Laboratory Access and Use Policy

Department of Interdisciplinary Telecommunications

January 2004


Click here for updated Policy Word Document (Jan2004)

Laboratory Access

Laboratory access means that an individual will be issued a key and/or designated entry privileges to one or more of the laboratory spaces in the Engineering Center or Discovery Learning Center.   All faculty and staff of the department will have unrestricted access to the laboratories.  Students will have access only when they have a need sponsored by a faculty or staff member and by prior arrangement with the laboratory manager.  Sponsored access will be in one or more of the following categories:
  1. Teaching assistants for courses that have laboratory activities.
  2. Student research for thesis or capstone purposes.
  3. Independent study that requires laboratory resources.
  4. Research assistants working with laboratory resources.
Student access may be unlimited or restricted to certain times and/or days depending on the need and faculty sponsor request.  In any case, all student access must be reestablished at the beginning of each semester and summer period.  Students, who are in the lab to do course activities, will not have access privileges unless they are in one of the categories above and must always be accompanied by the TA supporting that lab activity.

Laboratory Resource Use

Laboratory resources include equipment, space, communication connections, equipment configurations, and material supplies.  Use of all resources must be scheduled with the laboratory manager.  This includes both regular, scheduled time for laboratory access for a course and for one-time activities associated with research or demonstrations and visits.  Equipment configurations, such as those for computers and data communication routers and switches, will be maintained only if that is requested as part of a multiple session resource reservation.  Reservations will be taken on a first come, first served basis.  Agreements between users of reserved resources to trade or swap reservations have no force - changes can only be made through the laboratory manager.

The laboratory provides a resource reservation process and database to track use.  The laboratory manager, the laboratory director, and the department chair, in that order, will resolve potential conflicts in resource use.

General-purpose equipment such as telephones, printers, and copiers are for laboratory related use only.

Information Technology

The laboratory has three classes of information technology resources:

A. The laboratory maintains general-purpose computers as both workstations and servers.  They are for laboratory related use only and not for general use such as e-mail and document preparation even for students with access privileges.  Laboratory computers are connected to the campus Internet by way of a firewall and other information security measures.  No one is to disable, modify, or otherwise circumvent these measures in any way.  The workstations in this class will be reconfigured at the beginning of each semester to a standard configuration and any data left on them will be lost at that time.  No backup support is provided for these computers.  Servers are maintained to support laboratory operations only and the laboratory manager schedules the necessary backup and other maintenance.  The laboratory manager must explicitly approve any changes to software or hardware configuration in these resources.

B. The laboratory maintains numerous computers and data networking gear for use in laboratory experiments and activities.  This equipment is not to be connected to the campus Internet in any manner without explicit permission and oversight of the laboratory manager.  The laboratory manager schedules any necessary software installation and maintenance required on this equipment.

C. The laboratory houses other computers and servers used by faculty and staff for their use and support of research and teaching activities.  These systems will be connected to the campus Internet either through the laboratory firewall, through restricted access not behind the firewall, or through physically separate network connection.  In the first two cases, the laboratory manager has complete authority to manage the network connection and changes may only be made with his/her explicit and scheduled approval.  In no case can there be any network connections between these computers and those in class A or B.  The laboratory provides no backup of maintenance services for these computers.

Housekeeping and Safety

The basic rule of housekeeping in the laboratory is "leave it as you found it."  Each student with access privileges is responsible for the state of resources used.  Any TA supporting a laboratory activity for a course is responsible for the state of resources used by the students in that activity.  Detailed rules for housekeeping are posted in the laboratories.

All activities in the laboratories must be carried out in a safe manner and consistent with University policies.  Detailed safety regulations are posted in the lab.  The faculty and staff sponsors of students with laboratory access are responsible for assuring that students have received a review of safety regulations in the laboratory.

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