President Hamilton received warmly at Doyon shareholders annual meeting

Photo by Monique Musick

UA President Mark Hamilton addressed a packed crowd of Doyon Ltd. shareholders in Fairbanks March 20, as the keynote speaker.

Hamilton thanked the elders assembled and noted that the site of the University of Alaska Fairbanks was originally known as Troth Yeddha’, named by the Tanana Athabascans. The word “troth” refers to the wild potato and “yeddha’” means “its ridge” or “its hill.” Last year, the UA Board of Regents dedicated a tract of land on the UAF campus as Troth Yeddha’ park.

Hamilton recalled the words of Chief Peter John of Minto, who noted that the site was an important meeting place for the grandfathers to talk and give advice to one another. When they learned it was to be used for a school, they came and gave their blessing by leaving an eagle feather on a pole. This let others know it would no longer be used as a gathering place for the grandfathers, but for a new kind of learning. Chief John said, in recalling the story later, “they were also giving a blessing so their grandchildren would be part of the new school.”

That inclusion has continued and is growing, Hamilton said. In the past 10 years, graduation by Native students at the University of Alaska has increased by over 108 percent. While Doyon shareholders applauded this news, Hamilton said it’s still not enough---the overall numbers of Native students and graduates is still too small. He said he wants to work to increase those numbers.

Hamilton emphasized the workforce programs embraced by the university in the last 10 years, including 85 of 100 new programs that take two years or less to complete. This training leads to the kinds of jobs Alaska businesses, including Doyon and the other ANCSA corporations, would like to offer to qualified Alaskans, including Alaska Natives.
To help reach that goal, Hamilton told those gathered that the UA Board of Regents and the individual CEOs of the 13 regional Native corporations recently passed similar resolutions calling for the creation of the Alaska Native Education and Research Council. The council, which is still in the early planning stages, will review what can be done to improve offerings for students, particularly those who want to apply for jobs at the ANCSA corporations. It will take time for the council to organize itself and see what must be done, but the potential is tremendous, Hamilton said.

After the speech, Doyon President Norm Phillips presented Hamilton with a framed chief’s necklace. Hamilton was visibly moved by the generous gift. Doyon also presents each of its speakers with an honorarium, which President Hamilton immediately donated to the non-profit Doyon Foundation.

Photo by Monique Musick

Board keeps on top of turbulent financial times

The Board of Regents Finance Committee met on March 2, 2009, via videoconference to review and discuss numerous issues related to the university’s current financial situation due to recent investment losses in the market.

These losses have created an immediate budget shortfall at the Statewide MAU, which in the past has based a portion of its budget on investment earnings. In this case, there are no earnings to be spent but losses to be absorbed.

The losses have already led to a quick and responsible change in business practices at Statewide, as well as many discussions about long-term, sustainable operational and organizational changes in the upcoming year.

Formal action to address the short-term budget shortfall is anticipated at the June meeting in Fairbanks.

Finance Vice President Joe Trubacz opened the meeting by noting, “Compared to many institutions in the Lower 48, we’re actually not doing that bad.”

Trubacz and Controller Myron Dosch explained to board members that market losses have a domino effect. This includes the UA Foundation’s invested funds, including endowed and non-endowed funds, as well as the university’s operating capital, which is invested in financial markets.

Projected market losses in UA operating funds through January 2009 are about $11 million. Last year, when the budget was crafted, the administration anticipated a $3 million investment return to help fund the Statewide MAU budget. Already through salary savings, travel reductions, and cuts in other non-personnel categories, Statewide has covered $1.6 million of that loss. This still leaves a $1.4 million gap. Added to the $11 million market loss, the overall shortage totals $12.4 million.
Fortunately, there’s a sound plan to address that shortage.

A number of funds that normally are allocated a portion of investment earnings would be allocated a portion of the market losses. This includes the campuses, which were asked to reserve (or not spend) a portion of their unexpended fund balances from the prior fiscal year. These funds normally are invested and earn income. Not so this year.

Just as campuses benefit on the uptick, when investments actually earn income, they also would share in the pain when market losses occur, Trubacz said. A variety of other funds that normally are allocated investment income would also be allocated a portion of the investment losses as well, including auxiliary funds, renewal and replacement funds and risk management reserves. The total loss to be covered by this method would be $7.1 million.

