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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Sept. 18, 2014 -- Soundproofing in Gruening

QUESTION

Some of the classrooms on the 4th floor of Gruening have their whiteboards/chalkboards sharing a wall. With two loud lecturers both lecturing at the same time, there is a lot of sound bleed. Is it possible to put more soundproofing between those classrooms, or at least to move the boards to walls that are not shared? It's especially distracting to students who are trying to take a quiz or exam in one room, while hearing the other class's lecture.

RESPONSE

From Marianne Freelong, Customer Service Manager of Facilities Services

There are several factors at play that make soundproofing or moving of classroom boards difficult in Gruening. One is the significant cost of soundproofing rooms at a level which really works. The walls are in fact not regular walls, but "Craig Y. Don" partitions, which do not extend to the bottom of the floors above. This issue will be addressed during a deferred maintenance project.

Moving of classroom boards may require repositioning of other classrooms due to the configurations of the OIT Smart Classroom equipment and wiring. This option could take considerable time and expense.

One other option is to move your class to another classroom. To do this, please contact Anna Brumbelow, Academic Scheduling Coordinator at 474-6237.

Sept. 18, 2014 -- Signers' Hall family restroom

QUESTION

Can a coat/bag hook be installed in the 1st floor Signers Family restroom? Everyone has to but the diaper changing station down to set coats and backpacks on there, rather than the floor. This can be equally unsanitary, and blocks the door.

RESPONSE

From Marianne Freelong, Customer Service Manager of Facilities Services

Thank you for your suggestion. A work order has been submitted.

Sept. 18, 2014 -- Tanana Loop

QUESTION

Earlier there had been at least a suggestion that the part of Tanana Loop that goes past the new Duckering expansion might be open for traffic this winter. Is there any chance we'll have that route for the winter?

RESPONSE

From Cameron Wholford, Senior Project Manager of Facilities Services Design and Construction

The construction elevator for deliveries to upper floors will continue to operate for most of the winter. Due to its location, the road is closed for pedestrian safety and will be open next fall at the earliest.

Sept. 9, 2014 -- Purell hand sanitizer dispensers

QUESTION

A few years ago all the major buildings had Purell hand sanitizer dispensers installed at the major entry doors. Do those ever get checked or refilled?

RESPONSE

From Marianne Freelong, Customer Service Manager of Facilities Services

The custodial contractor, ABM is responsible for refilling the sanitizers at building entrances. If you find one empty, please contact either the FS Customer Service Center at 474-7000 or the custodial department directly at custodial@fs.uaf.edu

Sept. 4, 2014 -- Compilation of online administrative systems

QUESTION

This year, at UAF, a number of new online administrative systems have been introduced:

  • TEM
  • Faculty 180
  • InfoEd Spin (soon to be active)

InfoEd Spin seems like a powerful, robust program, however TEM and Faculty 180 aren't user friendly and seem poorly designed. Why can't UAF hire software designers and house all of these administrative systems within UA online? Then we could use one login, which would be one huge step towards simplification, and we could also learn one interface as well. They each have their own eccentricities and quirks. A poor user interface and becoming familiar with these quirks adds up to a lot of time. Then perhaps these systems could talk to each other. For instance, if you completed your Travel Expense Report, then you could also complete information about Professional Development that would feed into your Faculty 180 system. And for InfoEd Spin where you need to upload your vitae, then your vitae would also be up to date in your reporting system.

Just an idea.

RESPONSE

Thank you for your suggestion. It has been forwarded to the applicable departments for consideration.

Sept. 3, 2014 -- Temperature in the Eielson building

QUESTION

The temperature in the Eielson building is in the mid 60's and it's not even freezing outside yet. There is a rumor that UAF will not be turning the heat on until October to save money no matter how cold it gets, is this true?

RESPONSE

From Marianne Freelong, Customer Service Manager of Facilities Services

There was a scheduled outage late last week to shut off the steam in order to assist the contractors in their work to renovate the bathrooms. The steam heat was turned back on in the Eielson building early Tuesday morning (Sept. 2) and the building has warmed up.

