Office of the President

2011

Tuesday, Sep. 13, 2011 - Fisher Report

QUESTION

From Anonymous staff

It's been 8 months since the Fisher report. Has anything concrete been done in response? Has your office ever responded to it in any detail? Was there anything you disagreed with? 

There's widespread belief amongst UAF staff that this was a report essentially directed from your office to say what you wanted to say... though perhaps that doesn't matter if the end result is-- like so many previous reports-- no change, just another restatement of what is already obvious to most longer-term employees.

ANSWER

Yes, no and yes.

When I released the 93-page Fisher Report with all its recommendations last January, I included a memo to all UA staff and faculty about how I intended to use the report, and that game plan hasn’t changed. Yes, some concrete initiatives have or will be undertaken within our strategic redirection effort, but without wrenching change involved. No, we haven’t responded to the report in detail—that was never the intent, and I discussed that with the Faculty Senate. And yes, there were observations I too disagreed with. There were also observations that were right on the mark. 

As you may know from looking at the report, there was a great deal of philosophy in what the Fisher team said. I accepted their thinking at that level in order to form general opinions which would be associated along with many other kinds of inputs as well. Another observation; there wasn’t much in the specific “low hanging fruit” category that would lend itself to quick fixes or snap decisions. This can be frustrating for people wanting to see change occur quickly, but I don’t plan to make specific changes without good data, plenty of process and input, and a clear way forward. Good change doesn’t always need to happen quickly, and if it happens in a vacuum then it's usually not good. 

My intention with the report is for it to help inform the deliberate management orientation that I’m working toward---a new Strategic Direction for the University of Alaska. This is fundamentally an academic driven initiative focused on students and outputs. Other external and internal reports will help inform this process as well, including the MacTaggart/Rogers report of several years back, the Academic Master Plan and Academic Operating Procedure. For more information on the Strategic Direction process, go to www.alaska.edu/shapingalaskasfuture/

Stay tuned, and thanks for your patience.

-- Pat

Tuesday, Sep. 13, 2011 - Phones, time and static

QUESTION

From Anonymous staff

It would be great to have the time displays on UA phones and computers synchronized (they're 3 - 4 minutes off). Is that possible now with the new phone upgrade? Callers comment daily on the static that's audible on the phone lines since the upgrade. Is there a fix for that or is it something permanent we need to accept? Thank you.

ANSWER

Your question pertains to university employees in Fairbanks only, so with that caveat, here is the answer.

Your phone is currently still on the old phone system. The older phone system has to have its clock set manually and, similar to your home time keepers, gets out of sync after awhile.   I asked telephone services to reset the phone time to match computer time and you should now see them as consistent. OIT will watch to ensure they remain synced, until the new Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system is fully in place -- it will automatically sync with computer time.

There should be NO static on your phone line. If there is static on your phone, call the OIT helpdesk at 450-8300 to report it. A technician will check your line and phone.

While on the subject, you might be interested to know that we are currently in the process of moving our phone system on the Fairbanks campus to a new Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system. This means that the voice traffic and computer traffic will travel over the same wires and equipment on a single network. This allows us to run one network instead of two. It will also allow us to have a lot of new features that we will roll out one at a time. Some of these are voicemail, searchable directory for looking up names, caller ID, call centers like helpdesk and other messaging features.   At this time, the voicemail is the only new feature that has been updated for everyone.

The UAF Duckering Building will be the first to receive VoIP telephones. During the transition, there will be a time when employees may have two phones on their desks.

-- Pat

Tuesday, Jan. 04, 2011 - UA's business culture

QUESTION

From Steve Mullins, UA Program Management Office

In the past, IT Governance conducted assessments of UA's business culture as articulated in Chapter 2 of, "The Reengineering Alternative, A Plan for Making Your Current Culture Work." Over the last three years+, our culture has gyrated between "Controlling" and "Collaborative." IT Governance would benefit from understanding President Gamble's desired business culture. Perhaps President Gamble can complete the five minute, 20 question survey, and forward his results to Joe Trubacz for discussion and possible dissemination to the Information Technology Executive Council?

ANSWER

This is an excellent question, because I’m not sure everyone even realizes how much of an actual business running a campus really is, much less do they recognize what our UA business culture consists of or should consist of. So thanks for asking.

Rather than respond to a generic survey shared with a single administrative council, I believe my views on a business culture will become more evident as the UA Strategic Plan comes forward from my office early in 2011. This plan will provide direction for the system for the next few years. It will incorporate past and present reviews of UA with guidance from the regents and input from the campuses and my staff. The strategic plan will engage our governance groups, give a clear picture of the desired business culture and will be thoroughly communicated across the university community.

-- Pat

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