Welcome to the Grapevine

The Grapevine is administered by the UAF University Relations Department and was designed to dispel rumors, clarify misconceptions and clear up misunderstandings about UAF topics of a general nature to improve communication between the administration and the UAF community.

University Relations does our very best to get timely answers to your questions. Ideally, we try to post an answer within 48 hours of receiving the question. Occasionally, it can take up to several weeks to get an answer depending on the availability of the individuals who have the answers and the number of people who may be involved. If you feel your question has not been answered in a timely manner, please resubmit the original question or leave your name and contact information so we can update you on our progress.

Thank you for your suggestions.

Submit your question or suggestion here.

As always, building and facilities issues that need attention should be forwarded to dispatch@fs.uaf.edu or reported directly to 474-7000. Unsafe conditions should be reported to Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management here.

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I am a staff person and a second-time grad student, and my family member is an undergrad student. UAF’s inefficient systems of paperwork make it very difficult to work here, to go to school here, and to speak highly of the university to others. Having attended two other universities, I know that paperwork systems can be improved (lessened, digitized), but in the years I have been here, they haven’t changed at all. As a grad student, I have had to physically take paperwork around to multiple offices every semester in order to register for classes. As a staff person, onboarding paperwork was equally inefficient. Recently, my family member attempted to register for classes online, but had to meet with an advisor first. Shouldn’t the rigor of UAF’s admissions process be enough to assume students can enroll in classes by themselves online, without having to meet with an advisor every semester to approve of their courses? After calling, coming in to the Registrar’s office in person, being told to send an email, and calling twice more, my family member is still unable to register for classes, and is now being told to fill out a paper registration form, have it signed by an advisor, and bring it in to the Registrar’s office in person. If UAF wants to increase student enrollment, and keep staff happy during tough financial times, perhaps it should come into the 21st century with other universities, and stop putting up paper roadblocks.


Thank you for sharing your ideas as to how we might make UAF’s processes more efficient.
As you know, at UAF, we have mandatory advising where students are required to meet with their advisor each semester. While meeting with an advisor each semester may seem like a burden for some, we believe that regular and consistent advising is to a student’s benefit. Academic planning is more than simply choosing classes — it is a comprehensive process involving time management, goal setting, problem solving and career exploration. In national studies, mandatory advising has been shown to increase student satisfaction, retention and graduation rates.
Faculty have been consulted several times over the years about the possibility of eliminating the advising requirement in order to allow for easier registration. Every time the topic has come up, UAF faculty have stood by the advising requirement for all degree-seeking students. That being said, we are looking for ways to keep the advising requirement but still streamline registration processes.  We hope to completely eliminate all paper registration forms requiring signatures before the beginning of the 2017 fall semester.
— Mike Earnest, registrar and director of enrollment services, Office of Admissions and the Registrar


I’m a staff member and a user of the Adobe suite of applications — Acrobat Pro, Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere and InDesign.

The Adobe products available to us through OIT are the CS6 versions, the last versions before Adobe went to a subscription-based licensing system. Those versions are getting a bit long in the tooth and are missing features that the current versions have.

Is there any plan by OIT/UAF to migrate to the Creative Cloud versions? Or are other options being explored?


The school won’t upgrade Adobe at this time because of how Adobe changed its licensing. If you want the Creative Cloud, your department would have to purchase it. If you have any specific questions, please contact the service desk in person. For service desk locations and hours, click here.

—Service desk staff, Office of Information Technology


What should I do if I see and hear of bullying or support of bullying when the instigator is not a UA employee, just housed here?


If you witness bullying at the university or a university-sponsored event — regardless of the affiliation of the individual making the complaint, doing the bullying or being bullied — a complaint can be filed in a few different ways.

A complaint can be filed by calling UAF Human Resources at 474-7700, filling out the form under the Conduct Complaint button on the UAF HR website at www.uaf.edu/uafhr or reporting anonymously through the UA Confidential Hotline at https://secure.ethicspoint.com/domain/media/en/gui/40174/index.html.

— Margo Griffith,  assistant director, UAF Office of Human Resources


In reading about the appointment of Gary Gray as interim vice chancellor for university and student advancement, I was truly surprised.

In a division that has a large workforce of women and whose departments are mainly chaired by women with extensive experience in student services, was there really no female candidate that could fill that role on an interim basis?


Gary Gray’s appointment is one that both I and President Jim Johnsen approved. While Dr. Gray may not have direct experience in student services, he has many years of experience as a faculty member, academic leader and higher education administrator. His experience working directly with students, as well as leading large units in educational institutions, made him a good choice to serve in this interim role.

