June 2012

June 26, 2012 -- Bullying behavior


Bullying is popping up everywhere. We as a community worry about it in the classroom and grade schools.  My suggestion/question: Has UAF looked at bullying on campus?  Does it take place in the classroom or in the dorms? As an employee, I have been affected by workplace bullying from an supervisor and co-workers. 

I suggest that student government look into bullying from a student angle, Staff Council and Faculty Senate, from a staff angle. It would be great to be a university taking a proactive approach to a hot topic across the nation.


Thank you for your suggestion. You're helping to bring awareness to the issue by bringing it forward for discussion here on the Grapevine.

Bullying is not an acceptable practice at the university and is covered under harassment in student code of conduct. Employees and students who believe they are a target of bullying behavior should feel as though they can come forward with concerns.

Students who feel they are being bullied should contact the dean of students office at 474-7317.

For employees, UA policies and regulations outline the process by which these types of complaints are addressed. The appropriate offices to contact are Human Resources department at 474-7700 or the Office of Equal Opportunity at 474-6600.

June 22, 2012 -- Memorial communications


In the latest issue of the Cornerstone -- the Travis and Miller memorials are listed under the "need to know" section.  First off, the Travis memorial service took place on June 18 and the Cornerstone was emailed on June 19. Secondly, there is nothing listed about either memorial under the "need to know" section.  Our administration did a poor job as it was, by waiting until the Thursday after both deaths to announce anything to the UAF community that staff members had died. There is nothing "people first" about our administration. We should have heard something on Monday about Bruce's passing and then again on Wednesday about Jason's.  Amazing though, we get all sorts of emails asking us to give to the university.  Sad!!!


The announcement posted in the Need to Know section of the Cornerstone was what went out to the campus community on June 13 and reposted to Cornerstone June 14. There was additional donation information posted in the For Your Information, section.

When a member of our campus community passes away, we try to inform the campus as soon as is practical. That said, our first priority is to be sensitive to the families so that we don't cause them additional stress or pain in an already difficult situation. That can mean allowing them time to make arrangements for memorial services, to look over the announcements and to have a say in how or if we announce the passing of their loved one. In this case, we had two deaths that happened within days of each other. Because these deaths were very sudden, it did take some time to gather the appropriate information and to allow the families and friends of Jason and Bruce to make arrangements. We balanced several factors—the need for timely and accurate information, sensitivity to family and friends, the timing of memorial services and fundraisers—and sent the email out in the early evening on Wednesday.

Our apologies if the communication, content or the timeliness of it, came across as insensitive.

June 19, 2012 -- Pets in cars parked on campus


Is there a rule for keeping dogs in cars on campus in the summer? Who do we call if a dog appears to be suffering in the heat?


From Sean McGee, UAF Police Chief

The campus pet policy doesn’t prohibit dogs in cars, but the temperatures inside can register to more than 100 degrees, even with the windows slightly open. These temperatures are too hot for an animal to cope with, and the animal is at risk of dying from heatstroke.

If you’re concerned about a pet in a vehicle on campus, you can call the UAF Police Department at 474-7721. They can take immediate action and contact the owner of the vehicle and have them attend to the animal. Alaska Statute 11.61.140 does prohibit cruelty to animals and states that a person should not knowingly or negligently allow an animal to suffer.

When walking on campus trails, pets must be on a leash and under the owner’s control. Animals are generally prohibited from being in campus buildings, however there are the following exceptions:

·  Animals used in approved teaching, research and clinical activities

·  Assistive animals for persons with disabilities, or those animals being trained for such a purpose

·  Police dogs on duty

Many people enjoy having their pets accompany them to work and as they enjoy the campus trails, however please be safe and respect others and the campus property.

June 15, 2012 -- Web timesheet entry for exempt employees


There seems to be no news or information available on progress for the Web Timesheet Entry for Exempt timesheets over the last 6+ months. All I can find is a Google calendar that says that a group is meeting every two weeks. Can the Grapevine track down the latest for us?


From Carolyn Weaver, HR User Services Manager

The project team is well into its work on the Exempt phase of this project which is to build a interface and process for salaried employees. We are expanding on the lessons learned from the non-exempt phase and working to create a product that is easy to use and meets the regulatory and business needs for each group of exempt employees.  We are targeting a pilot program for the 4th quarter of 2012 with a completion and full implementation of this phase of the project for March 2013.

In addition to allowing an employee to enter information online instead of on a piece of paper, the project has re-engineered the way payroll processing works. When time is entered online, the system will have a number of features available in real-time:

·         provide the employee with payroll information – the correct department, accounts, etc.;
·         check the data  the employee enters to help reduce errors;
·         ensure and verify the employee pay information meets state and federal regulations; and
·         automate rules and safeguards to process the many types of employees at the university.

The project team is also building online forms that are similar in look and feel to the current paper forms with the intent to be as intuitive as possible so the transition to the new system is easier.