Trubacz and Dosch explained that still leaves a $5.3 million shortfall overall. They recommended to board members to cover that shortage out of two reserve funds; the Natural Resources Fund ($2.3 million) and the Land Grant Trust Inflation-proofing Fund ($3 million).

The Natural Resources Fund, which totals $6.2 million, is the source used to pay annually for the popular UA Scholars program, which awards an $11,000 scholarship to each student in the top 10 percent of every high school in Alaska. It’s the only substantial merit-based scholarship provided from a government entity in Alaska.

Using $2.3 million from the fund to cover the shortfall thankfully won’t affect the Scholars Program or its scholarship recipients, Dosch said. However, that source of funds could not be repeatedly tapped without jeopardizing the UA Scholars Program, or at least that particular funding source for the program.

Regents at the meeting said they have no intention of hurting the UA Scholars Program.

“We’re absolutely committed to seeing this program through,” said Board Chair Cynthia Henry. “Using $2.3 million from the Natural Resources Fund would be a short-term solution that doesn’t put the Scholars program at risk, and yet helps us cover our losses due to this unbelievable market we’re in. It’s a good solution for now. We’ll discuss this in more detail at the June board meeting.”

Federal stimulus bill and the University of Alaska

University Relations Vice President Wendy Redman sent out the following memo related to the federal Stimulus Bill:

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) has generated tremendous interest and some anxiety for UA faculty and staff who feel they should be “doing something” to gain access to funds that may be available for a variety of research and workforce training programs that have been highlighted in the Act.  And I’ve received many questions about what “statewide” is doing relative to the funds.  I’ll try to answer the questions and I encourage you to redistribute any of this that seems appropriate for your campus.

The official government website http://www.recovery.gov/?q=content/agencies includes links to each agency and updates on fund distribution and expenditure in general.  The agencies have been slow in getting information out, and as you’ll see those that have intend to be quite restrictive in how they will be distributing funds.  For instance, though NSF has released very little information to date, it is expected that they will focus funds on existing grantees or on recent proposals that fell just below the acceptance cut-off. NIH has released information that likewise focuses on current grantees. The time for distribution is short and the expected results (creating jobs and enhancing health, environmental & economic conditions) are wanted so quickly that there really isn’t much opportunity for “new” ideas.  However, it does appear that each agency is holding back sums of money for quick-starting projects that may not make it through the shot-gun proposal process. 

The most significant item that we know will be coming from NSF is the replacement for the Alpha Helix, the nation’s preeminent Arctic research vessel ($116m plus prior year $80m).

There are many summaries available on-line and through different professional organizations that outline the available funding by agency, issue, etc.  I’m certain your research and/or academic affairs staff  is looking at the agencies that your faculty align with to determine if and where there might be a fit.  At the same time, we are working with the state to make sure that funds assigned to Alaska, particularly in the workforce training area, will find their way to UA programs where appropriate. 

The most complete summary of the Act is the Patton Boggs Summary available at http://www.pattonboggs.com/sitesearch.aspx?search=stimulus%20analysis&section=  

In brief, the ARRA includes $888 billion in investments and tax cuts.  The funding (in billions) is going to general program areas as follows:

Tax Relief to Individuals            $247b   
Infrastructure and science         $165b
Health                                           $153b   
Education & Training                 $138b
Energy                                          $  82b   
Tax Cuts to Small Business      $  21b
Medicaid/UIC/COBRA                $ 72b   
Law Enforcement/Other             $  10b
[Note:  these categories are misleading since the programs are frequently spread across many agencies.  The Council of State Legislatures at http://www.ncsl.org/statefed/2009economicstimulus.htm includes a good summary of which agencies have money for energy, education, health, environment, transportation, justice, human services, labor and workforce.]

Approximately $144 billion of the AARA funds are allocated for state and local fiscal relief, including Medicaid and education.  The state allocations are formula driven and Alaska’s portion is $844,564 million. The Governor is in the process of ascertaining which of these funds the state will request, since some have policy implication. Information is available at http://www.gov.state.ak.us/omb/10_omb/budget/IndexEconomicStimulus.htm.