— UAF Interim Chancellor Dana Thomas


Why did the price of sustainable parking hangers go up? The 2016 hangers are $264, up from $242 in 2015. I did not receive an email notification of the price increase. Since they are handled through payroll deduction, I didn’t notice until now, which is not appreciated. How is this increase justified?

Previous budget documents suggested decal costs were supposed to remain the same: https://www.uaf.edu/finserv/omb/budget-planning/UAF_FY16_Reduction_Summary_July2015-WEB-POSTED-VERSION.pdf


The price of an annual permit purchased in September — $264 — has not increased in recent years.  It could be that you previously purchased the permit in October, in which case the price would have been prorated. If you’d like to stop by or call parking at 474-7275, we can check for you.

— Jane Smith, administrative specialist, Office of the Bursar


Is there a spot to input requests for facilities without going through the work order system? While taking walk breaks around campus, I’ve noticed a few things that need to get taken care of, but I don’t know where to report those.

An example: Along North Chandler Drive, between Stuart Hall and the Fire Department, there are bushes that have grown over the sidewalk. To walk past that area, you either have to step off the sidewalk and into the road or duck under the branches. It would be great if those could be pruned regularly.


The UAF Facilities Services Customer Service Center provides a central point of contact for the campus community.

Questions and requests regarding any of the services provided by Facilities Services can be addressed by calling 474-7000 or emailing dispatch@fs.uaf.edu.

You might also check with the building coordinator to see if the issue has been addressed. You’ll find a list at https://www.uaf.edu/fs/building-coordinators/.

— Karrah Hearns, customer service coordinator, Operations Division, Facilities Services




Is enrollment down because the UAF administration doesn’t care about student safety?


While UAF’s overall enrollment has declined, new baccalaureate student enrollment has remained steady.

Campus safety plays a part in the college selection process, and the Admissions Office fields questions about these issues from prospective students and their parents. We do not have data to determine whether students chose not to attend UAF because of concerns about campus safety, nor do we have data to know the degree to which students are choosing to not continue their enrollment at UAF as a result of campus safety concerns. We are looking into how we can capture these data and support students in their decision-making process.

UAF is part of a national conversation about understanding how campus safety and Title IX affect enrollment and what we can do to support our prospective and current students. We have taken several steps to support our students and change our campus culture, including:

  • Green Dot training for students, faculty and staff to create a safer environment through bystander intervention.
  • AlcoholEDU and Haven training for incoming students as a required part of their transition to college.
  • Introduction of the topic through the play “Everything Changes” and talk-back sessions with orientation leaders at New Student Orientation.
  • A marketing campaign to raise awareness of Title IX and students’ rights, created by University Relations with the input and support of students.
  • Re-establishment of the Community Service Officer program by fall 2017.

It takes all of us to create a culture of safety and support, which includes asking ourselves and others what we can do better.

— Mary Kreta, director of admissions, UAF Office of Admissions and the Registrar



Why, in the year 2016, is “title” a required field when applying for a UA job at http://careers.alaska.edu?


The request for applicants to disclose a title is built into the vendor’s software and not adjustable by the university. The university has noted this as an issue and submitted a ticket to the vendor requesting the elimination of this field so that applicants are no longer required to disclose a title. We do not yet have a timeline of when that will occur.

— Margot C. Griffith, assistant director, UAF Human Resources


I have a question related to the addition of gender-inclusive bathrooms being added to UAF maps. Is there an option or listing of changing table-equipped bathrooms for visitors and their young children? Would this list also note whether the bathrooms are men/women/inclusive? I get this question mostly during the summer months but was unsure if such a map or link existed. Thank you!


We do not locate baby-changing stations on our campus restroom and gender-inclusive maps. It is a good idea. We will need to create an inventory of the restrooms with baby-changing areas first, so I will add this to our list of improvements and attempt to get it done this year.

— Jenny Campbell, director, Design and Construction, UAF Facilities Services


If women’s and men’s skiing are eliminated at UAF, what happens to the skiing scholarship funds at the UA Foundation? (Beaver Sports Whisenhant Ski Scholarship, Jim Whisenhant Ski Scholarship, and Karen and Lance Parrish Cross Country Skiing and Running Scholarship, for example.)


UAF Development and Alumni Relations and the UA Foundation will analyze the existing documentation for each fund and consult with the donors on next steps for the funds impacted by structural changes at the university.

— UAF Development and Alumni Relations, and University of Alaska Foundation

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