April 2011

Friday, April 29, 2011 -- Drug-Free schools mailing

QUESTION

I just received the mailing from UA Statewide System Office of Human Resources re: Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act. Our household received 5 of these mailings, including one to a prior UAF student employee that hasn't been with UAF since August of 2010. What a waste of paper and postage. Wasn't there a more effective way to disseminate this information, especially since it was targeted at "employees"?

RESPONSE

From Beth Behner, Statewide Human Resources

The Drug Free Schools and Community Act requires annual notification to employees, in writing, of information regarding the Act. If audited,  the university must provide reasonable assurance to the U.S. Department  of Education that its method of dissemination assures distribution to  all employees.

To ensure that all employees receive the information each year,  the  system office of Human Resources sends hard copies of the notice in  February to all individuals who received a W-2 from the University for
employment in the prior year.  This fulfills the annual notification  requirement for all employees, including those employees who do not use electronic communications in their daily work, and those  employees such as student employees and adjunct instructors who are not actively  employed when the notice is distributed, but may return to university employment later in the year.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 -- Previous post about health care changes

QUESTION

What happened to the post from Beth Behner where she wrote that the Joint Health Care Committee (JHCC) voted on various health care options, but she had the final say? It was in here within the last six months, and now it's gone. Thanks! 

RESPONSE

Beth Behner's reponse to health care changes is still available on the Grapevine site in the February 2011 archive page. The entry is dated February 25, 2011.

Thursday, April 21, 2011 -- Half orders in dining facilities

SUGGESTION

I don't know if this option already exists or not but is there any way Polar Noodle in the Wood Center can serve half sizes? Every time I get food from there I end up throwing away about half the food because for me personally it's just too much, and I also know that some people share a meal when they order from Polar Noodle. I like that we get our money's worth but I hate the idea of constantly throwing away food.  

RESPONSE

Your suggestion has been forwarded to Dining Services. They've agreed to give it a try. Be sure to provide them with feedback on how that's working. Just ask for a feedback card if you don't see one visibly displayed. 

Friday, April 15, 2011 -- Employee Giving Initiative

QUESTION


Our office just received 80+ 2011 Employee Giving Initiative packets for our employees who are all over the state. They were all sent to one post office box and there are some for employees who don't even work here anymore. I really hope that these were not mailed through U.S. mail, even at non-profit rates. Now to get these distributed, we have to re-mail them to folks all over, costing additional $. As an employee and taxpayer/citizen I find this disturbing.

What does this program cost? How is it funded? Maybe those funds should just be put toward some worthy cause? We get e-mails, info on various web sites, etc. Why do we now get packets in the mail? I sure hope I don't get another one at my home address. 

QUESTION #2

The Employee Giving Initiative came today asking employees to support their favorite UAF department with monetary donations. Question: Why was the packet postmarked from Minneapolis? Was the packet printed there also? Somehow paying a lower 48 contractor to do work that should be done in Alaska and then asking state residents for donations seems to be hitting a sore spot with a number of employees.

QUESTION #3

I received the annual giving request.  How much money was spent on mailing and printing fees on that pretty paper?  My opinion is that if there is enough money to waste on mailing and printing fees, then they clearly don't need my money!  There is Facebook, Twitter, Listserves, the website as well as many, many other viable, electronic methods to deliver the information. I expect more innovation and from the university - not to mention initiation of cost cutting measures since I'm sitting here without the lights on trying to "Take Charge and Power Down"...

RESPONSE

From Megan Damario, UAF Annual Giving Director

Thank you for sharing your concerns about UAF’s employee giving initiative.  

Last year the employee giving initiative was electronically distributed. This program is in its second year and this is the first year that we incorporated a hard copy appeal. This is a common approach that other universities use for marketing this program and we incorporated it into our approach this year.  

Thank you for pointing out the discrepancies in the employee contact information. Our Foundation office pulls employee data directly from Banner on a quarterly basis. I will work with them to ensure that records are accurate and timely with the distribution of our appeals.

