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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Feb. 27, 2015 -- New tenants in Lola Tilly 


When I walk by the building today, I saw some work going on inside Lola Tilly Commons. What are the plans for the space?


From Scott Bell, Facilities Services

In the near term, plans are to make small changes to the Lola Tilly Commons to make it usable as a "swing" space for temporary offices.  In the coming year, there are plans to house the Alaska Center for Energy and Power in the building until the new Engineering Building is complete. There also plans to move some of the programs currently located in office campus leased space and the One Tree Program here. The Sustainability Office will remain on the second floor.



Feb. 27, 2015 -- ABM personnel break area 


Our ABM worker spends a lot of time sitting in our front office playing with his cell phone. Usually 30 minutes at a time. He could be on a break or on lunch, but there are more appropriate places for him to go. We deal with confidential information and his presence can be distracting to staff who are working. I don't know who to report this too, but perhaps ABM supervisors could let their staff know to find a better place like the library or wood center to spend their breaks.


From Martin Klein, Facilities Services

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. You may email either John Renfro jwrenfro@alaska.edu or Martin Klein martin.klein@alaska.edu in Facilities  Services and we will pass the information on to ABM. ABM has close to 100 employees working on campus. Some more details would be helpful to identify the problem. If you would like to remain anonymous send the details in an email to the grapevine with building and time of day you've observed the information and we can follow up. 


Feb. 27, 2015 -- Bunnell lab school 


Rumor has it that the Bunnell House Early Childhood Lab School is going to be cut. Is that true?


From Kari Burrell, vice chancellor for administrative services

The Bunnell House Early Childhood Lab School is one of several programs receiving closer financial review as UAF considers how to manage if state funding for the university is reduced beginning next fiscal year. It has not been identified for closure.

The Bunnell House is funded from three sources:

  • Facility costs - paid by UAF central budget
  • Program operating costs - 
    • fees paid by parents who have children enrolled in the program
    • CTC budget.

With an eye to reducing or eliminating the need for an annual subsidy of the Bunnell House program operations, a review is underway to consider alternate operating models for the program.  This review will be complete in the spring and a discussion of any next steps will take place at that time. 



Feb. 25, 2015 -- Lola Tilly Commons


When I walk by the building today, I saw some work going on inside Lola Tilly Commons. What are the plans for the space?


From Scott Bell, Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities Services

In the near term, plans are to make small changes to the Lola Tilly Commons to make it usable as a "swing" space for temporary offices. In the coming year, there are plans to house the Alaska Center for Energy and Power in the building until the new Engineering Building is complete. There also plans to move some of the programs currently located in office campus leased space and the One Tree Program here. The Sustainability Office will remain on the second floor.

Feb. 19, 2015 -- Picking up cards and keys


Within the last six months I have picked up university keys and my travel card. I was not asked for ID either time. This doesn't seem like a very secure practice. Is this the standard policy for transactions like that?


The travel office doesn't require ID to pick up cards because cards must be activated via phone before they can be used, just like a personal credit or debit card. When the cards are renewed, employees are required to sign for the cards when they pick them up and they still have to activate their card via phone. There hasn't been an instance of fraud because of someone not showing ID when picking up their card.

There is also not a requirement that key holders produce a personal ID when they pick up keys at the Key Issue Office. However, they are required to give their UA ID number - which is verified by the shop employees - and the signatures of the approving official and the key holder are required on the key slip.

The key office at Facilities Services is nearing the end of a significant revision of the key-issue policy and the implementation of new software. Once this policy is reviewed and approved by Chancellor's Cabinet, presenting a personal ID when picking up keys will be a requirement. Additionally, key holders will be required to sign for the keys in person.

Feb. 18, 2015 -- Budget solutions


As we explore various options for stretching our dollars, how can we as a system make some changes that would help pave the way for creative ideas - case in point, as staff express interest in taking a month off during summer to be with kids (technically 11 mo. contract, and not using leave), they are immediately met with a negative response that it would not be possible to take less than 12 mos. unless they become term funded. Surely, we may not be able to effect PRS/TRS parameters, but could we be open as a university system to help employees make creative solutions happen - happy employees being heard = happy employees being productive 


From Brad Lobland, director Human Resources

Thank you for your suggestion. We're working to make this option available to for employees who may want to take advantage of a reduced contract. The university is reviewing several options, including the implementation of 11, 10 and 9 month contracts as well as reduced work weeks from 40 to 32 hours. Departments will need to balance the needs of the department, the employee and the workloads, but we believe we can make this option available to more employees and perhaps alleviate some fiscal constraints in the process.

