- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Michel joined ANR in 1992 as an administrative assistant II for the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, based in the UC Office of the President in Oakland. In 1994, she joined the Office of Governmental and External Relations (OGER) as an assistant to then-executive director Steve Nation, who dubbed her "Radar," like the MASH TV show character, for her uncanny knack of anticipating things that needed to be done.
As an OGER member, she helped form and provide staff support for the UC President's Advisory Commission on Agriculture and Natural Resources and the UC president's tours for regents and agricultural leaders. She also gathered information for requests from legislative offices.
In 2007, Michel transitioned to work in the vice president's office. In 2010, Michel became deputy to the associate vice president for business operations and senior staff to the Administrative Review Council, which designed and implemented the reorganization of ANR business operations functions.
When Taber retired in 2012, Michel became deputy to then-assistant vice president for business operations Tu Tran.
In her ANR directory listing, Michel displayed her passion for diving with a photo of herself in scuba gear underwater.
Michel retired in 2013 after serving ANR for 21 years and moved to Long Island, NY, to join her husband, Keith, who was appointed president of Webb Institute, the country's foremost school of naval architecture and marine engineering.
The New York native's diverse experience in Pan American Airways customer service, as a baker and owner of her own wedding cake business, and organizing events for ANR served her well as Webb's First Lady, as she engaged with students, hosted formal dinners, did fundraising, managed staff and facilitated search committees for senior staff.
“Peggy was truly loved at Webb,” said Keith Michel. “The board has established a Peggy Michel Memorial Fund. Webb will be creating a garden/courtyard area overlooking our new academic center and Long Island Sound, which will be named the Peggy Michel Garden. They are also establishing a scholarship fund in her name.”
To donate, checks can be made out to “Webb Institute” with “Peggy Michel Memorial Fund” in the memo line or by credit card gift online.
Michel is survived by Keith, their son Josh and his wife Marybeth, sister Isabelle McVickar and several nieces and nephews.
The family is planning a celebration of her life in California on Sept. 8 at Scott's Restaurant in Jack London Square, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The restaurant asked for a headcount by Aug. 29. If you plan to attend, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Kay Taber at email@example.com.
[Updated Aug. 2 to add details about the memorial in California.]
The University of California is spearheading a statewide effort to advance the purchase of 1 million high-quality, energy-efficient light bulbs for campus buildings and residences across the state.
Under the Community Buy Program, all UC students, staff, faculty and alumni can purchase light bulbs at nearly half the price of online competitors.
“High-quality LED light sources help reduce our carbon footprint, reduce our energy use, and save money,” said UC President Janet Napolitano. “We are excited to launch this challenge and swap out at least a million inefficient light sources.”
About the challenge
Inspired by research conducted by the California Lighting Technology Center at UC Davis, the UC Office of the President spearheaded The Million Light Bulb Challenge to procure high-quality, energy-efficient light sources. UC is collaborating with the California Community College system, the California State University system and the California Department of General Services in this large-scale effort. The collaborative is working with employees at all campus buildings and is providing a new community-buy program.
Making it easy for the consumer
As of January 2018, everyday light bulbs for sale in California must meet new efficiency standards. Light-emitting diode, or LED, bulbs will be the bulb of choice for most consumers. However, it is often difficult to know which bulb to purchase as stores are filled with products that vary in terms of color appearance, dimming and longevity.
To make it easier for consumers to purchase high-quality LED bulbs, the California Million Light Bulb Challenge partners used specific performance criteria to evaluate and select the light bulbs that will go into UC facilities and be available to the UC community for purchase.
The light bulbs being offered through the challenge cost about 46 percent less than the same light bulbs sold through online competitors.
“Our goal was to take the guesswork and confusion out of the process and ensure that everyone gets a great light at a great price,” said Michael Siminovitch, director of the UC Davis California Lighting Technology Center.
In creating the challenge, the team leveraged a high-quality performance specification published by the California Energy Commission to ensure that light bulbs purchased meet both quality and efficiency goals. After a public request for proposal was launched in fall 2017, the collaborative selected the team of Consolidated Electrical Distributors Inc. and LEDVANCE, maker of SYLVANIA general lighting in the U.S., to provide lighting products for the first phase of the challenge.
Everyone in the UC community can participate
UC students, staff, faculty and alumni can purchase light bulbs via the secure Million Light Bulb Challenge website and have them shipped directly to their homes. The website features a number of educational resources to help consumers understand their options and support their lighting purchases. Users also will be able to see the total number of light bulbs purchased, estimated energy savings and estimated reduction in CO2 emissions.
The Million Light Bulb Challenge could result in significant energy savings and reduced emissions. Replacing 1 million 60-watt incandescent bulbs that are used about three hours a day would save 55.8 GWh per year, or 85 percent. This decreases CO2 emissions by 41,461 metric tons, which is like removing 8,900 passenger vehicles from the road each year, according to the EPA's greenhouse gas equivalency calculator.
“Energy-efficient lighting is a key step in reducing our carbon footprint as a society,” Siminovitch said. “Everyone can contribute to this effort by replacing incandescent and CFL light bulbs with high-performance LED options.”
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
“In the coming decade, the stresses on the U.S. food and agricultural enterprise won't be solved by business as usual – either in the field or in our current research efforts,” said Susan Wessler, the Neil and Rochelle Campbell Presidential Chair for Innovations in Science Education and distinguished professor of genetics at UC Riverside, who was a co-chair of this important new study.
