals.
3. Outright funding of software by a faculty member(s)
Faculty members and departments can choose to self-fund new (and existing) software at any time by using existing money from funds like PDA, departmental budget(s), grants, etc. Consultation and/or collaboration with WCTS staff member(s) prior to generating written justifications is highly advisable, since WCTS is familiar with which software is currently available on campus, techniques for negotiating prices with vendors, and resources regarding successful implementation of particular software packages into pedagogy and scholarship.
About the administration of software
WCTS will endeavor to identify departments that are shouldering costs and/or administration of software licenses, and work with those departments willing to transfer funds and software administration (e.g., vendor negotiation, purchase, record-keeping, installation, etc.) to WCTS. Faculty will maintain the benefit of using the software, but lose the unnecessary administrative overhead that accompanies the software.
Academic software administered by WCTS will continue to be funded in the foreseeable future. Any decisions regarding redirection of funds will only occur after direct consultation with affected faculty members and departments. WCTS relies upon faculty to determine the merit, frequency of use, and appropriateness of software purchases for their curricular and research needs.
About funding of extant software
For academic software funded by WCTS, WCTS and faculty members/departments will communicate regularly to determine if this extant software is still in use and if it merits continued funding. If not, consultation with the affected individuals or departments(s) will occur to determine next steps.
Academic software funded and subsequently self-administered by faculty members and departments continue to be funded through their own budgets and fiscal resources.