The only funds assigned to Alaska for post-secondary education exclusively are in additional Pell Grants ($21m) and College work study ($170K).  The Fiscal Stabilization Education Funds ($93m) are for all state education facilities, including the university, and the Fiscal Stabilization Flex Funds ($20.7m) can be assigned by the Governor to other capital and/or program needs of the state.  Kit Duke has worked with your staff in the preparation and submission of capital priority lists to OMB. 

There are funds allocated to Alaska for the state energy plan ($23.6m) and for health and human service programs that may involve programs in collaboration with UA.  UAF Research Vice Chancellor Buck Sharpton and the staff at the Alaska Center for Energy and Power will be working with the State energy program to determine if there is an appropriate role for the UA in that arena.  The health and human service programs (including child care) are a little more diffuse, including substantial funding that will flow to communities.   Please let me know if you are aware of any UA participation in programs/projects that may qualify for these funds.  

Fred Villa will take the lead in coordinating with the State Department of Labor for workforce training funds.  Acceptance of workforce stimulus funds requires a change in how Alaska handles its unemployment insurance program so there has been a good deal of internal discussion regarding the efficacy of that policy change for Alaska  We have an audio conference scheduled next week and will have more to report soon.  I do know the ARRA allows allocation of WIA training funds to institutions, rather than through Job Centers, so that will be helpful in building capacity in programs that need a quick turn-around.

The education funding is going to individual schools as well as to special programs administered by the Commissioner.  I understand that much of the funding will require a special exemption from the Secretary of Education for criteria that Alaska cannot currently meet.  As chair of our Education Planning Group, John Pugh will take the lead for UA in working with the Commissioner on programs that may include UA participation.

The Legislature is preparing a bill to be introduced early next week that will include all the state funding and receipt authority for all agencies for any additional ARRA funds they anticipate receiving.  The Legislature is only allowing $1m for each agency in anticipated receipt authority at this time, but will make adjustments through Legislative Budget and Audit as necessary during the interim. 

Please call or email if you have any questions.

Compensation Task Force reviews pay adjustments

Last year, members of the Legislature expressed concern about the way the university addresses staff salary increases. This caused the university to alter its long-standing practice of seeking funding for annual step increases for UA staff. The Legislature’s objection in large part was based on the fact that step increases for State of Alaska employees are funded internally, rather than being included in the state’s annual budget request. University Regulations had provided that step increases would occur on the anniversary of an employee’s date of hire, so the regulation itself was modified in keeping with the new, across-the-board approach.

University officials then created the Compensation Task Force to review and recommend appropriate changes to compensation practice and regulations for future years. The group first met in July 2008 and included representatives from governance, administrative management and human resources throughout the UA system. The group was tasked to review the current grid and step structure and to make recommendations for a possible new salary structure or salary adjustment mechanism.  The group was asked to consider a solution that would not only meet the interests of UA employees and administration, but also be palatable to the Legislature during the budget process. The task force established criteria including employee salary progression that would avoid what’s known as “pay compression,” where new hires come in at the same rate as longer-term employees, resulting in a clustering of salaries at the bottom range.

The UA Business Council advised that any proposed structure or methodology for making wage adjustments should be cost-neutral when compared with the previous format involving grid adjustment plus annual steps. 

The task force has held regular meetings since it was formed. Members now have prepared a set of draft recommendations for review and additional input.  A list of task force members and the draft recommendations will be posted on the Classification/Compensation section of the Statewide Office of Human Resources webpage next week.  Once finalized, the recommendations will be submitted to Statewide Human Resources.  After that, the Human Resources Council, Business Council and others in the UA administration will review the proposal.  If the university develops a proposal for changes to Board of Regents’ Policies regarding staff compensation, draft language will be submitted for discussion as a part of the board’s agenda at a future Board of Regents’ meeting. 

Questions about the task force and the draft recommendations may be directed to Jeannine Senechal (j9@alaska.edu; 450-8210) or Will Daniels (will.daniels@alaska.edu; 450-8220) in the Compensation Office at Statewide Human Resources.


Board of Regents News

Courtesy Nelson's Photography

The UA Board of Regents will gather April 8 & 9, 2009, at Prince William Sound Community College in Valdez.

