October 2009

Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009 -- On-site hockey arena

QUESTION

I heard a rumor that UAF was giving consideration to building an on-site hockey arena to facilitate the Nanook Hockey games to avoid the fees charged by the Carlson Center? Have the UAF executives given this idea any thought. 

RESPONSE

UAF has explored the possible construction of a multiuse facility that could house a sheet of ice and/or an indoor field, but there is no funding available to design or construct this type of facility. UAF's top five capital priorities for new construction are as follows:

1. Life Sciences Classroom and Laboratory Facility

2. Energy Technology Facility

3. Engineering Expansion

4. University Fire Station and Student Firefighter Training Center

5. Student Services Residential Facilities. 

The UA Board of Regents is expected to vote on the capital request at their next meeting in Fairbanks Oct. 30, 2009.

 

Monday, Oct. 26, 2009 -- Student and staff rates

QUESTION

As both a full-time staff member and a degree-seeking student, every semester I run into problems with differences in rates for student and staff parking decals, gym access and museum admission. Is there a set policy on which set of rates I ought to be paying? I get a different set of answers each time I ask, and depending on who I call in which office... I pay plenty of student fees still which makes me think I ought to be treated as a student and I argue such, but its frustrating that my rates depend on how vehemently I can argue and how well I stand my ground.

I don't park on campus any more because I moved closer to campus and the buses are so handy (and free, thanks!) so I no longer care specifically about the parking decal issue, but I can't be the only employee-student with this problem....

RESPONSE

Thank you for your question. It does get a bit confusing. We've included information from the various departments below.

Museum
Full-time students (12 or more credit hours) get free admission to the museum; the PolarExpress cards are swiped at the admission desk when they want to visit. The key distinction is the difference between a being full-time student and being a degree-seeking student.

Student Recreation Center
Student taking 9 or more credits are required to pay the $75/semester SRC fee. This gives students access to the SRC and Patty Center recreational facilities. This fee is not waived and is part of student fees. Students taking 3-8 credits have the option of purchasing the SRC fee for the $75/semester fee.  This must be paid at the business office.

Many students think they have paid for the SRC membership with the $8/credit hour fee for Athletics & Recreation fee charged to anyone taking 3-12 credits but the membership to the SRC is a separate fee.

Parking
The employee status supersedes that of an employee taking classes as a student. The fact that employees can use tuition waivers to attend class implies that they are an employee of the university and therefore are granted a waiver from paying tuition, but still must purchase a decal at the employee rate. Students are not allowed tuition waivers unless they are sponsored by an employee (family member) and can purchase a decal at the student rate. Unfortunately, the Banner system recognizes student employees as staff, so if a student has ever held a student job, it does not allow them to purchase a student decal online so they must contact either the Business Office or Parking Services to purchase the student decal. 

Friday, Oct. 23, 2009 -- Soft closure

QUESTION #1

Where can I find out information on the proposed 'soft closure'?  How will the soft closure work?  Will all department/units need to participate?  What effect will soft closure have on those enployees who have already used a majority of their allotted 10 days of Leave Without Pay?

QUESTION #2

I am wondering about the holiday soft closure that is coming up in December. Can you provide the latest details and where comments can be sent on the matter? Thank you.

RESPONSE

From Kris Racina, UAF Human Resources

In an effort to achieve energy and payroll savings Chancellor Rogers implemented the option for UAF departments to extend the winter break for the three additionalworkdays, Dec. 21-23, 2009, preceding the system-wide holiday closure. This year, Dec. 24, 25, 31 and Jan. 1 are paid holidays, and the university will be closed Dec. 28, 29 and 30 as part of the normal holiday closure.

Department closure or reduced business hours, Dec. 21-23, is encouraged. However, there may be departments performing essential services that will need to remain open and employees in those departments may not be able to take leave during this time. Supervisors are in the process of deciding whether business hours can be reduced during the extra three days. Check with your supervisor on your department’s status.

For reduced business hours there will be no forced leave. Employees may choose to work even if the department is closed; take annual leave or leave without pay; or take sick leave upon submission of evidence of illness or a professional appointment or treatment as indicated in university regulation R04.06.130 C.7. However, administrative leave is not an option during the closure.

Employees should be aware that retirement eligibility (PERS and TRS) may be affected if your leave without pay exceeds 10 days in a calendar year.

Once the business hours for your department have been determined, please coordinate with your supervisor regarding your leave. If after that you have additional questions, please contact Human Resources at 474-7700.

Friday, Oct. 23, 2009 -- Replace the flag

SUGGESTION

Please have someone replace the US and Alaska State flags on the Bunnell Bldg. It is disrespectful for them to be so torn and the Alaska State flag to be hanging at half mass and resting the roof the the Bldg

I would rather not have flags then to have these flow. Thank you.

RESPONSE

Thank you for your suggestion. There is a work order in place to replace the flags. Facilities Services will check on the status.

