Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Bobblehead U

Oh, good grief. The university decided, in its infinite wisdom, that $12,000 should be spent on 1,200 silly plastic bobblehead dolls to send as toys to "legislators, business leaders and other powerful figures in Alaska." Why? so that the Legislature is reminded in "an eye-catching way" that the university provides workforce training in high-demand professions.

It's quite obvious that training isn't in public relations.

They could have spent that $12,000 on funding, oh, I don't know, something useful that shows what we do and is informative at the same time, like a research and news magazine with lots of color pages, and sent it out free to thousands of people across the state. Oh, wait, they already do that, only without the color and in limited print runs because there isn't enough money available in the budget to do more.

Or, let's see, maybe they could have used that money to fund a few student jobs or internships in visible positions, so that those students could afford to go to school or could learn on the job. Or send a few grad students to various national conferences. Or maybe they could have used the cash to make sure that KUAC has a little wiggle room--that would surely have reached thousands and thousands of people. Or paid for an instructor or two to teach some more courses that would help students learn some of these useful careers.

I dunno, just seems like there are lots of places in the university that could have benefitted from even $2,000 more, and that could have reached even more people. Cute little dolls seems like a real waste of money.

....Although, come to think of it, I bet they'll be worth a lot more than $10 each on E-Bay pretty soon. This story's going international: it's now at the International Herald Tribune in France!

What a way to advertise our university: Bobblehead U, where dolls speak louder than words.



Tania said...

In defense, the funding no doubt came from the Foundation, not the general fund/Fund 1/state appropriation.

Ok, now that I've said that... You're absolutely right on every point. This is almost as stupid as the logo wars. Remember when we needed to put a daisy on the logo, because we needed to look friendlier? The design for the typeface on the official UAF logo makes me wince every time I see it, the ratios and balance are hideous.

If the university wants to prove that it provides value it should have picked a different way to communicate.

Deirdre Helfferich said...

The funding came from oil companies: "The money for the toys came from private funds BP and ConocoPhillips are required to give to the university as part of a deal between the oil companies and the state."

Not a very wise use of these funds, I'd say. This makes it even funnier: Oil companies fund bobbleheads at University of Alaska!

Well, we always knew this was the way it was, although I thought it was confined to the Legislature and other elected officials. Should have known.

Tania said...

:slaps forehead:
I read the article in the NM, I knew that. However, the money goes to the foundation from BIG OIL, and then gets spent. That doesn't change the fact that I'm a doofus. Heh.

I yearn for a time when I can point to an administrative decision made by UA and feel pride. One where I'm familiar with the background and know that a good decision was made because it was the right thing to do, not because it was the only available option.

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

Way back when, we decided that UAF doesn't stand for Uni of Ak Squarebanks. We decided it was an abbreviation of You Are ******.

please don't hate me... :)

Ishmael said...

Which one is the Alaska Native bobblehead? Maybe the one in the middle could pass....

Deirdre Helfferich said...

Making up for lost time, I see, Ish. They all look terribly Westernized and not very Alaskan to me. Sort of Lower 48-like.