February 2009

Friday, Feb. 27, 2009

QUESTION

We will be in Anchorage when Dorothy Hamill, the Olympic skating star will be speaking at UAF. We hope to be able to download an audio mp3 file of her talk ... will UAF post that for the community?

RESPONSE

The UAF Susan Butcher Institute will present "A Conversation with Olympic Champion Dorothy Hamill," Friday, March 6 at 5 p.m. in the Charles Davis Concert Hall. Admission is free.

The event will be recorded and made available for download. For more information contact Megan Otts.

Friday, Feb. 27, 2009

QUESTION

Once again UAF leadership is asking for support [and]. . .  presses the state for increased funding. We have heard about improving transparency concerning budgets and administration.  Where can I find detailed budget information for all schools and departments of UAF and UA statewide?

RESPONSE

From Pat Pitney, Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services

The primary source for current budget distributions is the annual University of Alaska approved operating and capital budgets publication, commonly referred to as the 'Yellowbook.' The FY09 Yellowbook provides UA Board of Regents-authorized budgets by campus, MAU and the UA system. A management information report provides prior year revenue, expense, student and faculty information down to the department. This tool, the unit level report, requires informed interpretation and spot-checking as it is very inclusive and recent organization changes may not be represented. However, it provides useful context and trend information across the system.

While the school, college and department-level current year budgets are not currently posted online in their entirety, UAF administration is committed to posting UAF’s FY10 approved budget at the school and college level by Aug. 1, 2009.

New funding requests pass through a fairly extensive vetting process, starting at UAF, then again at the system level, and then the board of regents for submittal to the governor.

The current budget request is currently before the Legislature.

The six-year capital plan is also available online. For UA it is posted at http://www.alaska.edu/swbir/budget/budget_planning/documents/fy10/6YearCapitalPlanFY10-FY15.pdf

Friday, Feb. 27, 2009

QUESTION

I heard that there were some volleyball players playing for the UAF women's basketball team since they have had so many injuries this season. Is this true? If so, what an amazing show of heart and school spirit on the part of the both the volleyball players and the basketball players who have refused to give up.

RESPONSE

From Jamie Foland, Director of Media Relations for Athletics

Three women's volleyball players, Korlyn Bolster, Marybeth Wikander and Heather Lyons, stepped forward recently to help the women's basketball team after the team lost a majority of players due to injuries. Despite their inexperience, all of the women who have filled in have done what they can to contribute and have shown terrific school sprit and sportsmanship.

Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009

QUESTION

I heard that all of the staff at the UAF Bookstore are getting laid off. The managers won't be laid off, just the staff. Is this true!?!


RESPONSE

From Becky Phillips, Bookstore manager

It is true that one student, four temporary full-time employees and one full-time employee were laid off recently. Prior to that, two full-time positions that became vacant through attrition were left unfilled. However, there are currently nine employees remaining at the bookstore; two are managers.

The personnel changes are part of the UAF Bookstore reorganization, which has been underway since 2007. The plan looked at the reallocation of space; products and services; and reorganization of personnel. The positions lost were part of that reorganization. To be efficient, the university must constantly reevaluate its business practices and associated costs.

Friday, Feb. 20, 2009

QUESTION

I have an idea about changing part of the automotive and pedestrian traffic pattern on campus, which I believe would radically improve the campus. What is the best group or person to lodge such a suggestion with? Is there a preferred communication or presentation method?

RESPONSE

Suggestions to change signs or crosswalks, add shuttle stops or change shuttle routes, are handled by Facilities Services. Suggestions with a larger or longer-term scope such as changing entrances to campus, adding a monorail along Yukon Drive, or connecting buildings on campus with walking causeways are considered as part of the Campus Master Plan process.

Several years ago, the Master Planning Committee created a Circulation and Parking Subcommittee to look at some of these issues and in March of 2004 a circulation and parking plan was approved. The subcommittee is not currently active, but is expected to reconvene this spring.  For more information, contact MPC Chair Rich Boone at 474-7682 or e-mail ffrdb@uaf.edu.

If you have a suggestion that falls under Facilities Services, please contact Transportation & Parking Services via e-mail at fypark1@uaf.edu.

For more information on the Campus Master Plan, including the Circulation and Parking plan visit http://www.uaf.edu/mastplan/.

Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009

QUESTION

If a member of campus had a suggestion on how to change campus for the better, what would be the best ways to do so?

RESPONSE

Depending on the suggestion, you may want to direct it to a particular department or committee for consideration. Your supervisor or the administrative assistant in your department may be able to help you target your suggestion, or if you’d like assistance from Marketing and Communications, send an e-mail to grapevine@uaf.edu. If you’d like to receive a personal e-mail response, please note that in your message.