As a non-profit, UAF is able to take advantage of the non-profit status for mailing. This is a considerable cost savings to the university. Due to the volume of appeals that were distributed to UAF employees, our print house handled the distribution of the appeals. In the future, once the employee data has been updated, we are happy to mail the appeals directly to employees to alleviate unnecessary work on the part of the departments.

The cost of this program is approximately $8,000. Last year, 20 percent of UAF employees gave $250,000. We are hopeful that this year’s approach, including both the hard appeal and electronic appeal, will increase giving responses and our ability to reach more employees.

Thank you for sharing your feedback regarding the employee giving initiative. Gifts through this initiative help to support a variety of programs at UAF.

RESPONSE #2

Thank you for your question and sharing your concern about UAF’s employee giving initiative.  

Last year the employee giving initiative was electronically distributed. This program is in its second year and this is the first year that we incorporated a hard copy appeal. This is a common approach that other universities use for marketing this program and we incorporated it into our approach this year.  

The employee giving material was printed and mailed from Minneapolis, Minn.   We used an out-of-state printer for this project due to a need for variable audience segmentation printing. This is a print capability that is not available at an in-state print house. However, when it is possible we do print in-state.

Last year, 20 percent of UAF employees gave $250,000. We are hopeful that this year’s approach, including both the hard appeal and electronic appeal, will increase giving responses and our ability to reach more employees.

Again, thank you for sharing your feedback regarding the employee giving initiative. Gifts through this initiative help to support a variety of programs, departments, research activities, scholarships and much more, all of which positively impacts our students.  

Thursday, April 21, 2011 -- Pedestrian safety

SUGGESTION

Could the UAF Police Department/Campus Safety make an effort to educate the campus community about the need to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks on campus? It seems that most drivers are oblivious to requirements to give pedestrians the right-of-way. This is especially evident when crossing Alumni Drive into the Nenana lot (which can seem like a game of Frogger, at times) and on North Tanana Loop, where the bike/walking path meets the road. It seems that a few days of ticketing, in addition to other outreach efforts, might get the message across.

SUGGESTION

The question about pedestrian safety was very timely!  The road sign at the top of the long stairway (behind Brooks) has gone missing.  While I doubt it would have stopped the driver who almost ran me over yesterday after failing to slow down for a turning bus, it'd be nice to have the sign there again to remind drivers that it's a common crossing space. 

RESPONSE

From UAF Police Chief Sean McGee

Thank you for your suggestion. Included here is the information included in the State of Alaska Driver's License Manual.

SHARING THE ROAD

PEDESTRIANS
Approximately 20 percent of all traffic fatalities are pedestrians. It’s a good idea to reduce speed and create a larger space cushion when you see pedestrians on or near the street. As a driver you will find pedestrians making errors. Don’t sentence them to injury or death because they make mistakes. Study the following rules and put them into practice when you drive and when you walk.
 
Your responsibility as a DRIVER
• Slow down, yield, and be prepared to stop when approaching pedestrians who are walking on or crossing the roadway.
• Do not drive through a pedestrian safety zone (cross walk) when occupied.
• Do not pass a vehicle that has stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross the street.
• Be especially watchful for children near schools and residential areas.
• Check mirror before exiting your vehicle.

Your responsibility as a PEDESTRIAN
• Cross only at crosswalks.
• Obey all traffic laws and signals.

• Never cross a street on a green traffic light that has about run out of time or when a steady or flashing “Don’t Walk” or upraised hand appears.
• Look for turning vehicles before crossing the street.
• Walk on the left side of the highway facing oncoming traffic.
• Wear light-colored clothing when walking on or alongside the roadway at night.
• Do not drink an intoxicant or be intoxicated on or along a highway.

SUGGESTION

The question about pedestrian safety was very timely! The road sign at the top of the long stairway (behind Brooks) has gone missing.  While I doubt it would have stopped the driver who almost ran me over yesterday after failing to slow down for a turning bus, it'd be nice to have the sign there again to remind drivers that it's a common crossing space. 