The full agenda will soon be placed on the BOR website at www.alaska.edu/bor/.

Items up for discussion include a number of academic degree programs, including new graduate certificates at UAA in counselor education, environmental regulations and permitting and earthquake engineering; and at UAF, a new certificate in allied health for pre-nursing and a Ph.D. in indigenous studies.

The Facilities and Land Management Committee also will be busy with a variety of project approvals and updates, including a National Science Foundation project at Toolik Lake Research Station; an energy building project at UAF; and a renewal and renovation project at the Northwest Campus in Nome.

Regents will hear a presentation from Prince William Sound Community College faculty and staff, have lunch with the college’s advisory council and attend a community reception at the Whitney Museum on campus.

This meeting will be the last for student Regent William Andrews, who was appointed by Gov. Sarah Palin in 2007. A resolution of appreciation for Regent Andrews is expected to pass unanimously. The resolution reads:

“WHEREAS, William A. Andrews Jr. has served on the University of Alaska Board of Regents with distinction since June 1, 2007, when he was appointed by Gov. Sarah Palin to the position of Student Regent; and

WHEREAS, William A. Andrews Jr. is a full-time graduate student at the University of Alaska Anchorage, where he is expected to graduate with his Master’s Degree in Public Administration in May 2009; and

WHEREAS, William A. Andrews Jr. received his Bachelor of Arts in Social Science, with a minor in Native Studies, at the University of Alaska Southeast in 2008; and

WHEREAS, William A. Andrews Jr.  made the Chancellor’s and Dean’s Lists while an undergraduate at UAS; and
WHEREAS, William A. Andrews Jr. worked as an intern in the 25th Alaska State Legislature in the office of Rep. Mary Nelson of Bethel. He also served as an intern at Sealaska Corporation in Juneau, where his duties included, among others, coordinating student financial aid records and scholarship disbursements; and

WHEREAS, William A. Andrews Jr. served in the UAS student government as president and vice president, and actively participated in Board of Regents meetings via student government prior to his appointment; and

WHEREAS, William A. Andrews Jr. also participated in the statewide Coalition of Student Leaders conferences in the state capital of Juneau, chaired the student government’s Activities Committee at UAS, served on a UA taskforce related to tuition, organized student government elections and helped students register to vote on the UAS campus; and

WHEREAS, William A. Andrews Jr. was the recipient of the Judson L. Brown Leadership Award from Sealaska Heritage Foundation in 2008. In presenting the award, Chris McNeil, president and chief executive officer of Sealaska, called William “a very good example to future applicants”; and

WHEREAS, William A. Andrews also served his country proudly in the United States Marine Corps as an infantryman from 1990-1994; and

WHEREAS, William A. Andrews Jr., while serving on the Board of Regents, was a member of the Academic and Student Affairs Committee and Human Resources Committee.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the University of Alaska Board of Regents officially recognizes William A. Andrews Jr. for his exceptional service to Alaska and the University of Alaska. The board expresses profound thanks on behalf of students, staff and faculty of the university for William’s contributions; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this resolution be appropriately engrossed and conveyed to William A. Andrews Jr., with a copy to be incorporated in the official minutes of the April 8-9, 2009, minutes of the UA Board of Regents.”

Courtesy Ken Fisher

Regent Andrews will continue serving on the board until the end of May, but there are no other official full board meetings scheduled between the April meeting and the end of his term. The governor is expected to appoint the new student regent before Andrews’ term expires. The new student regent’s first meeting would be the June gathering in Fairbanks.

In other regent news, a number of UA staff members spent time recently with new regent Ken Fisher in various orientation sessions earlier this month. The sessions covered everything from legal and financial issues to human resources and public relations.

Public Affairs offers portrait services in April

Whether you need a new headshot for your Web page, a picture for your portfolio or just need a picture to send home to mom you can get a studio quality portrait for free this April on Tuesdays and Fridays in conference room 208E. Monique Musick of the Public Affairs department is donating her experience as a portrait photographer to set up a studio in the afternoons for any statewide employee who needs a new picture. Come by between 2:00 and 4:30. No appointment is necessary. The digital photo file will be e-mailed the following workday. Print service is not included.

