Juella Sparks is new System Governance Council chair

System governance council members elected Juella Sparks chair of the council on Sept. 22. She also serves as vice chair of the Staff Alliance and president of the UAF Staff Council.

Juella was born and raised in Alaska and graduated from UAF with a bachelor's degree in management. After several years working for the state and starting a family, she came back to the university to work for  the Cooperative Extension Service in December, 2002. She was active in student government and moved quickly to being active in staff governance at UAF. In her words, "I am looking forward to working with Staff Alliance and the System Governance Council to strengthen our UA system, especially with two teenagers contemplating post-secondary education."

The council consists of  11 faculty, staff and student governance leaders from across the system as voting members and one ex-officio member of the three alumni associations. The council provides an opportunity to interact with each other, with the university president, regents and others regularly on such issues as  policies and regulations, the university budget, long range planning, university development, enhancing the university's public image, educating the public and enhancing the general welfare of the university community as a whole. Topics under discussion at the moment include need-based financial aid, academic master planning, sustainability and community service.

Additional information about the Council may be found online at http://www.alaska.edu/governance/sgc/.

Coalition elected Todd Marshall-Closson as Speaker

The Coalition of Student Leaders elected Todd Marshall-Closson as Coalition Speaker for 2008-2009 at the Sept. 25, 2008, meeting.  Todd recently graduated with an associate degree in digital art , one of the first three awarded in the state. Todd is now focusing on his B.A.A. in photography with a minor in communications. Todd is committed to developing himself and colleagues in a positive manner. Now in his third year with the Kenai River College Student Union and the Coalition of Student Leaders, serving as Coalition Speaker in 2005-2006, Todd is an accomplished advocate for students and believes in the strength of dialogue and partnership for the betterment of the university as a whole. Todd's emphasis in his personal and professional life is dialogue and the reciprocity and exchange of multiple ideas toward a common goal.

More information about the Coalition of Student Leaders may be found on line at http://www.alaska.edu/governance/students/.

GET-A-GRIP With Spikies

The season of snow and ice is coming and with it comes the slips, trips and falls. Statewide Risk Services is giving away free Spikies to provide employees the opportunity to GET-A-GRIP, on snow and ice, that is. Spikies are rubber soles with carbide studs that slip over your boots and shoes. 

Spikies are available to all Statewide employees, including temporary, part-time or student employees. Spikies or similar shoe traction devices can be found at local sporting goods and fire safety stores for $20-$25. If you have received a pair of Yaktrax or Spikies in previous years and they are still serviceable, please do not request another pair as supplies are limited. If you can only find one serviceable Spiky, bring it by so Risk Services can try to make a pair.  

Spikies can be picked up at the Butrovich Building in Suite 106 from Amaya or Yvonne.

Statewide Staff Thanksgiving Potluck

The Statewide Staff Thanksgiving Potluck, sponsored by the Statewide Administrative Assembly (SAA), will be held Friday, Nov. 21, 2008 in Butrovich Room 109 (Board of Regents’ Conference Room).  Doors open at noon and are open until 2 p.m. Contact Bess Rounds at bess.rounds@alaska.edu or x8001 to sign up for traditional goodies to bring to the potluck.

Annual Canned Food Drive 11/21/08 – 12/19/08 (Christmas potluck)
This potluck also marks the beginning of the Annual Canned Food Drive. Bring in a can of food to donate to the Fairbanks Community Food Bank. Donation boxes will be available during each potluck and at the side entries of the Butrovich Building on the first floor. Clean out your pantries to support the Food Bank!

Coffee with the President draws crowd

President Hamilton speaks to staff
Click image for a quicktime video soundbite from the president's talk. Photo by Kate Ripley

President Hamilton hosted a well-attended “Coffee with the President” event on Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 22. One hundred chairs were filled and more employees were standing in the back, with an estimated 140 employees in attendance. Anchorage employees and Statewide’s lone employee in Washington, DC, Martha Stewart, also dialed in via teleconference.

Tops on the president’s mind was the tight budget environment at Statewide due to losses in interest earnings and a cut from the Legislature. President Hamilton said the administration is taking careful steps to control expenditures and avoid layoffs within Statewide. He also explained that the current budget situation affects primarily Statewide, not the campuses, because of the funding sources unique to Statewide.

“We are not at the point of having to lay people off … we’re not there,” Hamilton said. “What we are is at a stage where we’re going to have to be very careful about expenditures.”

