Data Access Policies

The School of Public Health (SPH) will adhere to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), as well as any policies set forth or adopted by the Texas A&M University System or Texas A&M HSC, and the following guidelines regarding the storage and security of electronic student data:

Storage and Security

    1. Electronic Records within the School are kept on a secure server, which is managed by the SPH Office of Information Technology.  Access to data on the server is controlled via personal logon IDs and passwords assigned by the Office of Information Technology.  Data contained on the server is backed up every evening and a copy is kept at an off-site location.  Electronic Student Data stored on the SPH server is deemed the primary and official copy.  This data must be kept current at all times. 

    2. Electronic copies of records maintained by individual users (compact discs, floppy discs, and tapes) must be kept in a locked location under the supervision of the user utilizing the electronic records.

    3. Data should be recorded on new high quality media (diskettes or CD’s) that have been certified by the manufacturer as error free.  Each tape or diskette should be labeled with contents and format.

    4. All diskettes should be identified with labels that indicate their contents and the date when the records were created or last updated.

Parties Having Access to Student Data

Access to student data will be restricted to the SPH personnel who have a legitimate need.  SPH has identified the following internal offices as having a need to examine all (or a portion of) available electronic student data:

    1. Office of Academic Affairs

    2. Office of Institutional Effectiveness

    3. Office of Distance Education

    4. Office of Student Affairs

    5. Office of Information Technology (IT)

    6. Individual Department Head Offices

Other personnel may be given temporary or permanent access in accordance with FERPA at the discretion of the Office of the Dean.

Limitations on Access

SPH has defined the following levels of access to electronic student data:

    1. Read Only access, which is defined as having the capability to view a data file, but not change it in anyway.

    2. Read/Write access, which is defined as having the ability to view and manipulate all aspects of the data files.

    3. Administrative access, which is defined as having the ability to grant and restrict access to the data files.


SPH has defined the following levels of access and the purpose of that access for each office:

    1. Only the Office of Student Affairs will have Read/Write access for the purpose of recording and analyzing student data.  The Office of Student Affairs will be responsible for ensuring that all official student data is current and error free.

    2. The Office of Academic Affairs will have Read Only access for the purpose of dealing with student appeals and grievances, as well as tracking school-wide student progress and retention.

    3. The Office of Institutional Effectiveness will have Read Only access for the purpose of tracking school and department progress toward meeting objectives and goals.

    4. The Office of Distance Education will have Read Only access only to education students’ records for the purpose of tracking the Distance Education students progress and retention.

    5. Individual Department Head’s Offices will have Read Only access only to departmental students’ records for the purpose of tracking the departmental students’ progress and retention.

    6. The Office of Information Technology will have Administrative access in order to assist the Office of Student Affairs with any technical problems that may arise with the manipulation of data, or the data itself.  IT will perform backup and restoration (if needed) of the data and will administer access privileges to the data.

Web Policies

Additions and Revisions to SPH Intra-and Internet Pages

The SPH office of Information Technology (IT) is responsible for overseeing information onto the SPH intra- and internet pages.  In order to assure that information on the web sites is accurate and up-to-date, each office and department of the School is responsible for periodically reviewing and providing recommended changes to IT for web information under their purview.  Request may be by e-mail or hard copy.  To assure that website changes are authorized, each office or department is to identify one or more persons with the authority to request changes to their office’s or department’s website pages.  The Office of IT will maintain a list of individuals authorized to request changes.

Additions to office or department web pages (including new linkages, text, or video) should be submitted to IT.  It is strongly recommended that requests for the addition of new information or pages be discussed with IT before text is provided.

Classroom & Lab Facilities Policies

Equipment Use Requests

Faculty, staff or student requests for equipment to be utilized in SPH facilities must be made, in writing, at least 2 business days in advance of needing the equipment.  Faculty standing requests for a semester long class shall be made, in writing, one week prior to the first day of the class.   All requests for audiovisual equipment use will be submitted to the Office of Distance Education. 

Procedures:

1.  The request form (SPH Equipment Use Request) is to be completed and returned via email to SCHEDULER, SPH DE (typed in exactly in this manner in GroupWise in TO line).  The form is available on-line at http://www.sph.tamhsc.edu/de/equip_request.htm.

