bagheeraface

Archive for the ‘UAF’ Category

A UA Christmas Reflection w/ Pres. Gamble

In Alaskana, Curious Notions, Guest Columns, Humor, UAF on December 21, 2010 at 9:56 pm

In case you missed it, on Dec. 20, UA President Patrick Gamble emailed the UAF Staff list-serve with an letter that can only be described as cute. In case you are not on the Staff list-serve, here is the email in it’s entirety. I have bolded the lines that I felt were particularly fun/interesting.

Patrick Gamble during a summer 2010 luncheon hosted by the Fairbanks Economic Development Coorporation. Photo by Jeremia Schrock/Bagheera Face

A UA Christmas Reflection

As we round out the semester and commence the holiday season I find myself thinking back to student days (the proverbial “days of yore?”) and the anticipation I felt then about the approaching time off. Family and travel quickly replaced any academic focus I might have had, and the burden of classes was mercifully lifted for a couple of weeks. I’m sure that over the many years since then nothing much about that has changed in the student department. Now, being on the other side of the fence for the first time, I’m fascinated to observe the same phenomenon occurring on the faculty and staff side. Amazingly, it never occurred to me way back then that the university was likewise quite happyto be rid of me so they could take a well deserved breather too!!

So enjoy yourselves in all the ways the season provides. Take comfort that despite how sometimes this crazy planet rocks, rolls, and rhumbas to the discordant events of our time, we in America still have many blessings to be thankful for…like our ability to tolerate and appreciate others, our freedom, the diversity we enjoy among our family and friends, and for the special opportunity we have here at UA to educate generations of Alaskans. As professionals we need our students, because making them successful makes us whole in our life’s work. In turn they need us…to support, instruct, and educate them so they can fulfill their awesome potential. They all know they cannot fly solo yet. Even so, at times, this relationship takes on the characteristics of a sumo struggle more than a learning partnership. Not a problem, it mostly works out just fine. It’s just that every now and then, like at Christmas, we need to go back to our respective corners, take a breather, unwind and then smile at the prospect of the exciting opportunities ahead for all of us in the next round. Every job description within our UA system is crafted as a link to all other job descriptions in a latticework that creates a powerful university team. Every individual team member is essential to the task of getting our students through. Thank you all for doing that so well. I look forward to the New Year, and working with you.

Have a great break.

Sincerely,

Patrick Gamble

It makes me think that underneath that four star general exterior lies a fun-loving Joe Hayes middle. Thoughts?

Urban exploration at UAF

In Culture, Curious Notions, The Cool, UAF, Urban Exploration on December 12, 2010 at 9:31 pm

I found a really interesting site about a month ago and wanted to share The Cool here on my blog.

UAF Steam Tunnels

It deals with urban exploration in and around the UAF campus. I would definitely love to get some updated pictures/info but sadly the site hasn’t been seriously updated in a while. There are photos, stories and even maps of the different tunnels that crisscross UAF!

UAF in Winter: Part 1

In Photography, UAF, Urban Exploration on December 4, 2010 at 4:28 pm

A backdoor to the UA Museum of the North. Photo taken Dec. 4, 2010. Photo by Jeremia Schrock

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Surviving Alaska: Freezing (rain) photos

In Alaskana, Photography, UAF on December 1, 2010 at 12:04 pm

 

Footsteps in the slush.

On November 22, a freezing rain storm forced the closure of the University of Alaska – Fairbanks campus. The rain continued to fall over the next several days which not only resulted in three days worth of canceled classes (the first time the campus had been closed in over 35 years), but also a rare photo opportunity for Alaskans. The photos below are courtesy of Kelsey Gobroski and were taken on the UAF campus between November 22-24, 2010.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Guest Column: What to do in the aftermath of the Midterm Election

In Guest Columns, Political, UAF on November 8, 2010 at 6:58 pm

“So, what SHOULD we be doing now?”
James Shewmake
Guest Columnist

Midterm Election season is over and gone are the campaign ads and annoying robocalls, at least for now. What this election really meant and how it will shape the nation remains to be seen and there is plenty of speculation and attempts at precognition out there amongst the professional pundits, so I will spare you my analysis. The real question that comes to my mind in the wake of this topsy-turvy anything goes election cycle is “So, what SHOULD we be doing now?”

For many people, the answer is simple. They will slip back into the shadows, content that they have won the day for/against such and such ideology. Others are already looking to the next election, trying to figure out what went wrong and what was done right, and what moves are needed for the future. And yet others will continue to sit out of the whole process, convinced that neither party represents their interests. In my time of working behind the scenes in party politics, this is the most frustrating mindset to encounter. There’s no denying that both parties have their flaws, but in my experience the greatest flaw of the party system is one that is so easily fixed. It’s called “participation”. You see, any organization, be it political party, local church, Boy Scout troop, or book club, is only as good as the people who participate in it.

