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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Question

Will statewide be releasing the feedback received from the campus community and/or the hiring committee recommendations as evidence the UAF community chose Dan White?

Response

The recruitment process for the UAF chancellor position included many factors. Input from the campus community, chancellor search committee and community members will not be shared publicly. Dan White quickly rose to the top of the nationwide competitive search. The president is confident Dan is the best choice to lead UAF.

— Keli Hite-McGee, chief human resources officer, UA system

Question

Where can I view my job title and position description?

Response

All position descriptions were moved to the new system when we implemented myUA. We have created a myUA employee guide on how to access position descriptions here.  

—Chris Oliver, HR consultant, University of Alaska Fairbanks

907-474-6100, cmoliver@alaska.edu

Question

Is the copper roofing being removed from the Wood Center going to be recycled? According to a local recycling business, the current rate paid for such material is around $1 per pound. If not, it might be worth looking into.

Response

Yes, it is being recycled and sold at market rate, according to Cameron Wohlford, senior project manager, UAF Facilities Services. Thank you for the question.

- Restroom cleanliness

Question

I know that due to budget constraints custodial services have been cut back. But the conditions in Bunnell are far worse than Gruening or Signers’. There is blood on the floor of the third floor women’s bathroom and trash is frequently overflowing in this bathroom. Dirt on the floors and halls is livable, but the bathrooms are unsanitary.

Response

Our two UAF custodial inspectors are working with the contractor to improve services, and feedback from the UAF community is imperative to our success, and to a safe and sanitary campus. There are several ways to provide feedback and receive a response to issues. Restrooms are equipped with QR code stickers on the mirror. Scanning the code and submitting the issue results in an automatic email to both the contractor and the UAF inspectors. The submitter should receive an email response back from the contractor stating when the issue will be fixed. Another avenue is to submit custodial concerns through the customer feedback form at http://facilities.alaska.edu/uaf/fsweb/feedback.cfm. The third avenue is to call Facilities Services Customer Service Center at 474-7000 and the concern will be emailed to both the contractor and the inspectors.

Service to offices has decreased, but service to highly used areas such as restrooms should not have been impacted by budget constraints. For a summary of current custodial services, please go to http://uaf.edu/fs/services/custodial/. Additional information regarding cleaning schedules is located at http://facilities.alaska.edu/uaf/custodial/diagrams/. As always, exceptional and emergency facilities-related issues may be reported to 474-7000.

— Kellie Fritze, Facilities Services

Question

I’m from one of the departments where, for cost-saving, faculty are asked to reduce their contract year and staff are asked to take voluntary leave without pay (furlough). In which departments UAF are employees being asked to do the same? (This is aside from program mergers, contract non-renewals, and outright layoffs.)

Response

For fiscal year 2017 (the year we are currently in), there are at least four units that have instituted furloughs — two that report to the vice chancellor for administrative services and two that report to the provost. Represented staff in one unit that reports to the vice chancellor for administrative services agreed to a pay reduction. And there are many units that have instituted contract reductions for administrators, faculty and staff (Chancellor’s Office; Provost’s Office; Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research; Office of the Vice Chancellor for Rural, Community and Native Education; and Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs).

Looking forward for FY 18, it is hard to answer right now what strategies departments will have to use, as we don’t yet have a final budget appropriation from the state.

The biggest type of cost in UAF’s budget is personnel (salaries and benefits). Reducing our budget therefore generally means we have to make personnel cost reductions of one kind or another. As you’ve noted, the approach to personnel reductions varies across departments. Some are doing layoffs and nonrenewals, and some are trying to keep the same staff and faculty but are employing contract reductions and furloughs. The difference in approach across units has to do with differences in program models, attrition, anticipated retirements, anticipated changes in program revenue, etc. A unit that is trying to “bridge” to a scenario with new revenue may try to keep staff and faculty on in the interim and employ contract reductions temporarily, with the idea that employees would return to full-time later.  An academic unit that is discontinuing a program might reduce contracts temporarily across the college or school during the teach-out period until it can permanently reduce or reorganize faculty and staff associated with the discontinued program.