RESPONSE

Thank you for your suggestion. Facilities Services has submitted a work order for a sign. It may be installed afer the ground thaws, however.


 

 
 

Thursday, April 21, 2011 -- Employee giving feedback

SUGGESTION

I donate both time and money to UAF every year, and it's something I'm proud to do - though, I have to admit it was harder after the announcement of the dramatic reduction in health care benefits starting next fiscal year. Not only will I have less discretionary income, as I'll need to set aside a much larger portion of that income towards meeting expenses that were previously part of my compensation package, but I also feel like the university which I love and support left me out in the cold. I didn't feel like the process in arriving at the decision was transparent and didn't come anywhere near participatory for staff (the opinion of a few Staff Council reps who I have never met does mot count as representation in any meaningful way).

I feel like the recent actions of the administration have done a lot to alienate staff (and this may be reflected in the lower level of giving we saw this year). I think that the administration would be wise to take real, concrete steps to start rebuilding the community that was so powerfully eroded by the decision by statewide to make changes to health care benefits in the manner that they did.

I'm a proud supporter of UAF, but my support won't continue indefinitely if the administration doesn't make a good faith effort show that it's acting with the best interests of its students, staff, and faculty in mind. For me, that means approaching important decisions with an eye towards democratic decision making that puts people first.


Friday, April 15, 2011 -- Employee Giving Initiative

QUESTION


Our office just received 80+ 2011 Employee Giving Initiative packets for our employees who are all over the state. They were all sent to one post office box and there are some for employees who don't even work here anymore. I really hope that these were not mailed through U.S. mail, even at non-profit rates. Now to get these distributed, we have to re-mail them to folks all over, costing additional $. As an employee and taxpayer/citizen I find this disturbing.

What does this program cost? How is it funded? Maybe those funds should just be put toward some worthy cause? We get e-mails, info on various web sites, etc. Why do we now get packets in the mail? I sure hope I don't get another one at my home address. 

QUESTION #2

The Employee Giving Initiative came today asking employees to support their favorite UAF department with monetary donations. Question: Why was the packet postmarked from Minneapolis? Was the packet printed there also? Somehow paying a lower 48 contractor to do work that should be done in Alaska and then asking state residents for donations seems to be hitting a sore spot with a number of employees.
 

RESPONSE

From Megan Damario, UAF Annual Giving Director

Thank you for sharing your concerns about UAF’s employee giving initiative.  

Last year the employee giving initiative was electronically distributed. This program is in its second year and this is the first year that we incorporated a hard copy appeal. This is a common approach that other universities use for marketing this program and we incorporated it into our approach this year.  

Thank you for pointing out the discrepancies in the employee contact information. Our Foundation office pulls employee data directly from Banner on a quarterly basis. I will work with them to ensure that records are accurate and timely with the distribution of our appeals.

As a non-profit, UAF is able to take advantage of the non-profit status for mailing. This is a considerable cost savings to the university. Due to the volume of appeals that were distributed to UAF employees, our print house handled the distribution of the appeals. In the future, once the employee data has been updated, we are happy to mail the appeals directly to employees to alleviate unnecessary work on the part of the departments.

The cost of this program is approximately $8,000. Last year, 20 percent of UAF employees gave $250,000. We are hopeful that this year’s approach, including both the hard appeal and electronic appeal, will increase giving responses and our ability to reach more employees.

Thank you for sharing your feedback regarding the employee giving initiative. Gifts through this initiative help to support a variety of programs at UAF.

RESPONSE #2

Thank you for your question and sharing your concern about UAF’s employee giving initiative.  

Last year the employee giving initiative was electronically distributed. This program is in its second year and this is the first year that we incorporated a hard copy appeal. This is a common approach that other universities use for marketing this program and we incorporated it into our approach this year.  

The employee giving material was printed and mailed from Minneapolis, Minn.   We used an out-of-state printer for this project due to a need for variable audience segmentation printing. This is a print capability that is not available at an in-state print house. However, when it is possible we do print in-state.