So if you want to make an impact on Alaskan or American politics, get involved! It’s a great way to be informed about what’s going on, who the candidates and elected officials are and what they really stand for, and to ensure that the two party system works effectively. If you are a student at UA-Fairbanks, there are groups for both college Republicans and Democrats, as well as regional party affiliates to the state party organizations. I won’t lie, it’s not always easy or rewarding, but in my opinion it beats sitting on the sidelines. To quote Theodore Roosevelt, “It is not the critic who counts… The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings…” So I encourage young people to take up the fight, be the change you want to see in the world, and contribute to the political discussion in the state, because it’s your future too.

Disclosure: James Shewmake is the Vice President of the Alaska Young Democrats and student leader of the UAF Campus Democrats club. He has been active in party politics since 2002.

UPDATE: Election Day Coverage at UAF

In Alaskana, Political, UAF on November 2, 2010 at 3:40 pm

UAF Wood Center polling station at 1:40PM.

A group of students stand in line to vote at the Wood Center's polling station (1:40PM).

From the Press Section: Miller v. McAdams

In Fashion, Political, UAF on October 23, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Here are a few things I noticed during last night’s (Oct. 22) senatorial debate between candidates Joe Miller (R) and Scott McAdams (D) in the Schaible Auditorium at the University of Alaska – Fairbanks. Lisa Murkowski (I)was invited to the event, but declined. According to a Facebook friend of mine, Murkowski was visiting veterans at the Pioneer Home.

Joe Miller gesticulates during an Oct. 22 debate hosted by ASUAF.

Concerning Miller:

  • The Gear: Business-casual. Blue jeans with a sport coat is the choice for a candidate trying to look both relaxed and professonal. I believe he should have worn a darker button-up. It would have added to his mystique and bearded gents, in my opinion, always look better in darker solid colors.
  • The Voice: Miller is Yale and West Point educated. If anyone should have a measured and punctuated speaking voice it should be an academically trained commissioned military officer. Such an individual has been trained at giving orders and giving them well.
  • The Message: He answered some questions, but generally stuck to his talking points.
  • The Kicker: He is an intimidating guy. More then once I found myself determined to hold eye-contact with him. He has piercing eyes and hates the media (which was the capacity I was in).
  • Heard Afterward: “He’s as slick as shit.”

Scott McAdams during an Oct. 22 debate at the University of Alaska - Fairbanks.

Concerning McAdams:

  • The Gear: Business. McAdams was, to copy-cat How I Met Your Mother, “politically-suited up!” The suit was alittle too “standard Democrat” for my taste, but the tie was fantastic. As was the state of Alaska lapel pin. I would recommend McAdams dress down a bit more. I’m not saying blue-jeans and a flannel, just not a typical politicians get-up.
  • The Voice: His voices wavers at moments, but is generally measured. When he get’s going on an issue he’s passionate about it and it shows.
  • The Message: Answered a majority of the questions without relying heavily on his talking points.
  • The Kicker: His message and ideas were strong but he lacked pizazz. He could stand to thump the podium a little more often.
  • Heard Afterward: Me: “Who do you think won the debate?” A Pub Patron: “The guy with the Hitler-stache!”

If you attended the debate and have thoughts you’d like to sure (whatever they may be) feel free to post them in the comments section below.

Archaeologist Erlandson talks Vikings: A Slideshow

In Alaskana, UAF on October 20, 2010 at 12:34 am

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On Oct. 14 University of Oregon archaeologist Jon Erlandson discussed his finds while on a series of digs in Iceland during the early 2000’s. He based much of his research on the Sagas of the Icelanders (a collection of stories set in Iceland during the Viking Age) as well as on local farmers testimony which provided clues as to where to dig and why. Erlandson was candid on his role in the dig, stating that he felt he was chosen primarily because of his knowledge in maritime cultures in North America as well as his Scandinavian-sounding name (Erlandson’s father is Norwegian). While in Iceland, Erlandson worked with noted Viking researcher Jesse Byock.

Those Sweet Old Blogging Blues

In Alaskana, Art, Cinema, Culture, Drink, Health, Music Reviews, Political, UAF on October 4, 2010 at 3:22 am

I plan on writing an actual update sometime early this week. However, before then, I wanted to throw out a few topics I plan on writing about which include health, journalism, music, and politics.

Why? Because I want to do something with the blog tonight/this morning but have no energy for anything investigative (i.e. that isn’t already in my head and doesn’t involve anything more then spellchecker and Google). You know the mood…where you want to feel productive, so you get away with “thinking” about being productive?

Yeah, it’s kind of like that.

