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A record-breaking cold snap brought the first 40 below zero temperatures of the winter to the Interior. Photo by Monique Musick.

Regents all set for UAA Dec. 8 & 9

The University of Alaska Board of Regents will hold a rare, and possibly first, joint meeting with the Anchorage School Board when it gathers on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus next week for its regularly scheduled December meeting.

The meeting will take place Dec. 8-9 in Room 107 of the Lee Gorsuch Commons at UAA. Over lunch on Friday, Dec. 9, regents and Anchorage School Board members will discuss issues of particular importance to the Anchorage School District including enrollment trends at UA of Anchorage School District graduates; the success of Anchorage K-12 students who continue into post-secondary education and workforce training at UA; and current collaborations between the UA System and Anchorage School District.

The board agenda includes numerous other matters, including suspension of the Master of Business Administration at the University of Alaska Southeast; renaming the UAF Fisheries Industrial Technology Center in Kodiak the School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center; and formal project approval for renovation of Beatrice McDonald Hall at UAA. A number of reports and presentations are also planned, including one from the UArctic President Lars Kullerud.

Other reports include the UAF veterinary medicine 2+2 program, workforce development, student services, engineering needs, online education and teacher training. A resolution of appreciation for former Vice President for Finance Joe Trubacz, who recently departed UA for a similar position at the Colorado School of Mines, will also be up before the board. UAA will showcase the “I am UAA” campaign, which highlights the best of UAA through its diverse students, quality faculty and staff, and successful alumni.

Public testimony will be taken at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 8, and again at approximately 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 9.

For a complete look at the board agenda, go to www.alaska.edu/bor/ and click on “agendas.”

Interim CHRO appointed

Message from President Gamble Nov. 11, 2011

I’m pleased to announce the appointment of Donald Smith as Interim Chief Human Resources Officer, to take effect upon Beth Behner’s departure. As you know, Beth recently announced her resignation so she could pursue some personal interests and spend more time with family members in the Lower 48.

Donald is currently executive director of Labor and Employee Relations. He’ll continue to do that job as well as assuming the duties and responsibilities of the CHRO. We intend to conduct a search for a permanent replacement for the CHRO position.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Beth for her dedicated service to the university these past 10-plus years. Many people throughout the university appreciate Beth’s solid character, professionalism and hard work. Good luck to Beth in her future journeys, and welcome Donald as he serves Human Resources in this new interim role.

System Governance Office change

The System Governance OFfice is now reporting to Academic Affairs. It previously reported to University Relations.

This move is intended to enhance the engagement of governance groups on issues related to academic policy and other academic matters and to improve the internal flow of information between governance groups and the President’s Office. Ongoing meetings between Carla Beam, vice president for University Relations, and Daniel Julius, vice president for Academic Affairs and Research, will ensure a smooth transition. If you have questions, please contact Dr. Julius at 907-450-8019.

$15 million grant awarded to teacher mentor project


The Alaska Statewide Mentor Project, a partnership between the University of Alaska and the State Department of Education and Early Development, could support an additional 850 early career teachers and an estimated 46,000 students thanks to a $15 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The five-year grant would assist first- and second-year teachers in the Anchorage, Fairbanks, Mat-Su and Kenai school districts. The Statewide Mentor Project already helps 320 teachers in 48, mostly rural, school districts each year. The grant would expand that program to the four new urban regions if the university is successful in securing a required $1.5 million match from private donations.

The goals of the mentor project are to reduce teacher turnover and improve student achievement. While some research on the effectiveness of mentoring to achieve these goals has been conducted throughout the United States already, more is needed. Part of the $15 million federal grant would allow that additional research, and would include both the existing rural and new urban partners.

The U.S. Department of Education received nearly 600 applications for Investing in Innovation grants, known as “i3.” The Alaska Statewide Mentor Project’s grant application was one of just 23 selected for funding, contingent on the match.

“The Alaska Statewide Mentor Project has evidenced success in teacher effectiveness and retention around the state for many years,” said Deena Paramo, superintendent of the Mat-Su Borough School District. “With the award of i3, the university can now reach out to larger districts and parallel these successes. We look forward to the partnership and to the good work that will result.”

The grant is contingent upon UA raising the private matching funds by Dec. 9, an ambitious deadline. Vice President for University Relations and Foundation President Carla Beam is talking to companies, individuals and foundations interested in helping expand the mentor project.

Dale Cope, a grant writer with the UA Academic Affairs office who led the effort to secure the grant, said well-trained early career teachers are a critical element for improving student achievement in Alaska. “This grant will also allow us to do the necessary research to validate the effectiveness of a very good mentoring program – one worth replicating in other locations.”

Full-time students to Stay on TRACK

The University of Alaska launched a new campaign Oct. 31 called “Stay on TRACK” to encourage full-time students to reach their graduation goals more quickly and at less cost to them.

The multi-media campaign will inform students about the necessary choices they must make to earn a bachelor’s degree within four years. Those choices include:

  • Taking 15 credit hours per semester, or 30 per year
  • Registering early to get needed classes
  • Asking an academic advisor and using DegreeWorks, an online tool available to all UA students
  • Choosing a major by the third semester of school and sticking with it
  • Keeping up the grades

“Some people believe that ‘full-time’ is 12 credits per semester, but that’s not enough to finish in the traditional four years,” said UA President Pat Gamble. “Like many universities, most of UA’s baccalaureate programs require around 120 credits, which means full-time students should strive for completing at least 30 credits per year if they hope to earn their degree in four years. For some programs, the credit requirement is higher but the idea that less time means less expense still applies.”