ROPA (Rocket Observations of Pulsating Aurora) launch at Poker Flats. Photo by Todd Valentic

UA denied Land Grant

Poker flats is one of the parcels of land in question. Photo by Todd Paris

The University of Alaska received some disappointing news from the Alaska Supreme Court earlier this month.

The court ruled as unconstitutional the 2005 law that provided for 250,000 acres of state land to be transferred to the University of Alaska.

Proceeds from land and resource sales were to go into the university’s Land Grant Endowment Trust, while some of the land was to be held in reserve for educational and research purposes. The trust, managed by the UA Foundation, would have made regular payments to the university, providing a predictable funding stream to help offset costs of the UA system.

The court, however, made no distinction between the two different kinds of land—all the land must be returned to the state, as well as any proceeds derived off of it.

UA President Mark Hamilton called the court ruling “unbelievable” and “a terrible, terrible shame.”

“Here we are, the largest state in the union, and we’re back to having one of the smallest land grants of any of the land-grant colleges and universities,” Hamilton said. “I hope the groups that brought the lawsuit are happy with themselves. This is an appalling situation for a land-grant university to find itself in, and completely reneges on a promise made to the University of Alaska many years ago.”

The lawsuit was brought by the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC) and the Tongass Conservation Society, both based in Juneau. The two environmental groups argued the land grant violates the “dedicated funds” clause of the Alaska Constitution.

The clause says, essentially, that money earned from a particular revenue stream cannot be dedicated back to a particular cause associated with that revenue stream.

The university argued the 2005 law did no such thing---primarily because university lands are not the same as state lands and shouldn’t be treated as such. “It never even occurred to us that the court would consider state lands and the university’s lands as one and the same,” said Vice President for University Relations Wendy Redman, who has witnessed numerous land grant debates in her 30-plus years at UA.

Congress at the turn of the 20th century promised 350,000 acres of land to the old Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines---the site of the present-day UAF. The idea then, and now, was to allow the university to develop the land and use income earned from it to help offset operating costs.

For a variety of reasons—the jumble of statehood and subsequent borough and city entitlements, the Native land claims in 1971 and the 1980 National Interest Lands Conservation Act among them—the university only received a third of the land promised to it, or roughly 110,000 acres.

Land grants for colleges and universities are hardly a new idea; they’ve been around since the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890. These acts funded educational institutions by granting federal land to the states. The mission of the institutions was to teach agriculture, science, engineering and, of course, classical studies in the liberal arts.

The predecessor to Michigan State University was the nation’s first land-grant institution, chartered in 1855. What later became Pennsylvania State University followed later that same month and year. Those two charters served as a model for the first Morrill Act. The first land-grant university created under the Morrill Act was Kansas State University. The oldest land-grant university is Rutgers University, founded in 1766 and later becoming the land-grant college of New Jersey in 1864.

The mission of land-grant universities was later expanded by the Hatch Act of 1887, which provided federal funds for a series of agricultural experiment stations. The Smith-Lever Act of 1914 included the cooperative extension mission, including sending out agents to share results of research with the public.

The University of Alaska is steeped in land-grant history, function and mission, Hamilton said, but simply lacks the land.

Every Board of Regents since statehood has fought to receive its rightful land grant. Land grant legislation has come up before the Alaska Legislature a total of six times since statehood, including the 2005 bill that finally passed.

What’s especially troubling, Hamilton said, is that 57 percent of the parcels have already been conveyed to the university, with due diligence title searches and other costly work already completed. The land that must be returned to the state includes land given to the university for educational purposes, including research forests, land at Poker Flat, the land that contains the Sitka campus, and many other acres.

The state Department of Natural Resources issued a press release following the ruling that noted the university and DNR have worked diligently for several years to follow through on the 2005 act. In the release, DNR Commissioner Tom Irwin expressed disappointment in the lost opportunities due to the ruling. Irwin also expressed frustration, pointing out that the lawsuit was filed well after the legislature acted and the land transfers were under way.

Hamilton was grim-faced about the ruling when asked about it in his office the other day. He hasn’t spoken publicly about it yet, in part because the regents must be informed and decisions made on what to do next, he said.

