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.
Oct. 30, 2014 -- Buy-out of UAF employees
With the continued budget issues, will there be a buy-out of employees close to retirement? I heard it was done in the past to save money.
From Erika Van Flein
It's not that easy to offer a Retirement Incentive Program because it needs both Board of Regents' and state support through the Alaska Division of Retirement Benefits. There are also more employees who have opted for the Optional Retirement Program which doesn't offer as much savings for the university. So given the potential loss of talent and the lower possibility of savings, the university is not considering this option at this point.
Oct. 30, 2014 -- Website links
This website only lists a few of the RSS Readers on the market and is not up to date. There is a huge list of possible RSS Reader alternatives, which I would recommend to you; it is always linked in the Wikipedia article about RSS.
You may want to exchange the old link to the website with the long list or just add the rss-readers.org website to the current website.
From Carla Browning, Communications Manager of Marketing and Communications
Thanks for the suggestion. Our web team was able fix the link to the recommended one recommended with ease.
Oct. 29, 2014 -- Ted Stevens Papers Project
What happened to the $1 million for the Ted Stevens papers project? Are the papers going to be available to look at soon?
From Bella Karr Gerlich, Dean of Libraries
In 2009, BP Exploration and the Ted Stevens Foundation donated $1 million for cataloging, preserving and organizing the 4,700 boxes of Senator Stevens' congressional papers. It has taken two archivists and several students until July to complete this work. Stay tuned for announcements about when the collection will be open.
Oct. 29, 2014 -- Printing needs
Do we know what business or agency will be serving UAF's printing needs once Printing Services closes in December? If it is a business, outside of UAF is there a plan to have courier service and same day service?
From Raajkumar Kurapati, Associate Vice Chancellor of UAF Financial/Support Services
UAF is actively working on a RFP for external entities to continue the services that Printing Services currently provides. The expected outcome of the process would be a list of approved printers in and around Fairbanks that are determined as qualified to provide the services we need at competitive prices. Part the RFP requirements will include expectations on timely performance of requested services and delivery of the product to the campus. If you have any specific requirements which you feel should be addressed in the RFP, please contact Stan Schwafel at Procurement Services (email@example.com).
Oct. 29, 2014 -- Shuttle service and the Admin Service Center
If I work on the main campus and all shuttle services have been eliminated to the Admin Service Center, how am I supposed to get there and back to conduct business with the offices therein? Walking or driving is not an option for me.
Besides scheduling meetings closer to your work space, or setting up a telephonic meeting, you also have the option of taking the MACS Red Line bus, which travels from the Wood Center down College Road and is the quickest bus route to get the Admin Services Center from UAF. The bus is free with your PolarExpress card.
Oct. 29, 2014 -- Eielson Building door locks
Why are the doors in Eielson Building going to be unlocked with Polar Express cards only? I like my keys, I don't want to have to carry around another card. I lose this card all of the time, what happens when I need to access the building and lose the card (BTW, I've never lost my keys....).
If the Eielson Building doors are only going to be accessed with the Polar Express card, can the offices inside immediately be set up to do the same? Why should I use a card for one door, but then dig out my keys for another door? I would rather just have keys. They fit nicely inside a pocket.
From James Schropp, Security Systems Manager, Facilities Services
The conversion of the Eielson building entries to electronic control and card access is the continuation of practice that began years ago, as part of continuing investment to increase the safety and security of people, equipment, research, and buildings on campus. Additionally, the addition of electronic control allows us to open and secure the building's on a uniform schedule that reduces of the number of buildings the Campus Safety Officer's have to visit in a short time to secure the campus each evening, or have the custodial staff unlock each morning.
New buildings have been receiving electronic control; these buildings include Akasofu, WRRB, BiRD, Murie, and the new engineering facility. Electronic controls are being installed during significant remodels or renovations to building entries. Those buildings include Rasmuson Library, Arctic Health, Duckering, Museum, and Constitution.
We understand that the addition of the electronic control does impact the habits of the building occupants, however we do find that impact is ultimately small as the people develop new habits that help provide a more secure environment.
Oct. 24, 2014 -- Flu shots available
Will there be flu shots provided on campus this year?
Flu shot events have been scheduled at several locations on the Fairbanks campus. Shots are being provided by the UAF Center for Health and Counseling and are free to employees and students.
