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UC SAREP opens its doors on campus

Front row, from left, SAREP director Tom Tomich is joined by Helene Dillard, Bill Frost and Gail Feenstra for the ribbon-cutting at Robbins Hall Annex.

The UC ANR Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program is officially open for business on the UC Davis campus.  The statewide program, which renovated and moved into the Robbins Hall Annex in September 2014, recently hosted an open house and ribbon cutting to warm its new space.

UC ANR Associate Vice President Bill Frost and UC Davis College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Dean Helene Dillard cut the ribbon together, and welcomed the 29-year-old program onto campus.

“Now more than ever, it is important that we maintain strong integration of our research and extension efforts,” said Dean Dillard. “Having the UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program located on campus is a great opportunity to model a collaborative approach and show a tangible bridge between campus-based activities and statewide extension.”

The UC SAREP program is co-housed at UC ANR and the Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis. UC SAREP's campus location provides opportunity for campus faculty and students to actively engage with ANR activities and continue to improve the links between researchers and community stakeholders. 

 

 

Names in the News

Elise Gornish
Gornish named restoration ecology specialist

Elise Gornish joined ANR as a Cooperative Extension assistant restoration ecology specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis on Jan. 2. Gornish is interested in developing successful restoration approaches for both natural and working landscapes. She is also particularly interested in studying invasive annual weeds in California grasslands and drylands.

Prior to joining UCCE, Gornish worked as a postdoctoral scholar for the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis from May 2013 to December 2014.

Gornish earned a Ph.D. and an M.S. in ecology from Florida State University. She holds a B.S. in business and a B.S. in English from State University of New York at Buffalo and a B.S. in conservation biology from Hunter College.

Gornish can be reached at (530) 752-6314 and egornish@ucdavis.edu.

Clare Gupta
Gupta joins ANR as policy specialist

Clare Gupta joined ANR as a Cooperative Extension assistant public policy specialist in the Department of Human Ecology at UC Davis on March 2.

Trained as a political ecologist with a background in the natural sciences, Gupta studies how environmental and agricultural policy affect community food systems, and how citizens and community groups can shape these policies. She intends to work with UCCE advisors, fellow specialists, other UC academics and community groups to design research that elucidates how emerging state agricultural policies (e.g. urban agriculture zoning, community-supported agriculture bill, farmworker protections, proposed water bond) impact community food systems — especially from the perspective of small-scale producers. Gupta also envisions designing research questions that help state departments and boards to implement new agricultural policies in context-appropriate ways. Overall, her work aims to leverage scholarship on the concerns of California communities into data-driven public policy.

Prior to joining UCCE, Gupta served as a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. In this position, she studied efforts to re-localize Hawaii's food system, from a combined political and industrial ecological approach. Her dissertation work examined the impact of wildlife conservation on the livelihoods of rural communities living near protected areas in Botswana.

Gupta earned a Ph.D. in environmental science, policy and management from UC Berkeley and a B.S. in biology from Dartmouth College.

Gupta can be reached at (650) 766-7610 and cgupta@ucdavis.edu.

Alda Pires
Pires named urban ag-food safety specialist

Alda Pires joined UCCE on Sept. 1 as an ANR Cooperative Extension specialist and epidemiologist in the Agricultural Experiment Station for urban agriculture and food safety in the Department of Population Health and Reproduction, Veterinary Medicine Extension at UC Davis.

Pires, who is fluent in Portuguese, focuses her research and extension on disease surveillance, food safety, public health, foodborne and zoonotic diseases and epidemiology of infectious diseases, including Salmonella shedding and persistence in swine and cattle.

The goals of her programs are to identify mitigation strategies that can reduce the dissemination of foodborne pathogens during the preharvest period on small-scale farms. She is interested in developing and applying epidemiological tools, such as temporal-spatial analysis, molecular analysis and risk assessment in support of risk-based surveillance, infectious disease control strategies and the improvement animal health and food safety.

She earned her DVM from Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro in Portugal, and completed her Master of Preventive Veterinary Medicine and her residency program in Food Animal Reproduction and Herd Health at UC Davis. Pires then moved to Michigan State University where she undertook graduate studies with an emphasis in veterinary epidemiology. She received her Ph.D. from Michigan State University, studying environmental factors that influence the shedding of Salmonella sp in growing pigs.

Pires is based at UC Davis and can be reached at (530) 754-9855 and apires@ucdavis.edu.

