System News

The 2012 recipients of the Staff Make Students Count award: Marsha Squires, UAS; Joe Hayes, UAF; Kathy Smith, UAA; Kate Wattum, UA. Click photo for more information. Photo by Chris Hargrave, University of Alaska Anchorage.

UA President Gamble Proposes Lowest Tuition Increase in Decade

The smallest tuition increase in over a decade—2 percent—will be presented by President Gamble to the UA Board of Regents for approval in September for the Academic year 2014 (fall 2013, spring 2014). The increase will apply to students on all 16 University of Alaska campuses.��

After discussing tuition in depth with UAA, UAF and UAS chancellors, staff and students over the last year, Gamble believes a modest increase is warranted – but it cannot happen without some consequences. Tuition currently makes up about 12 percent of the total university budget. Campuses will need to work creatively to offset the reduced tuition increase.

“There is no free lunch,” Gamble noted. “When we squeeze this balloon, it expands the dollar shortfall to be made up elsewhere in our system.”

Associate Vice President of Student�� & Enrollment Services Saichi Oba said, “A tuition increase isn’t something we celebrate, but the past decade has been a tough one, one of tuition rising yearly sometimes even in the double-digits.”�� At 2 percent, this is the lowest percentage increase since the late 1990's.

The tuition increase will range from $3 to $8 per credit hour depending on the type of credit enrolled in (lower division, upper division, graduate). An undergraduate, full-time student enrolled in 15 credits, can expect a $45-$60 increase per semester starting in Fall 2013.

The proposed increase allows for the cost of inflation as determined by the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The proposal is framed by the ongoing national and state debate over the cost of higher education and reflects a sincere desire by the University of Alaska to keep college affordable and accessible for all Alaskans.

Staff Make Students Count 2012

The Staff Make Students Count Award, established in the spring of 1999, recognizes university staff who have provided outstanding service to students anywhere in the UA System, including rural campuses and extended sites. One outstanding staff member is selected from each MAU based on peer nominations.

The 2012 award recipients were: Marsha Squires, UAS; Joe Hayes, UAF; Kathy Smith, UAA; Kate Wattum, UA. Read more about this year's awardees HERE....

Regents Approve Multiple Construction and Maintenance Projects

The University of Alaska Board of Regents approved multiple construction and maintenance projects throughout the state during a two-day meeting that wrapped up in Anchorage on June 8, 2012. Approved projects include schematic design of the engineering buildings in Anchorage and Fairbanks, as well as the UAA Mat-Su Valley Center for Arts and Learning. Formal approval of the Main Apartment Complex (MAC) housing renewal at UAA was granted and the UAA campus master plan amended to include the engineering parking garage. Also approved were schematics of phase 2 for electrical upgrades at UAF.

"All projects were approved as proposed with a few questions about egresses, green spaces and varied specific design concerns. These are not just dirt piles but the spectacular picture of the progress going on our campuses,” said Regent Kirk Wickersham.

Regents approved naming the ridge that runs east/west on the UAF campus as, Troth Yeddha’. During public testimony Native elders, linguists and others testified to the importance of the recognition of the ridge where the university is built by its Athabaskan place name, translated as “wild potato ridge.” Recognition of the place name reinforces the connection between the University of Alaska’s mission and Native culture.

President Pat Gamble presented the annual "Staff Make Students Count" award to four UA staffers for their outstanding service to students: Marsha Squires, UAS; Kathy Smith, UAA; Joe Hayes, UAF; Kate Wattum, UA. The staff members were nominated by their peers, and selected by their local governance groups.

"Giving out this award warms the heart. These individuals have been selected by their peers and have truly gone above and beyond," Gamble said.

The regents enjoyed a tour of the newly completed Health Sciences Building at UAA. Board of Regents Chair Pat Jacobson said, "The building is stunning and clearly state-of-the-art." The tour included a visit to the medical simulation rooms, teaching/examine stations, smart classrooms and cadaver lab. The Health Sciences Building was completed in August 2011 and the programs are specifically designed to prepare graduates for work in Alaska's rapidly growing health care industry.

University of Alaska Automates Employee Interface to Payroll

Saving more than nine tons of paper per year

More than 4,000 University of Alaska employees have transitioned to a new web-based time entry system that is faster, safer and easier to manage than paper time sheets. The new online interface allows employees and their supervisors to access the system from almost anywhere with a secure Internet connection. The change is expected to save more than nine tons of paper annually, as well as eliminating printing costs and the need to physically store paper.

“The new system is faster, more flexible and reduces the risk of making a mistake,” said Heather Arana, a Human Resources Systems Specialist. “Employee’s hours worked or vacation hours used can be easily reviewed online at any time. The reduced paper handling has been beneficial for every department. ”

The online time entry interface was specifically designed and tested to be easy to use and intuitive. Programming behind the scenes provides safeguards for accuracy and consistency, reducing the potential for errors significantly. All of the information moves automatically into the payroll processing system.

