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Apply for Strategic Initiative leader positions by Nov. 6

ANR academics are invited to apply for Strategic Initiative leader positions, which play key roles in advocating, convening and communicating to strengthen UC ANR's research and outreach agenda. Given the evolving role of the UC ANR Strategic Initiatives (SI), the current SI leaders have agreed that it would be beneficial to conduct an open search for the next set of SI leaders from across the breadth of expertise of the division.

During the second half of 2017, three SI leader positions are scheduled to rotate off, opening up opportunities for others to take the lead for Endemic and Invasive Pests and Diseases, Sustainable Food Systems and Sustainable Natural Resources.

Strategic Initiative leader positions are filled by UC ANR academics, who are appointed by the vice president on a rotating basis for three years, with a possibility of extension. The positions are open to all ANR academics, including Agricultural Experiment Station faculty and Cooperative Extension advisors and specialists.

Endemic and Invasive Pests and Diseases is currently led by Cheryl WilenDavid Doll leads Sustainable Food Systems, and John Harper leads Sustainable Natural Resources. Staying on are Doug Parker, who leads Water Quality, Quantity and Security, and Keith Nathaniel, who leads Healthy Families and Communities.

To apply for one of the SI leader positions, complete the form at Applications will be accepted until Nov. 6.

Applicants will be contacted for interviews in late November or early December. The new leaders are anticipated to start on Jan. 2, 2018.

For information regarding the roles and responsibilities of the Strategic Initiative leader position, see the Terms of Reference for Strategic Initiative Leaders. If you have questions, contact Mark Bell, vice provost of Strategic Initiatives and Statewide Programs.


Posted on Monday, September 18, 2017 at 5:01 PM

Desert REC and UCCE Imperial County taken by storm

A thunderstorm on Sept. 8 downed trees and flooded the property around the UC Cooperative Extension office in Imperial County and Desert Research and Extension Center.
UC Desert Research and Extension Center in Holtville and the neighboring UC Cooperative Extension office for Imperial County were hit by a severe thunderstorm on Friday, Sept. 8. 
Many trees are down," Oli Bachie, UC Cooperative Extension Imperial County director, wrote in an email. "Entrance to our office from the front side is blocked with tree branches and back side with flood."

Bachie added, "Everything is ok and no one is hurt in the incident. Please, no worries!"

Gilberto Magallon, Desert REC superintendent, warned researchers that their research projects may be affected by the storm and there may be delays in planting and on establishing new projects.
High winds tore off corrugated metal roofing at Desert REC.
"You would never believe that you were in the low desert today with the amount of precipitation we received!" wrote Shanna Abatti, 4-H program representative, who forwarded photos showing some of the flooding and property damage. "This just a little peek at some of the heavy rains we had! This was definitely a surprise!"
Posted on Monday, September 18, 2017 at 2:37 PM

Learning and Development Update

Programmatic Orientation to be held Oct. 17-19

UCANR's Programmatic Orientation will be held Oct. 17-19 at Hopland Research and Extension Center (HREC), located at 4070 University Road, Hopland, CA 95449.

Programmatic Orientation is designed to help academics jump start their programs by focusing on program design. The event will showcase successful projects of other ANR academics.

The orientation is open to all early-career UC Cooperative Extension advisors, UC Cooperative Extension specialists, academic coordinators, academic administrators and Agricultural Experiment Station faculty who were unable to attend in 2014 or 2015 or who have been recently hired. Register here.

To learn about the administrative units that support your career, remember to sign up for the New Employee Orientation also.

New Employee Orientation to be held Nov. 14

The New Employee Orientation will be held Nov. 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the UC ANR Building at 2801 Second Street in Davis. 

The New Employee Orientation is for staff and academics. It introduces statewide programs, focuses on administrative units and services and provides an overview of ANR structure, vision and mission. Register here.

Webinar: Transforming Extension

A webinar titled “Transforming Extension: Enhanced Engagement Through Client Management Systems” will be presented onFriday, Oct. 27, 2017, at 8:30 a.m.

Kyle Flinn, University of Missouri Extension, extension enterprise project director, is the presenter.

The University of Missouri Extension is investing in transformative technology platforms to enhance engagement with the citizens of Missouri. During this webinar, the speaker will provide details about the specific e-commerce, e-marketing, online learning and event management platforms that will be launched in 2017. In addition, information about how the systems will complement tools like 4H Online will be shared. This new platform provides Missouri Extension with a new website, a new content management system and seeks automate a number of manual tasks.

To join the webinar, go to course feature: Building trust

You're responsible for building community, collaborating on a project, or managing a team. What's missing is a sense of trust. It appears not to be building by itself and it's time for change. Need a compass? Let author Brenda Bailey-Hughes teach you how to strengthen relationships, build trust in teams (even remote ones!), how to rebuild violated trust, and more. This course qualifies for Professional Development units through the Project Management Institute.

Implicit (unconscious) bias? Me?

Yes, you and me. We all hold bias and it can take a bit of courage to want to know what our inner biases are. In the coming months, especially for those of us involved in the hiring process at the University of California, we will be hearing more about implicit bias and receive UC-wide training in this topic area. Being aware of our biases will help us make better hiring decisions in the future.