The events will be:
- 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 28, Wood Center
- 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct.29, Akasofu Building lobby
- 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 30, 204 Butrovich Building (Sherman Carter Conference Room)
All UA Choice health plans cover flu shots and other routine vaccinations at 100 percent of allowable charges with no deductible. If you can’t make it to one of these events or you are not in Fairbanks, you can get your flu shot from your local clinic, physician and many pharmacies.
Oct. 23, 2014 -- Shuttle delays
Drivers in the late afternoon/evening always seem to have a break around 5:10/5:15, which delays the shuttle down to the Nenana lot considerably waiting for someone to come take over the route for the break. Could it be suggested that this is not an appropriate time to be taking a break considering this is when the majority of staff and students that work until 5:00 are usually getting to the bus stop to head down to the parking lot at the end of the day.
From Sarah Mousseau, Transportation Manager of Facilities Services
Yes, the Nenana Route driver is taking his break very near the 5 p.m. time frame, however, another driver comes and covers the route. If there is a gap in service, it's very small. The drivers are aware of the 5 p.m. rush to the parking lots. I will remind them all to keep the transitions as short as possible.
Oct. 23, 2014 -- Purple bird vetch
Some years ago, a UAF Dept brought in purple bird vetch to do some research. Unfortunately for all of Fairbanks, it got loose and, as an invasive species, has populated along many roadsides throughout the area.
Readily visible this time of year, it might be an ideal time, not so much as to eradicate, but at least substantially knock back.
Is UAF open to coordinating such an effort?
From Darrin "Bear" Edson, Facilities Services
The research on ways to deal with this invasive weed continues. This time of year the plant has released all its seeds, and the plant itself has begun or already is dormant, this means that herbicides will not work. Here at the Operations department, we are working hard to keep the vetch along the Butrovich hillside mowed once a month during the growing season. This effort is in an attempt in keeping the plant from flowering, we are hoping that the plant has about a five to seven year life cycle and we will begin to see decline soon.
During the summer 2015, we do need to address our reaction to the roadsides. This action will as well be mechanical mowing in an attempt to keep the plant from flowering.
Oct. 23, 2014 -- UAF and plastic recycling
There have been new recycling containers around campus, such as in the Wood Center and in the Great Hall, that have a "plastics" recycling bin. However, earlier this year it was announced that UAF would no longer be recycling plastic. A brief article about it is even on the UAF Office of Sustainability homepage. So are we recycling plastic or not? If we are, why hasn't it been announced publicly and how are we recycling this plastic (through K & K or someone else)?
From Christi Kemper, UAF Office of Sustainability
This is a great question! Last year when K & K stopped taking plastics we had to stop accepting them down in the Taku parking lot. As an alternative we asked that the public take their plastics to the Fairbanks Rescue Mission. The Rescue Mission can only accept #1 & #2 plastics, and they must be emptied, fairly clean and have all caps removed.
UAF is not accepting plastics from the public or home recycling from employees or off-campus students. This semester the Office of Sustainability decided to experiment with taking a limited amount of plastic from the dorms, the Murie building, and a very limited number of bins in the Wood Center and Great Hall. We only take #1 and #2 plastics; they are recycled through the Rescue Mission's program.
Each bag of plastic has to be hand-sorted and cleaned by student employees. The Office of Sustainability currently only has about 6 hours per week to devote to this. If there is a sudden increase in the amount plastics collected we will not have enough labor to sort it and may have to stop the program. This project is still in the experimental stage. If the Office of Sustainability is able to make this a permanent part of our recycling program a public announcement will be made.
Oct. 23, 2014 -- Streaming video etiquette at work
What's the streaming video etiquette at work? I recently went to the library where the person at the reference desk interrupted her Netflix stream just long enough to talk to me. Later that day I talked to a different person at the checkout desk about streaming video and was told that it's commonplace for employees at the library to stream video throughout the day to help pass the time. I personally don't really care about it one way or another, but maybe it would be appropriate to not allow streaming for patron-facing positions?
From Bella Karr Gerlich, Dean of Libraries
Thank you for your question about service etiquette in the library. This behavior is not acceptable in any library on campus and I offer my apology for the poor service you received. I have met with the key staff in the library to review our policies and make sure that this will not happen again.
Oct. 17, 2014 -- Recycling bins on campus
I was on the 5th and 6th floor of the Gruening building yesterday and at both elevator lobbies I noticed a lot of "Sustainability" containers overflowing and with various junk laying on the floors around them. I called the number listed on the containers (474-6037) for pickup and the number is not in service.
Do these containers get checked on specified days by anyone? I do feel strongly about being sustainable, but all of the ugly containers and garbage lying around is an awful eyesore to our campus.
