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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June 26, 2015 -- Food trucks on campus

QUESTION

I recognize that the university has a dining contractor and an associated exclusive vendor contract. It doesn't seem to me that the contractor would lose much if food trucks were allowed on campus because the dining contractor is not doing much business here in the summer anyway.

I'd hope that the chancellor would be supportive of the idea of food trucks on the campus in the summer since as a student here he ran a food truck of sorts (The Lemon Tree) on campus during the summer in his early days here.

Hope you can find time to respond...

RESPONSE

From Pamm Zierfuss-Hubbard, Dining Services Contracts Manager

Dining Services is currently piloting a food truck on West Ridge beginning this Friday, June 26th for the summer. If this is successful, we'll look into working with other vendors as well. Leadership is supportive of having food trucks on campus but the food truck industry is largely unregulated and as such, can be a safety concern.

Several food truck explosions have occurred in the lower 48 as a result of the lack of regulation. We are working with the university fire department and fire marshall to determine how best to serve the campus community while keeping everyone safe. Thanks for your suggestion and in the future, please email any other suggestions directly to Dining Services at uaf-dining@alaska.edu.

June 25, 2015 -- Sponsoring flower beds

QUESTION

I've seen a flowerbed with a sign honoring a person. What's up with that?  Is he somebody important?

RESPONSE

UAF Groundskeeping has a new program that invites individuals to sponsor flower beds or planters. The sponsors are responsible for planting, watering, weeding and any other necessary care, and in return can have a sign acknowledging their contribution or honoring someone else.

Anyone who is interested in sponsoring can contact Bear Edson; there are no more sponsorships available this year, but next spring there will be another opportunity.

June 18, 2015 -- Distracted driving

QUESTION

We are thoroughly trained to be safe in our workplace. UAF will be a smoke-free Campus at the end of this year. Why do the Campus Police not ticket people who drive while talking on their cell phones? I thought it was against State law.

RESPONSE
From Keith Mallard, UAF Police Cheif

While it's against the law to text and drive, it's not illegal to talk on the phone. It's certainly safer to focus completely on the task of driving, however. 

June 12, 2015 -- Interim Chancellor Search

QUESTION

What is the timeline for naming an interim chancellor?

RESPONSE

Pat Gamble, UA President

Interim Chancellor Search
A list of fully qualified interim candidates has been reviewed and accepted by Chancellor Rogers and myself. We are in the process of contacting these candidates to determine their availability (the successful interim candidate is expected to occupy the position for 10-12 months). Once that has been completed the list will be presented to UAF faculty and staff for written/email comment/recommendation to me, and I will decide not later than the end of July. That leaves a full month for overlap.

Permanent Chancellor Search
A formal search for the UAF chancellor will convene when faculty come back on contract in August. The administration of the search process will be conducted by UAF Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Kari Burrell, acting as a non-voting member in charge of the committee organization. UAF faculty and staff will be asked to draw up an appropriate search committee, its composition and numbers. My expectation is that UAF will want wide representation. The selection process for recommending chancellor candidate(s) will be determined by that committee. I would expect a wide search and a full vetting process to be favored. If so that will shape the overall time table. Once presented with a recommendation the UA president will inform the Board of Regents and will confirm the final decision.

June 12, 2015 -- American Flag

QUESTION

I drive past Butrovich every morning going to work and have noticed that more often than not (or what feels like it) the American flag is lower on its flag pole than the Alaskan flag is. This morning was probably the worst I've seen it. This is unacceptable and needs to be remedied.

RESPONSE
From Marianne Freelong, Customer Service Manager, Facilities Services

The mechanism holding the flags up is failing and the flags slip on a daily basis.  We are still in the process of locating parts that will resolve the problem.

June 2, 2015 -- Dining options

QUESTION

Last time I ate at Dine 49 the cashier told me my meal was already paid for. Apparently the person in front of me had added $100 from their "Munch Money" because they had too much and nowhere else to spend it. Apparently dorm residents are required to purchase $2000 worth of food each term. That's a lot of food -- more than most students can eat on campus. I've heard that this arrangement may be changing, but new plans will not be announced until July.

Meanwhile, my daughter will be starting at UAF in the fall, and we need to make a decision as to whether to apply for residence halls. Since the application process includes a non-refundable fee, I am reluctant to apply without knowing how much food she will be required to eat each term. Is there any way we can find this out in advance?

RESPONSE
From Pamm Zierfuss-Hubbard, Contracts manager

Meal plans are currently under negotiation with our new contractor and should be finalized by end of June.  Please check the dining website at www.uaf.edu/dining for information or contact the office at 474-6661.  Once the plans are finalized, we'll post the information (and resulting application) online so students can made decisions for the upcoming academic year.

June 2, 2015 -- Layoff notices

QUESTION

I read that the governor has begun sending layoff notices to state employees. Will UAF employees also be getting these notices, or are they not considered state employees?

RESPONSE
From Kari Burell, Vice Chancellor and Executive Officer

The State of Alaska mailed layoff warnings to thousands of state employees due to the lack of a funded budget for FY16, however, President Gamble and the three chancellors have decided that, for now, the university will not be issuing similar blanket layoff notices.

The university has multiple revenue sources, in addition to state funding, so have more flexibility in managing budget uncertainties than the state does. 

 

June 1, 2015 -- Blood work

QUESTION

My physician only has my blood work done every three years because it's not necessary to have it done annually if an individual is healthy.  So, what is Healthyroads' justification for helping drive health care costs up by insisting on annual blood work for the rebate?

RESPONSE
From Erika Van Flein, Director of Benefits

Increased screening (like many other wellness activities) does tend to increase short term costs and in general healthy individuals don't need routine blood work annually. However, our goal is to see a gradual decrease in the number of high risk individuals, so it's important to get a history over time of our "cohort group" to measure the trends in our population. The cohort group is the group that participates each year. One thing we've considered as we go forward with this program is that members whose numbers are in the healthy range can get "credit" for the following year and not need to repeat the screening. For the FY16 program design though, we will be requiring the biometric screening again.
 
Healtyroads is administering the University of Alaska's wellness program. The plan design is developed by mutual agreement between the university's Joint Health Care Committee, Healthyroads and our consultant, Lockton. 

June 1, 2015 -- Pedestrian path project

QUESTION

There's quite a lot of brush cutting, tree removal, land gouging, and deep tire track-making near the ski trailhead off Sheep Creek Rd. Also many trees were removed at the corner of Sheep Creek and Miller Hill Rd. Can we please get accurate information on what's happening there?

RESPONSE

From Mary Pagel, Project Manager

The clearing and grubbing operation marks the beginning of the Yankovich/Miller Hill Multi-Use Pedestrian Path project.  The project, administered by the Department of Transportation, will provide the community with an 8' wide separated path  (separated from the roadway).  The new path will begin on campus adjacent to the roundabout and continue along the north side of West Tanana Drive, on to Sheep Creek, Miller Hill and Yankovich.  This phase will terminate at LARS.  When DOT obtains the final right of way, the path will extend all the way to Ballaine Road.
For additional information, please contact Meadow Bailey at (907) 378-2340 or meadow.bailey@alaska.gov

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