May 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011 -- Longevity awards

QUESTION

As of March I have been a UA employee for 6 years. I was at UAF, then SW, now back at UAF.  I was at SW when HR pulled the list for longevity awards, so I wasn't on it. When the list came out and I didn't see my name for a 5 year award, I asked the very helpful Staff Council office about it. When they contacted HR they were told basically too bad, I would get an award when I got to 10 years. How hard is it to add a name to the list?

RESPONSE

There are a number of possible reasons for this. The systemwide offices and UAF have separate longevity award ceremonies for their employees. The list is pulled for five-year employees based on your employee timekeeping location (UAF or SW). There are no awards for 6, 7, 8 & 9 years. Longevity awards are not to honor each year, but to honor and recognize achievement of big benchmarks--5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, etc.

The list is further based on an employee's "adjusted service date"--when you became a benefited employee vs. a temp or other and must be for a full calendar year of service. This often results in employees working for nearly an additional year before being recognized at the milestone awards.

Human Resources can check on the specific situation, if employees have questions. Statewide employees should contact SW Human Resources. 

SUGGESTION

This month, I received my longevity award for 10 years of service. However, my employment began in January of 2000 (approximately 11.5 years ago). The same problem occurred during my 5 year award. I am consistently told it could be caused by an interruption in service. However, I've never left the university.
 
Over the years, the general consensus has changed to "that's just the way it is". Basically, people have accepted failure in the system and that’s unfortunate. 
 
Although this is a common complaint, I sincerely hope my letter results in change that corrects this ongoing problem. If everyone just happens to be wrong about their longevity date, please send a letter stating longevity will not be awarded based on the date a person began working at UAF.
 
Thank you for your time.

Monday, May 9, 2011 -- ConocoPhillips endowment

QUESTION

Given that UAF accepted a $500,000 dollar endowment from ConocoPhillips at the very same event where ConocoPhillips representative Trond-Erik Johansen was lobbying for support for tax cuts for oil companies, are we to interpret that as UAF's endorsement of ConocoPhillips' economic/political agenda?

RESPONSE

No, the university does not have a formal position on oil taxation. However, ConocoPhillips does have a longtime association with the university's academic programs through internships, hiring UAF graduates and research collaboration.

Friday, May 6, 2011 -- U-Pass program status

QUESTION

I heard someone say that the free city bus service for UAF students will be ending this May.  Is this true?

RESPONSE

The U-Pass rider program, allowing UAF staff, faculty and students to ride the Fairbanks North Star Borough buses, is expected to continue.
 

Friday, May 6, 2011 -- Recycle bins overflowing

QUESTION

I love that UAF now has recycling for paper, glass and plastic, but the program may be a victim of its own success - the bins in the Patty/SRC parking lot always seem to be overflowing, and it's not a pretty sight. Can they be emptied more frequently?

RESPONSE

From Michele Hebert, Office of Sustainability

They are being emptied as often as is practical and efficient use of our time. Every time the aluminum glass or plastic containers are emptied it costs approximately $300 in staff and equipment time and fuel. They over flow simply because we have a hard time keeping up with how fast they fill up through out the week and they also fill up completely over the weekend.

There are two more sites in the community where people can bring paper and #1 and #2 plastic--off Phillips Field road and on Easy Street on the road to the landfill. We can encourage users to lessen the load on our employees by using these alternate sites, and also we also encourage users/passers-by to clean up the site if they choose.
 

Friday, May 6, 2011 -- Custodial services

QUESTION

Is there somewhere that we can find information and schedule of custodial tasks to be performed? Since the new contractor has started it seems that things that used to be done on a regular basis (like vacuuming offices) aren't done as often. Rather than questioning what is to be done/when it would be nice to know what our expectations should be.