The combined heat and power plant uses waste steam to heat several buildings on campus, so this not an issue of budget. Most facilities on campus are on a computerized system (DDC or "Direct Digital Control") and the building heat comes on based on outside air temperatures, at or around 55 degrees.

Sept. 2, 2014 -- Taku parking lot stairs

QUESTION

Any thought of safety concerns regarding getting the heel of a shoe caught in the stair grates of the new stairs going up the hill from Taku parking lot? As the main path up the hill, can something be put along the side of the stairs to protect from any potential hazards --- for those that wear shoes/boots with a heel?

RESPONSE

From Kim Knudsen, Safety Officer with Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management

UAF is dedicated to the safety of all its students, staff, faculty and visitors. These new stairs were installed as a solution to eliminate the “sled hill” hazard that individuals walking to and from the Taku lot were faced with.

These type of metal stairs are already located in several areas on campus and have proven easier to care for during the winter months as well as being sturdy and reliable. Unfortunately for those who do choose to wear heels, this will be an inconvenience. Installing something "different" along the stairs would be more difficult to keep clear and may cause more problems that it would eliminate.

EHSRM suggests that in order to prevent potential problems, a good traction shoe or boot be worn outdoors and that you change into your regular shoes when you get to your lab/office.

Sept. 2, 2014 -- Eielson shuttle stop changed

QUESTION

I just found out that the Eielson Shuttle Stop is being eliminated come Sept. 2 and replaced by a South Wood Center Stop. As an employee on campus, I am wondering why the decision was made and if a survey was sent out to see if this is what the employees and students wanted? I don't remember receiving a survey and I think this is an issue that we should have a say in considering that we pay for parking and pay shuttle fees.

RESPONSE

From Martin Klein, Business Manager at the Division of Auxiliary and Contract Services

With the opening of the beautiful addition, Wood Center is even more becoming the center of campus life for students, staff, and faculty. All food service and activities that used to take place in Lola Tilly will now be at the Wood Center.

Moving the shuttle stop from Eielson to Wood Center South eliminates buses having to drive through the Eielson South lot. This lot is one of the busiest on campus with many vehicles pulling in and out of parking spaces and drivers walking to and from their vehicles. This has always been a safety concern for shuttle drivers and pedestrians. Drivers were required to frequently wait for vehicles pulling in and out of metered spaces and hold for pedestrians. Use of the new Wood Center pull out on the south side of the new addition eliminates the bus/pedestrian/vehicle conflicts in South Eielson.

Because the route to the new drop off point is less congested trip time is shorter and wait times will be less at Wood Center and Nenana. The new Wood Center addition also offers a much more pleasant waiting area.

Although closer to Chapman, and roughly equal distance from Gruening, Constitution and the Library, the walking distance from Wood Center to Bunnell and Duckering is a minute or two longer. Once the Engineering building is complete a shuttle stop is planned on the Southeast side of that building for convenient service to that complex.

The changes should result in an overall improvement to the shuttle service in this area of campus. Comments and suggestions regarding shuttle service are always welcome and may be sent to uafshuttles@fs.uaf.edu.

Sept. 2, 2014 -- Shuttle routes

QUESTION

For people who are new to campus, the graphic at this Nenana Route link (PDF) doesn't do much to explain where things are and where to catch the shuttle. A map would be a lot more helpful. None of the other links under the shuttle schedule header lead anywhere either.

RESPONSE

From Edward Robinson, Transport Assistant atFacilities Services

Thank you for your suggestion. As time permits we will restructure the graphic that goes along with the Nenana Route, and take those recommendations into account for the other routes as well. Those graphics were intended as a supplement to the main Shuttle Route map which is now up as well. Our Shuttle Tracker has the stops for each route with google maps as the background. We try to keep those stops as accurate as possible. The Shuttle Route Map was delayed a bit as we have had to work on last minute changes to the routes.

Also thank you for for the notice on the links. I have re-checked them and they all seem to be working and up to date.