2.  The SPH Office of Distance Education will be responsible for having the requested equipment in place, and operational, at the requested time.

3.  The SPH Office of Distance Education is not responsible for operating the equipment for any meeting, class or program (unless arranged in advance and approved).

4.  Should the person requesting the equipment be unfamiliar with the operation of the equipment, the individual is responsible for making arrangements with the SPH Office of Distance Education, in advance, for instruction.

5.  The requestor is responsible for notifying the SPH Office of Distance Education in writing should any equipment malfunction or become inoperable the same day the problem is detected.  Inoperable equipment forms are located on the door of each locale. 

Required Forms   Equipment Use Request Form (available on-line)

Student Computer Laboratory Use Policies

Students using the laboratory will be reminded that all equipment, materials, and software are state property.  Use of the facility and its contents must conform to the use of state property policies, i.e., usage is for academic use only.  The following are not permitted:

    1. Downloading inappropriate material such as adult images, humor, or other offensive material

    2. On-line access to inappropriate material, e.g., gaming sites, adult sites, on-line shopping

    3. Using e-mail or web site to send letters to government officials for the purpose of lobbying

Access

All active students in the SPH are free to use the facility during the times that the facility is open.  Unless reserved for class use, the facility is open from 8 a.m. – 12 midnight Monday through Thursday, and from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Friday.  Weekend hours to be posted soon.

 The Computer Lab Monitor will monitor the equipment and space.  This individual will also be available to provide access to the building during class times for late arrivers or guest speakers.

Facilities

    1. Neither food nor drink permitted in the facility.

    2. No 3rd party software is allowed without prior permission from SPH computer support staff.

    3. Students are not permitted to run streaming audio/video without prior permission of SPH computer support staff.

    4. Students may print work that is related to academic studies, but are requested to do so in a prudent manner.

    5. A CD writer is available for use in the lab, but only with prior written permission of instructor/advisor who requests the work.

    6. Playing music CDs is prohibited.

    7. Chat room activity is permissible for academic purposes.

    8. Any notices to be posted on the bulletin board must be reviewed by the Student Affairs. 

Procedures:

    1. All students must sign in and out of the workstation.

    2. In times of peak demand, it is requested that students limit use of a workstation to one hour if others are waiting to use a computer station.  A sign-up sheet will be made available for sign-up as needed.

    3. Any time a computer locks up or otherwise malfunctions, the user is asked to notify computer support staff in the Office of Information Services (Wells Fargo 300T) so we can take steps to rectify the situation as soon as possible.  During non-working hours, students should contact the student worker assigned to be available in the lab.  Students can also seek help at http://it.tamhsc.edu/support/.

    4. Students are asked to report any misuse or abuse of equipment to the Office of Information Technology.

    5. Faculty or student groups that would like to reserve the laboratory may request the reservation through the Office of Information Technology.

Scheduling of STCRPH Classroom and Staffing and Use of TTVN Equipment

The primary purpose of the dedicated class room at STCRPH is the teaching of students enrolled in the Texas A&M University School of Public Health (SPH).  The TTVN equipment in the classroom has as its primary purpose facilitating instruction through distance education.

In descending order, priorities on the use of the classroom include:

    1. Classroom instruction for RPH classes.

    2. Facilitate participation of STCRPH administration, faculty, students and staff in SPH activities.

    3. Facilitate participation of STCRPH students in SPH student organizations.

The SPH Office of Distance Education will schedule classroom and equipment use for all academic courses and class activities.  The STC academic administrative secretary will be informed of such scheduling needs.  For all activities beyond class instruction, the academic administrative secretary will routinely schedule the room and equipment based on the rank-ordered priorities listed above.  Any possible conflicts will be brought to the attention of the academic coordinator for resolution.

Other acceptable uses of the classroom include:

    1. Continuing education.

    1. Serving as a meeting room for community groups (without the need for TTVN equipment). 

Requests for the use of the classroom for continuing education or as a meeting room for community groups requires the approval of the STC academic coordinator and the Acting Regional Assistant Dean.  The process for requests from McAllen is to submit a written request to the STC academic coordinator who will forward them to the Assistant Dean for approval.  Requests from College Station for the use of the classroom for continuing education must be submitted first to the Assistant Dean who will consult with the academic coordinator.  The SPH office of distance education must be consulted before arrangements involving tele-video connections are initiated.