From Christi Kemper, Office of Sustainability Administrative Assistant
The aluminum, glass and plastic recycling pickups on campus are done by a team of two to three student employees. The routes change each semester as student schedules change. This semester pickups in the Gruening building normally happen on Tuesdays.
Occasionally a recycling employee misses work and it takes a little longer for all of the pickups on campus to be completed. More often, individuals bring personal recycling from home and place it on top of or inside bins, immediately filling them. When this happens we will not know it is full until the next regular pickup day unless we are called or e-mailed about it. This is why we ask that everyone drop off the recycling they collect at home to be dropped off at the community drop-off site in the Taku parking lot.
Thank you for letting us know about the mislabeled bins - we have been working on relabeling all of the bins with a new phone number. We will have the Gruening bins relabeled as soon as possible.
Oct. 16, 2014 -- President Gamble's concern for students
"University of Alaska considering tobacco ban on its campuses" was an article in last Friday's Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. In that article it stated, "Aside from a push by some students to curb public tobacco use, there are growing fiscal considerations as the UA budget tightens, Gamble said." and then went on to quote President Gamble, “The students definitely took the lead, but now there’s coming to be a business case to be made in this."
Reading these quotes from President Gamble, I get the distinct impression that he isn't interested in what the students want, only what will help the "business" or "bottom line" of the University. I am appalled and sorely disappointed that our own UA President is more concerned about money than the needs (and yes, wants) of the students. Shouldn't it be the other way around?
From Kate Ripley, UA Public Affairs
President Gamble is concerned about students, and interested in what they want and believe they have a right to, in terms of a healthy learning environment. He was simply also making the case that studies show employees who smoke cost more for health care services, lost time on the job, etc., than employees who don't. That point doesn't diminish the fact that students are, and will remain, a priority at the university.
Oct. 14, 2014 -- Lack of annual performance reviews
In response to the answer regarding step increases based on performance dated Oct. 9, what do you do when your supervisor does not give annual performance reviews?
It's frustrating when your supervisor cares so little that he/she will not take the time to do an annual performance review even after the employee has repeatedly requested one. Annual reviews provide documentation performance, list specific areas for improvement and can provide comparisons to prior evaluations, which are beneficial when employees apply for other internal jobs or ask for wage increases.
From Brad Lobland, Director and Campus Ethics Officer of the Office of Human Resources
If a supervisor is unwilling to give an employee their performance evaluation, the employee should speak with their supervisor's supervisor or their assigned HR consultant to help ensure BOR policy and the chancellor's expectations of supervisors are being met.
Oct. 14, 2014 -- Bookstore retail pricing
I find the bookstore very frustrating. I can't speak to the textbook side of things, but the retail side is a bit ridiculous. $98 for a children's sized hockey jersey and empty shelves in the snack area seem to clearly illustrate that they only want our money, not to consistently provide items that people want. One of the few bright points in their retail area is the friendly and helpful customer service. I hope Follett is providing really good textbook service to our students otherwise I would be questioning why we continue to do business with them.
From Pamm Zierfuss-Hubbard, Contracts Manager of Auxiliary, Recharge and Contract Operations
Retail pricing for items in the Bookstore are set by the company who provides the item. In the case of the hockey jerseys you mentioned, because they are authentic, they tend to cost more. Follett has been working to obtain less expensive replica youth jerseys and while that may take time, other child/youth items are available as well. In particular, there are multiple t-shirts and sweatshirts that are hockey related that are less expensive.
In regards to the snack food area, Follett has been working diligently to not only stock items customers want but also provide a variety of items. Some of these items are obtained locally while others are from vendors outside Alaska. The outside vendors have been problematic as of late (late shipments, canceling items, etc.) so Follett has switched to automated shipments will enable the store to be better stocked in the future.
If you have suggestions on items you would like to see stocked in the Bookstore, please feel free to ask to speak with the store manager next time you shop there.
Oct. 14, 2014 -- Plan for the Lola Tilly
What is the plan for the Lola Tilly? It seems like it would be the perfect place to create a one-stop "shopping" experience for student services. There are a lot of rumors going around but none of them seem to be particularly geared towards serving students more efficiently.
From Scott Bell, Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities Services
Due to budget constraints our options for reusing Lola Tilly are very limited. Converting the building into a one-stop registration/book store facility was evaluated in 2012 at a cost of at least $6M. UAF cannot afford that investment at this time. Our current plan is to convert the dining area into office space to meet temporary needs for office space. This will cost much less and does not preclude future conversion to another use when funds are available.