I am hopeful that the Legislature will arrive at a more sustainable budget approach this year so this will be the last year of deep reductions. With some fiscal stability, UAF will likewise be able to settle on a more sustainable budget approach.

— Kari Burell, vice chancellor for administrative services

 

 

Question

Is there a generous donor we can thank for all of the 100th anniversary festivities today? I saw all of the balloons, free posters and pins, cake and gifts for people like the president, so I know it must have been pretty expensive.

Response

We are glad you enjoyed the 100th anniversary celebration. The posters, pins and cake were paid for by private funds and would not have been possible without our generous donors. All efforts were made to be resourceful with this centennial milestone —  we partnered with community members on in-kind services (News-Miner ads, etc.) and repurposed many decorations and props from other recent events.

— Emily Drygas, director, UAF Development and Alumni Relations Office
907-474-2619  |  emily.drygas@alaska.edu  |  www.uaf.edu/giving/

Question

I keep seeing a UAF truck E4339 coming from a residence.  It is not a work truck marked “24-hour response vehicle” like the workers have. I didn’t think UAF vehicles were supposed to go to homes.  Doesn’t seem like official use.

Response

This vehicle was leased for use on a North Slope field research project. The researchers will be in the field for several weeks. In the days leading up to the project, the trucked is packed with field gear — some of the field gear belonging to the university and stored at the university, and some of the gear belonging to the employees and stored in their homes. While I don’t know all the details about this particular incident, I do know that vehicles are reserved for several days prior to a large field excursions in order to accomplish various trip-related errands around town — often including obtaining gear from people’s homes.

— Bill Schnabel, director, UAF Institute of Northern Engineering
weschnabel@alaska.edu
907-474-7789

 

Question

Can the dining facility switch the all-youo-can-eat meal to lunch for one day a week?

Response

The primary challenge with operating an all-you-can-eat meal period in the current facility is it was originally built for retail sales only. In this open design, individuals who wish to purchase food within Dine Forty-nine are able to sit with those who bring in outside food or don’t wish to eat at all.  In an all-you-care-to-eat facility, access is limited and anyone who enters will pay the same amount.
Our dining contractor is able to offer all-you-care-to-eat dinner primarily because the campus population in the evenings is significantly lower and it’s easier to limit access. In order for lunch to be offered as an all-you-care-to-eat, significant structural changes would need to be made due to the sheer number of people on campus.
Should you have additional questions about dining on campus, feel free to contact Dining Services directly at uaf-dining@alaska.edu.
— Pamm Zierfuss-Hubbard, contracts manager, Dining Services and Contract Operations

Question

How much of UAF’s resources go into developing, editing, printing, and distributing the “University of Alaska Fairbanks Directory”, both in terms of dollar amount and man hours?

All of the information listed in the directory is listed, and arguably more accurately so online. Why do we still print this publication? It seems supercilious and possibly wasteful.

Response

Thank you for your question. Each copy of the directory costs significantly less than an espresso at Arctic Java, and it is a tool that lasts for over a year.

On the surface, it may appear that the information should be available electronically via the UA Enterprise Directory, EDIR. In reality, when the 2017 directory was put together, more than 1,700 corrections to the electronic records had to be made. Considering UAF has about 3,000 employees, it is a very significant factor.

Intra-university communication is critical to UAF, now more than ever. The directory has been a valuable tool that most employees use on a daily basis.  If you find a number that has changed, you can write it in the directory. EDIR is corrected only if the individual employee updates the information, which just does not appear to happen.

— Michelle Bartlett, director, UAF Summer Sessions & Lifelong Learning

Question

Are food trucks going to be on campus again this summer like they were last year?

Response

According to Pamm Zierfuss-Hubbard, contracts manager of UAF Dining Servings and Contract Operations, work is underway to have food trucks on campus this summer. She suggests checking www.uaf.edu/dining for a schedule of locations and vendors.

 

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