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