Staff Manual

About the BCRC

The Biology Computer Resource Center (BCRC) is a facility that was brought into being by a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and the Dean of the College of Natural Science and Mathematics (NSM). The BCRC is governed by the Morrill Information Technology Committee composed of Steve Brewer (Chair), Ana Caicedo, Bruce Byers, Zane Barlow, Chris Condit (Geo Sci Faculty Rep), and George Drake (ex officio). Steve Brewer is also the Director of the BCRC.

The primary purpose of the BCRC is to support undergraduate life sciences teaching and learning.



The minimum requirement for employment in the BCRC is to have a working knowledge of Macintosh computers. Students at the University of Massachusetts are encouraged to apply to the Director for positions that start at $11.00/hour with raises provided at the discretion of Director. Make sure to fill out a time slip indicating the hours you worked for the week so that your hours can be submitted and you can recieve your paycheck. Upon completing and documenting the training activities at the back of the staff manual, your pay will be increased by $0.50 per hour and you will receive a $0.25 per hour pay increase for each semester of service you complete after completing the training materials. You must complete the training materials by the end of the first semester of your employment to be eligible to continue at the BCRC.

Employees are expected to:

~Arrive to work in a timely fashion
~Present a professional aspect suitable for interacting with students, faculty, and staff
~Check their email regularly for updates regarding operations and procedures
~Follow the procedures outlined in this manual; and generally conform to the policies outlined in the UMass Academic Policies ( and the OIT Acceptable Use Policy ( Failure to comply with these standards and guidelines may be grounds for suspension or dismissal.

It's your primarily responsibility to monitor 311 Morrill III. Unlock the door when you arrive. Make sure both doors are closed and locked when you leave, if the facility will be unattended.

There are also basic tasks involved in running a computer lab:
* Clean and maintain the equipment as well as the room
* Replace printer paper
* Fix printer problems
* Answer questions
* Update schedules
* Fold finished HammerMill boxes and leave outside the room
* Empty hole-puncher
* Re-fill stapler or tape dispenser

It is most convenient for the consultant working Monday mornings to print out the weekly Reservation Schedule and post it on the door so that students may see what times classes will come in for the upcoming week.

It is the responsibility of each and every member of the staff to ensure that these tasks are done in a timely manner. If there is a mess on the desk or papers on the floor, clean it up.
Everyone at the BCRC would not want to work in a dirty computer lab.

Occasionally, the BCRC will conduct staff meetings. At these meetings the Director will discuss changes and new directions in the BCRC. Staff input into the operation and management of the BCRC is always welcome. If you have questions or concerns, you are encouraged to bring them to the attention of the Director.

Staff are particularly encouraged to find and work on projects of interest to them. Please report regularly on your progress. If you have questions or need assistance, please keep the Director informed.

Operational Procedures

Opening Procedures

Closing Procedures

At the start of your shift


Switching Shifts

When a class is scheduled in the BCRC

Before you leave

Lost & Found Policy

When you find an item:

  1. Determine if the item can be placed in the regular Lost & Found or if it belongs in the secure Lost & Found. The secure Lost & Found is for items that are likely to be stolen from the regular Lost & Found (calculators, wallets, ids, etc.). If you have any doubt, secure it and report it to the BCRC staff mailing list.

    A. For regular Lost & Found items:
    a) Wrap it up with a white sheet of paper
    b) Write the date that it was found and possibly where
    c) E-mail the BCRC staff mailing list
    d) Place the lost and found item in the Black Cabinet

    B. For secure Lost & Found items:
    a) Wrap it up with a white sheet of paper
    b) Write the date that it was found and possibly where
    c) E-mail the BCRC staff mailing list
    d) Ask Steve if he can secure the item in his office


Employees should provide the Director with a list of the hours they're available to work before Friday of the first week of the semester. The Director will construct a regular schedule for the BCRC.

Before the first week of the semester and before Finals week, the Director will offer wiki pages that allow staff to sign up for blocks of time directly, usually with the proviso that the first to sign up should sign up for not more than 6 hours until everyone has had a chance to sign up for hours (i.e. until two or three days has passed).

Frequently, when holidays are on Monday, other days in the week will run according to a Monday schedule. The BCRC will always run according to the University schedule.


In a serious emergency, call 911


Before coming to work on a snowy day, check the campus closing page ). If the campus is closed, so is the BCRC. If the snow begins later in the day, stay alert for news of the campus closing. The BCRC staff may determine that the conditions outside are poor enough to close early. If this is the case, make sure to properly shut down the lab and post a sign on the door.

Fire or Fire Alarm

Familiarize yourself with the evacuation route, location of the fire extinguisher, and fire alarms.

Chemical Spill

Some chemical spills may require the building to be evacuated. If necessary, evacuate immediately closing all doors behind you.

Power outage

In the event of a power outage, evacuate the BCRC and turn off all of the Powramids. Open again when lighting returns.


If you have questions or need help, please contact:
Name Office Phone
Steve Brewer 311A Morrill Science Center 545-2272 (office) 658-8129 (cell)
George Drake 545-2625 (office)
Sally Ives 545-0449

Skills and Professional Development


Each consultant needs to be familiar with the software and hardware provided in the BCRC. Below is an outline of the skills identified for consultants to develop.

BCRC Skills




Photoshop and gimp

Data projector

Word and OpenOffice


Excel and R