President Gamble stressed that each student is unique, and the campaign isn’t intended as a “one size fits all” solution. However, “students should have the information and tools available to make choices that are in their overall best interest,” he said.

The website, www.alaska.edu/stayontrack, includes tips and checklists for freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors.  One feature of the campaign is the “finish in four promise,” a voluntary commitment to adhere to the five TRACK recommendations. Students who sign up for the promise and successfully complete 15 credits next semester will be entered to win prizes including an ipad2, a video watch, a night vision camera, a video swim mask and portable mesh hammock. So far, 114 freshman have signed up for the promise.

Eventually, staff and faculty working on the campaign would like to build in additional incentives— perhaps even tuition incentives— for students who make the promise and keep it. A second phase of the campaign will target students working on two-year associate degrees.

Strategic Directions listening sessions in Fairbanks Dec. 1 – 2

The UA Strategic Direction Team and President Pat Gamble invite you to attend one of two Fairbanks-based listening sessions about the future of the UA System.

The sessions will be 4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Thursday and Friday, Dec. 1 and 2, in Room 119 of the UAF Community and Technical College at 604 Barnette St. If you are unable to attend either session please take the online survey.

In the spring listening sessions will be scheduled specifically for staff, faculty, students and alumni.

For more information visit www.alaska.edu/shapingalaskasfuture/.

UA Web Timesheet Project Update and Demonstrations

UA’s Information Technology Executive Council (ITEC), composed of leaders from each MAU, determined web timesheets to be UA’s No. 1 automation priority.  Over the past year, a project team with representatives from each MAU has been working on developing the new UA web timesheet process.
 
Upon implementation, UA employees will complete timesheets in UAOnline, the same site now used by employees to review paystubs and benefit information. Employees will be able to access their timesheets in any location with Internet access.

A pilot for the non-exempt employee web timesheet began Aug. 15, 2011 and currently has 673 participating employees.  A pilot for exempt employees and faculty is targeted to begin in February 2012.

During each pilot, MAU selected employees and timesheet approvers will use the new processes and will actively provide feedback for improvements. After the pilots are completed and the recommended improvements are applied, the new timesheet process will become available to all UA departments based on each MAU’s implementation plan.

Online Demos & Survey are available:

While the pilot groups involve only those employees in a few departments at each MAU, the project team would like all non-exempt employees and timesheet approvers to have the ability to preview the  non-exempt web timesheet and provide feedback to help refine the process and the electronic tool being created.
 
If you haven’t already done so, please view the Non-Exempt Employee Demo at the link below to see the tool’s current state of development.  The demo is approximately 10 minutes in length (viewable within UA domains).  After you have watched the demo, please provide your feedback through the Feedback Survey link noted below.
 
If you are a timesheet approver, please view both the Non-Exempt Employee Demo and the Timesheet Approver Demo.  These are viewable from within UA domains. Then complete the Feedback Survey accessible at the link below.

Non-Exempt Employee Demo:  http://projects.alaska.edu/electronictimesheets/demos_surveys

Timesheet Approver Demo:  http://projects.alaska.edu/electronictimesheets/demos_surveys

Feedback Survey:  http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/eTimesheetdemoFeedback

Thank you very much for participating in the demo and assisting with feedback for the project team!  Additional information on the Web Timesheet Project can be found at the following link:
 
Web Time Entry Project site: http://projects.alaska.edu/ElectronicTimesheets

UA Foundation welcomes new trustees

The University of Alaska Foundation Board of Trustees held its annual meeting Nov. 17, 2011, and elected new officers and named new trustees.

Anchorage business woman Jo Michalski was elected to serve as vice-chair of the board along with Eric Wohlforth, attorney and senior partner of Wohlforth, Brecht, Carltledge & Brooking in Anchorage. Susan Anderson of Anchorage, president and chief executive officer of The CIRI Foundation, was elected secretary. Each officer will serve in their respective positions until November 2012.
 
New trustees are Scott Jepsen of Anchorage, vice president for external affairs of ConocoPhillips (2011-2014); Jim Johnsen of Fairbanks, senior vice president of administration for Doyon Ltd. (2011-2014); Frank Paskvan of Anchorage, viscous oil renewal team leader for BP (2011-2014); Marilyn Romano of Anchorage, regional vice president for Alaska Airlines (2011-2014); and Anand Vadapalli of Anchorage, president and chief executive officer for Alaska Communications (2011-2013).  Longtime Fairbanks resident Carolyne Wallace was re-elected for a third term (2011-2014). She was first elected to the board in 2003.   
 
The UA Foundation Board of Trustees is a 27-member board consisting of elected and emeritus members from across Alaska, appointed trustees including UA President Pat Gamble and Chancellors Tom Case (UAA), Brian Rogers (UAF) and John Pugh (UAS), as well as UA regent appointees Mary K. Hughes and Kirk Wickersham, both of Anchorage.  The UA Foundation Board of Trustees meets three times per year.
 
To see bios for all of the trustees visit the website.

SAA Highlights

The Statewide Administration Assembly last met on Nov. 9. The next SAA meeting will be 10 a.m., Wednesday, Dec. 14, in the Sherman Carter Conference Room and the conference room in the Bragraw Office Building. All meetings are open to the public, and statewide workers are encouraged to contact their governance group to address workplace concerns, policies and other matters affecting Statewide staff.

November 9 meeting overview

  • Staff Salaries in FY13
  • Policy and regulation review
  • Performance evaluations
  • Spring budget brown bag
  • UA Strategic Direction
  • Health care plan update
  • Spring Service Awards
  • Holiday potlucks
  • Adopt-a-family
  • Building issues

For information please read the overview HERE.

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