Feb. 16, 2015 -- West Ridge Cafe service


Did the staffing change at the West Ridge Cafe? For days now it has only been one person running it, when normally it is a person preparing food and a cashier. Will this be a long term or is this just temporary?

Just getting lunch now takes 15-20 minutes when traffic is heavy. Not only that, but today I found expired food going back to Dec. 22, 2014. With being staffed with less people I can understand why that happened. I know many people are tired of the wait and are getting frustrated.

Please note this not any reflection on the staff member there, they've been super helpful and as speedy as they can be.

Truthfully in my 11 years working on West Ridge I've see the cafe go through so many changes, and sadly right about the time that things are starting to run smoothly with the latest change made.


From Pamm Zierfuss-Hubbard, Contracts Manager of Auxiliary, Recharge and Contract Operations

Due to decreasing sales volume, the number of staff people at West Ridge Cafe was temporarily reduced from two people to one. We are constantly evaluating staffing levels at all locations and appreciate the feedback. In the future, you can contact Dining Services directly at uaf-dining@alaska.edu to provide feedback in a more appropriate and timely manner.

Feb. 15, 2015 -- Printers need servicing


What can we do when a printer in our office is not functioning properly?  Is it true OIT doesn't service printers?


From Martha Mason, OIT user services

Thanks for your question. When your office printer is not functioning properly, contacting the OIT Service Desk is the best way to start a service request. Technicians will work with you to determine the nature of the problem and work to get that resolved. There are situations where the printer manufacturer is best suited to fix a problem and we can help determine when that is the case and advise you how to proceed. If you have additional questions about a specific printer or printers in-general please contact the OIT Service Desk and ask. 

Feb. 9, 2015 -- Open lap swimming


Morning open lap swimming was moved from 6–7:30 to 5–6:30 this semester and the UAF swim team has the pool for practice from 6:30–8:30. However, I've been noticing that the swim team is typically only in the pool for an hour and are usually out around 7:30. Rather than only allowing public lap swimming from 5–6:30, how about the swim team uses the pool from 7:30–8:30, then the rest of us don't have to wake up at 4:30 in order to swim before work.


From Mark Oldmixon, director, Department of Recreation, Adventure, and Wellness

Unfortunately, the lap swim schedule for this semester did change due to the varsity swimming schedule. While you may have noticed the swim team not taking full advantage of their two hours in the morning, it is not a regular event. Currently, the swim team is heading into their national conference meet, which requires them to taper their trainings. In another week, they will be back to utilizing their full two-hour practice. It is not effective to have the schedule bounce around every few weeks, so they are assigned a standard time slot.

Feb. 9, 2015 -- UAF pencils


When I saw that UAF was giving away wood pencils at the 2014 Golden Days parade, I rolled my eyes because many of us look enough like nerds already. However, those pencils were very nice to write with and the ones I could stash away are now sharpened down to stubs. What is the make and model of those pencils?


From Andrea Swingley, Production Specialist & Graphic Designer, Marketing and Communications

Any item bearing a UAF trademark such as the UAF logo needs to be ordered from a vendor or manufacturer who is licensed with UAF through the Collegiate Licensing Company, a licensing agent under contract with the university. The natural wood pencils given away at the Golden Days parade were no exception and were purchased from online vendor 4Imprint.

Feb.6 , 2015 -- Printed directory


Why does UAF still print a hard copy of the faculty and staff directory? This seems like it could be a waste of money as things change frequently and EDIR is always available (and folks can update it if things change).


From Michelle Bartlett, director, Summer Sessions and Lifelong Learning

The simple answer to why is that people like having this tool a lot! The directory has been a Summer Session gift to not only the university community, but to the Fairbanks business, non profit, and educational communities for several years. It began as a useful holiday present as opposed to sending out a holiday card as is the custom of many departments.  The directory has also proven to be a highly effective marketing tool for Summer Sessions & Lifelong Learning programs.

In its present format, the information is cross referenced in the three sections and is extremely useful. It is true that edir is available, but it is highly inaccurate. It is left up to the individual to monitor their own information. When preparing for this current directory, departments and colleges were asked to review what was in edir and to send us correct information. There were literally hundreds of corrections.  With the directory, you can always write the correct number and have the information at your fingertips.

This year we even provided the last two pages of the directory for corrections and additions. Lastly, we have received dozens and dozens of kudos from all sectors not only within the university but also from the Fairbanks community for making this information available in this format. The cost is born by Summer Sessions and no general fund dollars are expended on this project.