Last year, 20 percent of UAF employees gave $250,000. We are hopeful that this year’s approach, including both the hard appeal and electronic appeal, will increase giving responses and our ability to reach more employees.

Again, thank you for sharing your feedback regarding the employee giving initiative. Gifts through this initiative help to support a variety of programs, departments, research activities, scholarships and much more, all of which positively impacts our students.  

Friday, April 15, 2011 -- Car rental sponsor of athletics

QUESTION

Avis car rental is a sponsor of our athletics, but are not listed as a preferred vendor for car rental on our website. Enterprise is and there is not even an enterprise office in Fairbanks. I happen to know Avis is not happy about this. Avis offers UA a statewide discount. What was the determination not to include them on the website?

RESPONSE

From Dale Anderson, UAF Travel Manager

The university does not mandate the use of any car rental company. The Travel Web Page is a general informational site designed to support all our business travelers. Enterprise is listed because the State of Alaska and 14 other western states have a signed contract which provides defined benefits to our travelers and supplies our users with a specific discount code. Although Enterprise is not in Fairbanks they do support our travelers at other locations and a good deal of our business travel takes place at locations that are served by Enterprise. Budget Car rental is listed for much the same reasons, they have supplied us a discount customer number and Budget has contracted with the State of Alaska within their travel contract. The university does not mandate the use of Enterprise or Budget, our travelers are asked to shop and compare prices including those supplied by discount codes of Enterprise and Budget.

Avis Car Rental has not been excluded and if they wish to supply a discount code to our general business travelers and be listed on the web page they can contact the Travel Manager and discuss ways to make that happen. We are happy that Avis along with other business groups supports our athletic programs and we encourage others to do so also. The university may seek to contract for a designated car rental company at some point in time, however currently we have no designated company and ask our travelers to seek the best deals they can find. So the short answer is, Avis has not been excluded by choice and could be added to the web page by contacting the Travel Manager and supplying a specific discount code that our users can use for price comparison.
 

Sunday, April 10, 2011 -- Printed directory

QUESTION

In the spirit of campus sustainability, printed directories would not be made this year per the email dated 9/23/2010.  I quote from the directory FAQ: "Why did you decide not to provide a printed directory?  The data in the directory is obsolete the moment it gets exported from EDIR.... Also, the directory is quite expensive to print...and 5,000 copies of a 96-page booklet is a LOT of wasted paper, 1.5 tons or 38 trees to be exact.... The money saved on printing the directory will go towards EDIR improvements and other technology infrastructure."

So what happened?

QUESTION

It is 2011, why are we still distributing printed UAF Directories?  How much was spent to design, print, and distribute the 2011 UAF Directory?

RESPONSE

From Warren Fraser, UAF Printing Services

Printing Services undertook the publishing and distribution of the 2011 directory in response to numerous customer requests. Some customers even said they would be willing to pay for them. We decided to print as a promotional piece for Printing Services at a greatly reduced press run of 1,500, down from 5,500 in 2009-10. The idea was to reach the users who depend on having a printed copy as well as providing a necessary tool for first-responders.

Additionally:

--Printing a limited number in economical production manner may have eliminated the laser printing of the directory that would have been done all around campus.

--The directory was produced during down time and regular work for university customers came first. The only minimal additional cost was for paper and plates.

--The cover artwork was done by a UAF Art Major at no charge and was chance for them to have a piece of their work published.

--The distribution is being done by the Printing Services manager and is being used as business opportunity to visit every department and institute on campus. The distribution numbers are being tracked, departments are only given the number of directories they actually think they will use. No employee is being forced to use the printed copy instead of the e-directory.

--The response by university staff has been overwhelmingly positive. There have been many thank-you's received, including cards, email and voicemail.

Administrator's note: For those who prefer an electronic version, a UAF directory search can now be made using the search box in the upper-right corner on UAF web pages. Type in the name of a person and directory results will be listed in the right column; web page results will be listed in the left column. This search box searches all known UAF-affiliated websites and

EDIR

.

