Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tell the Governor What to Do with the Oil Revenue Surplus

Governor Palin has asked Alaskans to voice their opinion on how the state should allocate a potential budget surplus of $1.2 billion.

What a great opportunity for University of Alaska supporters to get their message to the Governor!

This is a really fast and easy survey to take - the question asks: How should the state spend its potential budget surplus? There are various choices, including 'education and workforce development', but it doesn't go as far to say 'higher education'. However, there is an opportunity at the end to voice your opinion in the text box at the bottom of the questionnaire.

This is a perfect opportunity to ask for the Governor's support of the University of Alaska.

Please note: the deadline for comments is December 3rd.

Feel free to share this information with any UA supporters out there. The more input the governor receives before she presents her operating budget on December 15th, the better!

The URL to the Governor's questionnaire is:


You can also access the survey from the Governor's home page at:

http://www.alaska.gov or http://www.gov.state.ak.us/

Thank you for everything that you do to support the University of Alaska. Your voice and your actions do make a difference!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Feedback on SkillSoft Online Training Needed BEFORE Friday Nov. 16th

University of Alaska employees have approximately three (3) more weeks to take advantage of numerous free online courses, books, job aids and test preparatory exams offered by SkillSoft Corp. The online training materials are being reviewed during a three-month pilot that ends November 30, 2007. Your input on the content and delivery method is important in assessing the near-term future of employee e-learning options.

Please complete the following survey, whether or not you’ve used SkillSoft training material. Your response and input before Friday, November 16, 2007 is critical in gathering opinions on e-learning and this particular option for University employees. The survey should take about 15-20 minutes to complete, depending on the extent of your answers.

During the pilot (August 30 – November 30, 2007) University of Alaska employees have access to a wide range of SkillSoft’s offerings which include business skills courses and books, desktop courses and books (e.g. Microsoft Office applications), IT certification courses and books, workplace legal compliance courses and books, environmental health and safety and transportation courses. There are also test preparatory exams, job aids, simulations and online mentoring available in some of the above categories. The online materials provide you an opportunity to pursue new interests or to increase job skills at no charge to you or your department. If it is appropriate to speak with your supervisor if using work time because supervisors were asked to properly schedule work and minimize disruption to the service we provide to internal and external customers. We requested that non-exempt (overtime eligible) employees obtain approval from their supervisor before viewing courses during the work day. In general, you would schedule your “attendance” at an online course in a similar manner as you would with other training.

The online training provides University employees with access to training material and flexibility based upon the employee’s and/or University’s schedule. Online training options, such as those offered by SkillSoft, are being looked at to possibly supplement current employee development programs at various campuses. The online training is not intended to replace instructor-led sessions or University courses available to employees. Employees may still request and use tuition waivers when authorized. If you’re not sure what the SkillSoft online training is about, two articles can be found in the Statewide Voice Archives, in August and October, 2007. One article is attached: http://www.alaska.edu/opa/voice/index.xml?StoryID=302 and may provide helpful information.

Sections of SkillSoft’s catalog are posted at the Statewide HR Website http://www.alaska.edu/hr/training/e-learning/skillsoft.xml. Currently 380 University employees have logged into SkillSoft’s online training & development program. You may continue to log in from the Statewide HR website http://www.alaska.edu/hr/training/e-learning/skillsoft.xml or through the MyUA portal http://myua.alaska.edu/cp/home/loginf. The login requires the UA ID number or the UA user name and the AuthServ or MyUA portal password. If you do not know your user name or password, follow the directions on the Statewide HR e-learning webpage or contact your local helpdesk.

NOTE: In accordance with wage and hour and overtime pay regulations, supervisors are asked to schedule job-related training for non-exempt (overtime eligible) employees during regular work hours when at all possible. If you and your supervisor have identified job-related training and your supervisor approves your request to work on a job-related course outside normal work hours, the permission and amount of time granted should be clear to both you and your supervisor. However, if you (as a non-exempt and overtime eligible employee) initiate and voluntarily choose to view any courses during non-work hours, it is not compensable time. If you choose to access these courses on your personal time, it is your own choice and not paid time.

If you have any questions about the pilot or the survey, please contact Anne Sakumoto at Anne.Sakumoto@alaska.edu

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Send a Postcard to Governor Palin

Improve UA’s Budget: Send a Postcard to Governor Palin

With oil prices still high and a proposed increase in oil taxes that could add as much as $700 million in state revenue, now is the time to seek a funding increase for the University. Any increase to the budget begins with the Governor. The Governor’s budget proposal sets the parameters on what the University can ultimately expect to receive from the legislature. Experience has shown that if a budget item is not in the Governor’s operating budget, it is unlikely that it will be funded.

