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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

UAF Staff Council President's Report - November 2011

  • Tuition Waiver - Staff Council leaders carried to Staff Alliance the tuition waiver resolution requesting that no changes be made to the tuition waiver benefit.  Staff Alliance adopted the resolution with additional language to address conflict with Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements.
  • Staff Compensation - Board of Regents voted to accept the budget with the inclusion of the proposed 3.5% staff compensation increase and forwarded it to the Governor's office for review.  Governor is scheduled to submit his budget to the legislature in mid-December.  UAF Staff Council encourages staff to contact the Governor and express the importance of keeping this increase in his budget. 
  • System Governance and Strategic Direction - Discussion of health care, the employee and dependent tuition waiver, the President's policy and regulation review, and the status of the Strategic Direction.
  • Policy and Regulation Review - President Gamble is undertaking a policy and regulation review with the goal of creating a clear, current and relevant document for the university.  An online form has been created to collect recommended changes to the policy and regulations.  Staff alliance will be working to identify sections that are most relevant to staff for consideration in the process.  All staff members are encouraged to provide input either to UAF Staff Council representatives or by completing the online form.

The following Departments, Schools, and Colleges are recruiting for staff council membership.  Please consider being a part of the council.  Staff voices need to be heard, let yours be one of them.
  • CRCD
  • IAB
  • SFOS
  • CLA
  • CNSM
  • Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services
  • IRAC

Chancellor Rogers

Topics of conversation to the UAF Staff Council during November 16 meeting.
  • Supervisor Training - reviewing program to determine what works, what does not work, and possible improvements. 
  • New Diversity Director -  Mae Marsh has been selected to replace Earlina Bowden beginning the first week of March 2012.
  • Soft closure - memo has been sent out informing staff that soft closure is an option and NOT a requirement.  Staff can choose to take leave during the week before and/or after the Christmas/New Year's holiday.  There will be reduced activitiy on campus during this time. 
  • SRC more affordable to staff - Mike Humphrey was the lead on how to make this workable.  He has since taken a position with the University of Alaska Anchorage.  Mike Sfraga, Vice Chancellor for Students, is working on this topic.  When the information is provided to Chancellor Rogers it will be forwarded to the UAF Staff Council.
There was added conversation concerning the soft closure issue:  The Chancellor was asked if a message could be sent out to staff informing them if they felt pressured to take leave during soft closure contacting Kris Racina is an option.  Chancellor Rogers general feeling is that to send out multiple messages regarding the same issue becomes spam and is overkill.  No matter how a message is worded there is always the possibility of misinterpretation.  It was stated there was discussion about not sending anything regarding soft closure.

He stated that if a staff member is feeling pressured to take leave during soft closure; they may contact either Kris Racina, 474-7700 or, or the Chancellor, 474-7112 or

Accreditation Update

Dana Thomas, Vice Provost, informed staff council members of the accreditation process, provided handouts of the UAF Mission Statement and Core Themes, Objectives, and Indicators.  Anyone wishing to receive a copy of these documents may contact their staff council representative or the UAF Staff Council office.  Claudia Koch, Unit 7 representative, is a member of this committee.

UAF has not received a final report from the Northwest Commission for the accreditation just completed.  From the draft report given to UAF received 3 recommendations and 3 commendations.

As UAF has completed the initial accreditation process we are now beginning an ongoing cycle.  The Northwest Commission requires the accreditation process be completed every 7 years. 
  1. Year One - define and/or revise university mission statement, themes, objectives, indicators, and the fulfillment of them.
  2. Year Three - review the comments from the Northwest Commission of year one's information.  Make any changes to year one's items if needed or wanted.  Review resources and capacity.
  3. Year Five - review the comments from the Northwest Commission of year one and three's information.  Make any changes to year one or three's items if needed or wanted.  Give data on indicator survey gathered and  how the information is used in the budget and planning processes.
  4. Year Seven - review the comments from the Northwest Commission of year one, three, five's information.  Make any changes to year one, three, or five's item if needed or wanted.  Provide an evaluation of the mission fulfillment and accomplishment.  The following year begins year one again. 
At this point, the UAF Accreditation Committee is discussing revising the university's mission statement.  There is conversation about putting the "Land, Sea, and Space Grant" into the preamble.  The current mission statement states what we do, the goal is to have it state who we are and why do we do what we do.  The Chancellor's Cabinet has suggested the mission statement be one sentence.  Something easily remembered, relevant, and helpful when recruting students and/or donors.

