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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Jan. 28, 2015 -- Bullying resources

QUESTION

I have a bully in my department and don't know what to do. I don't feel I can go to HR because our department is so small that it's impossible to remain anonymous.

RESPONSE

From Brad Lobland, UAF Human Resources director

I would encourage you to talk with me, your supervisor's supervisor or your HR consultant about your situation.

You may also find the Employee Assistance Program of value.

To increase awareness of bullying, UAF is rolling out a training for supervisors, which is designed to help supervisors recognize, stop and report bullying behaviors in a constructive manner. All supervisors will be required to take the training by June 30, 2015.

 

Jan. 20, 2015 -- W-2 forms available

QUESTION

 When are the W2's going to be available online?  Most of my friends and family have already received theirs weeks ago.

RESPONSE

Good timing. Statewide Human Resources sent out the following email this afternoon.

*2014 W-2 Available in UAOnline*UA employees may now view and print an online version of their 2014 W-2 in UAOnline <https://uaonline.alaska.edu/>. The online form can be printed and submitted to the IRS. For detailed information, please refer to www.alaska.edu/hr/hr-procedures/employee-procedures/tax-forms/w2online.xml.

For additional information about your W-2 and contacts for tax forms issued by the University of Alaska, refer to the Tax Information links at www.alaska.edu/hr/hr-procedures/employee-procedures/tax-forms/.

*A printed 2014 W-2 form will also be mailed (postmarked) to employees by Jan. 31, 2015. Please allow 1-2 weeks for delivery via the U.S. Postal Service.*

 

 

 

Jan. 16, 2015 -- Consistency of message

QUESTION

Today (1/13) staff received an email from the Chancellor entitled "FY16 Budget" where he essentially reiterated the dire budget conditions UAF finds itself in and provides the ability for individuals to submit ideas on how UAF can either save or make money.  This email was sent at 11:51 a.m.

At approximately the same time, the Chancellor went to the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce luncheon and stated that between 200-250 positions will be eliminated over the course of the next year - including layoffs which will happen in February.  See Fairbanks Daily News-Miner article here:

Why did UAF staff receive a completely different message than Chamber attendees within minutes of each other? Chancellor Rogers' initial email was very general in nature and while we as staff expect there to be cuts, he was NOT as specific to us as he was to Chamber.

While the truth may be difficult to hear, we as employees of UAF deserve to hear the same message as the public. 

RESPONSE

From UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers

The letter to the campus community was prepared before the speech was completed, and I added the estimate at the last minute, based on discussions prior to the speech. Many of the details had previously been communicated to the campus community -- including the programs and services selected for special review. The 200-250 number is an estimate of the number of positions affected, and not the number of layoffs.  

For comparison, in the last year we lost 160 positions -- 55 regular and 105 part-time and temporary. In the first six months of FY15 we had 16 layoffs, some of whom have already been rehired into other positions. We anticipate those ratios will be similar in FY16.

I agree that it's important to consistently communicate with our employees and students and I will continue to do so as we assess and plan for the budget shortfall.

Jan. 15, 2015 -- Daytime cleaning

QUESTION

Are the Nightly Cleaning Crews gone? I work in the Eielson Building and starting about 4 weeks ago, they started cleaning our offices in the morning, right around 9 a.m. This includes not only emptying garbage, but vacuuming.  It is really disrupting when you are trying to hold a meeting.

RESPONSE

From Martin Klein, Business Manager of the Division of Auxiliary and Contract Services

About six months ago we began transitioning buildings on campus from night cleaning to day cleaning. Currently roughly 60 percent of our space is being cleaned during the day. Daytime cleaning provides an energy savings over cleaning at night as lights in buildings can be left off. Additionally daytime cleaning operations experience lower turnover, better supervision, and tend to be more responsive to building users needs. Working during the day also has been shown to be healthier for those employees.

In buildings where we have made these changes we've seen a reduction in complaints and have received largely positive feedback. We do ask occupants of the building to allow the custodians to get into offices to clean and pick up trash. It usually takes only a few minutes and allowing them in each week assures the offices remain clean.

We acknowledge this has been a change and if there is a conflict with a meeting in your department or conference room don't hesitate to contact us and we can work with the contractor to tweak the cleaning schedule for your office to a better time of day.

If you see custodians doing a great job or see something that needs attention please let us know by calling 474-7000. Thank you for your help. 

Jan. 15, 2015 -- Healthyroads Wellness challenge

QUESTION

There was a Healthyroads/UAF challenge regarding not gaining more than 3 lbs during the holidays (began Nov. 24 and ended Jan. 4 or 5 I think). When I logged onto my Healthyroads Wellness account I could not locate the challenge to record my weight. The interface has changed but still couldn't locate the challenge. It is one of the ways to fulfill a point for the wellness incentive so I would like to make sure I get credit for it.

RESPONSE

From Erika Van Flein, Director of Benefits

A message was sent out to everyone who registered for the challenge that because of the migration to the new portal/website layout, the challenge needed to end early. We learned about this after we set the original dates, and couldn't get an exception. So the final weight needed to be entered by Dec. 28. Because there were some people out of town and unable to weigh in by the 28th, we gave everyone who registered for the challenge the wellness credit for completing it.