Sunday, April 10, 2011 -- Printed directory

QUESTION

In the spirit of campus sustainability, printed directories would not be made this year per the email dated 9/23/2010.  I quote from the directory FAQ: "Why did you decide not to provide a printed directory?  The data in the directory is obsolete the moment it gets exported from EDIR.... Also, the directory is quite expensive to print...and 5,000 copies of a 96-page booklet is a LOT of wasted paper, 1.5 tons or 38 trees to be exact.... The money saved on printing the directory will go towards EDIR improvements and other technology infrastructure."

So what happened?

QUESTION

It is 2011, why are we still distributing printed UAF Directories?  How much was spent to design, print, and distribute the 2011 UAF Directory?

RESPONSE

From Warren Fraser, UAF Printing Services

Printing Services undertook the publishing and distribution of the 2011 directory in response to numerous customer requests. Some customers even said they would be willing to pay for them. We decided to print as a promotional piece for Printing Services at a greatly reduced press run of 1,500, down from 5,500 in 2009-10. The idea was to reach the users who depend on having a printed copy as well as providing a necessary tool for first-responders.

Additionally:

--Printing a limited number in economical production manner may have eliminated the laser printing of the directory that would have been done all around campus.

--The directory was produced during down time and regular work for university customers came first. The only minimal additional cost was for paper and plates.

--The cover artwork was done by a UAF Art Major at no charge and was chance for them to have a piece of their work published.

--The distribution is being done by the Printing Services manager and is being used as business opportunity to visit every department and institute on campus. The distribution numbers are being tracked, departments are only given the number of directories they actually think they will use. No employee is being forced to use the printed copy instead of the e-directory.

--The response by university staff has been overwhelmingly positive. There have been many thank-you's received, including cards, email and voicemail.

Administrator's note: For those who prefer an electronic version, a UAF directory search can now be made using the search box in the upper-right corner on UAF web pages. Type in the name of a person and directory results will be listed in the right column; web page results will be listed in the left column. This search box searches all known UAF-affiliated websites and

EDIR

.

Saturday, April 9, 2011 -- E-dir link on the homepage

QUESTION

What happened to the edir link on the uaf homepage?  It used to be listed at the top as a quicklink, but is no longer.
 

RESPONSE

You can now search the directory by using the search box in the top-right of all UAF web pages. Look for the box next to the A to Z links that is labeled "Search site/people". People results will be in the right column of the results page and will also include web page results. You can access EDIR directly by clicking on A to Z and choosing Directory or EDIR, and through the Contact page. The Directory link was removed from the UAF homepage because of this new functionality of the search engine.

COMMENT

Thank you for the information - the search function is not as helpful as the edir link is.  Often, people use the information in edir for more than phone extension information. That means we still have to drill down into the uaf site to find edir so it would be helpful if the edir link is listed on the home page again; I believe the feature is used far more often than you think. Thanks

 

Saturday, April 9, 2011 -- Faculty grading policies

QUESTION

According to university policies, are professors allowed to require students to attend meetings/events outside of class and hold them accountable as a percentage of their final grade without expressing these obligations in the syllabus?
 

RESPONSE

From UAF Provost Susan Henrichs

The faculty senate policy on course syllabi is available at:
 
http://www.uaf.edu/uafgov/faculty-senate/curriculum/course-degree-procedures-/uaf-syllabus-requirements/
 

Those policies say that the syllabus should include the course grading policies. However, it also says that the syllabus can be changed during the course if necessary.  (This would not necessarily involve distribution of a whole new syllabus. A grading policy change might be explained in a handout, email, or change to information on the course Blackboard site, for example.)  Out of class learning assignments are allowed, and often are beneficial to students. If you have a difficulty with completing such assignments that is beyond your control, I encourage you to discuss the matter with your instructor.  Often faculty will offer an alternative assignment.  If you have a difficulty that you cannot overcome in that way, then consult with your academic advisor.
 
Faculty Senate policies provide for an appeal process, if students believe their grade was assigned in an arbitrary or capricious manner.
 

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