May 2014

May 29, 2014 -- Changes to Alumni organizational structure

QUESTION

Is the Alumni Office moving? What kind of changes will there be now that it is part of Development?

RESPONSE

From Emily Drygas, Director of Development

No, there are no plans to move the current location of the Alumni office. However, this past January UAF made a significant change to our Alumni organizational structure and has integrated Alumni Relations within our central Development department creating the Development and Alumni Relations Office. The goal of this organizational shift is to build an alumni operation that will engage our entire alumni base, build brand loyalty, and advocate for UAF and our centennial celebrations ahead.

This approach will foster in some yet-to-be-determined changes, but will also provide a solid foundation upon which we will build a robust, engaged, and responsive program that supports, coordinates, integrates, and leverages the important work of the UAF Alumni Association.

May 28, 2014 -- UAF Bookstore and customer equality

QUESTION

What kind of customer service and equality training do Bookstore employees receive? One employee appears racist in her interactions with people who are not caucasian. We are a public institution who have students, staff, faculty, and visitors from many different cultures, countries, and backgrounds. Customer service should reflect a standard of equality for any person who frequents the Bookstore.

RESPONSE

From Pamm Zierfuss-Hubbard, Contracts Manager

The UAF Bookstore is operated by Follett Higher Education Group. Each Follett associate, whether at their home office or in a campus store, participates in extensive training that addresses company values and policies relating to diversity, sensitivity and harassment. Serving many different campus communities, Follett does not tolerate any discriminatory behavior or comments directed toward customers or coworkers. Follett has been notified of this concern and will address the concern directly with the bookstore team. In the future, should this situation arise again, please feel free to ask for the store manager immediately who can quickly address the situation.

May 28, 2014 -- Cost of living adjustment for staff

QUESTION

Will there be a cost of living adjustment this year?

RESPONSE

From Tara Ferguson, UA compensation director

Yes! A two percent salary adjustment for regular staff will be effective July 13, 2014. Employees will see a change in their salary in the Aug. 8, 2014 paycheck.

May 28, 2014 -- Flowater refill stations

QUESTION

Why do the FloWater refill stations only accept debt or credit cards? I can think of plenty of students, staff and campus visitors, especially in the summer that would not carry one of those. Why is there not an option for cash or Polar Express cards?

RESPONSE

From Michelle Hebert, Director of Sustainability

The Flowater system came with the purchasing system that comes standard with machines. We are currently working with the vendor to look into getting the machines the ability to use Bear Bucks.

May 28, 2014 -- Street sweeper equipment

QUESTION

If Facilities Services' street cleaning equipment is broken and awaiting parts(which has been for awhile now), why not contract out to have the gravel removed?

RESPONSE

Facilities Services has attempted to rent a street sweeper as well as try to contract out to a private firm. So far we have had no luck in finding a sweeper that is yet available to rent or a company that is not already under contract with other outlying borough areas cleaning those streets and roads.

May 27, 2014 -- Dining hours at the Wood Center

QUESTION

What food options will be available on central campus this summer? I looked up the Wood Center dining hours and it says May 12- Aug. 29 from 7:30-2:00, but at least last week, no food was available.

RESPONSE

From Pamm Zierfuss-Hubbard, Contracts Manager

Summer dining hours are limited due to construction. More specifically, because of the construction happening within the Wood Center, food service is limited to Polar Perk during the summer. Food should be available during the posted hours.

Download a flyer of the on-campus dining places/times (PDF).

May 23, 2014 -- Lunch breaks and policy

QUESTION

Does the University have an official policy regarding lunch breaks and/or eating during work hours?

RESPONSE

From Anita Hartmann, Associate Director of Human Resources

State law does not require breaks or lunch breaks unless you are under the age of 18. Generally speaking, the university allows employees an hour lunch and two 15 minute breaks. As far as eating at your desk, that is up to the supervisor of the work area, but it should be clear the employee is at lunch.

May 20, 2014 -- Finding teacher ratings

QUESTION

Where can I find teacher ratings?

RESPONSE

Student instructional assessments are provided to ASUAF and it appears that at least the older ones are posted their website.

If a faculty member teaches only for eLearning, then the evaluations provided to ASUAF might not be included because eLearning uses another assessment system.

If you'd like to access student instructional assessment information that ASUAF does not have, please provide a written request to Provost Susan Henrichs (hard copy), and she will locate available information for you. While the assessments are not confidential as long as more than 10 students have rated the instructor/class, they might not be available for the most recent semester for several months yet to allow for processing time for paper forms used in most classes.

May 19, 2014 -- Sweeping the streets of UAF

QUESTION

Is UAF planning to sweep the streets? The piles of gravel are making cycling difficult.

RESPONSE

There has been a delay in street cleaning this spring. Facilities Services equipment is down and awaiting parts, and as soon as they arrive we will be working to get the gravel and dirt cleaned up. Our student crews are a little a smaller this year, but they are working to clean up gravel on the campus sidewalks as well.

Thank you for your patience.

May 19, 2014 -- Purpose of the biometric screenings

QUESTION

Is the large push for biometric screenings a part of a larger plan to change the UA health insurance program to a tiered program, based on the basic health of individuals?

