Voice

Hot off the press—hotline is coming to UA

The University of Alaska is moving ahead with plans to institute an anonymous phone- and web-based “hotline.”

The hotline will be available for UA employees all across the system to report suspected fraud, waste or abuse of UA resources, ethical misconduct, harassment, bullying, unsafe behavior toward minors on campus, non-compliant research practices or unsafe working conditions. 

Such hotlines are considered best practice in higher education, and UA wants to ensure employees can safely—and anonymously—report their concerns.

A committee that included a spectrum of UA employees (including representatives from governance, the administration, General Counsel, and others) investigated a variety of options available through third-party vendors that can provide top-notch service to employees and proper follow up regarding investigations. The next step is to go through the procurement process, said Nikki Pittman, chief audit executive.

­Pittman said using a third-party vendor for a hotline is considered best practice as it allows issues to be reported while, at the same time, protecting the anonymity of the reporter, alleviating concerns of potential retaliation.

“A hotline really promotes a commitment to ethical behavior by all levels of employees and management, and consistent treatment of concerns regardless of the person who’s making the report,” Pittman said. “Concerns can be reported online or over a toll-free phone line.”

There also will be a method where employees can check back, anonymously, to see the status of their report and what’s being done about it. People who report may choose to identify themselves if they wish.

UA initially began investigating a hotline as a way to reduce instances of fraud. National data show that organizations with some form of hotline in place have higher likelihood of being tipped off about potential fraud (51 percent) compared to organizations that don’t (31 percent).

The project scope was expanded to include all types of workplace concerns, including ethical misconduct, bullying and harassment. Student behavioral and academic matters are handled through the deans of students and academic channels on each campus, but the hotline in the future may include student issues as well, Pittman said.

Once the hotline project successfully clears the procurement process, there will be opportunities for web- and audio-based demonstrations so employees can familiarize themselves with the new tool.

For more information, please contact Nikki Pittman at 450-8094 or e-mail nichole.pittman@alaska.edu.

Domestic Violence: How it affects students and employees

Message From CHRO Erik Seastedt

The month of October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. The latest numbers show Alaska with more domestic violence per person than any other state in the country.

Forty eight out of 100 Alaskan women will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime (http://articles.ktuu.com/2013-10-01/domestic-violence_42629415). The percentage of high school students experiencing physical dating violence in the past year was 1.3 times higher in Alaska than in the U.S (http://www.dps.state.ak.us/CDVSA/docs/DVSA_Dashboard_2013.pdf). 

Domestic violence affects our employees and our students whether we want to think about that or not.  Lost work time, reduced productivity, increased stress, greater health care issues all are created when a person is being victimized outside the office or the classroom.
 
I would like to remind all of you that there is help available.
 
The University of Alaska provides a free and confidential Employee Assistance Program that can help employees who are experiencing domestic violence. Information on this free service for employees and dependents may be found at www.alaska.edu/benefits/faq/eap/ or they may be reached at (866) 465-8934. 
 
Students may access resources at their local campus or look to the state of Alaska website which has resources for anyone who has experienced domestic violence. Help is available around the state:  http://www.dps.state.ak.us/CDVSA/
 
If you believe a coworker or student is a victim of domestic violence…at least spread the word that help is available. Help yourself, your coworkers and your students…respect is always the right choice.

Gamble Releases Tuition Proposal

In an Oct. 21 memorandum, President Gamble announced the tuition adjustment proposed to the Board of Regents for AY2015. The BOR will be reviewing the tuition along with other budget proposals at the November 2013 meeting. Last year there was a 2 percent tuition increase, the smallest in over a decade. The proposed increase for 2015 is $6 for 100-400 course levels; $12 for all other course levels. Please see the second page of the attached memo for the dollar increases and the percentage changes that would result if the proposal is approved. MEMO

University of Alaska’s Leadership Prepares for Two Big Meetings This Week

The University of Alaska is hosting two very important leadership meetings this week in Anchorage. Attendees from UA campuses across the state are expected to take part in both meetings.

October 30 Meeting- Leadership Development Day

The Center for Creative Leadership will present a daylong session on UA’s organizational change management and provide insights into the critical role that UA leadership participants will have in Shaping Alaska’s Future. This meeting will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m at the UAA Consortium Library, Room 307B. 

October 31 Conference- Clearing The Path For The Work Ahead 

On Oct. 31, a broad number of University of Alaska leaders from UAA, UAS, and UAF will gather from 10 a.m. to 3p.m. at the UAA Wendy Williamson Auditorium.

This meeting is designed to provide a collaborative opportunity for UA’s leadership to move planning efforts into action for Shaping Alaska’s Future.

Dr. Terry MacTaggart (UA Consultant for Shaping Alaska’s Future) will lead a number of discussions about the critical steps that are necessary to move the University forward.

For more information about Shaping Alaska’s Future, please log on to www.alaska.edu/shapingalaskasfuture .