We'll do another challenge in March for physical fitness, giving everyone who missed out on the Holiday Maintain Don't Gain Challenge another opportunity to earn wellness credit.

Dec. 19, 2014 -- New associate dean of the Graduate School

QUESTION

I just heard that the Provost has hired a new associate dean of the Graduate School. How can money be available for a new administrative position when we are in such budgetary crisis and staff and programs are being cut? If the current Graduate School Dean is not effective (He has never responded to my emails) why not address that problem rather than hire someone else to do his job?

RESPONSE

From Susan Henrichs, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

The associate dean of the Graduate School position (1/2 time) is a temporary position that is being filled because the Graduate School Dean, John Eichelberger, will be absent for substantial periods of time due to activities related to the University of the Arctic and the U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council (http://www.arctic-council.org/index.php/en/) next year. I believe that the additional investment in administration will pay financial dividends for UAF in terms of enhanced international graduate student recruiting and research opportunities.

Dec. 19, 2014 -- Veterinary Medicine program

QUESTION

Only five Alaska Residents enrolled in first UAF vet class. Why does the first UAF vet class have only 5 Alaskan residents?

My impression is this very expensive program is funded mainly by state money, so why not restrict enrollment to Alaskan residents?

RESPONSE

From Susan Henrichs, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

The Veterinary Medicine program is a 2+2 collaboration with Colorado State University. UAF offers the first two years of courses for the four-year program; however, the program is under the authority of Colorado State and they set the admission criteria, which are highly competitive. Our applicant pool this year had 20 Alaskans out of 92 applicants, so in fact the Alaskan contingent did quite well.  Currently the national average of acceptance rates into veterinary colleges is one acceptance per 10 applicants. Five acceptances out of 20 applicants this year made for exceptionally good odds for these Alaskan students. We expect the numbers to increase as we go forward and students become aware of the existence of this program. UAF offers pre-veterinary advising to help students attain the necessary qualifications. Please keep in mind that students applying this year have been preparing for a minimum of 4 years. They began their pre-veterinary studies when this program did not exist, and so many from this cohort chose to leave Alaska, become residents of other states which had veterinary schools, and attempt to gain admission in that other state.  It's likely that more individuals who want to be veterinarians will remain in Alaska now.

The Veterinary Medicine program received $200,000 in state funding two years ago, but is largely tuition supported.  Non-Alaskan students will pay a special non-resident tuition rate to attend the classes here, currently $54,000 per year, which is twice the rate Alaskans pay.  Veterinary Medicine faculty are also having considerable success in securing research and outreach grants.

Dec. 18, 2014 -- Commencement

QUESTION

I recently read about the fall commencement at UAA. Why doesn't UAF do something like that for fall graduates?

RESPONSE

From Cheri Renson, Marketing and Communications events manager

UAA has some space limitations which supports that need for the December ceremony. UAF has traditionally held their fall/spring ceremonies in May and suggestions for support haven't gained momentum. 

We'll be sure and forward your question to the commencement committee. 

Dec. 17, 2014 -- Nanook Shuttle

QUESTION

 Why did Residence Life wait until finals week to announce the Nanook Shuttle wasn't running?

RESPONSE

From Laura McCollough, Department of Residence Life director

Good Question. Residence Life provided information about winter break closing the first week of December. This information included transportation options for getting to the airport. During the second week of December Residence Life sent out an email to all residential students that provided information about airport transportation and that the Nanook Shuttle was not an option for 2014.     

In hindsight I should have provided more communication to the broader UAF community. Lesson learned!

Dec. 16, 2014 -- Docusign tuition waiver

QUESTION

I filled out a docusign tuition waiver and had my supervisor e-sign it. It has been a while but the credit has not been applied to my student account. Do I need to do anything else or just wait longer? How long should it take for a docusign tuition waiver to be processed?

RESPONSE

From Amanda Wall, Office of the Bursar director

Due to tax reporting implications, we are unable to post any payments, other than personal payments, to student accounts until January 1 of the year in which you are registered. We will apply all waivers as soon as we return from the holiday break. We also do not apply waivers for fall prior to July 1 of each year. 

Individuals can always contact the Office of the Bursar to verify receipt of waivers at uaf-bursar@alaska.edu or 474-7384.

Dec. 1, 2014 -- Statewide office holiday closure

QUESTION

How come the SW offices are closed on Dec. 24 and UAF offices are not?

RESPONSE

From Erik Seastedt, Chief Human Resources Officer

Each major unit of the UA system sets its own schedule for holiday closure based on the services needed around holiday time. A variety of essential personnel will still be working at SW on Dec. 24 to make sure payroll is processed, bills are paid, electrons flow, and etc. A hard closure on Dec. 24 made sense at SW to globally give permission to our non-essential employees to take a leave day on what is usually considered a holiday. UAF’s non-essential employees have the same opportunity to take a leave day with supervisor approval, however UAF’s service needs to students, faculty and staff are very different and the decision to remain open on Dec. 24 best accommodates those needs.


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