During a bill signing ceremony in July of 2005, then-Gov. Frank Murkwoski signed the landmark land grant on a desk that once belonged to Judge James Wickersham, who first drafted legislation for a state university in 1915.

“It’s a sad commentary on our state that Judge Wickersham’s vision has yet to be realized,” Hamilton said.

Children at the Bunnell House, the early childhood lab at UAF, listen to a story. It can take years on the wait list to get into an open slot at this campus based facility. Photo by Monique Musick

Childcare at UA

Photo by Monique Musick

By Heather Swanson
Staff Alliance

Alaska is facing a severe childcare shortage. Throughout most of the state, for every childcare slot available there are 3.5 children – in Juneau that number jumps up to 4.2 children. For infants availability dips further and there are 10 per slot available.  The national average on the other hand is 2.1 children per slot.

A survey was conducted by Staff Alliance’s Child and Friendly Family Policies Committee in January of 2008.  Staff, faculty and students from the four MAUs (UAA, UAF, UAS, and Statewide) were included. With over 1,200 responses, what was learned was staggering – 40% of respondents indicated that they had to reduce work or school loads due to lack of childcare.  When asked if they would increase their work or school load if they had access to quality childcare, 62% indicated that they would.  When asked what prevents them from using childcare, 49% of the respondents indicated that availability was the main factor.

Childcare availablility affects everyone, even those without children. There have been numerous studies tracking over decades that have shown huge return on investments in childcare. Children who received quality early childcare have lower crime rates, drug use and higher graduation rates later in life – with better grades and more college readiness.  A report commissioned by the City and County of San Francisco showed that parents of children who attended a culturally appropriate, quality preschool had significantly increased retention, and decreased absenteeism on the job. The children themselves?  They had increased math and language abilities and higher cognitive and social skills with fewer behavioral problems – in short, were more ready for education.

Disaster exercises a success at UAA

On Monday March 23 the University of Alaska hosted two exercises which tested the ability of UAA to serve as an Anchorage Congregate Care shelter location in the event of a serious emergency or natural disaster. UA Emergency Management collaborated with other agencies and departments to create an on-campus drill that would incorporate the university community. Working with the American Red Cross, Department of Health and Human Services and Amateur Radio Emergency Services, UAA groups were able to help make the drills a success. The exercise planners used the lobby of Rasmuson Hall for a mock shelter registration site, and the Fine Dining Room of Cuddy Hall as a mass feeding site. Both a lunch meal and dinner were provided. Food for the lunch and dinner exercises was donated by Anchorage Sam’s Club.

The scenario simulated that hundreds of people were displaced by an earthquake, and that the Municipality called upon the University to set up an emergency shelter. Students and employees already on campus that day were asked to participate by helping Red Cross shelter volunteers complete standardized registration forms. The mock evacuees were then given a meal ticket, which was turned-in at Cuddy Hall. A meal prepared by Red Cross kitchen volunteers was then provided to about 500 participants. A mobile kitchen also served meals to University students in the Student Housing area.

UAA Culinary Arts students helped Red Cross volunteers establish a kitchen facility, where the morning and late afternoon exercise meals were prepared. Workers in sheltering, food service and incident command were evaluated by local professionals in those fields. Public Information Officers from the Red Cross and UAA met with reporters to explain and publicize the exercises. UPD’s Auxiliary Emergency Team provided crowd control, security and information services. Documentation for the exercises was standardized through University of Alaska Emergency Management, using protocols set up by Homeland Security. More than a dozen participants won door prizes at the end of the day.

Anchorage’s Congregate Care system provides for shelter and disaster services following evacuation due to hazardous materials spills, damaging earthquakes, large fires, power outages and other emergency events. At those shelters the municipality would strive to provide sheltering of persons who have been displaced from their homes, deliver human services including behavioral health, triage and medical services to support hospital operations when hospitals are operating at or near capacity or, during an incident of widespread catastrophic illness, assist with the staging and dispensing of Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) assets, as well as sheltering of domestic animals.

SAA seeks nominations for outstanding employees

Nominations are due by the end of the day Tuesday, March 30, 2009 for Statewide's 2009 Outstanding Employee Awards.  Please consider nominating a Statewide employee or department for one of these awards. 