Thorn Bay School Math Teacher Mark Gunkle responds to a question from one of the judges during his presentation of the “Spot on Bow Sight” at the Arctic Innovation Competition. Gunkle’s invention impressed the judges enough for a third place finish and $2,000 in prize money.

UAF’s 2013 Arctic Innovation Competition in Fifth Year

The University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Management recently hosted its fifth Arctic Innovation Competition (AIC) at the Wood Center on the UAF Campus.

This year, competitors from Alaska, the Lower 48, Canada--even Egypt and Indonesia--submitted 327 ideas. An interdisciplinary team led by UAF's MBA students sifted through and whittled down those submissions to 27 finalists.

Tammy Tragis-McCook, director of development and outreach at the School of Management, explained how the school’s students benefit from the event.

“The MBA students are deeply involved in the Arctic Innovation Competition screening process. They learn about technology, engineering, business, marketing and what it takes to get an idea to the consumer. We also have students who work on organizing the Arctic Innovation Competition full time. They’re learning about event management, delegation, people skills, organization skills and problem solving skills; these are skills you don’t necessarily acquire in the classroom,” she said.

UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers summed up the competition’s success like this:

“It started in 2008 as a great idea by a faculty member that has really grown, drawing out innovators from all over the state…and beyond. It’s this kind of entrepreneurial spirit we’re seeing here, that will help to shape Alaska’s future.”  MORE...

Wellness Program Update

Recently, the University of Alaska (UA) and WIN for Alaska appeared in court for a hearing to determine whether UA could proceed to award the new wellness contract to Healthyroads, while WIN for Alaska exercised its administrative rights to protest the award.

Last week, the judge in the case issued a decision that UA could proceed with awarding the contract while WIN’s protest continues. The judge concluded that not awarding the contract was not in the best interests of the university and that WIN for Alaska did not have a reasonable probability of success with its claim.

This means that UA is able to resume discussions with Healthyroads to get our new wellness program up and running as soon as possible. We hope to be able to begin services with Healthyroads shortly after the new year.

The process isn’t over, and WIN is pursuing other administrative options to protest the award. We’ll keep you informed with updates as we’re able to provide them.

For more information on the Healthyroads program, go to healthyroads.com and click on “how it works,” then read more about the online wellness portal and the lifestyle coaching programs.

UA Regent Mary K. Hughes appointed to national governing board

The University of Alaska’s longest-serving member on its Board of Regents, Mary K. Hughes of Anchorage, has been appointed to the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB), the country’s premier authority on higher-education governance. She is the first Alaskan to serve on this national board.

“Ms. Hughes brings vast experience in higher education governance to AGB,” said Richard Legon, president of AGB. “Her service on boards of independent and public universities, combined with her work on university foundation boards as well as boards of other non-profit organizations will be an asset to all of us at AGB.”

Pat Jacobson of Kodiak, chair of UA’s Board of Regents, said the appointment works in UA’s favor as well. “The regents have looked to the AGB for guidance in best practices for years. Having Regent Hughes serving directly on the organization’s board will only strengthen that relationship. We couldn’t be more thrilled.”

Former Gov. Tony Knowles appointed Hughes to UA’s Board of Regents in 2002; former Gov. Sarah Palin reappointed her in 2009. Hughes has served three terms as chair of the board. Her current term expires in 2017.

Hughes graduated from the University of Alaska with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management in 1971 and earned her juris doctorate from Willamette University College of Law in 1974. A partner in the law firm of Hughes, Thorsness, Gantz, Powell & Brundin until 1994, she served as the Anchorage Municipal Attorney from 1995 to 2000 and was “of counsel” with the firm until May 2005, when she became Alaska State Director for U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a position she held until January 2008.

From 2003 through 2012, Hughes was chief administrative officer for Murkowski’s senatorial campaign, co-chairing the write-in campaign committee for the Senator’s 2010 election. For seven years, she hosted a weekly radio show, Profile Alaska, on AM 700 KBYR. She is a past president of the Alaska Bar Association Board of Governors and the Alaska Bar Foundation Board of Trustees. She is also a trustee of the Boards of Trustees of the University of Alaska Foundation and Willamette University.

Additionally, she is a director and former chair of the Alaska Humanities Forum and an ex-officio director and former chair of the Anchorage Economic Development Corp. She serves on the community advisory boards of Alaska Airlines and Totem Ocean Trailer Express.

University Completes Five External Audits

The University recently underwent five detailed external audits. We are pleased to report that University received “unmodified” audit opinions and reports in all of them. This is a singular accomplishment as the results of these audits have ramifications for the university. The five audits include:

  • University of Alaska 2013 Financial Statements
  • University of Alaska Single Audit for federal awards
  • University of Alaska Foundation 2013 Financial Statements
  • University of Alaska & University of Alaska Foundation Consolidated Fund
  • Education Trust of Alaska

The results will be presented to the Board of Regents in the December meeting.  

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