A few suggested New Year's resolutions for UAF

Heather Bryant / Editor-in -Chief
Dec. 6, 2011

We made it to the end of the semester.  I’m betting we all share a sense of relief that the end is in sight.

The Sun Star will still be here, occasionally covering stories and news over the break.  Check our site and Facebook page for updates.

Winter is my favorite season. It feels quieter than the other seasons. Snow seems to muffle the world’s noise. Maybe that’s part of the reason that the end of the year is ubiquitous with contemplation and review of everything that during the year.

We think about all that we have done and what we could have done. We make resolutions about what we will do the next year.

As a student who tries to be informed about the University, I have a few suggestions for UAF’s New Year’s resolutions. Some sprout from my experiences and some are from people I have talked to.

The Post Office: Students can pay their bill online, but still have to physically take proof to the Post Office. If parking services can look up whether a student has paid for their decal online, why can’t there be a similar mechanism available for the Post Office?

Registration: In the same spirit of the Post Office resolution, can we develop a system for registration that doesn’t require students to take a form to their advisor for a signature and then take that form to the registrar’s office? What if advisors could log into Degreeworks or something similar and approve the student’s class selections? The paper requirement makes it difficult for students are not physically in Fairbanks to register for classes. Freshmen often run into this problem. Everything related to registration is online except this step.

Meal Plans: There is flexibility for upperclassmen plans, but why can’t that same flexibility be extended to underclassmen?

Communication with Students: The Grapevine is a website run by the administration that facilitates communication between the administration and UAF. It was a great step towards that communication but largely seems to be populated by questions from staff and faculty. What about marketing the site more to students so that they are aware of it, or creating a companion site specifically for student questions and concerns?

Follow Regent’s Policy regarding fees: The administration has imposed a number of fees on students. Additionally, there are fees that have been enacted by a vote of the students. Students have a right to full disclosure regarding the use of fees.

Section R05.10.070, Student Fees, of the Regent’s policy, requires UAF, UAA and UAS to maintain a website that “identifies all student fees and discloses for each the amount of the fee, its purpose, the basis for calculation or assessment, and an explanation of the use of the proceeds.” The list on UAF’s website is incomplete and the explanation for the use of the fees is vague at best.

Additionally, Part K of that section stipulates that “the university’s chief financial officer shall provide an annual report to the university president and the board regarding tuition and fees and comparisons with prior periods and similarly situated programs of other western states.”

Requests for that document by The Sun Star have gone unanswered. Does the document actually exist and if it does, why is it not published?

Some of these are simple changes, some of them are more complex. This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but it is a start. The university needs to start taking steps to address the concerns of students. Right now, many students are left only with an impression of an administration that doesn’t care what students think.

I don’t believe in massive or complicated New Year’s resolutions. Those are the ones destined to fail. So let’s start with the small changes.

Heather Bryant

The Sun Star

(907) 474-5078

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2 Responses

  1. Elika says:

    As a student that’s studying abrod this year, I’m actually kind of nervous about how registration will go in the spring since I won’t be in Fairbanks. I agree that the extra step should be moved online like the rest of registration.

  2. kaz says:

    It’s true that the Post Office is way behind other administrative departments. I think another improvement would definitely be getting them a credit card machine. I don’t know how many times I go there during busy times, get to the front and then realize that I don’t have my checkbook or cash. I then have to run over to the Wood Center and pull out cash (paying a fee) and stand in line again.

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