Sept. 2, 2014 -- Key performance indicators and compensation

QUESTION

What are the Key Performance Indicators for UA President position? Meaning, how does the BoR quantify whether the President is performing to known and published standards and accomplishing the goals set out at the beginning of each reporting period? To the uninitiated it would seem that leading the UA system into the worst budget crisis in recent history wouldn't qualify as doing a good job, and thus wouldn't justify a retention bonus. In addition comparing compensation to Lower 48 institutions is a slippery slope. Do we also compare staff positions to the Lower 48? Do we take into consideration that most Lower 48 incomes are subject to a State income tax, and most metropolitan areas are subject to >8% sales tax, both taxes reduce the effective income, and thus it makes sense that compensation can be lower in AK while maintaining the same standard of living?

RESPONSE

From Pat Jacobson, UA Board of Regents Chair

The Board of Regents believes President Gamble is doing an exceptional job. Evidence includes the Shaping Alaska’s Future initiative, a collection of 23 different effects or outcomes the university intends to achieve within five thematic areas. Agreement on this important strategic direction for the entire UA System represents unprecedented collaboration between multiple stakeholders. Progress on the 23 different effects will be key performance indicators in the months ahead.

The board also believes that President Gamble has worked effectively with governance and the board to make real progress on longstanding academic issues that will facilitate student access and success. Those include improved graduation rates, student advising, better service to students and working more closely and effectively with the state, the K-12 system, and all of Alaska's employers. President Gamble also has maintained good working relationships and open communication with the legislature and governor. The full funding of the UAF heat and power plant and state support for staff and faculty salary increases across the UA System in FY15 are two examples of that solid relationship.

The president’s contract expired last May. The new contract, reported in a UA press release issued statewide June 6 and posted on the front page of www.alaska.edu for over a month, keeps his annual salary at $320,000, where it's been since 2011. This level compared to other system presidents of peer institutions is 25-28 percent below median and average levels. Given that the Board of Regents believes the president's performance has been exceptional, the retention incentive was determined to be the best way to address under-market issues as well as incentivize the president to remain on the job and keep momentum going on Shaping Alaska's Future. With this approach, if President Gamble voluntarily departs the university before the end of his contract term, he does not get the incentive. The president also remains an at-will employee, so the board may terminate his employment for no reason or any reason at any time. If the Board terminates the president’s contract at-will, the incentive amount would be reduced proportionately.

The board approved the new contract on a 10-1 vote, with Regent Ken Fisher voting against it. Regent Fisher expressed his strong support for the president and his performance, but did not agree with the majority of the board on the retention incentive approach. The board understands others will have their own views as well, which they are free to express. However, the majority of the board agreed on the performance-based retention incentive in lieu of a market adjustment for the reasons stated.

The UA budget for FY15 increased over FY14, so there's room to disagree with your assertion that the UA system is in the "worst budget crisis in recent history." In fact, it may surprise you to learn that Alaska's public higher education system receives the second highest level of state support in the country, behind only Wyoming. There are challenges, to be sure, as general fund cuts are absorbed. Changes are occurring within higher education nationally, not just at UA, as parents, state lawmakers and the federal government demand more accountability and measurable outcomes. The Board of Regents and the president believe ongoing program reviews for efficient and effective delivery of high-priority programs and services throughout the UA System must continue, with the best interests of students, employers and the state of Alaska in mind.

Sept. 1, 2014 -- UA Press not closing

QUESTION

I heard that UA Press is closing down due to budget cuts.

RESPONSE

From Susan Henrichs, UAF Provost

UA Press, which publishes scholarly and other high quality works on the history, cultures, and natural environments of Alaska, the circumpolar North, and its peoples, will remain open. UA Press does have some challenges; the Planning and Budget Committee did recommend that its fund 1 budget be reduced and that it be required to subsist only or predominantly on its own revenue. However, after examining this recommendation, Cabinet determined that it would not be possible to make a large reduction immediately and keep the Press in operation. So, we're continuing to work on ways to reduce expenditures and increase revenues over time.

UAF Printing Services, which has served as an internal print shop for more than 40 years, will be closing down at the end of the year due to budget cuts.

As noted in a previous Grapevine question, we are currently working on an RFP to establish a select group of entities which can continue to provide printing services to the university after Dec. 31, 2014, including letterhead and business cards.​

The ​copy pool will continue to operate as a university service. We have not decided where such will be housed after Dec. 31, 2014 but regardless of where it ultimately resides, we do not expect an interruption in services currently provided to customers.​



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