Topics for future posts:

Health: Asthma; the Life Insurance process
Journalism: How to Write a Decent News Article; the Ethics of Journalism
Local Music Review: For both Feeding Frenzy and Good Dazes’ (Germ of Creation) new albums; Blurb about a buyers experience at the recent Record Expo.
Non-Local Music Review: Serj Tankian’s new album Imperfect Harmonies and Maroon5’s Hands All Over.
UAF: ASUAF Summer Senate Score Card; Photo slide-show of two university professors research.
State Politics: Scott McAdams and Lisa Murkowski position overviews (to match the one I did for Joe Miller).
History: What Norwegian Vikings Can Tell Us About Masculinity; something with Teddy Roosevelt since it’s his birthday this month.
Film: Maybe something on the Scandinavian Cinema Society I have recently formed with a fellow film enthusiast.
Drink: Brew Reviews-ala-the Northern Light

There are many other things I can and will write about. Some of them I haven’t even thought of yet!  I understand this post could be considered “lame”, but I try to view it as a “teaser” of future posts to come. Feedback is always appreciated.

UAF: Tuition hike or GTFO

In Alaskana, UAF on September 21, 2010 at 4:40 am

Most students, like myself, take tuition hikes as an inflationary fact of life. The university raises our student pay by $0.50, they raise our tuition by 10%-22%. Sounds fair, right?

No. No, that isn’t fair, and I have a serious problem with it.

Why?

“Because, Jeremia,” the imaginary Board of Regents-in-my-head say, “We have a $5.5 budget shortfall.

“But, why do we have a budget shortfall,” I ask? “What got us to this point?”

“That’s for us to know, and for you to pay for.” They say to me.

While this conversation is fictional, it isn’t far from something that could very easily take place. The university has been keen to hike student tuition rates without disclosing the reasons why beyond vague generalities. Here is the primary reason that  the university system has given: State lawmakers are making us do it.

Not a very satisying answer, is it?

Why does the state want the UA to be more self sufficient?

My answer: The state wants us to be more self-sufficient because we, an educational institution, are a drain on the states coffers, even though only 45% of the UA operating budget comes from the state. We are such a drain, in fact, that Governor Parnell signed legislation that “increases tax credits for contributions to Alaska’s higher education and job training institutions.”

But, wait, isn’t the UA a public institution?: Yes. Yes it is. (Scroll to the top of page 3.)

But, what is a public institution? A public institution is an entity or organization that is controlled by the state.

So, let me get this straight: The university is a state institution that the state doesn’t want to support (as much) anymore? That’s what it’s starting to sound like to me. Add all of this to the fact that the Board of Regents (BoR) is meeing in Juneau. While I have nothing against the University of Alaska – Southeast (UAS) at Juneau, I see the BoR decision to meet there suspicious as UAS only accounts for 2,208 students (2010 data) as compared to 10,446 at UAF (2009 data) and an estimated 20,000 at UAA (2010 data). While all I can do is infer, I am infering that the BoR is meeting in Juneau for less then noble reason (i.e. to give the UAS population a chance to protest).

In an April article by Jeff Richardson of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (FDNM), Kate Ripley, UA’s own public relations woman, said that (to quote the article) “increased day-to-day costs, reductions in private donations, increased student demand for costly new academic programs, and a leveling off of new research grants are among the factors that have dropped revenue or increased expenses at UA.”

Why are the day-t0-day costs going up? Why is there a reduction in private donations? What “costle new academic programs” are students asking for? Why are research grants leveling off? Specifics people, please.

Like I said before, tuition hikes are a necessity. Like death and taxes. However, adding a 10% hike with an additional 12% the next year is unreasonable. Will there be some sort of moratorium placed on tuition hikes afterward?

In the same FDNM article, Ripley continued by saying that UA hopes to cut costs by “capping pensions, cutting travel costs and shopping for less expensive health-care benefits.” While it’s nice to see that it isn’t only the students being hit, students still appear (to me) to be the ones shouldering most of the burden.

But, what do we do about it? We research and respond appropriately. Here are a few things I recommend the university implement instead of the proposed tuition hikes:

  • Students, staff, and faculty take a temporary 3 year halt in pay increases.
  • Offer staff and faculty a leave of absence with 50% pay.
  • Hire student workers for staff positions. This is already being considered.
  • Raise tuition by 10% with a guarantee that said tuition will not be increased for at least 5 years.
  • Continue implementing the Tier 1 downgrade. This is already being considered.
  • Evaluate the pros and cons of contracting outside the university for basic services. This is already being considered.
  • Offer “non-represented” staff incentives to refrain from unionizing.
  • Organize and invest in university-lead and based businesses (like a recycling plant).
  • Discover what programs and departments are “money-sinks” and merge them with other existing programs.
  • Continue encouraging private donations.

Well, UAF, what do you think?

Increase public and private support
for UAF through sustained
advancement activities
• Strengthen UAF marketing and
communication efforts
• Increase alumni support and
involvement
• Seek private and corporate support of
student scholarships and fellowships
• Increase awareness of the university’s
contributions to the state
• Educate key stakeholders about our
critical need for new,
expanded and
well-maintained
facilities for
research
and teaching