Oct. 9, 2014 -- Faculty and staff not receiving step increases
In yesterday's response to a Grapevine question Brad Lobland said: Faculty and non-executive staff receive cost-of-living increases as negotiated in the collective bargaining agreements each year, plus most also receive step increases. This year faculty and staff received a 2 percent cost-of-living increase, an additional paid day off, and their step increases.
It was my understanding that we no longer received annual step increases. I didn't get a step increase, just cost-of-living. Are other people getting step increases?
Staff and faculty received a 2 percent cost-of-living increase. While employees do not automatically receive step increases supervisors have the option to give step increases based on performance and other factors.
Oct. 9, 2014 -- Paper consumption on campus
In recent years there has been a focus on sustainability (now apparently to the point that we cannot have toilet paper rolls that can rotate completely around). Is there any talk of reducing paper consumption on campus by limiting the number of printers and copiers on campus? Maybe there at least could be some sort of effort to discourage their use.
From Michele Mouton, Director of the UAF Office of Sustainability
There have been numerous discussion at the Office of Sustainability about reducing printing and copying on campus. Those efforts have been useful in reducing come department use but no broad scale policy has moved forward. With the completion of the Sustainability Master Plan in the Fall of 2014, there is a strategy which focuses on establishment of a committee to identify opportunities. In strategy 8.2 there is an initiative to Convene a Waste Reduction Committee.
If staff and faculty are interested in serving on a committee, please contact me at 474-5070.
Oct. 8, 2014 -- Time capsule contents
I heard the time capsule was opened recently. What was in it?
Items deposited in the copper container and sealed in the cornerstone of the Physical Education and Recreation Center in Oct. 1962 were as follows:
Oct. 7, 2014 -- Executive staff not receiving bonuses
Is it true that members of UAF's executive staff are getting bonuses in the middle of all of the layoffs and program cuts?
From Brad Lobland, Director of Human Resources
No, members of UAF's executive staff are not getting bonuses.
Faculty and non-executive staff receive cost-of-living increases as negotiated in the collective bargaining agreements each year, plus most also receive step increases. This year faculty and staff received a 2 percent cost-of-living increase, an additional paid day off, and their step increases.
Beginning in FY 15, the former "executive" category was split into two groups: "officers of the university" (includes the chancellor and the provost), and "senior administrators" (includes the vice chancellors, deans, and directors).
The officers of the university received zero pay increases for FY 15.
For senior administrators, an aggregate pool of funds equal to 1.5 percent of salaries, was budgeted. The chancellor split this pool among the senior administrators to provide a small (.75 percent) cost of living increase, and to provide market and merit adjustments for some individuals where appropriate.
Oct. 7, 2014 -- Disabilities in relation to the on-campus shuttle
I understand that you can now only order the shuttle bus if you have a disability. Do you have to identify yourself as having a disability when you ask for a shuttle bus? To whom? In what details? Who vets these things? Isn't there a privacy issue here?
From Martin Klein, Business Manager in Auxiliary and Contract Services
At UAF we currently offer fixed route shuttle service Mondays through Fridays from 7:15 a.m.–10:30 p.m. There is no shuttle service offered on weekends.
The on-campus shuttle service is supplemented by providing on-call service to on campus locations for those who otherwise would not be able to access a location due to a mobility disability. In the case of a single, one-time, request, transportation services will respond without requiring proof of a disability. For those requiring repeat service the needs are vetted through UAF Disability Services for student riders. Service needs for staff, faculty and visitors are vetted through The Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity. University dispatch may ask the nature of the disability to insure that the appropriate equipment is sent out, and they only relay to the drivers if a wheel chair lift is needed, the pickup location, and destination. Use of the on-call shuttle service is not mandatory. Students or employees who do not wish to disclose the existence of a mobility disability may use the fixed route shuttle or make their own arrangements for transportation.
This is not a change from what has been done in the past. There may be some confusion because UAF has eliminated on call shuttle service to many off campus buildings due to funding constraints. All shuttle service has been discontinued to the following off campus buildings: Administrative Services Center, Facilities Services Physical Plant, 590 University Ave. (Design and Construction), Harper Building, West Valley Plaza, Georgeson Botanical Gardens. Limited scheduled service remains to the following off campus buildings: Old University Park, Hutchison Career Center, eLearning. Shuttles providing this service are ADA accessible and are wheel chair lift equipped. Schedule details may be found on the Facilities Services Shuttle Bus webpage.