Carl Winter
Winter to join Program Council

Carl Winter will be joining ANR Program Council, beginning with the June meeting. Winter is a Cooperative Extension specialist located in the Department of Food Science and Technology at UC Davis. He is filling one of the two at-large seats, succeeding Steve Wright, CE advisor in Tulare and Kings County. Winter will bring a CE specialist perspective and provide food-safety expertise to the discussions. The ANR Program Council advises the Vice President on Divisionwide planning and delivery of programs and develops recommendations for allocation of Division resources.

Winter is a food toxicologist located at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science on the UC Davis campus. He is the director of the FoodSafe Program and is a member of the Food Safety Workgroup. Prior to coming to UC Davis in 1991, he was a Cooperative Extension toxicologist at UC Riverside from 1987 to 1991 and science writer for the Richmond-Times Dispatch newspaper in 1985.  He holds a Ph.D. in agricultural and environmental chemistry and a B.S. in environmental toxicology, both from UC Davis.  His research and outreach work focus on pesticide residues and naturally occurring toxins in foods, food chemical and microbiological risk assessment, and food-safety education using music.

“We look forward to his many talents,” said Bill Frost, associate vice president and Program Council chair. “He is known as the “Elvis of E. coli” and the “Sinatra of Salmonella,” and has been providing entertaining, educational and humorous presentations for a wide variety of clients over the past two decades.”

For more information about Winter, visit his website http://carlwinter.com. To see the Program Council roster, visit http://ucanr.edu/sites/anrstaff/Divisionwide_Programs/Program_Council.

A praying mantis eating a western tiger swallowtail. Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey.

Two UC communicators win ACE awards

Two communicators affiliated with the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences have won a total of five awards from the international Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE).

Diane Nelson
Diane Nelson, senior writer with the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, won a gold award for promotional writing. Nelson's prize-winning article, “When Good Oil Goes Bad,” looks at the award-winning biosensor a team of UC Davis students built to help ensure olive oil quality for producers, retailers and consumers.

Kathy Keatley Garvey, communications specialist with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, won a gold award in “Writing for Newspapers,” a silver award in “Writing for the Web” and two bronze awards for her photographs, one of them a feature photo and the other a service photo.

Kathy Keatley Garvey
Garvey's gold-winning article was a light feature on forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey's plans for a field trip to Alcatraz, on a day that just happened to be Super Bowl Sunday. It was titled “Football Game? What Football Game?” The judges scored the story at 100 out of 100.

Garvey's silver award for web writing, “What's for Lunch?” focused on a lady beetle eating aphids and was published in her Bug Squad blog on the ANR website. 

A UC Davis student photographs a friend eating a bug. Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey.
Her feature photo depicting a praying mantis eating a western tiger swallowtail received a bronze award. She also received a bronze award for a service photo of two participants at the 2014 “Bugs and Beer” event sponsored by the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. It showed a UC Davis student and his friend sharing a bug: one photographing it and one ready to eat it.

Nelson and Keatley Garvey will receive their awards at the annual ACE conference, set for June 8-11 in Charleston, S.C.

Posted on Tuesday, April 28, 2015 at 9:16 AM

UC Delivers continues under Program Planning and Evaluation

UC Delivers, a collection of stories showing how ANR is making a difference for Californians, is continuing. The one-pagers are primarily used to educate county supervisors, legislators, funders and reporters about the impact of ANR activities.

As of February 2015, Program Planning and Evaluation (PP&E) resumed coordination of the UC Delivers review process. PP&E has made some changes to the review process and online system to improve coordination between authors, editors and reviewers and to reduce the time it takes to get articles published. Kit Alviz will review content to ensure articles are written in lay language and have strong payoffs; additional content experts will be brought in to review as needed. Communication Services &Information Technology editors will ensure the article conforms to ANR's writing style and fits the UC Delivers template.

Also in the works is a redesign of the UC Delivers website in collaboration with Communication Services & Information Technology.

To submit an article to UC Delivers, go to your ANR Portal page and click on “Add a New Story” under UC Delivers.

If you have questions about UC Delivers, please contact Kit Alviz at kit.alviz@ucop.edu or (510) 987-0027.