“The university employee base is unique. We have faculty, staff and students. One person may go to the same office everyday while another is doing research on a boat in the Arctic Ocean. We needed a way for everyone to provide pay information easily from a diversity of locations,” said Donald Smith, Interim Chief Human Resources Officer. “The complexity of the university meant either buying a million dollar solution or rolling up our sleeves and doing it ourselves. We are building this system in-house and the results so far have been impressive.”

Job changes are quickly reflected in the system, allowing an employee to charge time to the right account immediately. In the past, the Budget Office would spend hours manually adjusting payroll to reflect funding changes, job transitions or new grant funding. The time spent making adjustments manually has been reduced by more than half.

The team is well into its work on phase two of this project, which is to build a similar interface and process for salaried employees. They are expanding on the lessons learned from phase one and working to create a product that is easy to use and meets the regulatory needs of each group of exempt employees. Completion for this second phase of the project will be in March 2013.

Megan Riebe Named Associate Vice President of Development and Executive Director of the University of Alaska Foundation

University of Alaska (UA) Foundation President Carla Beam has named Megan Riebe Associate Vice President of Development and Executive Director of the UA Foundation. Reibe started at the UA Foundation June 25, 2012.

Riebe will provide day-to-day management of the Foundation and serve as a key player in system-wide fund development efforts. She will be based in Anchorage, and will travel to Fairbanks and Juneau regularly.

Riebe brings to the UA Foundation more than sixteen years of experience in fundraising and non-profit management, including ten years in higher education. She comes to the UA Foundation from Gonzaga University where she was the Director of Development for Strategy and Leadership Gifts. Prior to that, she worked in a variety of development roles for Washington State University her alma mater, and for the Washington State University Foundation.

“Riebe’s strength in identifying strategic links between university priorities and donor interests complements the goal of raising more private support for the University of Alaska’s campuses and programs throughout the state.” said Beam, who has a dual role as the Vice President of University Relations.

Riebe has a B.A. in Business Administration and Marketing from WSU, and was awarded the 22nd Annual CASE District VIII Juried Silver Award in 2004 in the promotional copy writing category for "Case Statement: WSU Initiative in Entrepreneurship and Innovation.”

Gamble Announces New Director of K-12 Outreach Operations, Kathryn Berry Bertram

President Gamble is pleased to announce the new Director of K-12 Outreach Operations, Kathryn Berry Bertram, Ph.D. She has been director of the Geophysical Institute K-12 Education and Outreach for the past 21 years.

Bertram has extensive experience facilitating partnerships among University of Alaska, the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, Alaska school districts, state and national teacher groups, and Native organizations resulting in the creation of more than 20 comprehensive multi-year programs. She has secured more than $23 million in grants from federal, state and private agencies to fund these programs, all of which are focused on K-12 teacher preparation, professional development and mentorship.

“What drew us to Kathryn were her excellent grant writing and management success, and full understanding of the K-12 components, along with her dedicated service,” said Dana Thomas, Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs.

During her service to the Geophysical Institute, Bertram was selected as Outstanding Employee by UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers February 2012, appointed to UAF’s Strategic Planning Committee and appointed as Education Director of the proposed A-CORE UA Science and Technology Center.

Bertram has been invited as keynote speaker or presenter to more than 30 diverse national and statewide conferences, educational organizations and private foundations. In April 2012, she delivered the keynote address for a NASA, NOAA and NSF tri-agency meeting for K-12 education researchers and practitioners in Washington D.C. She also has extensive experience making presentations to state senators and representatives.

Her experience conducting educational research in the areas of teacher preparation, recruitment, retention, assessment and evaluation recently culminated in earning a Doctoral degree in Education Research and Cross-Cultural Studies from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Prior to her PhD, Bertram eared a Master of Public Administration and Affairs from Indiana University, and a Bachelor of Science Education and Public Relations from Wittenberg University.

Nancy Spink Named New Chief Risk Officer

University of Alaska President Pat Gamble has announced that Nancy Spink has been selected as the new Chief Risk Officer and began her assignment June 20, 2012.

Spink joins UA from the University of Idaho where she was the Risk Management Officer. She will lead UA’s efforts to create and maintain a university-wide risk management program that utilizes disciplines such as loss prevention, risk financing, claims management and risk information systems.

“The University of Alaska has been undergoing a philosophical shift in how we manage risk and we are delighted to have someone of Nancy’s caliber to be part of the commitment to developing the UA Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) doctrine and strategy, “ said Gamble.

Spink will be responsible for and coordinate the development and implementation of system wide programs and standards including enterprise risk management, health, safety, and environmental management, claims management, emergency management, and insurance in accordance with federal and state statutes and regulations, procedures and responsible risk management practices.

"ERM is a means of providing enhanced service to the university community. Rather than saying "no" to an activity, the ERM process provides a means to achieve the objectives with controlled activities. ERM is a way of providing the "wide angle view" for common solutions," said Spink.

During her 30 years in insurance and risk management she has specialized in innovative and effective strategies to manage risk. Nancy has demonstrated ability to analyze client needs and provide risk solutions, with her last nine years working specifically in higher education. In addition to her extensive experience she holds a B.A. in English with an Associate in Risk Management (ARM) designation.

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