Procedure for SPH Room and Equipment Use Requests

The SPH Office of Distance Education will schedule classroom and equipment use for all academic courses and class activities.  Faculty standing equipment requests for a semester-long class shall be submitted electronically at least 2 business days prior to the start of the semester.  All requests for audiovisual equipment use will be submitted to the Office of Distance Education.  SPH standing committees may be scheduled on a semester basis.  Other meetings and conferences will be scheduled on an individual basis.  The person reserving the room is responsible for updating the schedule in GroupWise if changes occur.  All requests will be scheduled using the following list of prioritization.

Priorities

In descending order, priorities on the use of SPH conference and classrooms include:

1.  Courses (scheduled by OSA only)

2.  Meetings called expressly by the Dean

3.  Inter-Departmental standing and Ad-Hoc committees

4.  School required meetings called by administration

5.  Departmental meetings

6.  Faculty – individuals & groups

7.  Program & Center meetings

8.  Texas A&M HSC component requests

9.  SPH Student Association meetings

10. Students – individuals & groups

11. TAMUS requests 

12. Other non TAMUS requests

Procedure for scheduling a room for an event

1.  On the Texas A&M HSC main website under “Quick Links” is the “Classroom Reservations” link.  Fill out the form with the required information and submit.

2.   An email will sent to the requester verifying details of the event.  

In the event of a scheduling conflict, the individuals involved in scheduling both times will attempt an amicable resolution by contacting the person(s) responsible for scheduling the first meeting to see if an alternate day, time, or location can accommodate either party.  If a scheduling conflict is not resolved after all parties involved have communicated and considered alternatives, the Office of Distance Education may be contacted for assistance in resolving the scheduling conflict. Each case will be reviewed on an individual basis.  All attempts at resolving scheduling conflicts will be made with consideration of scheduling priority and meeting reasonable needs of all requesting parties.  Unresolved conflicts will proceed to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for final resolution.

The SPH Office of Distance Education will be responsible for having the requested equipment in place and operational at the requested time.  Should the person requesting the equipment be unfamiliar with the operation of the equipment, the individual is responsible for making arrangements in advance with the SPH Office of Distance Education for instruction.  The requestor is responsible for notifying the SPH Office of Distance

Education should any equipment malfunction or become inoperable the same day the problem is detected in order to maintain optimal capacity and functionality.

SPH Domain Name Support Policy

    1. Any user wishing to establish their own domain (URL) that references School of Public Health (SPH) resources which is to be supported by the SPH must submit in writing to the SPH Director of Information Technology a detailed statement describing the need for this URL.  This request must then be approved by the SPH Research and the Executive Committee before the domain will be supported.

    2. Any research project requesting domain names that require dedicated fixed IP addresses must be considered as a major project by the SPH Research Committee and must have funding for at least three years from the time the domain is registered before an address will be allocated to this project.

    3. All requests for using non-SPH domain names (URLs) to access SPH resources must provide the SPH Office of Information Technology with the following before the web sites will be supported:

      • The name of the person who registered the domain.

      • The name of the person who the domain name was registered to.

      • The email address that the user entered as the recipient for notifications about the domain when the site was registered.

      • The user account and password required to log into the domain registry to make modifications or diagnose problems if required.

      • The date the domain was registered and the length of time that it was registered for. 

      • The payment method that was used for acquiring the domain name.

    4. Any SPH Researcher or user who uses an external web provider for developing and maintaining a web site must take full responsibility for the contents maintained on this site.  If the research is funded through the SPH, the site must properly identify the SPH and adhere to the web policies and procedures of the SPH and the Texas A&M HSC.  Any site found to not adhere to these polices will be reported to the SPH Office of Research and the Executive Committee for appropriate actions.  If the site is for a research or other project funded through the SPH, the SPH Office of Information Technology will work with the researcher or user to relocate the site to SPH resources if desired.  Researchers who choose to maintain a site on an external server are encouraged to mirror their site on the SPH server.