Posted on Tuesday, April 28, 2015 at 8:22 AM

New CSIT leadership structure now in place

From left, Gabe Youtsey, Mike Janes and Ann Senuta form CSIT's leadership team.
With final leadership now in place, directors Mike Janes (strategic communications), Ann Senuta (publishing and production) and Gabe Youtsey (information technology) are collectively moving forward with their plans for a more cohesive, dynamic Communication Services and Information Technology (CSIT) unit.

Janes came on board in early February, joining Senuta and Youtsey as the three directors charged by ANR Vice President Barbara Allen-Diaz with developing a comprehensive plan to lead CSIT into the future. Janes's strategic communications will more effectively take advantage of ANR's strong research base by placing a greater emphasis on proactive media relations, ANR branding and a more dynamic and compelling Web presence.

“It's clear that UCANR is highly engaged in programs and activities that are highly relevant to Californians, but many state leaders and the general public often don't seem to understand the vital role that ANR plays,” says Janes. “We're determined to raise UCANR's public profile, and fortunately there's plenty of great material from which we can work.”

Among other projects, Janes and his team, which includes staff providing news and information outreach in English and Spanish, will work closely with Youtsey and his Web development staff on a redesign of the main ANR website. The joint team is currently identifying an external vendor to assess needs and set a strategy for the ANR website redesign. As part of this assessment, a number of ANR senior leaders, academics and staff members will be interviewed for their insight into programmatic and audience needs.

“A website redesign will not just make it easier for our constituents to find information, but will also help them to better understand ANR on a single page, to better highlight our mission and initiatives and to foster deeper engagement with the public in a visually appealing format,” says Youtsey.

To create a strategic plan for information technology, Youtsey has traveled and met extensively with the ANR community to understand how technology is used in support of ANR's mission. The resulting IT plan includes several key projects designed to extend the Division's reach into rural areas with improved networking, to use new and existing data to enhance ANR research, and to connect communities using technology.

“Innovative approaches to research, education and outreach by ANR increasingly rely on a strong foundation of technology,” says Youtsey. “Faster and more reliable networks, modern computers, software tools, social networking and conferencing technologies will all play a part in helping ANR deliver an astounding range of service to California.”

Youtsey will offer an hour-long webinar via UCOP Information Technology Services on May 5 at 1 p.m. about technology at ANR. Details can be found at http://ucop.edu/information-technology-services/initiatives/webinars.html

Many in ANR are well familiar with the CSIT's publishing group, which produces and markets peer-reviewed ANR publications and California Agriculture journal, videos and Division promotional materials and manages the online peer-review systems and the Media Repository. Senuta's publishing operations plan focuses on a new business model and expansion of the Division's publishing options to include e-books, single-copy print-on-demand and repurposed content. She is working to connect with recently hired ANR academics to make them aware of available publishing opportunities and, with executive editor Jim Downing, strengthen California Agriculture's news section as a venue for highlighting Division research for new audiences.

“Like the greater publishing industry, we are expanding our formats to ensure sustainability and increase market reach. Part of this effort is to ensure a variety of publishing opportunities for Division authors to extend ANR research,” Senuta says. “We can't produce it all, so we must target wisely. But what ANR has that many publishers envy is our content — objective, based in science and simply interesting.”

Future endeavors, with support from the Communications Advisory Board, include revitalizing publishing for underserved audiences and investigating the possibility of peer-review credit for academic writing published on ANR webpages.

Posted on Monday, April 27, 2015 at 6:05 PM
Tags: Ann Senuta (1), Gabe Youtsey (1), Mike Janes (2)

Qualtrics survey software available for ANR staff and academics

ANR is providing Qualtrics online survey software to ANR staff and academics at no cost this year as a pilot project. 

Agricultural Experiment Station faculty who are affiliated with UC ANR will be eligible for one Qualtrics account through ANR, however the Division will not be able to provide licenses to the staff or students of AES faculty. 

This is not a replacement for the ANR Portal survey tool, and the Qualtrics account does not currently allow for workshop payment processing. Suggested uses for Qualtrics include workshop evaluations, needs assessments and data collection. Program Planning and Evaluation will manage ANR's license during this pilot year and Qualtrics will provide training and technical support.

ANR staff and faculty can complete this survey to receive a Qualtrics account.

For more information, contact Kit Alviz, program policy analyst in Program Planning and Evaluation, at kit.alviz@ucop.edu or (510) 987-0027.

Posted on Monday, April 27, 2015 at 5:04 PM
Tags: Kit Alviz (2), Qualtrics (1), survey software (1)

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