The chancellor is hosting two open forums this month and welcomes input from staff, faculty and students. The first is Friday, Feb. 20 at 11:30 a.m. in Wood Center. The second is scheduled for Feb. 27 at 3:30 p.m. in the Schaible Auditorium.

Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009

QUESTION

Why do I see text-based ads on my university Gmail inbox? I thought we weren't supposed to receive ads.

RESPONSE

From Bill Wakefield, OIT Core Applications Manager

We have received a couple of inquiries regarding ads appearing on top of the list of e-mails when using the Gmail web client.

First, the university is not receiving any ads, nor will we. Period.

The items being referenced are called web clips. They are news feeds that you control completely.

To do that, select the "Web Clips" tab in your Settings menu in the top right of the Gmail web client.  Once there you can turn them off, or choose different RSS or Atom feeds. It is important to note that they are random, not targeted to the content of your e-mails.

For more information visit gmail help.

Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009

QUESTION

Note: The question below has been edited to remove the name.

Rumor has it that an individual has been "promised" a senior level executive position at UAF. A little research suggests that it is the executive officer position (Posting #0057118, Position #920661).

Two questions come to mind:

  1. In these budgetary crisis times when ALL departments are being asked/required to scale back and terminate existing positions, why does UAF need additional administrators?!
     
  2. And why would/should ANYONE be promised a job? If you look at the position listing you will see that it was only open for five (5!) business days. It closes today (Feb. 6) at 5 p.m. Is that a fair recruitment interval, or does it suggest a foregone conclusion? More importantly, IF there really is a critical need for a new administrator, doesn't the university -- and don't the taxpayers of Alaska -- deserve that the recruitment period be sufficiently publicized -- and open for a reasonable length of time -- to insure that the best possible candidate be discovered and recruited? A five-day recruiting window inevitably leads to legitimate questions regarding recruiting fairness and the willingness of UAF to even consider anyone else.

RESPONSE

First, it is not true that all departments are being asked to scale back or terminate existing positions. However, all departments are encouraged to evaluate new positions based on need as well as budgetary constraints.

To answer the second question, Chancellor Rogers has within his purview the ability to directly appoint an individual, but chose to open the recruitment for eight days and advertise it in the local paper. The search has garnered an acceptable pool of applicants. A search committee is now expected to fairly evaluate candidates based on their merit. The committee will then forward their recommendations to the chancellor who, as the hiring authority, will make the final decision. The term-funded position coincides with the chancellor’s interim appointment. A summary of the job description is included below.

The executive officer is a senior level advisor/manager to the chancellor and the chancellor's cabinet. He/she will provide project leadership, problem solving, negotiation, and day to day strategic support to the chancellor. The executive officer will serve as a liaison between the Chancellor's Office and community and state officials as directed by the chancellor. Incumbent must possess strong skills in the areas pertaining to: leadership; interpersonal relationships; and understanding of the university, Fairbanks, and state business and academic environments.

Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009

QUESTION

I've heard that if a UAF staff person e-mails the chancellor expressing an opinion, that the e-mail will just be sent on to the person's supervisor, who may then just tell the employee to "hush." What kind of atmosphere does this create on our campus? Reminiscent of the days of Stalin.

RESPONSE

From Chancellor Brian Rogers

I am not aware of any circumstances where employees were hushed and do not support that behavior. I encourage an atmosphere of open, transparent communication and one where employees feel free to bring issues forward. There may be specific concerns that are more appropriately resolved at the unit level. In those instances, complaints sent to the Chancellor's Office via e-mail may end up back with the supervisor for resolution.

I encourage supervisors to respond to employee concerns in a collaborative manner. While all concerns may not be completely resolved, the employee should feel that their position has been heard and considered.

Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009

QUESTION

Why does Facilities Services leave their vehicles running all day? What a waste of fuel and a contribution to the ice fog.

RESPONSE

While there is no written policy, Facilities Services employees are instructed to turn off vehicles when not in use to save fuel and reduce emissions. There are occasions when the contents of the vehicle must be kept warm and may justify idling.

The Fairbanks campus also has certain zones that are designated no idling zones, enforced by Parking Services.

In the future the university fleet may fall under new federal regulations on fleet idling. If you see a university vehicle idling and suspect that it shouldn't be, please note the number on the side or the license plate and call 474-7000.

Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009

QUESTION

I've heard the university is going to partner with Full Circle Farms to provide boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables weekly and bi-weekly. If this is accurate, when will the program begin? What is the cost? And how do I sign up?

RESPONSE

Full Circle Farm, a 300-acre certified organic community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm based out of Carnation, Wash., delivers organic produce to campus. A weekly box of organic fruits and vegetables starts at $48. 

