April 2013

April 23, 2013 -- Shuttle buses and pedestrians

QUESTION

Could somebody please explain to the shuttle drivers that pedestrians in crosswalks have the right of way? This isn't just a good idea; it's the law. Yesterday one finally stopped six inches away from me. As an act of impudence, the driver honked his horn three times. So much for safety and courtesy.  

RESPONSE

Sarah Mousseau, UAF Transportation Services

UAF shuttle drivers should yield to pedestrians in the crosswalks and come to a complete stop if pedestrians are crossing or preparing to cross. However, there are some conditions that could lead up to the type of situation you described, including poor traction for vehicle and/or pedestrian, poor visibility which can be affected by the time of day, weather conditions and foliage as well as structures that affect line of sight. That said, if you have an issue, please call 474-RIDE(7433) and let us know when the incident takes place, so we’ll be able to better address the issue.

Included here are some important safety tips for using the crosswalks that are located throughout campus. Whether you walk, bike or drive, take a few seconds to read and follow these crosswalk safety guidelines:

PEDESTRIANS:

  • Always cross at marked crosswalks.
  • Obey any pedestrian signals and look left right left. By doing this you insure that the road is clear in both directions before crossing.
  • If a vehicle approaches, make eye contact with the driver to be sure they see you before you cross.
  • Look before walking past stopped vehicles. Do not cross just because a driver waves you on. Be sure all lanes are clear first.
  • Remember that bicyclists are not considered pedestrians unless they are walking their bikes. Otherwise, they are considered vehicles.

 BICYCLISTS:

  • Yield to pedestrians. 
  • Remember that bicyclists are not considered pedestrians unless they are walking their bikes.
  • Obey vehicular traffic signals and laws on the roadways. 
  • Use extra caution as you transition between bike paths, roads and sidewalks. Be aware that your actions are unpredictable to drivers and pedestrians.

DRIVERS:

  • Yield to pedestrians in the crosswalks and at intersections.
  • Be prepared to stop at all marked crosswalks. Stay alert and reduce speed in areas with crosswalks.
  • Come to a complete stop if pedestrians are crossing or preparing to cross.
  • Never pass another vehicle that has stopped or is slowing down at a crosswalk.

April 11, 2013 -- Chancellor Rogers meeting with students

QUESTION

Does Chancellor Rogers have weekly lunch with students like previous chancellors did?

RESPONSE

No, Chancellor Rogers doesn't have a standing meeting with students on campus at this time. However, he meets with the ASUAF president and vice president two or three times a semester and hosts student forums usually about once each semester. Student groups are welcome to submit a request  to have Chancellor Rogers attend a specific event. He participates in many student activities throughout the year including Scholarship Breakfast, Orientation, Research Day and many others.

April 11, 2013 -- On campus room selection

QUESTION

Apparently Residence Life "room selection" is only for students who presently live on campus (though those students can "pull in" an off-campus student as a roommate or as part of a group). This means that exchange students or study-abroad students lose almost all priority, regardless of class standing, when they leave, even if they plan to return to on-campus housing. Obviously, they cannot homestead a room, but couldn't UAF allow them to select a room by proxy? UAF encourages students to apply for exchange or study-abroad but then "punishes" them by giving them low priority for housing when they return.

RESPONSE

From Laura McCollough, Residence Life

Thank you for voicing your concern about selecting housing. The process of Room Selection does give priority to current residents. The proxy option is available to current residential students or non residents (exchange students, study abroad). We have already worked with a study abroad student and helped them select their room for fall 2013. If you would like to reserve an on campus room for fall 2013, please email housing and we can work with you. Or, if you have contacts on campus, they can submit your proxy form for you. You can email housing@uaf.edu.  I look forward to hearing from you.

April 10, 2013 -- Tuition waiver benefit for employees

QUESTION

I saw that the tuition waiver has been upped to eight credits per semester. Does this mean the annual number is now 16 credits?

RESPONSE

Employees may take up to eight credit hours of university course credits per semester, with no tuition fee, to a maximum of 16 credit hours per calendar year (including Summer Sessions).

The updated employee educational benefits regulation is online.

April 10, 2013 -- Motorists taking up two parking spaces

QUESTION

Has parking services ever considered ticketing vehicles that take up more than one parking spot? How is taking up more than one spot different than parking in an incorrect lot because it means that someone who should be able to park there can't (especially with gold lots)?

RESPONSE

Parking Services does cite vehicles taking up more than one parking spot, but doesn't always come across the particular vehicle. If you notice a car taking up two spaces you can always call Parking Services at 474-PARK(7275) to let them know.