Friday, Oct. 23, 2009 -- Biking discounts

QUESTION

In order to support sustainability and to achieve a healthy work environment, would you consider offering parking discounts to students, staff and faculty who ride their bikes to UAF?

For instance, I rode my bike to work 2-3 times per week this summer. I was only parking on campus half of the time, but I had to pay for a full summer parking permit. 

RESPONSE

From Martin Klein, Parking and Transportation Services

We applaud the efforts of those making a sustainability effort by taking alternate methods of transportation to campus. By taking the bus, riding a bike, walking or skiing many people are helping the university reduce its carbon footprint. Some people doing this are finding that purchasing a day pass from the parking kiosk only on the days that they drive to work is cheaper than purchasing a decal for an entire summer, semester or year.  We are also seeing people purchasing a 9-month decal. They then purchase a pass from the parking kiosks on the few days they drive a car during the summer.
 
As parking decals offer parking at a substantial discount from the daily parking rate the savings really depends on how often one takes alternate modes of transportation, but the savings can add up, especially when the cost of fuel and wear and tear on your vehicle is calculated. The IRS currently calculates the vehicle cost at 55 cents per mile.

Thursday, Oct. 22, 2009 -- Athletic teams

QUESTION

I heard that the Athletics Department is considering replacing the swim team with a women's hockey team (Division II) or just adding the hockey and keeping the swim team. Have either of these plans been considered, or is it a meritless rumor?

RESPONSE

From Forrest Karr,  Athletics and Recreation

We always hope to grow the department and expand participation opportunities for student-athletes. However, we must be realistic and allocate scarce resources within the university's defined expectations. 

There is no plan to drop women's swimming. In fact, dropping sports is not an option as the university needs to offer ten sports to maintain status as an NCAA Division II institution. 

The university may grant varsity status to a club sport when that sport can demonstrate sufficient interest, commitment, competitiveness and potential to warrant such status and when adequate financing and facilities are available. The future of women's hockey will be discussed over the next several years using guidelines found in a document titled Criteria for Evaluating Varsity Sport Status. These guidelines were passed by the Intercollegiate Athletics Council (IAC) on May 1, 2006. The document can be found on alaskananooks.com.

Thursday, Oct. 22, 2009 -- H1N1 flu clinics on campus

QUESTION

Will the H1N1 vaccine be made available for employees like the standard flu shot?

RESPONSE

UAF is currently working with local health providers to organize employee H1N1 vaccination clinics on the Fairbanks campus, but due to the need to coordinate with multiple agencies, no specific dates and times have been set. 

The State of Alaska has pre-registered more than 300 private health care providers who will distribute H1N1 vaccine when it becomes available, this will be in addition to the many mass-dispensing clinics which will be held.

The UAF Center for Health and Counseling has preregistered and plans to offer both the seasonal and H1N1 vaccines to students. Information will be posted on http://twitter.com/UAFHealth_Couns.

The focus at this time for H1N1 vaccination distribution is on high-risk groups including:

• pregnant women;

• anyone who lives with or cares for children younger than 6 months old;

• health-care and emergency service workers;

• everyone age 6 months–24 years old; and

• adults age 25–64 who have chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems.

Other actions that can help prevent the spread of viruses include:

• Cough or sneeze into your sleeve, or cover your nose and mouth with  a tissue. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

• Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

• Disinfect hard surfaces using a diluted bleach solution or commercial sanitizer.

• Stay home if you get sick.

Frequent updates are also posted at http://www.uaf.edu/alert/.


Friday, Oct. 16, 2009 -- ARRV research vessel

QUESTION

Regarding the question and response below I would like to hear the Chancellor's new view on the matter after he visited the Kodiak facility.  The Seward community has long anticipated and supported this vessel and worked very hard on getting it.  It would be a shame to see the University move it elsewhere after long promises.  

QUESTION
I have heard rumor that the ARRV (new research vessel) may home port in Homer or Juneau. Is that correct?   

RESPONSE
Seward is currently the planned homeport for the ARRV, however the communities of Kodiak and Juneau have expressed interest. Chancellor Rogers visited Seward and will also visit Kodiak to hear their request. A final decision will be made after hearing from interested communities.

RESPONSE

During the proposal process for the Alaska Region Research Vessel, Seward was listed as the planned home port facility. The university has also received requests from Juneau and Kodiak to be considered as the home port for the ARRV.  After the Chancellor visited Seward and Kodiak, the university decided to prepare a decision matrix comparing the needs for home porting the vessel with the facilities available or that could be made available in each location. Total cost of operating the vessel from each location is being evaluated. When the evaluation is complete, a final decision will be made on the home port location.