One award each will be given to an outstanding student, classified and APT employee as well as an award to the outstanding Statewide department.  Awards will be presented at the annual employee recognition events in Anchorage and in Fairbanks.

To nominate an employee or a department for these awards, please send an email message to sysaa@alaska.edu.  Include the name of the nominee, the award category (student, classified, APT or department) and the reasons you think they deserve the award.  Remember, the committee determines the award recipients solely from the nominations submitted, so please give full details why the person or department deserves this recognition.

Nominations may also be dropped in the awards box located in 105H Butro.

All nominations are kept confidential.  All UA Statewide employees and departments are eligible for these awards, and there is no limit to how many people you may nominate.

Nominations are due by the end of the day on March 30, 2009.  If you have any questions, please contact Pat Ivey, UA System Governance Office (450-8042, pat.ivey@alaska.edu).

SAA Election Time

SAA is conducting elections to fill six voting seats for 2009-2011 and two alternates for 2009-2010. Five voting seats are available for Fairbanks and one voting seat is available for Anchorage.  The voting seats will be filled by the top six vote getters. The two alternate seats  for one-year terms will be filled by 7th and 8th top vote getters. Alternates serve in place of voting members when they cannot attend meetings, and may become actual voting members if any duly elected voting member steps down. In the latter case, new alternates are selected from the pool of remaining candidates in order of votes received.

Log on to http://gov.alaska.edu/saa/elections/2009/candidates.html.  Review bios, then select five Fairbanks names and one Anchorage name and email them to sysaa@email.alaska.edu after inserting  "election ballot" on the subject line. 

The deadline for receiving your email ballot is 5:00pm Monday, April 6, 2009.

Earth Day 2009: New Energy for America

A great reminder that energy efficiency is the cheapest, fastest, cleanest additional energy source available to us today

From the U.S. Department of Energy
Federal Energy Management Program

This year's theme is: New Energy for America.

The Federal Government is summoning the nation "to face one of the great challenges of our time: confronting our dependence on foreign oil, addressing the moral, economic and environmental challenge of global climate change, and building a clean energy future that benefits all Americans." This call is the Administration's New Energy for America plan.

The 2009 Earth Day theme is New Energy for America. It showcases the potential and importance of New Energy for America as a means to stimulate our economy, protect the environment and increase energy independence.

New Energy for America is not an abstract idea. It represents aggressive implementation of renewable projects that bring clean energy on line. It exemplifies the innovation of people harnessing the cheapest, fastest, and cleanest energy source — energy efficiency. It demonstrates the accelerated use of high-efficiency, high-performing vehicles and the increased use of alternative fuels produced right here at home.

New Energy for America is a change in attitude, a vibrant transformation of public and private cooperation, and a positive new direction to create a clean energy economy. It is the new energy of Federal workers who serve the nation each and every day, working to transform the ways we produce and use energy for the sake of our environment, our economy, and our security.

The time for action is now. Federal agencies must lead by example. Bold plans are set to modernize the Federal fleet with fuel-efficient, American-made vehicles running on cleaner-burning fuels, and to retrofit more than 75% of all Federal buildings with best practices in sustainable design, operations, and maintenance.

These bold new programs not only save money over the long run, but also increase demand and production of clean fuels, spur innovation in energy efficiency, and expand the manufacture of solar panels, wind turbines, and other environmental technologies that create new jobs for Americans.
With the New Energy for America plan, FEMP asks Federal employees across the country to join us in celebrating and conserving our energy resources not only on Earth Day, April 22, but every day.

Energy Efficiency
The Federal Government is playing a unique role in facilitating and encouraging wise energy use, while simultaneously protecting the environment and conserving natural resources. For an agency, conserving energy means lower bills. Every decrease in energy costs is an increase in funds available to meet other mission-critical needs. Each and every individual action we take—from turning off lights in unoccupied rooms to turning off computer monitors and computers, if possible—add up to a brighter future for us all. Learn more about Energy Savers and discover easy ways to save energy. Doing a little saves a lot on Earth Day and every day.

Download this tip sheet for a simple checklist of energy conservation and efficiency measures to use at work. Energy saving tips for the office

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