QUESTION #2

Since the new custodial contract the level of cleanliness has dropped significantly.  I work in WRRB and the floors which used to be cleaned almost daily, are never clean.  The scuffmarks made the first week of the new contract, in December, are still there!  The floor of the second floor foyer is dirty and gritty where it used to always be clean and shiny.  The stairwells are filthy.  Perhaps the level of cleanliness prior to the new contract was too much for the administration?  I find the current level embarrassing.  It's hard to have pride in where you work with such a lack of care by the administration.  I suggest something be done about it soon before it becomes a maintenance nightmare.   Oh and I forgot to mention the lack of paper towels and toilet paper in the bathrooms!  It's beginning to seem normal!

RESPONSE

From Martin Klein, Facilities Services

The cleaning schedules are online at http://www.uaf.edu/fs/services/custodial/.


GCA has had some difficulty in taking over the UAF contract for custodial services. It's not unusual to have a transitional period. Facilities Services is working closely with the contractor to make improvements. Please be patient, but if your concerns continue, feel free to contact us at 474-7000.

Friday, May 6, 2011 -- Parking decals for UAF vehicles

QUESTION

Why do departments have to pay parking decals for UAF vehicles? Makes no sense, they are owned by UAF!

RESPONSE

From Martin Klein, Facilities Services

Parking and Transportation Services at UAF is an auxiliary unit and as such is expected to be self-supporting. Parking pays for maintenance and operations of the parking function and in order to do so, must charge the users—even those that are university affiliated, to cover costs incurred. The system is set up so that many users are charged fees rather than putting the burden on one group of people or our students.

Friday, May 6, 2011 --Interim graduate school dean

QUESTION

I heard a rumor that the current Interim Dean of the Graduate School has been asked to stay on as interim until December. I had previously heard that the Provost had been in negotiations, for the last several months, with an outside candidate. Does this mean another national search will be needed for a permanent dean of the Graduate School?

RESPONSE

From Susan Henrichs, Provost

We have asked Dr. Duffy to continue as interim dean, if need be through December and appreciate his willingness to do so. I do not expect a second national search at this point.

Lengthy negotiations can occur with both external and internal candidates, but in general there are more issues to be worked out with an external candidate so the process takes longer.
 
While I can't discuss specifics of this search, here are some of the issues that come up in negotiations:
 
(1) Individuals may travel to remote locations and be out of contact for extended periods, something that is particularly likely to happen during the holiday break.
 
(2) Initial salary offer(s) may not be satisfactory to the candidate. Salary offers to executives must be approved by the chancellor and president, which lengthens the process.
 
(3) With external candidates, UAF allows a second visit once the offer is made.  Candidates may choose to bring a spouse or financially interdependent partner on this visit, and those individuals often play an important role in the decision of the candidate to accept an offer, or not.
 
(4) External candidates who are tenured at their current institution may require the offer of tenure in a faculty position before accepting an employment offer. UAF requires that a full tenure review be conducted at all levels (unit peer, dean, campus, provost, chancellor) before tenure is offered.
 
While negotiations with external candidates may take longer, I don't believe that UAF should rule out highly qualified external candicates because of that. I have hired several very well qualified internal candidates for positions (CEM dean Doug Goering, SOM dean Mark Herrmann, CNSM dean Paul Layer, and SFOS Dean Mike Castellini).  However, I think that the institution benefits from a mix of internal and external hires and so I will continue to try to recruit some external candidates to executive positions.
 
 

Friday, May 6, 2011 -- Energy savings and holiday lights

QUESTION

If we are all being asked to shut things down to save energy why do we still have holiday lights on all the time outside? 

RESPONSE

From Darrin Edson, Facilities Services

The holiday lights should have been uplugged and we're working to remove from the trees. All the holiday ligths are LEDs.

Thursday, May 5, 2011 --Unsightly recycle bins

QUESTION

Why is it necessary for the recycle bins to be visible? If they MUST be in open areas then why aren't they serviced? The ones that are visible are filthy. Have they ever been cleaned? I think those of us who consider recycling to be necessary are educated enough to locate them should they be under a stairwell, or in a cubby somewhere. I just don't understand why they need to be on display.