Faculty Senate Comments

Cathy Cahill, Faculty Senate President, was present via telephone at the UAF Staff Council meeting of November 16.  She provided the following information:
  • Faculty is reviewing UAF policy that affect academics and the faculty.  They are only reviewing the UAF Human Resources policies being review are those that directly affect faculty.
  • Accreditation cycle is back in swing.
  • Discussion about breaking commencement from one into two.  Considering a separate commencement for Masters and PhD students.  This is a very real possibility.
  • Legislative forum, Interior Delegation, to come to UAF campus November 30.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

September Meeting of the UAF Staff Council

What happened at the September meeting?

Pips Veazey, Staff Council President, explained the most pressing issues for the Staff Council for the 2011 fall semester:
  1. Staff Compensation - The Alaska Staff Alliance Compensation Working Group is proposing a minimum of a 3.5% increase for FY13 given inflation, recent increases in employee health care contributions and the loss of step increases. Juella Sparks will be representing Staff Alliance at the Board of Regents meeting in Juneau this week to address this issue.
  2. Health Care - Another major focus for the first semester will be on proposed changes to our health care benefits, that are still in discussion. One change going into effect July 1, 2012, is the tobacco surcharge. The tobacco surcharge will add $600 a year to an employee's annual cost for health care if the employee or a dependent enrolled in UA’s health plan uses a tobacco product or has used tobacco products within the past six months and has not demonstrated eligibility for a waiver from the surcharge.
  3. Employee Tuition Waiver - The employee tuition waiver is being reviewed and changes have been proposed for the upcoming year. Input is currently being solicited about the proposed changes; the Staff Affairs Committee is drafting a resolution stating staff does not support changes to the employee tuition waiver benefit. Problems with the proposed changes include negative tax ramifications, the punitive approach to paying for failed classes, and details about the connection with the benefit to “satisfactory academic progress”.
For additional business discussed during the meeting see: Healthy Challenge, Emergency Management Policy, United Way Campaign, and Winter Warm-up articles.

Your feedback is always wanted. If you have concerns, comments or questions that you would like us to address at the next Staff Council meeting please contact one of your representatives so your voice can be heard.  If you would like to remain anonymous let us know and we will respect your wishes.

Email Campaign for FY13 Staff Increases

The Staff Alliance Compensation Working Group is calling for an email campaign in support of FY13 staff increases, to be discussed at the BOR meeting September 22-23, 2011.

Our rational supports a 4.6% salary increase, although due to the economic realities we agreed to accept a minimum of 3.5% increase.

Things to consider:
  • In FY12 staff accepted a greater financial risk with the newly designed healthcare plans, regardless of the plan selected.
  • The BOR responds positively to personalized testimony
  • State employees receive grid increases, to address COLA, and an additional est. 3.5% every year for the first seven steps, and an est. 3.75% increase bi-yearly thereafter.
In general we are asking staff to respectfully support our request.
Please have emails sent to

Healthy Challenge (UAF & Fairbanks Memorial Hospital)

Chancellor Rogers explained that we are embarking on a Healthy Challenge between UAF and Fairbanks Memorial Hospital. The Healthy Challenge will be in three phases. First, a competition between Fairbanks Memorial Hospital CEO and member of the University of Alaska Board of Regents Mike Powers and Chancellor Rogers. Second, there will be a Healthy Challenge competition between the UAF cabinet members and the FMH administrative team. And finally, there will be a Healthy Challenge competition in early 2012 will be between all UAF employees and all FMH employees. Further details to be announced.

A second healthy initiative will address a frequent request - for university staff to have wider use of the SRC. An announcement will be made on October 1st of expanded staff access, supported by university resources.