RESPONSE

From Erika Van Flein, Director of Benefits

The big push in the wellness program to collect biometric data is to get a better handle on just what the University of Alaska's health risks are right now. In the past, the program has been completely voluntary with little incentive to participate. We had many employees enjoy the program and got a lot out of it, but the "cohort" data was insignificant in that we had a small subset of our population who participated year-over-year. It was hard to tell what improvements were being made, if any, on a population basis. The current program of the online health assessment and biometric screening has a meaningful incentive to encourage as many employees and spouses to participate as possible. Since spouses make up 25 percent of our population but drive 40 percent of the cost, it is important to include them as well.

As the program continues into future years, there will be additional things employees and spouses need to do to qualify for the rebate. The Joint Health Care Committee will be working with Healthyroads to develop a program that will help our members improve their overall health. Moving to an outcomes-based program will mean that members will need to meet certain health standards such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels. These standards will always have an alternative standard that a person can use to qualify for the reward. Alternative standards will be worked out between Healthyroads and the member, and if needed, the member's physician. There are no plans to move to a "tiered" health plan where the member's health status determines what health plan they can have.

More information is available in the Wellness Q&A, and the Healthy Roads brochure (including the information about alternative standards on the back page). 

May 5, 2014 -- No forthcoming changes to the EAP program

QUESTION

I understand there are changes for next year in the EAP program for visits with a counselor. Right now, an employee gets six free visits for each issue to be addressed. There is a waiting period between sets of sessions, but if another issue arises the employee can contact EAP and utilize the same counselor for 6 more sessions. I have been told that the plan is changing so that the employee gets six free sessions with a counselor, but then must wait 90 days to utilize the benefit again, and must select a different counselor. Can you please clarify if these changes are indeed about to happen? And if so, why employees have not been informed?

RESPONSE

From Erika Van Flein, UA Human Resources

There are no forthcoming changes to the Employee Assistance Program. For most types of problems, you and your eligible dependents are entitled to receive up to six counseling sessions per topic. All charges for the EAP have been prepaid by the university. There are no co-payments or fees, but if you are referred to additional resources for help, the charges, if not covered by the health plan, may be your responsibility.

Please visit the website for more information or check with your regional human resources office for coverage issues.
 

May 5, 2014 -- Eielson parking meters

QUESTION

The parking meters in the Eielson lots seem to be programmed incorrectly. Right now visitors pay less ($0.25 per 30 minutes) than students, faculty, and staff ($0.25 per 20 minutes). Surely students, faculty, and staff who already pay hundreds of dollars per year for parking shouldn't be paying more at the meter than those who do not contribute anything to Parking Services beyond the quarter they drop into the slot?

RESPONSE

From Debbie Hansen-Hill, Parking Services Manager

The parking meters are programmed correctly based on the type of use.

The parking meters in both Signers' and South Eielson lots are set at $0.50 per hour. In Signers' and the Visitor's area of South Eielson, each meter has a maximum time limit of two hours. The remainder of the South Eielson lot has a maximum time limit of one hour. In the South Bunnell metered area, the meters are set at $0.75 per hour. These meters have plug-ins for winter and may be paid up to eight hours at a time, unlike the restricted time limits at the other meters around campus.

If you are experiencing a problem with a meter, please contact Parking Services at 474-PARK(7275) with the meter number and let us know what is happening. We will be happy to help you.

May 5, 2014 -- Biometric screenings

QUESTION

What is the best approach to this Biometric Screening?

I just wasted an hour, at the worst clinic in town, trying to explain to them what this screening was. I called the Blueprint for Wellness number to make an appointment and they scheduled me at the clinic by the movie theaters, said I needed to fast for 9 hours, and it'd only take 20 min. Once I got there I was sent from one office to another, then back to the first office because no one knew what I was talking about. I finally just walked out of there from the lack of knowledge the clinic had on this screening.

Is there ANY easier way to get this screening done? The University is pushing this so hard for employees to get done but then the place they send us to doesn't know what's going on.

RESPONSE

From Erika Van Flein, Director of Benefits

Be sure to go to Quest Patient Service Center for your screening. Statewide Human Resources has the following guidance for staff and faculty; both employees and their spouses (if covered by the university) should follow these steps.

Employees and their spouses or Financially Interdependent Partners are eligible to earn a $600 rebate each—up to $1,200—just for participating in the Healthyroads wellness program. All that is required to earn the rebate is to log in to Healthyroads and complete a Personal Health Assessment. It takes less than 20 minutes to complete! In addition, a biometric screening must be entered by June 30, 2014.

There are three options to report your biometrics:

  1. If you have had a screening since July 2013, or plan to go to a physician for a wellness visit prior to June 30, you can use the Health Care Provider Form (PDF). Your physician will need to submit the completed form to Healthyroads.
  2. You can schedule a screening at a Quest Patient Service Center at My.BlueprintForWellness.com, and use the registration key of UOAremote. Follow the prompts to register and schedule your screening.
  3. The UA benefits office will be scheduling on-site screenings, starting at rural campus locations beginning in May. A schedule of screenings will be announced once finalized.

You must act before June 30 to earn the wellness rebate. 

If you have questions, please consider attending one of the upcoming forums. http://uafcornerstone.net/open-enrollment-forums-offer-updates/

May 2, 2014 -- Odor in Bunnell

QUESTION

Why does the second floor of the Bunnell building so often reek of turpentine, especially at the auditorium end of the building? It's particularly strong and nauseating today.

RESPONSE

Your question was forwarded immediately to Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management. Tracey Martinson walked the floor and found nothing out of the ordinary. Facilities Services will check the HVAC system to ensure that it's working properly.

Please do not use the Grapevine to report noxious odors, but call 474-7000 for issues that require immediate attention.


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