Winter Break 2012 and Option of Reduced Business Hours
The UA System will have a winter break between Dec. 24 and Jan. 1. Employees are expected to take annual leave or leave without pay Dec. 26 through 28. Other weekdays during this period are university holidays. The UAF campus has identified two additional timeframes during which UAF departments may reduce business hours or have a “soft closure." Those are Dec. 17 through Dec. 21, 2012, and Jan. 2 through Jan. 4, 2013.
President Gamble has decided that Statewide employees are permitted to use annual leave or leave without pay to extend their time off during Dec. 17 through Dec. 21 as well as Jan. 2 through Jan. 4. An exception is allowed when a departmental supervisor notifies employees that certain duties must be performed and consequently annual leave is not an option. No employee is required to utilize annual leave or leave without pay beyond the official days of winter break.
While some employees prefer to take leave without pay rather than using annual leave, PERS retirement is affected by the use of leave without pay for time periods in excess of 10 days per year. Employees may want to consult with Michelle Michel for more information on the retirement impact.
UAOnline Login Change to Single Sign On
The university is working to allow students, staff and faculty to use a single set of credentials when signing into all software applications. UAOnline is the latest online resource to join this movement.
As of Dec. 6 users of UAOnline will be able to use their UA username or UA ID and password - the same login tools used at other University of Alaska sites - to log into UAOnline. The UAOnline login page will be updated to reflect these changes.
UA Launches College Application Week Aims to Increase Timely Enrollment
Community perspective contributed by Arthur Hussey
Student Services Manager
The University of Alaska is this state’s premier system of higher learning. Well over 90 percent of all college students who go to college in Alaska attend some campus of UA. More to the point, UA is an important Alaskan venue where students get education often leading to both good paying jobs as well as to effectively contributing to the state and national economies.
That said, as an institution of higher education, UA is only valuable—to students and to the state—if students apply to it. And herein lies the problem: students often delay in applying to UA campuses, often until very late in the preceding academic year or into the summer before matriculation. In fact, fully one-fifth of all first-time applications to UAF for the Fall 2012 semester occurred after the closure of high school in May, 2012. Moreover, even by the end of February, 2012, only 46 percent of the Fall 2012 applications had been received.
There are two complementary disadvantages to this culture. First, it brings in students who have not prepared for a college experience, who have not planned for their lifestyle at college. More importantly, it makes it more difficult for the very students we seek to serve—including the underprivileged—to afford college. This is because some financial aid is limited and is available primarily to early applicants—first come first served.
It is time to reverse this culture. A first move is encouraging applications during UA’s College Application Week, December 3 to 7, 2012. This is important in advocating that students increase the rate by which they apply early. But this step alone is not enough. As has been said, it takes a village to raise a child. Nothing could be truer than in the case of higher education. Think of applying as a three-legged stool, with three key participants: a) students themselves; b) their parents; and c) high school counselors and teachers. Combined, the legs make the college application community.
We need the involvement of all the community—counselors, parents and students—to increase the rate and make applications earlier. Counselors provide information. Parents provide reassurance and support. And students, the key party, signal their interest—and courage—in attending college. Together, they facilitate making higher education happen, linking Alaska’s communities to its higher education facility.
This is important: Alaska ranks last in the country in reaching out to students who have the least chance of attending college—underprivileged and first generation students. This means that much of Alaska’s rich human resource potential—its youth—are not being included in the benefits that the University of Alaska has to offer. This is not acceptable. Nor is it necessary. Encourage students to apply to UA early this year—and every year. Make College Application Week as important in Alaska as its acronym—CAW—which also is the call of Alaska’s ever present and durable bird, the raven.
Gamble Tours IAC, Learns About Innovative Education Delivery
Earlier this month, President Gamble toured the Interior-Aleutians Campus, where he viewed many campus upgrades created through grant funding and had a table discussion with IAC staff and faculty concerning the highlights and challenges the IAC faces.
IAC has been successful in implementing new, innovative ideas and processes and services to deliver quality education to serve rural students. Teisha Simmons, IAC director, presented the campus to Gamble through the framework of the Strategic Direction Initiative and discussed campus accomplishments within each theme.
IAC’s greatest strength is in the ability to work with rural communities to develop relevant learning opportunities, according to Simmons. The Interior-Aleutians Campus serves rural villages throughout the interior of Alaska, with centers located in McGrath, Galena, Nenana, Fort Yukon, Unalaska and Tok. The ultimate goal is to bring the University of Alaska to people who cannot attend classes on campus.
Statewide Staff Celebrate Thanksgiving
SAA Holiday Food and Mug Drive
It's that time of year again! The 2012 Holiday Food and Mug Drive is underway. As in previous years, the drive runs from potluck to potluck, which means it will end on Dec. 14. It is sponsored by the Statewide Administration Assembly and will benefit the Food Bank of Fairbanks.
For Butrovich employees, please bring in unopened, non-perishable food at any time during the next month and place it in the wrapped boxes located by Erector Bear and the Arctic Floats on the east and west ends of the first floor. For your convenience, there is also a box upstairs. This is a great opportunity to rotate your pantry. Before those items expire, bring them in and let someone else get some good out of them. (The Food Bank cannot distribute food that has passed its expiration date.) Or if canned veggies are really cheap, why not get an extra can or two for those who need a bit of help this year? Whatever you can do will be appreciated.
