November 2011

Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 -- Thanksgiving holiday

SUGGESTION

It would be really nice if classes were not held on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

A number of our students have family in the state that they might want to go visit. Currently, their option is either to arrange to miss class on Wednesday (which is a hassle for everyone involved) or have to leave late on Wednesday and start driving, which is not safe.

A comparison with some peer institutions:

Idaho State University: no classes Mon -- Fri
Montana State University: no classes Wed -- Fri
New Mexioc State University: no classes Mon -- Fri
North Dakota State University: no classes Thurs - Fri
Oregon State University : no class Thurs - Fri
University of Idaho: no class Mon -- Fri (UI closed Thurs - Fri)
University of Maine: no class Wed - Fri
University of Montana: No class Wed - Fri (Wed. is "student travel day")
University of Nevada Reno: No class Thurs - Fri
University of Wyoming: no class Wed - Fri
Utah State University: No class Wed - Fri

RESPONSE

Thank you for your suggestion. UAF Provost Susan Henrichs will forward your suggestion to the Faculty Senate, who has a major role in developing the calendar. The Academic Calendars have to be set well in advance, so it could be some time before any changes are made. It's always challenging to fit the fall semester between Sept. 1 and Dec. 20, but your suggestion could be considered.

Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 -- Process mapping

QUESTION

Rumor has it that the recent process mapping workshops that Pat Pitney has been involved with may have implications for staff. What we've heard is that the process improvements may actually be a means to reduce our administrative staff.

This is somewhat concerning, since it appears that many of us may have actually contributed suggestions and advice relating to future layoffs (which could be for our own positions).

RESPONSE

From Pat Pitney, Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services

The process mapping workshops and process improvement efforts are being conducted with the goal of improving service to students, faculty, researchers and staff. These improvements will ultimately reduce the administrative burden on staff and the time needed to accomplish administrative functions such as processing travel reimbursements, setting up new grant awards or hiring new faculty members.
 
We expect that process improvements will eliminate some steps in administrative work flows and reduce the staffing needs for some specific functions. As a result, some positions and departments may be reconfigured, and some positions may not be refilled when they are vacated. However, since there is no shortage of work to be done in support of UAF’s academic, research and service programs, we do not expect reductions in administrative staff as a direct result of the process improvement efforts.
 
More about process mapping
UAF Administrative Services divisions have been using process mapping as a tool to identify potential improvements in work flows, with the goal of reducing the time it takes to complete a task from the moment the need is identified at the department level to completion.
 
Account setup for new employees, travel, procurement and award setup are the first processes that have been mapped by work groups including representatives from different academic and research units across campus. This collective effort helps identify best practices, duplicated efforts, and areas where the process lags unnecessarily.
 
Principles for process improvements have been discussed at meetings with the HR users group, financial managers and grant technicians. All staff are encouraged to offer their suggestions for ways to improve administrative processes. For more information, contact any of the administrative services directors, or contact Kerynn Fisher at 474-7907.
 

Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2011 -- Staff as adjuncts

QUESTION

It is rumored that full time staff might not be able to teach as adjuncts any more? Is this true and why?

RESPONSE

From Kris Racina, UAF Human Resources

No, that rumor is not true. The university is currently revising its procedures for timekeeping for adjunct instructors who are also *non-exempt* university employees in order to comply with requirements
of the Fair Labor Standards Act.  Beginning in Spring Semester 2012, non-exempt employees will be paid on an hourly basis for an adjunct assignment; those employees will be required to enter their adjunct hours--both class time and preparation time--on their timesheet, as they do for their primary, non-exempt job. Timekeeping procedures will be distributed to the approximately twenty UAF employees and the departments affected by this change. All hours worked over 40 per week are subject to payment for overtime; any overtime due a non-exempt employee who also teaches as an adjunct will be borne by the department hiring for the secondary job (usually the adjunct position). The decision to offer an adjunct
assignment will continue to be made by the adjunct-hiring department on a semester-by-semester basis. Departments take many factors into consideration in such decisions, including impacts on departmental budgets and other resources.

Friday, Nov. 18, 2011 -- Headbolt heaters on West Ridge

QUESTION

Why was no notice posted about the fact that the headbolts in the parking lot between Arctic Health and the IARC (9B) will not be turned on until the end of the semester. 

RESPONSE

Signs were posted at the entrance of the lot when it was opened. The delay is due to the power transformer not being delivered on time. During the production phase, the manufacturer of the transformer received hundreds of emergency orders for new transformers after the existing ones were destroyed in Hurricane Irene. Our production slot was given to someone on the east coast even though our order was put in in July.

If you have questions about facilities that need to be addressed right away, please contact Facilities Services dispatch at 474-7000.

Friday, Nov. 18, 2011 -- Supervisor evaluations

QUESTION

Please bring back supervisor evaluations. Student Services used to do this, and I would like to see it revisited.

RESPONSE

From Kris Racina, UAF Human Resources

Every employee at the university should be evaluated at least once annually as required by policy and regulation. UAF also requires evaluations annually in order to meet Northwest Commission accreditation standards. The requirement to evaluate annually includes supervisors.

Friday, Nov. 18, 2011 -- Pedestrian crosswalks

QUESTION

I suggest facility services put in a walkway (can be just rocks) at the bottom of the hill across from the markee that is there. I see people crossing in the middle of the isle between the trees on the grass all the time to get to the stairs. This is a huge safety concern. People are not seen until the last minute trying to cross. Plus traffic does not stop for them to cross. Yes they should use the crosswalk at the light but they don't.

RESPONSE

From Darrin "Bear" Edson, Facilities Services

Because there's already a designated crosswalk, can't install the walkway as you have suggested. We ask that pedestrians use the designated crosswalk at the intersection and that drivers observe pedestrian crosswalks as well as the undesignated areas where people tend to cross.

Friday, Nov. 18, 2011 -- Grapevine administration

QUESTION

Did the person running the Grapevine quit?

RESPONSE

No. The Grapevine administrator did not quit and is tracking down answers to your questions. Our apologies as we've gotten a behind and will begin posting new questions soon. 

Friday, Nov. 18, 2011 -- Headbolt heaters Nenana

QUESTION

Will more vehicle plug-ins be installed in the Nenana parking lot now that there are so many cars being forced to park in spaces without the plug-ins?  Taku is a viable alternative to park in, however the shuttle service is not as frequent or fast from that lot. Thank you!

RESPONSE

We won’t see any new headbolts installed in the Nenana Parking lot until after the completion of the Utilities West Ridge Steam Capacity Expansion project. That project will add additional utilidoor capacity to the area which will then allow additional electrical capacity for additional headbolts. At this time no electrical headbolt expansion projects in the area have yet been designed.


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