In the meantime, Harvard University's Project Implicit® bias tests will give you an opportunity to click through a survey on any of the following areas to learn your level of bias for:

  • Age
  • Presidents
  • Religion
  • Sexuality
  • Arab-Muslim
  • Disability
  • Weapons
  • Race
  • Gender-Career
  • Gender-Science
  • Weight
  • Asian
  • Native
  • Skin-tone

After 5-10 minutes, you will receive a score. Be honest. Be prepared to learn about yourself.

Supervisor upskill: Learn, network and celebrate

Lori Renstrom
Learn: UC People Performance Certificate Series

Join ANR Supervisors that have grown their people management skills by completing the UC Performance Management Series Certificate (UC Learning Center). (Browse course titles and codes here).

Like you, these supervisors face challenges. The series provided them tools and communication practices that help them make a difference in the growth, engagement, and productivity of their employees.

Lori Renstrom, administrative officer for UCCE San Diego, said: "The UC People Management Certificate series has helped me to be a more well-rounded and engaged supervisor. I have learned that performance management is more than a once a year performance evaluation endeavor; it's an ever-evolving process of setting expectations and goals, monitoring and giving staff feedback, coaching, reviewing expectations, evaluating results which replays continually.  

"Additionally, I have learned how to work with my staff to create SMART goals which benefit not only the employee, but the entire organization as well.  Additionally, using the lessons learned in the series, an administrative succession plan has been formulated which will ensure continuity of services and institutional knowledge."

Upskill: UC People Management Networking Cohort

Fill out this interest survey if you would like to be considered for the Winter 2018 networking cohort. ANR people managers meet for a facilitated call once a month for 10 months at a preset day and time to share:

  • Tools used from the UC People Management course and how they are affecting positive change
  • Guidance for challenges or issues in engagement, productivity, or communication
  • Resolutions for workplace scenarios
  • Homework assignments from the course

Celebrate: UC People Management Conference 2018 Sponsorships

ANR Learning & Development will be sponsor 10 people managers who complete the UC Performance Management Series Certificate by June 29, 2018, to attend thesecond annualUC People Management Conference in August 2018! Check out last year's conference website.

Early registration discount for NAEPSDP annual conference ends Oct. 30  

The 2017 National Association of Extension Program and Staff Development Professionals (NAEPSDP) Annual Conference will be held at Green Valley Ranch Resort in Las Vegas, Nev., on Dec. 5-7, 2017. 

The keynote speaker will be our very own, Mark Bell, vice provost for Strategic Initiatives and Statewide Programs!

What could you gain by networking with extension colleagues from around the US?

  • Network with extension colleagues from other states
  • Learn from early technology adopters
  • Identify resources that can be shared
  • Find collaboration opportunities
  • Learn about NAEPSDP leadership opportunities
  • Connect with individuals who have statewide and regional responsibilities that often include adoption of new technologies or practices for program development or managing human resources

Register now to get the early bird discount! The National Association of Extension Programs and Staff Development was formed to bring the national community of program and staff development professionals together. This community includes individuals with a range of responsibilities in support of extension educators and the overall mission of Cooperative Extension. Explore the NAEPSDP website for more information.

NAEPSDP members include:

  • Middle Managers
  • Staff Development Faculty
  • Evaluation Specialists
  • IT Specialists
  • Instructional Designers
  • Administrators
  • Human Resources Managers
  • Program Leaders

Questions? Contact Jodi Azulai at or (530) 750-1239.

Posted on Monday, September 18, 2017 at 11:28 AM
  • Author: Jodi Azulai

Youtsey testifies on rural broadband for Assembly committees

UC ANR Chief Innovation Officer Gabe Youtsey, far right, testifies before Rep. Anna Caballero (blue jacket), staffer Peter Ansel, and Rep. Monique Limón. Photo by Anne Megaro

Even as the digital revolution has changed the world, there are thousands of California residents in rural areas that do not have an internet connection adequate for engaging in modern technology.

With offices in all California counties and several research centers located in remote locations, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Vice President Glenda Humiston and UC ANR Chief Innovation Officer Gabe Youtsey believe UC ANR is in a position to forge partnerships with government, industry, and other academic organizations to connect rural Californians with high-speed internet.

Youtsey testified at a rural broadband informational hearing in Sacramento on Aug. 28 held by the Assembly Select Committee on Economic Development and Investment in Rural California, chaired by Rep. Anna Caballero (D-Salinas), and the Communications and Conveyance Committee, chaired by Rep. Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles.)

In his testimony, Youtsey characterized the presence of UC ANR in California for the lawmakers.

“We are a network, not a place,” he said. “We have more than 1,500 very applied academics; I call them academics with muddy boots because our job is really to turn science into on-the-ground solutions.”

While it is potentially expensive to bring broadband internet connectivity to every resident of California – from the far reaches of Modoc County in the north to remote desert communities near the Mexican border in the south – those communities' lack of high-speed internet is also exacting a high medical, social, and educational cost.