Feb.6 , 2015 -- Special Academic Program Review Process


Regarding the Special Program Review (those 46 programs that are facing the possibility of being cut) : Aside from releasing the list of who is being reviewed, there has been *no* further information from any level of administration. I think the Chancellor should post on his website:
    - what the actual process is (how many levels of review, what the levels are looking at)
    - who is on the various committees at each level (actual names, not merely titles)
    - WHAT THE TIMELINE IS (departments deserve to know how soon they may be axed)
    - a copy of each department's report


From Susan Henrichs, UAF Provost

The names and affiliations of the faculty members of the faculty Program Review committee have been posted on the Office of Management and Budget website. The composition of the faculty committee in terms of unit representation is unchanged from earlier years. The faculty committee includes one representative from each school and two representatives from each college on Fairbanks campus (although this year’s SNRE representative resigned due to other commitments) and representatives from CTC and CRCD. The Fairbanks campus and CTC faculty members were chosen by their respective deans for this service, and CRCD faculty were chosen by the CRCD Dean and Executive Vice Chancellor.

The normal Program Review process is being followed, but there are a few differences.

  • Program review is focusing on a group of programs selected by the Planning and budget committee. The selection was made based on the programs being among the lowest in enrollment in their category, lowest in graduates/enrollment in their category, and/or having a sharp decline in enrollment over the past five years. There were three categories: certificate and associate programs, baccalaureate programs, and master’s and Ph.D. programs. Enrollments and graduates for certificate & associate, BS & BA and master’s and Ph.D. programs were combined if the programs shared a large proportion of courses and faculty.
  • Programs had a relatively short time (about one month) to prepare their program review report. Because of this, they were excused from providing student learning outcomes assessment information unless they had it readily available.
  • Given the probable, substantial reductions in state funding in the next two years, Chancellor Rogers has set a goal of saving $3M via program reduction or elimination. That goal was communicated to the faculty Program Review committee. They were also told that the alternative to selectively reducing or eliminating some programs is to reduce all programs, across-the-board, by an equivalent amount.

As usual, the faculty committee is charged with making recommendations to an administrator committee. That committee includes the school and college deans and community campus directors. The administrator committee will consider the faculty committee recommendation as well as the reports submitted by the programs under review, and will also make recommendations. In both cases the recommendation options are continue; continue with change; or discontinue. Both the faculty and administrator committee recommendations will be delivered to Chancellor’s Cabinet, which will make the final decisions. 

The role of faculty in the program review process is especially difficult. There is a large quantity of material to review (over 1000 pages) and all of the faculty on the Program Review committee are very aware that their recommendations could lead to decisions that will impact their colleagues. I ask that you do not contact them directly and individually to express concerns about the process or the fate of particular programs. Instead, a Google form has been set up so that anyone can provide input to the committee as a group. The input received will also be provided to the administrator committee and to the Chancellor’s Cabinet.

The internal UAF process is to be completed by approximately early April. After that, the Board of Regents process must occur, and that cannot be completed before June at the earliest, but more likely, September. However, students should be aware that all currently enrolled will be given a reasonable time to complete their program, as required by accreditation standards. This will mean that in most cases the program faculty will be retained for a period of time. The specifics differ for different programs, so it is not possible to state them here.


Jan. 30, 2015 -- Reserved parking spot for the Chancellor's Office


Why does the chancellor have a reserved spot in the visitor parking lot in front of the registrar's office?  I thought I had found a place to park, but when I pulled in, there was a "Reserved for Chancellor" bag over the meter. There are so few visitor parking spots as it is, so I find this to be ridiculous!

I know I can park in a far away lot and take a shuttle, but when I only need to pick up a transcript, it shouldn't take me an hour!


From Debby Queen, UAF Chancellor's Office

I can understand your frustration.

The Chancellor's Office has a reserved parking bag that is occasionally used to reserve a spot for visitors. On this particular day, the space was reserved for an international delegation visiting Fairbanks. They were unfamiliar with the campus and unaccustomed to the weather, so the Chancellor's Office staff opted to reserve a spot to help them feel welcome and get to their meeting safely.

The chancellor does not have reserved parking on campus. He purchases a parking pass.

If you have questions about parking in the future, please feel free to call 474-PARK(7275) before heading up to campus. The staff there will be able to direct you to the most convenient parking for your particular needs.There are multiple lots close to the campus core for visitors who need to park for just a few minutes. In addition to the metered parking in Signers' and North Bunnell, the lot in South Bunnell has metered lots with 20 minute increments. Check the campus map for more information.


Jan. 28, 2015 -- Bullying resources for employees


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.


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


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


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


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. 


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


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.


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


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.


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


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?


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


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?


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


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


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


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


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


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?


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


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


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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