June 13, 2012 -- Grapevine suggestion


Grapevine often seems like a complaint forum, although I understand it's meant as a communication tool, I feel that people should take a more direct approach with their complaints.

Grapevine could help by providing categorical content, such as "Transportation" "Benefits" "Food Service" etc. At the top of each page one would see links to FAQ's, information, and contact info for key decision makers in each area which would have a form that sends a direct message to that person.

Then if a reader is not satisfied then they could send in a comment here. Furthermore, when a direct message is sent from the Grapevine web site, there would be an option to reply and post to Grapevine.  The post would go to whoever moderates this site so they could remove personally identifying information about the original sender from the response.


Thank you for your feedback. Our marketing team is currently exploring ways to improve communications to the campus and will consider your suggestion as well.

June 12, 2012 -- Summer dining options


After the spring semester, the Wood Center has had very poor offerings.  Our choices have gone from limited to severely limited. Is this a temporary condition, or will this be lasting the entire summer?  There's not even pizza any longer. Is this how staff and summer students/faculty rate?


From Robert Holden, Director of ARCO

Thank you for your feedback. Dining Services has been reviewing the current UAF Wood Center food court offerings and is in the process of determining the feasibility of adding menu options for the summer. If you have additional questions or concerns, please feel free to email me at roholden@alaska.edu
or fill out a comment card at any of our dining locations.


Pizza Luna will be opening today(June 14) at 11 a.m. The hours will be 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.


June 11, 2012 -- Wellness visit


I take high blood pressure medication. During my last wellness visit, I was not allowed to discuss this and had to make a separate appointment to discuss, or could have discussed then and received two charges for an office visit -- wellness and the high blood pressure. This results in two charges, which inflates health care costs, and leads to a fragmented approach. I have called Premera, and they have told me that is just the way it is. Why is that?


From Erika Van Flein, Director of Benefits

This is a policy which is set by the provider and is allowable under the plan. Often this is because other medical issues can arise as a result of the discussion and may fall outside of the scope of the wellness visit. Blue Cross will process the claim as billed by the provider (either preventative or diagnosis). 

The provider should be able to fax a prescription refill to the pharmacy without the visit, if the drug doesn't require one that has to be in writing.

As the patient, it's also your prerogative to ask the provider ahead of time if it would be possible to discuss a matter at your wellness visit. Some may be willing to do so, depending on the issue.


This information is incorrect. The policy is not being set by the providers. They are being told by insurance what is covered by the wellness part of the plan and that anything outside that will not be covered if discussed at the same visit. This leaves the patient responsible for all charges, as insurance will deny the visit. My provider at least is warning their patients about this so they are not left paying for something completely out of pocket that they expected to be covered 100% due to our wellness benefit. Insurance can and has asked for the notes on the visit and denied a claim based on those notes when anything outside of wellness was discussed.

So, why are we being told its all our providers fault, when its our health plan that sets what will be paid for and is denying claims? Shouldn't UA set a policy in our plan to clarify this and make it so more than wellness can be discussed at the same visit?


From Erika Van Flein, Director of Benefits

If the visit is truly for diagnostic purposes, you are right, it will be processed as such and charges applied to the deductible and/or coinsurance. If the visit is billed as preventative, it will be covered as such. Claims will not be denied unless the billed charges are for non-covered services. The claims are processed as billed by the provider, and if the provider uses a diagnostic code for the visit, it will be processed that way. Chart notes are usually requested only when claims have conflicting diagnoses, or if a member appeals a claim.

General conversations can and often take place during a wellness exam. It's a policy set by the provider to not be "allowed" to discuss other issues at a wellness exam.

The preventive benefit is available to you in addition to traditional diagnostic care. As a guide, we have published a list (pdf) of preventive services.

More information on using the UA preventative benefit is online.

You are also welcome to contact Blue Cross customer service is 1-800-364-2982.

June 11, 2012 -- Shuttle bus services


Some of the recent Grapevine questions focussed on shuttle bus issues, especially the Green route from Nenana to Eielson. One complaint went as far as to say that Transportation Services is to blame for employees being late for work. My suggestion is to discontinue shuttle service between Nenana/Eielson and Taku/Wood Center during the summer break.This would create a win-win-win situation. Employees will know for sure that no bus is coming and thus adjust their schedule accordingly (no more late to work issues). In addition walking up the hill is a good cardio workout for most and will lower health care costs. Lastly, Transportation Services will save money which too is a win.

Of course the weather isn't always sunny to make the walk a pleasant stroll, but luckily smart people a few thousand years ago invented the umbrella.

Yes, I part in the Nenana parking lot every day and I would be OK with this change.


Thank you for your suggestion. It has been forwarded to Transportation Services.

June 6, 2012 -- Nanook Terrain Park


My question is winter related. Can you give a status update on the proposed ski/snowboard terrain park? The last update on the grapevine said possibly next academic year. Is there a committee in place who is actively pursuing management plans and drafting designs?