“High-speed connectivity is needed in rural communities not just for entertainment,” Youtsey said. “It's about online education, medical care, banking and businesses. Digital inclusion is an issue of economic justice.”

Youtsey likens the spread of broadband internet to a successful initiative in the 1930s to promote rural electrification in the U.S. The program was managed by the U.S. Rural Electrification Administration, one of the agencies created under the New Deal, President Franklin Roosevelt's sweeping legislation that helped lift the United States out of the Great Depression.

The government's role in “internetification” could be an investment in infrastructure, Youtsey said.

“It is very expensive to bring wired internet connectivity to places where it has never been before,” Youtsey said at the hearing.

At one UC ANR location, the UC Sierra Foothills Research and Extension Center, laying a wired connection was cost prohibitive.

“The internet provider had to beam a signal from Marysville, up to the top of the Sutter Buttes, and then beam 26 miles across the valley to our location. That was about a $150,000 one-time set-up cost. That's just not realistic in many cases,” he said.

Youtsey said UC ANR would like to leverage its remote locations as launch points for public-private partnerships for rural broadband, a plan that dovetails an initiative now being considered by state legislators.

Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) has introduced AB 1665, known as the Internet for All Now bill, which aims to ensure social and economic equity for all Californians in the digital age. This bill would approve funding by Dec, 31, 2022, for infrastructure projects that would provide broadband access to no less than 98 percent of California households.

“We support passage of the bill, but we're not going to stand still,” Youtsey said.

A drone flying over sorghum research plots at the Kearney REC collects information on plant height, leaf area and biomass. Working with large data sets, such as this one, requires high-speed internet.

Already, UC ANR is creating partnerships with rural communities to provide shared internet connectivity. One project underway is located at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Centernear Parlier, a 15,000-resident community in rural southeast Fresno County that has one of the state's highest percentages of Latinos. After connecting the center with fast one-gigabit speeds, UC ANR is planning to outfit all 330 acres with outdoor wireless coverage to support research and innovation. The next step will be to pilot a public-private partnership with the local community to work with the center and a vendor to share costs and make affordable broadband upgrades for both the residents in the community and UC researchers.

Another project is located at the UC Lindcove Research and Extension Center at the eastern edge of the San Joaquin Valley near Exeter, an agricultural city of 10,000 near the Sierra Nevada foothills.

“We don't have this site lit up yet. We're working hard on beaming a signal from Visalia, 25 miles away,” Youtsey said. “Once we have it here, we're in the heart of the state's citrus region. We're surrounded by commercial citrus farmers who all struggle immensely with getting broadband. We hope to be part of the solution.”

Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2017 at 5:06 PM
  • Author: Jeannette E. Warnert

UC ANR, CropMobster TV partner to share inspiring stories of ag innovation and food system

Using a mobile phone and selfie stick, CropMobster’s Nicky Bobby interviews Sacramento high school students about their start-up: Sangre del Dragón Hot Sauce company.

Most consumers' first encounter with their food is in a grocery store or on a plate served in a restaurant, and they give little thought to how the food got there.

To learn what goes on before food becomes a meal, Papadopoulos is meeting with folks around California who are responsible for growing, processing and delivering fruits, nuts, vegetables, meat and other foods. Using a low-tech approach to video with a mobile phone and selfie stick attached to a gutter washer, Nicky Bobby interviews people about their roles in our food system.

As a sponsor of CropMobster TV Season 2, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources is pleased to help introduce some of the Californians who toil behind the scenes to provide consumers the delicious and nutritious food we eat.

Nicky Bobby chats with farmers, people at nonprofit organizations that work to reduce food waste and hunger, scientists, land managers who steward our natural resources and business owners.

Scott Oneto, director of UCCE in the Central Sierra, talks about his family's farm with Nicky Bobby for an upcoming episode of CropMobster TV.

“Everybody's into food, but all too often people don't make the connection between food and agriculture,” said Vice President Glenda Humiston. “When you talk about agriculture, people think of two jobs – farmer and farmworker. There are thousands of jobs in the agricultural ecosystem.

“UC ANR is happy to support CropMobster in telling the stories of the men and women who supply us with safe and abundant food, the challenges that they face and the efforts being made to make the food system even better.”

CropMobster TV is a nonprofit storytelling and video project by CropMobster in collaboration with Food Tank and many other individual and organizational supporters to highlight the crucial work of everyday heroes working to feed their communities.

Jonathan Bravo, left, says this urban garden in Sonoma County is cultivating a cultural salad by introducing people from different countries.

 “Sponsorship and support from UC ANR, which does agricultural research and outreach in every California county, is helping us connect with communities throughout the state,” said Papadopoulos, CropMobster CEO. “We are also grateful for Food Tank and so many other individuals and organizations who are pitching in.”

“This is such a unique, energetic and needed effort to engage our populace on food and agriculture issues,” said Danielle Nierenberg, Food Tank president. “We are thrilled to partner with CropMobster and UC ANR and hope to see the CropMobster vision grow and spread!”

CropMobster TV episodes are posted on:

-       CropMobster's Youtube Channel

-       CropMobster's Facebook Page

Posted on Monday, September 11, 2017 at 3:51 PM

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