Emergency Management Policy

Kris Racina, Human Resources Director, is working on an Emergency Management Policy. This policy is a result of the lesson learned from the Ice Storm last fall and the emergency exercise this summer. The policy will address what action should be taken and how supervisors should work with their employees in regards of missed work hours.

United Way Campaign

Last year 215 employees contributed to the United Way campaign. This year, campaign co-chairs Lael and Mark Oldmixon will work to increase that number to 300. This year UAF Human Resources will be distributing the contribution forms. Your department will be contacted to set up agency presentations for your unit, or you can call Lael Oldmixon at 474-6679, or Mark Oldmixon at 474-6027 to arrange for a brief presentation during the Oct. 11-22 timeframe. Please e-mail or with questions."

Winter Warm-Up

October1, the Wood Center will host the WINTER WARM-UP. This is a great opportunity for students to look and find FREE winter items before the snow falls! Staff and community members (anyone actually) can drop off winter gear, sporting equipment, appliances, clothes... and more... off at the Wood Center between 9am -11am. The pick-up for students will be from 11am -1pm. All remaining items will be donated to organizations in Fairbanks.

Find out more information on the WINTER WARM-UP! Free winter gear for students!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Brown Bag Lunch

Hi Everyone and welcome back to campus!

Please join us Monday, Aug 29 from 12-1pm in Gruening 408 for a Staff Council Brown Bag Lunch.

WIN for Alaska will be hosting and snacks will be provided!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

UAF Staff Council President & Vice President for 2011-2012

UAF Staff Council has a new President and Vice President for the 2011-2012 year.  Join us in congratulating them.

Pips Veazey, UAF Staff Council President
(907) 474-5989 /

Juella Sparks, UAF Staff Council Vice President
(907) 474-7115 /

Alaska Public Employees Association (APEA)

A representative from the Alaska Public Employees Association (APEA) was in attendance at the June Staff Council meeting.  She informed staff council that the APEA union is now contemplating organizing the non-represented supervisory staff at the university.  The APEA has received a list from Human Resources of staff members the university considers to be supervisors.

An email, with a survey, will be sent out to these individuals.  The purpose of the email is to determine whether or not there is a climate to organize.  The union is requesting everyone who receives the survey to complete and submit for processing.  The representative has stated that if there is not a desire amongst the supervisory staff to organize the issue will be dropped, but the only way to determine this is to receive completed surveys by all affected staff.

Chancellor Rogers

Chancellor Rogers expressed his support of the wellness programs at the university and is look for additional ways on how to become a healthier workforce.  He encourages staff to provide input and ideas.

He stated that the legislature is moving towards a 50/50 funding module.  At this time it is 60/40.  This means the university will be responsible to find additional revenue.  This may come in the form of increase tuition and moving around of internal processes, etc.  The loss of the DOD funding has been huge for the university.  All but six of the ARSC staff have been placed.

There is a possibility of research to be done on building on permafrost.  As there is a big area down by the Cold Climate Housing Research facility, there is talk of building student housing in this area and using it for the research.  This will bring in research monies and provide additional housing for students.

Things Chancellor Rogers is working on:
  • Outdoor Recreation Advancements
  • Future plans of building additional dining areas onto the Wood Center
  • Building more student housing on campus

Health Care Audit

The health care audit done by Consova is completed.  There are currently 200 cases being reviewed to evaluate whether removal of dependents is required or not.  The cases are being evaluated case by case.  The cases are being reviewed because some employees are not responding to requests made, additional paperwork is needed, etc.

UAF Staff Council is looking into how much this audit processed has benefited the university and its employees.

What Happened at the June Meeting?

New motions are being made and/or readdressed to the UAF Staff Alliance.  These motions include: smoker surcharge, employee tuition waiver, and a new health care task force.

What are these motions?
  • Smoker surcharge requests the removal of the smoker surcharge to the FY13 Health Care Plan.
  • Employee tuition waiver relates to not supporting any alteration of the current waiver to include a 6-month waiting period for new hires and the repayment of tuition waived for any classes failed.
  • Health care task force - this is requesting a new group to be established to help review the health care plans provided by UAF.