Welcome to the Grapevine

The Grapevine is administered by the UAF Marketing and Communications Department and was designed to dispel rumors, clarify misconceptions and clear up misunderstandings about UAF topics of a general nature to improve communication between the administration and the UAF community.

Many times departments are able to quickly resolve an issue and we post the solution to the problem here as well. Thank you for your suggestions. 

Submit your question or suggestion here.

As always, building and facilities issues that need attention should be forwarded to dispatch@fs.uaf.edu or reported directly to 474-7000. Unsafe conditions should be reported to Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management here.

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Aug. 18, 2014 -- Coat hangers in the Murie Building

QUESTION

Would it be possible to install a coat hanger in the basement restrooms in the Murie Building? Come winter, it would be nice to be able to hang up a parka instead of putting it on the floor.

RESPONSE

From Marianne Freelong, Customer Service Manager of Facilities Services

Thank you for the suggestion; a work order will be placed to install the requested hooks. If you have a facilities issue or suggestion, please contact Facilities Services directly at 474-7000.

Aug. 18, 2014 -- Salary compression

QUESTION

In the Sept. 21, 2009 memo from the CHRO, Beth Behner, introducing the new 1% salary grid, salary compression was mentioned as an unintended consequence of rolling the entire salary grid be the amount of the salary increase. For the last several years, the entire salary grid has rolled, enforcing this 'unintended consequence'. What happened to the approach of a combined grid roll and step definition change to implement the salary increase and avoid the salary compression at the low end of the step scale?

RESPONSE

In 2008, the university was advised that the Alaska State Legislature would only fund across-the-board pay adjustments for staff; it would no longer fund the cost of the annual step increases. A Compensation Task Force was formed to review the impact of this change and to recommend appropriate changes to compensation practice and regulation. The Task Force included representation from governance, administrative management and human resources throughout the UA system. The group was tasked to come up with a salary structure that allowed progression throughout the salary range, alleviated pay compression and provided neutrality in terms of cost. The last step movement was Jan. 1, 2012. At this time we are analyzing if there is any compression within the compensation structure and where. We are also analyzing other ways to avoid compression in the future.

Aug. 15, 2014 -- Emergency lights in the Eielson building

QUESTION

Why are there no emergency lights in the Eielson Building? When the power goes out, it is completely dark and very unsafe, especially in the stairwells.

Luckily, I work with some nice people who lined the stairs with cell phone lights to help others get down without tripping.

RESPONSE

From Marianne Freelong, Customer Service Manager of Facilities Services

Facilities Services checked on the emergency light situation after the outage.  Both stairwells have emergency lighting.  In the south stairs they are on every other landing, on the north side they are on every landing.

In the second floor corridor every other fixture has a C450 fluorescent emergency ballast, meaning that during a power outage one bulb in the fixture will be lit until the battery runs out. These were tested on Friday after the outage and all but one worked.   We are in the process of repairing that one.

We found that  there are no existing emergency light fixtures on the first floor, and we are working out a plan to rectify that situation.

Aug. 14, 2014 -- Eielson entrance doors

QUESTION

What is being done with the doors in the Eielson building? Also when will the second floor bathrooms be done?

RESPONSE

From Karl Petterson, Senior Contract Manager of FS Design and Construction

The existing entrance doors at the Eielson building were failing due to heavy use. We are replacing them with new, heavy duty, storefront entrances. We expect the new entrances to be complete by early September. We have been coordinating with the building coordinators to minimize the impact to students when the fall semester starts.

The Eielson second floor bathrooms are being modified to comply with the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) requirements. It is anticipated they will be substantially complete by the end of this August.

Aug. 11, 2014 -- Come Home to Alaska Program

QUESTION

Does the Come Home to Alaska program work for parents and grandparents? For instance if I am a resident can my parents come to school here at the residential rate? What if a minor is a resident? Does it work for their parents and grandparents?

RESPONSE

No, the Come Home to Alaska program does allow students with parents or grandparents in Alaska to pay resident tuition rates, regardless of where those students live. For an undergraduate taking 30 credits a year, the annual savings will exceed $13,000.

Visit us online for more information about the Come Home to Alaska Program.

Aug. 4, 2014 -- Signage change needed

QUESTION

Should the 'No Right Turn' sign be removed from Tanana Loop E, east bound lane, just before the drive to the new Energy Technology Facility? Just past this 'No Turn' sign is the sign indicating to turn right to get to the facility.

RESPONSE

Thank you for the catch. This sign will be removed soon.

Aug. 1, 2014 -- Regents' retention offer

QUESTION

I heard tell that the Board of Regents recently approved a $320,000 bonus for President Gamble if he should agree to stay with the university. Considering the financial state that the university is currently in, including reducing funding to multiple key departments, I wonder how the board could justify such a decision?

RESPONSE

From Pat Jacobson of Kodiak, chair of the Board of Regents

The Board of Regents in June approved an extension of President Gamble’s contract (June 1, 2013 - May 31, 2016) at the annual salary he’s had since 2011, $320,000. The contract does include a retention incentive of $320,000 upon completion of the full term. The board took this action for two reasons:

1) We strongly endorse President Gamble’s leadership. We are especially supportive with the Shaping Alaska’s Future initiative, a policy that lays out 23 specific effects (outcomes) the university system intends to achieve in the coming years, no small feat for a system as complex as UA. The board wants “Shaping” put into action for the benefit of students and our state. President Gamble knows the system and where we need to go and is the person we need to continue this most important effort to improve the system. See www.alaska.edu/shapingalaskasfuture for more.

2) The incentive recognizes that the current annual salary for the UA president is 25-28 percent below those of peer institutions in the Lower 48. Even applying the incentive over the contract period, his compensation will be below peers.

In challenging budget times, maybe even especially during challenging budget times, we need the right leader at the helm of our diverse system.


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