Help Governor Palin become a friend of the University

Governor Palin ran on a campaign pledge to increase spending for K-12 education. The time has come to help her understand the importance of increasing the university’s budget as well. Now is the time to explain why adequate funding is needed for UA to respond to the needs of Alaska and how the University can affect the economic development of the state.

There is a strong case for increased University funding

• UA has experienced unprecedented enrollment growth and record graduation rates.
• The Alaska Scholars program is attracting the top high school graduates.
• UA is expanding its programs in nursing, engineering, psychology, and social work to meet the state’s needs.
• In spite of our recent successes, there are serious shortfalls and unmet needs at UA including the need for more full-time faculty, improved facilities, and additional buildings to improve programs.

Here’s how you can help UA

This is the time to urge Governor Palin to include in her budget request additional funding for the University. The UAA Faculty and Staff Association is coordinating a campaign to contact the Governor’s Office with postcards in support of an increase in the University budget. We've been invited to join in. If you wish to participate, please send an email with your mailing address to Steve Rollins at uaafac@alaska.net . They will send you a stamped postcard addressed to the Governor. They will also provide suggestions about the current issues. Please join in this important effort.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Recap from Sept. Board of Regents meeting

A two page Recap of the September Board of Regents meeting is available online at:


Check out the online recap for information about the tuition hike, as well as the new BA in art, vet tech & high latitude range management certificates that were approved. The blurb about the Vet Tech program and the high latitude range management certificates are of special interest for UAF and our rural campuses.

Check it out.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Staff Governance Asked, HR Responded! - 3 month online courses & resources trial

In response to staff governance requests, Statewide Human Resources has introduced a three-month online learning program pilot to enhance employee training and development. This three month pilot online learning program is available AT NO COST to university employees.

The "SkillSoft" program offers thousands of online courses, books and job aids on topics including business and management skills, desktop skills (Microsoft Office—Word, Excel, Access, etc.), information technology and preparatory exams for certification. This pilot will assist the university in assessing if the course content satisfies your learning needs and if the “e-learning” delivery method works well for you.

Benefits of online courses include the accessibility to training material when needed as well as facilitating self-paced learning. The online courses are on the internet and can be downloaded to a PC and viewed offline, if desired. The online materials can be used to supplement traditional training methods and provide an opportunity for skill development as a stand-alone resource as well.

You may check out available courses by logging into the site from the Statewide HR Website http://www.alaska.edu/hr/training/e-learning/skillsoft.xml. The login requires the UA ID number or the UA user name and the MyUA portal/EDIR password (also known as AuthServ password). For UAF or UAA users, this may be different than the account you use to check email or sign into your computer. If you have never used this account or if you need to reset your password, follow the directions on the site to access a self-service application or ask for help from your local helpdesk or support center.

Check out these resources and provide feedback!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Provide input on the Vision Task Force 2017 recommendations

Preliminary UAF 2017 Vision Task Force findings are now ready for input from staff, faculty, alumni, students, and the public. What a great chance to provide staff feedback!

To view the preliminary findings report, to find out more about the Task Force, and to provide feedback, visit the URL below.


A bit of background on the Task Force:

2017 marks the University of Alaska Fairbanks 100th anniversary, and, in keeping with the historical significance of the 1955 Alaska Constitutional Convention and its 55 delegates, 55 Alaska and university leaders were assembled in March 2007 to participate as members of one of six working groups based on the 2010 strategic plan pathways:

*Teaching and Learning for Student Success
*Research and Scholarship
*Enrollment and Retention
*Community Engagement and Economic Development
*Advancement and Philanthropy
*Faculty and Staff Development

The Working Groups conducted face-to-face, video, web and teleconference discussions from March through June 2007 to develop each group's ideas and suggestions.

To view the preliminary findings report, to find out more about the Task Force, and to provide feedback, visit the URL below.


Submit a proposal for technology fee $$

Wondering where technology fees go?

You can help determine how the fees are spent by submitting a proposal to the UAF Technology Advisory Board.

Visit www.alaska.edu/uaf/tab/ to submit a proposal. Faculty and staff deadline for submitting proposals is September 28, 2007.

The UAF student deadline for submitting proposals is October 5, 2007.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

New Leadership

In May, the gavel was passed to Kayt Sunwood (President) and Juella Sparks (President-Elect). I think that they plan to continue -- and IMPROVE -- some sort of blog. We are currently exploring how to transfer this site to them. I have a couple other blogs on my account, so they can't really use this one. I'll let you know just as soon as I know.

Kayt and Juella have already been working hard during the summer and I know that staff can expect very good leadership from each of them this year!

By Jeff Stepp