Pickup sites on campus are only available to university staff, faculty and students. Sites on campus include the Elvey Building, Butrovich Building, and the statewide Office of Risk Management and Environmental Health and Safety located off campus at 1760 Westwood Way. Visit Full Circle Farm for more information.

Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009

QUESTION

Campus Water: I heard that the original campus well had higher arsenic levels than EPA allows, so a second well was drilled. The second well had less than the EPA level of arsenic. So … to increase water availability a decision was made to mix the two water sources so that the combined arsenic level is just under the EPA requirements. Is this true?

RESPONSE

From: Kathleen Schedler, Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities and Safety

There are as many as 13 original campus wells; however, they are difficult to locate. None of the original campus wells are in use today. Two additional wells under the Facilities Services building are not in use due to hydrocarbon contamination. These two wells could be used for back-up cooling water for the power plant, but are not suitable for drinking water.

Arsenic levels are not a threat and have never been a threat under current or past regulations provided by the Department of Environmental Conservation or the Environmental Protection Agency. The old EPA maximum contaminant level (mcl) for arsenic was 40 parts per billion (ppb) in drinking water. The raw water, before treatment, occasionally exceeds this level, but the water treatment plant reduces that to 10 - 13 ppb in the finished potable water. We discovered that if we increase the dosage of our oxidizing chemical, potassium permanganate, we can reduce levels of arsenic even further.

This was a significant discovery due to the new arsenic rule that lowered the mcl from 40 ppb to 10 ppb Jan. 23, 2006. The UAF water treatment plant was in compliance before the 2006 rule and is still in compliance today. The levels on the analysis reports are listed as ND, or non-detectable. There are still some trace amounts of arsenic; however, it is below the lowest level the machine can detect, which is about 0.5 ppb. Annual water quality reports can be found on the Facilities Services website.

Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009

QUESTION

We are seeing a shift to electric cars, and some hybrids converted to use plug-ins for electrical power. In addition, the campus is offering the course ES F193-FQ1 Electric Car Conversion so that people can modify their car to run off of electricity from being plugged in. Does this mean the university is going to change the headbolt plug-ins on campus from a rotating schedule of 30 minutes on and 30 minutes off, to continuous power at the headbolt heaters? Wouldn’t that also mean that we are following the directive of the borough to have our cars plugged in at 20F or below?

RESPONSE

From: Kathleen Schedler, Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities and Safety

Currently, Facilities Services cycles headbolts on one-hour intervals when the temperature is between 20 degrees above zero and 25 degrees below zero. When the temperature is colder than 25 degrees below zero the power is on continuously in all lots.  

One tool that might help manage the shift to electric cars is the new IPLC, or independent parking lot controller, headbolts. IPLC headbolts can be individually controlled and provide an individual meter for each plug. In a lot with IPLCs installed, a number of headbolts could be marked for electric vehicles while the rest of the lot continued to be temperature cycled.

IPLC units are being tested on 16 outlets in the Cooperative Extension Service lot and four outlets in the Facilities Services parking lot. Another 20 units (40 outlets) are on order waiting the GFI, or ground fault interrupt, model that is expected February 2009.

A $500,000 capital request has been submitted for additional units that would allow conversion of the majority of UAF campus.

Consult the parking lot headbolt schedule if you want to know if the lot that you park is in on or off.

Friday, Feb. 6, 2009

QUESTION

In previous grapevine responses the switch to Google mail (and other products) was to occur before December 2009 starting with students. Would you consider beta testers (users) for this conversion? 

RESPONSE

From: Karl Kowalski, executive director of OIT User Services

Students are welcome to make the switch to Google mail. Please visit the OIT Google E-mail Pilot website for more information about how to sign up. The form indicates that this is a pilot, but this will be your real account.

Friday, Feb. 6, 2009

QUESTION

I have a university gmail account. How do I access library resources (e.g., Proquest) from off campus?

RESPONSE

From: Karl Kowalski, executive director of OIT User Services

We have not fully switched over to Google Apps for Education and dropped university-hosted email. You should still have an old-style university e-mail address (i.e. fsabc123@uaf.edu) and that can still be used to access library resources. We are working with the library to resolve this login concern prior to a full decommissioning of the old e-mail system.

Friday, Feb. 6, 2009

QUESTION

Up on West Ridge there are a number of places that study the weather, and they even have a weather monitor station there. Is there any chance they are going to make an outside display board that shows what the weather temps are for those driving by? Commonly there is a temperature differential between West Ridge and the intersection of College Road and University Avenue.

