Monthly Archives: June 2013

Regents’ Special Meeting update

The regents’ June meeting started with a special meeting Wednesday night. There were only two topics, the UA budget and UAA athletics. This Anchorage Daily News article did a fair job of summarizing the UAA athletics agenda item.

The discussion on the budget outlook was concerning. President Gamble pointed out that a significant portion of the UA budget is employee compensation. And Michelle Rizk, Interim Chief Human Resources Officer reminded the board of the Alaska State Legislature’s letter to the governor encouraging holding down compensation increases in negotiations with state employee unions. She also pointed out that ASEA members have ratified a new three-year contract with increases of 1%, 1% and 2.5%. What does this mean for staff at UA?

My takeaway from the meeting was the great questions asked by the regents of the administration. As I noted in my testimony to the regents, it is critical for regents to continue asking these tough questions. Only through this kind of transparency and accountability will our university thrive.

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Testimony to the Board of Regents in June

I wanted to share my testimony to the regents yesterday. Expect more updates today or tomorrow from their meeting.

*****

Madame Chair, Regents and President Gamble,

Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you this morning.

First I would like to congratulate the recipients of this year’s Staff Make Students Count Award. We had an inspiring group of nominees this year that I believe reflects the passion staff bring to the students and mission of this university. We’d also like to thank you and President Gamble for recognizing their efforts and excellence.

Summarizing Staff Alliance’s activities this past year, we provided input on the Strategic Directions Initiative, the FY14 compensation increase, proposed changes to the healthcare benefit, bullying in the workplace and more.

Just as importantly, we initiated conversations with the administration and our constituents with the staff work/life survey, by starting the staff alliance blog, asking for a review of the grievance process and bringing forward the compensation working group’s proposals. Those conversations have just begun and it is our hope, will be carried on in the next academic year.

Finally, I’d like to note that this will be my last testimony before you as chair of Staff Alliance. My term ends during the President’s Retreat in August. I am a student of leadership and I have thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity to learn from you, this administration and my colleagues in staff governance.

The University of Alaska is a wonderfully diverse institution and community. Leading it is no doubt a challenge. Shared governance is your mandate and your mechanism for bringing and keeping all of that diversity, and all of those perspectives at the table.  In a challenging fiscal environment, shared governance will serve as a reminder that it isn’t just about the numbers, it is about the people and the students behind them. Remember that and with the growing collaborations through SDI, we can weather trying times, embrace change and come through a stronger university.

During your special meeting last night, hearing your insightful questions to the administration, it occurred to me that this is an example of the accountability in SDI. I encourage you to keep asking for accountability, better communication and looking below the surface. That will be my challenge to the incoming members of Staff Alliance.

Thank you again Madame Chair and President Gamble

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2013 Staff Make Students Count Award recipients

I had the pleasure of spending the day yesterday with Gabrielle Hazelton from UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences in Juneau and Abby Kosmos from UAS Student Services in Ketchikan. They were at the Board of Regents meeting to receive their Staff Make Students Count awards. President Gamble did a great job presenting the awards and recognizing their efforts before the regents. Their enthusiasm for their work with students and faculty was obvious and inspirational. I really enjoyed taking them to lunch and giving them a tour of campus and Fairbanks.

The other two SMSC recipients for 2013 are Michael O’Brien from Statewide and Zlata Lokteva from UAA.

Congratulations to these outstanding staff at the University of Alaska from UA Staff Alliance.

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