RESPONSE

From Michele Hebert, Office of Sustainability

The Office of Sustainability Recycling Department has student staff which regularly pick up recycled materials and clean bins. If there is a bin that is dirty or needs emptying you can call or email the recycling department, 474-6037 or sustainabilityoffice@uaf.edu.

The national trend for trash collection is to co locate both trash and recycling bins together so everyone has access to recycle materials.  We are moving towards a better program at UAF so appreciate all the ideas and comments people have.
 

Thursday May 5, 2011 -- Classroom chalk

QUESTION

Many times I enter my classroom and find little chalk.  Often there is none.  Further, there has been none in the janitor closet the past few times I checked.  As I understand it, facilities services has been aware of the problem for some time.  Is it so hard to solve?  Don't they see that, after some time, it cuts into valuable class time?

RESPONSE

From John Renfro, Facilities Services

All classrooms are serviced nightly. We have asked GCA (custodial contractor) to clean and restock chalk boards each night. GCA will start leaving extra chalk and all small pieces of chalk will be thrown away.   GCA Supervisors will check their custodians performance and our UAF Inspectors will follow up as much as possible to help make sure class rooms are stocked.
 

 

Thursday, May 5, 2011 -- UAF pool closure notification

SUGGESTION

I've been swimming at UAF for many years, so I know that the pool closes down for yearly maintenance. However, it would be nice if someone would put up signs alerting swimmers of the impending closure. A lifeguard told me it will close starting on May 9. As of May 4, there were still no signs on the locker room doors, nor were there notices anywhere on the SRC website.

Please reconsider how and when you alert swimmers to upcoming pool closures.

Thursday, May 5, 2001 -- Outdoor climbing wall

QUESTION

There are a number of rumors going around that the university plans to build an outdoor climbing wall, and will make significant changes to the west side of the SRC (sled hill, or very near the hill). Will the UAF community be given an opportunity to make comment and ask questions about this project before it goes too much further in the planning/paying phase?


If this project really is on the fast-track like some are saying how come the UAF community has heard nothing official about the plan? Also, rumor is that this project will cost a lot of money; who is going to pay for this?

RESPONSE

From Mike Sfraga, vice chancellor for students

Yes. As part of our commitment to enhancing the student experience at UAF, we're looking for ways to expand the recreation and outdoor education opportunities available on campus. Following the tremendous success of the disc golf course, Outdoor Adventures is exploring other opportunities to expand their current programming. Ideas have included everything from a low ropes course to a terrain park for snow boarding. It's clear that our students want, and we should provide them with, additional campus-based programs and activities.

Earlier last year I proposed to ASUAF the creation of a multipurpose, outdoor facility that would take advantage of our unique northern climate and campus landscape. In further discussions with students and staff, especially those interested in outdoor programs, activities, leadership, the concept of an Outdoor Education Center emerged. We've discussed a dual-use facility to include an outdoor rock climbing and ice climbing wall that could also accommodate small-scale concerts and additional programming space.

ASUAF committed partial funding to develop the project and Chancellor Rogers committed matching funds from private foundation sources. The Sun Star recently published an article about this: http://www.uafsunstar.com/?p=4065. Project leadership is lead by Outdoor Adventures.

Additionally, the chancellor recently directed the transfer of the Student Recreation Center and related programs to the Division of Student Services effective July 1, 2011. This transfer, coupled with the potential for a new outdoor facility, creates opportunities to leverage and integrate existing student-focused programs such as intramurals, campus recreation, outdoor recreation, leadership, and student wellness.

Feedback from the UAF and Fairbanks community is always welcome. Student Services has been coordinating with several campus groups (e.g. ASUAF, Facilities, Student Services leadership) on these efforts. We have also heard from many of you who have a strong personal interest in recreation and outdoor activities and want more opportunities to participate in such programs.


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