Hamilton and his team of advisors – including Vice Presidents Wendy Redman and Joe Trubacz, Controller Myron Dosch and Associate Vice President for Budget Michelle Rizk and others – are looking at reducing travel, cutting back on non-essential contracts, keeping current vacant positions open for a period of time (unless refilling is essential) and other tactics designed to reduce costs.

The president left time for questions, and there were a number of them. All in all, employees responded positively to the coffee, which the president likes to hold on a regular basis.

Click on the image above for a Quicktime video soundbite from the president’s talk.

Think Outside the Box

President Hamilton has created a new feature on his website (www.alaska.edu/pres) called Outside the Box, a virtual suggestion box for employees to communicate directly with the president and his executive team.

The idea behind Outside the Box is to offer employees an easy way to offer suggestions for streamlining services, reducing costs and improving efficiencies. Employees may opt to either use their name and email or remain anonymous. The online suggestion box is primarily aimed at employees who know and understand the system well, but the tool is available to students and the public as well. Suggestions may be limited to the Statewide unit specifically, or they could be directed toward an overall operation that affects the entire system or perhaps one particular program area or campus.

President Hamilton announced the suggestion box at the Coffee with the President event on Oct. 22. It’s a new piece in the university’s ongoing effort to contain costs, operate more efficiently and continue to make the best use of limited resources.

SW name tags available to order

The Office of Public Affairs announces the availability of beautiful new magnetic name tags, complete with a brushed nickel background and Statewide “swooshy A” logo. If you’d like to order these for members of your department for an event, meeting or conference, please contact Izzy Martinez in Public Affairs at 450-8100 or izzy@alaska.edu. The nametags cost $12 each (at your own department’s expense). Please allow Izzy 2 weeks in advance for ordering and pick up.

Regent News

UA budget puts big emphasis on K-12 outreach, partnerships

The University of Alaska Board of Regents will meet on the Fairbanks campus
from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday to discuss the proposed FY10 operating and
capital budgets for the 16-campus system. The top priority of the proposed
budget is a $2.6 million investment in strengthened partnerships with K-12
schools, which includes summer bridging programs, Tech Prep, career
awareness, outreach, testing and placement and teacher preparation.

The idea behind the request is to strengthen support for students while
they're still in K-12 schools, leading to better chances of success in
college or work.

"The sad truth is that the college-going rate of Alaska's high school
graduates is among the lowest in the nation. That's in addition to already
having one of the lowest high school graduation percentages in the nation,"
said UA President Mark Hamilton. "This isn't just a K-12 problem, though. If
a third grader can't read, it's everyone's problem. Our businesses and
agencies are desperate to hire qualified and well-trained Alaskans, but they
can't do it if the labor pool isn't properly equipped. Strengthening our
partnerships and programs that help our students succeed is something we
must do."

Public testimony will be taken at 10 a.m. in Room 109 of the Butrovich
Building, on the West Ridge of the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus.
Other proposed operating budget priorities include:
. $1.4 million in energy solutions for Alaska, including critical faculty
members in energy economics, renewable power and alternative energy, as well
as outreach through the university's Cooperative Extension Service to share
that knowledge with the public;
. $1.5 million toward engineering programs, which includes funding for
reaching UA's goal of doubling the number of engineering graduates by 2012;
. $3 million toward the university's biomedical capacity and health
programs, including new faculty positions in key areas;
. And $2.3 million for campus workforce programs, including the marine
transportation program at UAS-Ketchikan; the process technology program at
Kenai Peninsula College; and the Career, Vocational and Technical Program at
Kodiak College.

The UA operating budget, if approved at $342 million in state general funds,
would be a 9 percent increase in state funding over the current fiscal year.
The university would generate $552 million of its own funding, including
federal funds, for a total of $894 million in operating funds for the fiscal
year that starts July 1, 2009.

UA's proposed capital budget, at $500 million in state investment, puts a
top priority on maintaining existing facilities and equipment, at $50
million. Other capital projects would require the following in state general
. A new Life Sciences Building at UAF (formerly known as BIOS), $82 million;
. Campus entrance improvements at UAS in Juneau, $4 million;
. A new UAA Sports Arena, $65 million;
. And reducing a major maintenance backlog across the UA system, $150

Regents must approve the budget before it is submitted to the governor's
office for consideration.


For a complete look at the budget request and supporting documents, go to
www.alaska.edu/bor and click on "agendas."

For more information call Kate Ripley at 907/450-8102.

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