Thursday, Oct. 15, 2009 -- UAF Health Center for UAF staff

QUESTION

Is it possible to open up the health center for UAF staff and faculty to use? There would probably be some initial costs to develop additional infrastructure, but in the long run the university would save money in lost productivity of employees taking sick leave and in heath care costs. Although the health center could not treat major illnesses, employees could get acute problems addressed and have on-site access to wellness care with savings for the employee and the university (the insurer). Maybe one way to fund this would be to divert all or part of the WIN benefit funding to the health center.

RESPONSE

 

The primary issue in considering the population we serve here at UAF is one of facilities. Our current space has only four exam rooms, which are at capacity just seeing students. If the center were to open its services to see a significantly larger population, expanded facilities would have to be available to allow for an increased number of providers, support staff, lab equipment, etc. The medical staff would need to grow in size and there would be a significantly different demand in the type of services required. Perhaps in the future, this could be a possibility, but not in the foreseeable future given the priority given to the construction of academic facilities.

In addition, the Health Center currently deals with a relatively young and healthy population. The addition of faculty and staff to the patient load would change both the level of demand and the type of issues seen. It might also require adding staff to handle insurance from staff and faculty.

Thursday, Oct. 15, 2009 -- Coin changer for metered parking

QUESTION

Why aren't there change machines for the parking meters on campus, as not everyone carries quarters with them?

RESPONSE

 

Parking Services and the Parking Circulation Committee have explored the pros and cons of installing a coin changer machine over the years. The obvious advantage of having a coin changer is the convenience to customers using the meter lots.

The disadvantages are more involved, including location, management, security, troubleshooting, accessibility to customers, and the fact that the coin machine could not be outside due to extreme weather conditions.

There are several questions to be addressed:

1) Where would we install a machine that would be accessible to customer in all metered lots and spaces? The coin machine would need an open area and possibly an electrical outlet depending on the type of coin machine.

2) Troubleshooting a machine that malfunctioned and the management of how and when to refund.

3) Installing a machine in a location that would deter vandalism.

In weighing all of the options, Parking Services and the Parking Circulation Committee decided to take a more aggressive approach by advertising metered parking through signage, campus map, parking website and brochures so that customers can prepare before parking in a metered space.

Please feel free to contact Parking directly at 474-PARK or 474-RIDE. 

Thursday, Oct. 15, 2009 -- Account codes on Financial Services website

QUESTION

On the financial services website, the format for the list of account codes has changed to a very un-user friendly format. Is an effort being made to return to a more efficient and easier to read format? THANKS!

RESPONSE

Thank you for pointing this out. Financial Services has had similar requests and is exploring ways to improve the format.

Monday, Oct. 5, 2009 -- Campus switch to Google Calendar

QUESTION

Why is the conversion from Meeting Maker to Google Calendar being done so quickly?  What is the rush?

RESPONSE

From Karl Kowalski, OIT
 
As UAF and Statewide moved to GoogleApps@UA for e-mail, users discovered the functionality of using Google Calendar and realized the departmental savings of not renewing their Meeting Maker licenses. Entire departments had already converted prior to an administrative decision to move to Google Calendar. The UAF Faculty and Student Technology Committee reviewed the calendar survey results and recommended to the Chancellor's Cabinet that UAF transition to Google Calendar. The Statewide Executive Group also reviewed the results and recommendation. Both executive groups felt that we should transition as soon as possible to get everyone back on a single calendar. The Chancellor's Cabinet requested that OIT assist in transitioning all UAF users by Nov. 1. The Statewide Executive Group concurred.

Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009 -- Disc golf course on UAF campus

QUESTION #1

I noticed a new disc golf course put up on campus.  Where can I find a map of all the baskets?  Is there a set direction of play, beginning or end?   

QUESTION #2

When will the map of the frisbee golf course be posted (and where)? I had read in Statewide Voice that the course was scheduled to be completed in the spring, but have noticed some holes are already in - when will it be ready to go?      

RESPONSE

Although still in the planning stages, Disc Golf is well on its way to becoming a reality at UAF. A course has been designed and materials have been ordered. Chancellor Rogers has given the go ahead, and an initial 9 holes were purchased and set up for testing this past week.
 
The 18 hole, par 3 course will be set up each spring after breakup and will be taken down again once snow falls.
 
Members of the group who spearheaded the project are in the process of finalizing the course map and play rules. The course map and rules will be available for players at each hole during the play season.
 
A prototype map is posted on the Facilities Services website. 
 
If your department wishes to sponsor a hole, please contact Marianne Freelong at 474-5990. 

Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009 -- Recycling office supplies

QUESTION

Is there a clearinghouse for office and other supplies on the Fairbanks campus?  It's a shame to waste anything we have paid for, but the space is needed for other uses. The alternative is to throw away perfectly good materials.

RESPONSE

Surplus items are handled by the UAF Property. Just download the surplus forms and fax it to them to come pick up your items. These items are available for other departments to pick up at no cost to the department and twice a year the Property Office has a public auction to recycle the remaining items.   

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