Monthly Archives: March 2013

Staff Make A Difference in Students’ Lives

Nominations open for 2013 Staff Make Students Count Award: Deadline March 22

Do you know a staff member who provides outstanding service to University of Alaska students as part of their job or as volunteer service? Nominate him/her today for the 2013 Staff Make Students Count Award.

The nomination form is online at www.alaska.edu/governance/staff-alliance/staff-make-students-count/.
Nomination packets, once submitted, are the sole basis for award consideration. Nominations for  employees must be submitted to the governance contact on the nomination form.

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. Each recipient receives an award plaque, $1,000 and two domestic airline vouchers. All nominees receive a certificate of nomination. The university president will present the awards at the June Board of Regents meeting.

All regular full-time permanent and part-time permanent exempt and non-exempt staff employed by the University of Alaska are eligible to apply. Service to students may include service as part of the job or as volunteer service, either directly or indirectly to current or prospective students. Please complete the nomination form and submit it with a letter of nomination containing an explanation of the service provided to students and three letters of endorsement from those knowledgeable of the contribution made by the applicant/nominee.

Up to four individuals can be awarded; one each for the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the University of Alaska Anchorage, the University of Alaska Southeast, and Statewide Programs and Services, provided there are nominations from each one, and the nominations meet the criteria and deadlines.

Applications for award must include:

  • Letter of nomination and rationale for nomination.
  • Completed nomination form.
  • At least three letters of endorsement from those knowledgeable of the contribution made by the applicant/nominee.
  • Letters from students are encouraged.

The deadline for nominations is March 22, 2013. Click here for 2013 nomination packet:
www.alaska.edu/files/governance/2013-SMSC-Packet.pdf

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Staff Compensation Working Group Proposals

Staff Alliance is pleased to share the results of the efforts of our 2012/2013 Compensation Working Group. Given the increasing scrutiny of, and uncertainty about, annual staff compensation increases, the special working group was convened to look at other ways to recognize and reward the value of staff work for the university. They generated eight proposals which the Staff Alliance supports and will bring forward to systemwide administration for discussion.

Please Review the 5 draft proposals already approved by Staff Alliance to forward to the administration :
Bonus system: Finalcomp_proposal2013_bonus_system
Flex Time: Finalcomp_proposal2013_flex_sched
Volunteer Leave: Finalcomp_proposal2013_volunteer_leave_time.docx
Geo Diff: Finalcomp_proposal2013_geo_diff
Sick Leave: Finalcomp_proposal2013_sick_leave

Additional proposals under development:
Veteran’s Day Holiday Leave
Leave Accrual
Longevity Recognition

As always we encourage you to comment or provide feedback on any of these proposals here, or contact your staff council representatives directly. Thanks.

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University Policy and Regulation Review

Systemwide administration is currently reviewing board of regents policy and regulations. Staff Alliance would like your input on any changes that should be made to streamline or update UA policies or regulations. If you work with or have experience with a particular policy or regulation we encourage you to provide feedback on it by commenting below or sending your email to Juella Sparks at juella.sparks@alaska.edu or Monique Musick at mmusick@alaska.edu.

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Phase Three of SDI Develops Ideas Into Outcomes

Staff governance representatives joined UA chancellors, community campus directors, administrators and other leadership for a pivotal meeting on February 20 to help shape the next phase of the Strategic Direction Initiative (SDI).  Two years ago come July, UA President Pat Gamble launched SDI, an effort to evaluate the University of Alaska to identify problem areas, inefficient processes and common sources of frustrations so that they can be improved upon or eliminated in order to better position UA as a modern, relevant and highly desirable university for Alaska’s students. The evaluation effort included outside consultants and eighty listening sessions held with students, staff, faculty and community members throughout Alaska.

The results of the information gathering helped guide UA leadership in the development of five major themes which act as guidelines for focused efforts to improve the University of Alaska. Those five themes are: 1) Student Achievement and Attainment; 2) Productive Partnerships With Alaska’s Schools; 3) Productive Partnerships with Alaska’s Public and Private Industries; 4) Research and Development to Sustain Alaska’s Communities and Economic Growth; and 5) Accountability to The People of Alaska.

The purpose of the meeting on February 20 was to refine the lists of actions and focus points under each of the five themes to help steer the actual work of making change. For example, under theme one, Student Achievement and Attainment, focus areas include high quality programs and placement, and developmental education; action items under those include developing a system to assess the quality of programs, and developing common placement practices throughout the system. All told there are nine pages of points organized under the five themes representing problems that the university wants to focus on and improve.  The process is still under refinement, and discussions on February 20 will lead to additional edits, but for the curious, this is the handout shared with participants in the meeting. (SDI Themes, Topics, Statements DRAFT)

During the meeting, discussion facilitated by consultant Terry MacTaggart lead to the identification of top priorities to be focused upon throughout the system. The priorities identified were:

  • Increasing the number of Alaskans receiving certificates, licenses, degrees and program completions
  • Accelerating remedial/developmental education for students
  • E-Learning
  • Establishing a common set of General Educational Requirements (GER’s)
  • Raising the profile of research and development to advance Alaska’s communities and our economy

Action on some of these areas has already begun in many parts of the system. All three universities are already strengthening academic advising programs and are working to align learning outcomes to guide the creation of common education requirements. Also, significant work has been made to improve credit transfer processes throughout the system. In addition UAF and UAA have both created offices of intellectual property and commercialization to help leverage economic value from patents and discoveries made through UA research.

The last step before the system launches into action on the rest of the issues identified by the SDI process to date, is to establish clearly-defined outcomes, or effect statements, that can be measured and verified in order to show SDI success.  For example a successful outcome of theme three, Productive Partnerships with Alaska’s Public and Private Industries, will be providing qualified graduates to fill the state’s highest employment needs and greater collaboration with industry leaders to determine those needs.

Draft effect statements provided by Vice President of Academic Affairs Dana Thomas prompted intense discussion regarding the need to address the root causes of problems in the system. Meeting participants thought the effect statements need to be written in a positive and inspiring manner in order to encourage participation by all key players within and outside the university. Participants also wanted to make sure that the desired results of SDI are attainable in a timely manner, utilizing available resources. Thomas and the three chancellors will be meeting together to reword the effect statements based on the feedback and discussion. (Click HERE to see a working draft.) A separate task force will be appointed to design a system of metrics for recording and evaluating SDI successes. UA leaders have been charged with providing an update to the Board of Regents, including clear effect statements and focus areas and plans for the coming year by the June meeting.

Governance leaders will continue to play a part in this process and will communicate with constituents as much as possible while this important work progresses and the university embarks on the path of continuous improvement.

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