RESPONSE

While temperature is posted on the reader board at the intersection of Alumni Drive and College Road, and the weather station temperatures are posted online at the North Campus website, there are no plans for a new outside temperature display board at this time.

Friday, Feb. 6, 2009

QUESTION

Is the university at some point going to go completely smoking and tobacco-free? Is there going to be a strong stance on health by not selling tobacco on campus, or allowing smoking anywhere on the campus? Is there any discussion of this?

While we are slowly seeing a number of restaurants and businesses in town converting to smoke-free zones, we have not seen the university take a leadership stance on this issue. By taking a strong anti-smoking stance and creating programs to help urge and assist the university communities in quitting smoking, wouldn't that be a good selling feature to send toward prospective students?

RESPONSE

UAF buildings and facilities have been smoke free since July 1993 and in 2006 UAF discontinued selling tobacco products at all campus retail outlets, including Wood Center. There are no other plans to restrict tobacco use on campus.

Students at the Fairbanks campus who wish to quit smoking have access to resources through the Center for Health and Counseling.

UA launched a wellness initiative three years ago to encourage employees to move toward healthier lifestyles. Smoking cessation resources are offered through the Employee Assistance Program and WIN for Alaska resources.

Friday, Feb. 6, 2009

QUESTION

Will they shut down the school or limit the people who come in for air quality reasons?  Currently the air quality is listed as unhealthy.  http://co.fairbanks.ak.us/airquality/.
When the air quality is bad, is it better to be at school where we are on the hill and have big air handling systems? Do our air handlers use charcoal or HEPA filters?

What is the university’s stance on this?

RESPONSE

As a residential campus, the university is unlikely to close for weather-related issues such as extreme cold, icy roads or air quality. When Fairbanks has poor air quality, it is usually because of particulates, referred to as PM2.5. These are particulates with an average size of 2.5 microns (0.0025 mm).

The ventilation systems in UAF buildings have a pre-filter with a Minimum Efficiency Rating Value, or MERV, of 7 or 8. This filter is followed by one with a MERV rating of 11 or 13. The MERV 7 - 8 filters will remove 30 - 50 percent of the particles larger than 3 microns. The MERV 11 filters will remove 60 - 70 percent of the particles larger than 1 - 3 microns, and the MERV 13 filters will remove 80 - 90 percent of the particles larger than 0.3 microns.

Thus, regardless of the building you are in, the air inside the building should be at least 60 percent better than that outdoors during these episodes of poor air quality.

Employees and students can help reduce air quality problems in the Fairbanks area by plugging in their vehicles at temperatures colder than 20 degrees above zero. This helps reduce emissions from cold starts. Do not idle vehicles near buildings, even for a short period of time. Vehicle exhaust can be drawn in through the air intake and enter the ventilation system for the building. Some exhaust components are vapors, which are not effectively trapped by the filters in the ventilation system.

The Fairbanks North Star Borough provides information on the current air quality in Fairbanks, as well as information on the meaning of the designations [PDF] (unhealthy for sensitive groups, unhealthy, moderate, etc.), and tips on judging PM2.5 levels in your area.

Friday, Jan. 30, 2009

QUESTION

My husband and I just had our hair cut at the TVC cosmetology school. The two hairdressers did a great job. Both are graduating tomorrow. When I asked about any kind of graduation ceremony, they said there was none, "Which is too bad because we worked really hard. Not all of us made it." Is this true? Is there not a ceremony of any kind for them to invite family and friends to so they can celebrate this accomplishment?

RESPONSE

From Rick Caulfield, TVC Director

The TVC Cosmetology Pilot Program concluded training for its first cohort in December 2008. We had 15 students who completed the required number of hours and practical operations required by the state in order for students to take state licensing exams in hairdressing and manicuring. As TVC director I was at the cosmetology training facility Dec. 19 to present certificates of completion to all students. Since that time, a majority of the student/completers have taken the state of Alaska written and practical exams; we expect them to have their results within a few weeks.

We anticipate having a TVC ceremony recognizing the students who completed cohort one and also those who passed their state licensing exam once they have received the results of their licensing exams. I expect that this event will take place in the first week of March 2009.

TVC is now accepting applications for the second cohort. The deadline for priority consideration is Feb. 26, 2009. That cohort of 22 students will begin March 26, 2009. It will involve a state-approved program of study lasting until March 2010. For more information visit  http://www.tvc.uaf.edu/programs/csmt/index.html.

*UPDATE  TVC is hosting a family event to recognize the achievements of all TVC Cosmetology Pilot Program students who completed the program in December. The event will take place Monday, March 9, from 4 - 5 p.m. in the student gathering area at the Tanana Valley Campus Center, 604 Barnette Street.

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