Let's get this going!


From Mark Oldmixon, director Recreation, Adventure and Wellness

Thanks for your continued enthusiasm towards this project. Over the winter we worked with Smart Parks to develop the schematics. We’ve successfully presented these plans to the Master Planning Committee. They have a few concerns that we need to address, but no significant road blocks.

We are currently in the fundraising stage. We are actively working on private donations to help begin building components of park. We're also working closely with the Alumni Association on a targeted campaign to secure funds for the "Alumni Run."

Please review the schematics and provide feedback on the plans for the Nanook Terrain Park. Feedback can be sent to Mark Oldmixon at mtoldmixon@alaska.edu.

Again, thanks for your support. Please know that we are indeed working towards having this project come to a reality.

  • Site Plan
  • Outdoor Education Center
  • Terrain Park

June 5, 2012 -- Recycling electronic equipment


What happens to old electronic equipment at UAF? Is it thrown away or (hopefully!) recycled? We have all kinds of other recycling on campus so I was hoping that it happened for that kind of stuff too.


From Michele Hebert, Sustainability Director

UAF currently recycles electronics through the Surplus Office. Departments can donate computers that are no longer wanted. Interested departments can pick up used computers for free. Surplus also disperses used computers through auctions and donate them to non-profit groups. We're exploring ways to recycle computers that are no longer useful and expect the electronic recycling program at UAF will be expanded by partnering with Alaska Interior Green Star in the future. Surplus will be the hub for this process.

Visit our website for more information on recycling at UAF.

June 2, 2012 -- Proposed code of conduct


I would like to know why more people are not up in arms about the failure of the President's Code of Conduct?

I am a student worker and I know for a fact that a Ph.D. does not indicate knowledge or possession of good management skills. I have been harassed by faculty who do not know that their email program will translate punctuation it does not support into question marks. I have seen one person exercise so much power over people that an entire building has refused to challenge her. I have seen my coworkers become targets for no other reason than that they are creative, go above and beyond the call of duty and act (gasp) like thinking individuals.

I am upset with the UA system. I am here, at UAF, because I thought that the people at this campus would support each other. I did not expect them to only support those acting against the health of this community.

I have reason to believe that change can happen if people would just speak up and tell the President himself about the situations they have experienced. Please, do so. Not everyone is as lucky as myself and my coworkers to have people finally stand up for us. You can email him at ua.president@alaska.edu


From Pat Gamble, UA President

I received lots of constructive feedback on the proposed Code of Conduct over the last few weeks. Approximately 55 percent of the respondents disagreed and 45 percent agreed with establishing a code like the one proposed. One of the recommendations I really like was to shift our focus over to what some people refer to as Core Values.

Core Values would express the character and essence of who we are as a values based institution of higher learning in Alaska. Another group recommended we re-construct the conduct policy language we currently have in Board Policy and UA Regulation to read positively rather than negatively. All in all the process I sought out worked as planned…I received the opinions I asked for and we shall move on.

You are correct in thinking that any positive outcome must begin with the individual coming forward to surface the issue through the appropriate channels.

June 1, 2012 -- LARS open house transportation


We tried to go to the LARS open house this weekend. We waited for 15-20 minutes in the Taku lot with about 45 other people. When the shuttle arrived, it was a 15 passenger van. We were unwilling to wait however long it would take to shuttle that many people to LARS via a van. Why weren't the larger shuttle buses being used?


From Deby Chapman, UAF Animal Resources Center gift shop and tours

Thank you for your feedback. LARS open house interest and response by the Fairbanks community was beyond our expectation. We had 1,440 visitors, which was four times the number in previous years. More than 500 people came through the gates in the first hour. The one shuttle service was offered on a 15-minute cycle. When we realized additional transportation shuttles were needed they were not available. We misgauged the shuttle needs this year, but we'll be prepared next year. Visitors are welcome at any time to come out to LARs and enjoy the animals from the free viewing areas.

Additonal information about tours at the Robert G. White Large Animal Research Station is included below:

Guided, outdoor walking tours are provided at regularly scheduled times between Memorial Day and Labor Day each summer. Naturalist tour guides enjoy sharing their backgrounds and expertise in the natural history of the farm's animals.

  • All proceeds from admission and gift shop sales go directly to the maintenance of the animal colonies and improvements to the research station.
  • Summer tours for the 2012 season are offered Tuesday - Saturday June 1- Aug. 11.  at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.
  • Tours meet at the front entrance of the farm, located at 2220 Yankovich Rd., behind the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus. The UAF Campus shuttle runs to the farm before and after tours from the Museum of the North.
  • Parking is limited on site. If you choose to park on the UAF campus, the UAF Shuttle will bring guests to LARS at 9:55 a.m., 11:55 a.m. and 1:55 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

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