Posts Tagged ‘UAF’

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.


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

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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.

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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).

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.


“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
• 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
facilities for
and teaching

Darby Cox shows freshmen the ropes

In UAF on September 4, 2010 at 4:13 pm

This past week saw several dozen students wear the hat of “Orientation Leader” (OL) for this years newest crop of freshmen. New Student Orientation (NSO) is an event most freshmen experience, and is a guided event led my primarily other UAF students. One such OL was Darby Cox. I tagged along with Darby and her group during their first team building exercise. Jokes were made, friendships forged, and smiles were shared by all.

Artists dreams hit the paint

In Art, UAF on August 31, 2010 at 4:49 pm

This afternoon I sat down with Jenny Day (literally, on the floor of the Art Gallery) to discuss her thesis exhibition Copulated Nightmares Androgynous Daydreams. We didn’t have chairs, but who needs chairs when you have art?

A non-rhetorical question: what do dreams have to do with Day’s art? Honestly, quiet a bit. While Day cites life and it’s experiences as fodder for her canvas, her biggest influence is her dreams.  For more on that, however, you’ll have to flip open next weeks issue of the Sun Star.

While both the Daily News-Miner and our own college paper are covering the event, there is no way that some of her more visually interesting (and more “risque”) pieces will be published in a mainstream publication. It is for reasons like this that my blog exists. Below is a sample of 8 of her 53 pieces (which are all for sale, by the way) that I thought were pretty damn cool and worthy of mention.

For further reading:

Things you see at a college paper

In UAF on August 30, 2010 at 10:55 pm

Heather Bryant is always working. Photo by Jeremia Schrock.

Things happen in an office; cool things, busy things, mellow things, hectic things. The office of the UAF Sun Star  (located in the Wood Center, suite 101G) is no different.

Last evening saw the crew “put the paper to bed”, slang for “we got the issues done.” Our editors (Andrew and Heather) were here until 3AM.

Now is the Wood Center Live event. Myself, Andrew, Heather and Kelsey are all gathered here. “Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers” is playing lively music on the record player (yes, record player). We feel…cool.The gang talks about cigars, fedoras and dancing. Are all newspaper families teams families like this?

Heather is already tackling the new issue. Next weeks issue. If there was an award for MVP she would get it.

Andrew is trying to figure out how tomorrow’s Fred Meyer Student Night is going to work with us not having press passes. Do we print temp ones? Do we go in lanyard-free, so to speak? He decides to print temp ones.

Kelsey is cruising XKCD and listening to her own tunes. She keeps an ear out to us, following our late night planning-babble.

Earlier in the evening we had two new faces stop by – a writer and a photographer. Our cool ASUAF president, Nikki C, stopped by to chat. She was also handing out condoms.

Is there a cooler campus in Alaska? – I don’t think so.

Mrs. King goes to Japan

In UAF on August 25, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Rauchelle King poses for a picture in the International Travel section at the local Barnes and Noble last week. Photo by Jeremia Schrock.

Japanese and Business student Rauchelle King is about to become Mrs. International. No, she isn’t set to wed the world (although she is married), instead she’s about to hitch her wagons and head west to Japan.

Why Japan? “Well, I’m going because I’ve always wanted to…and it’s a degree requirement,” the excited (and pragmatic) King said in a recent interview. King will be heading to Nagoya Gakuin University, a private college, in Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture, Japan in order to accomplish more proficiency with the Japanese language. “It (Japanese) is really hard,” she said. “The best way to learn a language is to be immersed in it.” According to UAF professor David Henry, the average third year student “should be able to converse, more or less” with a native Japanese speaker.

While King’s main goal is language proficiency, she also hopes to help her new Japanese friends better understand American culture. “All they see (of America) is TV and movies,” she said, adding that those from Japan that she has spoken to often have a skewed view of Americans. However, according to Henry, every Japanese student since 1945 had taken at least six years of English. Generally, American English.

“They know more about the states then most (Americans) do,” Henry added.

Ultimately, King intends to start her own consulting firm which would be geared toward working with Japanese businesses and tourists. “I would like to teach a course about Japanese culture and language to employees of Alaskan business[es] so that they can deal with Japanese people [better],” she wrote in a recent email. “[For now], I’ll probably just try to get a job with Chena Hot Springs or Princess Hotels, helping them with their Japanese tourist side of things,” she added.

What’s the worst part about going? Being away from her husband, Josh. “If it wasn’t for him, I’d stay for a year (instead of just one semester).” While she remains enthusiastic about her trip, she is preparing herself for that first day away from Alaska and her beau. “The day (I leave), when my husband drops me off, I’m sure I’ll be bawling my eyes out,” she said.

No word on what she’ll tell her new Japanese friends about Sarah Palin, however.