April 10, 2013 -- South Bunnell stairway

QUESTION

When will the South Bunnell parking lot stairs be repaired and reopened?

RESPONSE

The project manager is awaiting design and cost estimates for the repairs, but the stairs are scheduled to be repaired sometime this summer.

April 8, 2013 -- Changes to Google Apps for Education

QUESTION #1

I just read that Google is considering the discontinuation of Google Groups and Google Apps. What will happen to all the systems UAF has set up? What about departmental UAF email accounts? Will the departments that have converted to @alaska.edu accounts have to go back to @uaf.edu accounts?

QUESTION #2

Is this something we need to be concerned about?  Please see the second and last items on the author's list.

RESPONSE

From Martha Mason, OIT executive director of user services

The short answer is No; Google Apps for Education is not going away. (Nor is Google Groups for Business, which is a core component of Google Apps.)

These questions were prompted by a recent article on Wired.com where the author referenced five Consumer Services that Google recently announced were being retired this year. (Two of those services will affect a subset of our Google Apps@UA customers: Google Reader and Cloud Connect)

That same author went on to speculate about other services they thought Google might consider retiring; Google Apps being among them. A careful read reveals there was no basis in fact for this conjecture. The article includes no quotes from Google.

This does point out how confusing it can be to tease out what's happening from news articles about  Google and specifically, the affect it may have on Google Apps@UA. After all, Google Apps is comprised of seven core services (Gmail, Calendar, Drive/Docs, Groups for Business, etc.) as well as 69 "Consumer" services (e.g., YouTube, Blogger, Google+, etc.)

In an effort alleviate the confusion of rumors and focus on facts, we spend a lot of time absorbing news and information from (and about) Google, and have always published headlines related to GoogleApps@UA in the News section of google.alaska.edu.

Another way to stay up-to-date is to join the UA Google Apps Community on Google+.  This is where OIT hosts a stream of focused news and information that is directly applicable to GoogleApps@UA. Check out the UA Google Apps Community on Google+.

April 8, 2013 -- Tuition waiver benefit

QUESTION

I saw that the tuition waiver has been upped to 8 credits per semester.  Does this mean the annual number is now 16 credits?

RESPONSE

Employees may take up to eight credit hours of University course credits per semester, with no tuition fee, to a maximum of 16 credit hours per calendar year (including summer session).

The updated employee educational benefits regulation and more information about tuition waiver is here: http://www.alaska.edu/benefits/tuition-waivers/


 

April 7, 2013 -- Air quality alerts

QUESTION

Can we get daily air quality alerts posted?  The borough air quality division offers an on-line subscriber service that I think would be valuable to post through UAF communications.  (Alerts are only sent when the air is not good.)

RESPONSE

We're looking into the possibility of including on a couple of websites, but in the meantime, employees can subscribe to the RSS feed currently offered by the Fairbanks North Star Borough by clicking on the orange RSS icon located on the borough's air quality site. 


 

April 7, 2013 -- ABM contractor kudos

SUGGESTION

KUDOS TO ABM! It is so nice to walk into a bathroom and it look & smell clean, not have garbage cans overflowing and be supplied with paper products! The floors of the buildings are getting vacuumed and the open access areas are cleaner! 

April 7, 2013 -- Chancellor's Gala fundraiser

QUESTION

How much did the Chancellor's Gala bring in for the Circle of Hope project and the dental hygiene program?

RESPONSE

The UAF Chancellor’s Gala raised $25,000 for the Greater Fairbanks Community Hospital Foundation to support the Circle of Hope Breast Cancer Program at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital and $25,000 to support CTC’s dental assistant and dental hygiene program. 

April 7, 2013 -- Biometrics requirement question

QUESTION

I've heard about the new biometrics requirement that will be phased into our health care. Based on what I've read so far it mostly lists BMI as an indicator of health. I have reservations about this as BMI can seriously mis-represent a certain population; that is healthy people who have a high muscle mass and healthy body fat percent can be categorized as obese by BMI calculations. Has this been discussed? Will there be other alternatives offered if this is the case? My husband and I fall into this category.
 

RESPONSE

From Erika Van Flein, UA Human Resources

The proposed wellness program will collect biometric information from participants, to include such measures as cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure, weight and waist circumference. BMI is a calculated measure from weight and height measurements and is a useful tool for determining risk but mostly on a population level. As you point out, it has shortcomings when applied to some individuals. For this reason, BMI will not be a sole determinant in evaluating risk for an individual. The messaging from the Joint Health Care Committee and the university have not emphasized BMI when describing the wellness program.

Statewide Voice article.

Today's health tip from WIN for Alaska was about the importance of waist circumference in determining risk for heart disease and diabetes.

 


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