SAA will also be collecting orphaned coffee mugs again this year. Bring them to Lisa Sporleder in Suite 102, by the windows, behind the purple vine. SAA will stuff the mugs with a packet of gourmet cocoa and a candy cane, fill them with wrapped chocolates, then give them a festive wrapping and a bow. The mugs go to the Food Bank along with the rest of the food collected. They get added to the food boxes as an unexpected gift to the recipient. SAA would gratefully accept a bag of wrapped Christmas chocolates to help fill the mugs, but please don't do so at the expense of other food you might bring in for the food drive. The mugs are extra.
Feel free to contact Lisa with questions or comments. Thanks for your help to make Christmas dinner a little brighter for some of our neighbors this year!
Lisa Sporleder, Food & Mug Drive Coordinator
Fred Villa Meal Prep and Delivery Site Established
Associate Vice President for Workforce Programs Fred Villa's son, Philip, was involved in a shooting incident in October. Phillip has received multiple surgical procedures and is still recovering from his injuries.
People interested in helping are requested to make a meal for the family. Delivery of meals to the Villa family will be provided by suite 202 staff. The current meal volunteer schedule is at takethemameal.com. The meal recipient is Fred Villa and the user password is villa.
If you have any questions regarding meal delivery, please contact Julie Benson at email@example.com.
Corporate Programs Kicks Off Pilot Project with U.S. Forest Service
UA, through Corporate Programs, recently launched a pilot project partnership with the U.S. Forest Service. According to Mike Scoby, Employee Development Specialist with the USFS Center of Learning in New Mexico, the objective of the project is to build leadership skills and partnerships with local entities. Scoby sees this Middle Leader Program as a "win-win" to challenge new and emerging leaders and also to fit within federal budget constraints. The program forms partnerships with local colleges and universities. It serves the dual purpose of saving local Forest Service units money and keeping dollars spent within the community. Scoby says "I am impressed with the instructors here in Alaska - and I should know because I am an instructor myself. Also this is building an in-state network so that federal agencies can help each other." Twenty five people were in the initial class.
Alaska.edu Sports New Look with Webpage Overhaul
The University of Alaska web page, www.alaska.edu, was recently transferred to a new responsive design, generation 3, web template. The transfer of this page started back in April 2012.
This new responsive design web template will better deliver UA web pages on assorted desktop platforms as well as multiple mobile devices with different sized screens. UA Public Affairs has started work on thetransfer of other statewide department web pages to these new generation 3 responsive design templates. Other offices will be notified in advance and the schedule will be flexible during this transfer. At this time there is no deadline to transfer department sites.
For more information on responsive design, see our previous article from the Statewide Voice, Statewide Web Sites to Transfer to Responsive Design Templates from April 2012. http://www.alaska.edu/voice/2012/April_2012/News/web/
SkillSoft Updates Ahead for UA Employee E-Learning
From the office of Faculty/Staff Training & Development
SKILLSOFT UPDATES – UA EMPLOYEE E-LEARNING
Upgrade. The University of Alaska will implement a SkillPort 7.2 upgrade on December 17, 2012. As a result, the Employee E-learning online resources will be unavailable to UA end users for a few hours early Monday morning.
The upgrade will involve changing course template layouts and adding enhancements for Section 508 accessibility purposes. Visible changes to UA end users should be minimal. Behind the scenes, the upgrade will be more substantial enhancing the administrative report functions which only a handful of system administrators will see.
Books24x7®. Did you know that SkillSoft negotiates with publishers on an on-going basis, thus adding hundreds of book titles to its offerings each month? Employees can receive an email of new titles added into the Books24x7 collection by logging into SkillPort and modifying their individual account properties.
In addition, users may search for certain topics by using the “Search For” function. If searching for a specific book, click the Books24x7 link and conduct a search by book title, author, publisher or ISBN. As an example, type into the “Search For” box… “Center for Creative Leadership.” This will return publications by CCL or those which reference the Center for Creative Leadership within the book’s content.
If you don’t find the book you’re searching for, you may also request that SkillSoft add it into a future publisher negotiation; however, there are no guarantees on the outcome or timing of online book availability.
Visit the Training and Development website http://www.alaska.edu/hrtraining/e-learning/skillsoft/ for more information. If you have questions, contact Anne Sakumoto at firstname.lastname@example.org or (907) 786-1432.
RECAP: Cyber Security Awareness Month October 2012
Cyber Security Awareness Month was recognized nation-wide during October. It was meant to increase awareness about ways to reduce cyber threats and stay secure. Organizations and individuals increasingly use and are dependent on a worldwide network of computers, data and websites. This increased connectivity can result in increased and changing risks to students, employees and the organization.
Chief IT Officer, Karl Kowalski indicated that “this is a good time for each of us to take stock of our own digital lives and how we keep them secure. Our phones, our cars, our computers our credit and membership cards all have great impact on our daily lives and we often take their security for granted.”
During October, UA employees were encouraged to review training materials related to cyber security awareness. The training materials were two to six minute videos by SANS (SysAdmin, Audit, Network, Security) Institute. The videos were offered through SkillPort and the program was a collaborative effort by OIT, UA Corporate Programs and Statewide HR Training & Development with licensing support by the State of Alaska. The acquisition of the third party content delivered through the SkillPort learning management system was the first for UA’s Employee E-Learning. The vendor, SANS Institute commits to updating regulatory content as needed throughout the year. Expect to hear more in 2013 regarding updated cyber security videos and learning management systems.
In the meantime, for general cyber security information check out other SkillSoft courses or online books. For UA-specific information on cyber security, contact Nathan Zierfuss, Chief Information Security Officer at (907) 450-8112.
Find the UA on Facebook for Free Poster
Once the UA Facebook page reaches 1,000 likes, there will be a free poster giveaway. Check out the page here to download the poster. Thank you for all of your support!