Alison Van Eenennaam, UC Cooperative Extension specialist at UC Davis, served on the Committee on Science Breakthroughs 2030: A Strategy for Food and Agricultural Research, and other UC academics were involved in reviewing content for the 200-page book.
The urgent progress needed today, given challenges such as water scarcity, increased weather variability, floods and droughts, requires a convergent research approach that harnesses advances in data science, materials science, information technology, behavioral sciences, economics and many other fields.
The committee identified five breakthrough opportunities that take advantage of a convergent approach to research challenges and could potentially increase the capabilities of food and agricultural science dramatically:
- A systems approach to understand the nature of interactions among the different elements of the food and agricultural system can be leveraged to increase overall system efficiency, resilience, and sustainability.
- The development and validation of highly sensitive, field-deployable sensors and biosensors will enable rapid detection and monitoring capabilities across various food and agricultural disciplines.
- The application and integration of data sciences, software tools, and systems models will enable advanced analytics for managing the food and agricultural system.
- The ability to carry out routine gene editing of agriculturally important organisms will allow for precise and rapid improvement of traits important for productivity and quality.
- Understanding the relevance of the microbiome to agriculture and harnessing this knowledge will improve crop production, transform feed efficiency, and increase resilience to stress and disease.
They include recommendations for a range of federal agencies, as well as federal and private funders and researchers.
“It is very gratifying to see a strong recommendation for enhanced support to the Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension systems as vitally important infrastructure!” VP Glenda Humiston said.
Humiston and other UC ANR leaders are considering how UC ANR might best use the ideas presented in the report.
The report is available for free download at https://www.nap.edu/catalog/25059/science-breakthroughs-to-advance-food-and-agricultural-research-by-2030.
- Author: Sue Lake
The UC ANR Staff Assembly has established a scholarship program that is available to all UC ANR staff employees and county-paid employees. The scholarship provides financial assistance to UC ANR staff to pursue career interests, develop new career paths, and address knowledge or skill gaps needed to reach professional development goals.
Scholarships may be used for
- Courses/tuition/registration fee for required certification(s).
- Courses/tuition/registration required for degree attainment if related to current position or career development.
- Registration fees for seminars and workshops (excluding travel).
- Books and materials for career development (as required by selected course/workshop etc.).
Up to $499 is available, depending on the amount of eligible applications received. Only successfully completed training activities will be approved. Applicants must provide proof of completion with a passing grade for courses or seminars.
This year's award dates are for courses taken between April 16, 2018, and Oct. 31, 2018. Deadline for applications is close of business Oct. 31, 2018.
For more information and the application form, visit http://staffassembly.ucanr.edu/Scholarships.
- Christina Becker, lab asst. 3, Nutrition Policy Institute
- Lea Corkidi, staff research associate 2, UCCE San Diego
- Ria Debiase, Pest Management Guidelines coordinator, IPM Statewide Program
- Jerry Harris, administrative services officer, UCCE San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara
- Kim Ingram, HR analyst III, Academic Human Resources
- Rhett Woerly, facilities management specialist 3, UC ANR Facilities Planning and Management
Here is what the scholarship recipients are saying about the program:
When Ria Debiase was asked if she would apply for a scholarship again she replied, “Yes. As I will be entering grad school while working as a UC employee, I appreciate any help I can get.”
Lea Corkidi heard about the program at an all-staff meeting in her office. She definitely plans on applying for funds again in the future and absolutely recommends the scholarship program to peers and colleagues!
Rhett Whoerly took courses related to his Construction Management Certificate and also plans on applying for scholarship funds in the future.
The Staff Assembly Council and the Scholarship Award sub-committee congratulates all the recipients.
We are so happy to be able to provide these reimbursement scholarships and hope that more employees take advantage of this program.
- Author: Brian Oatman
The University of California is committed to maintaining the highest standards of conduct in the fulfillment of its education, research, public service and patient care mission. The University's Whistleblower Policy provides multiple avenues for employees to bring forward concerns of potential employee misconduct. Faculty and staff are encouraged to bring forward concerns about possible improper governmental activity directly to their supervisor, department head, Locally Designated Official (LDO) or other appropriate university offices or officials.
The university established a systemwide, independently operated whistleblower hotline to receive calls or web-based reporting from faculty, staff, students or members of the public. The hotline allows for anonymous reporting. The hotline relays the reported concerns to appropriate university officials for processing. This hotline is staffed seven days a week, 24 hours per day and is capable of receiving reports in a number of different languages.
The toll-free number is 1-800-403-4744. Web-based reports can be made by accessing http://universityofcalifornia.edu/hotline. More information about the whistleblower process can be found on the UC Whistleblower website and on posters displayed in various employee areas. The University's whistleblower poster identifies other channels for reporting improper governmental activity, including the California State Auditor, the California Attorney General and locations for reporting fraud and abuse involving federal programs.
The California Government Code requires every state agency, including the University of California, to annually distribute to its employees a message from the California State Auditor that provides an explanation of the California Whistleblower Protection Act. Please see the 2018 message below or in the brochure at http://ucanr.edu/sites/anrstaff/files/286804.pdf.
California State Auditor Whistleblower Program
YOU CAN REPORT IMPROPER ACTS
We are your confidential avenue for reporting improper activities by state agencies or employees. It is your responsibility, as a government employee, to report any type of fraud, waste or abuse, which ultimately protects scarce state resources. It is also your right to be free from retaliation for doing so.
In 2017 alone, we received 2,147 allegations of wrongdoing, most of which concerned misuse of state property, improper travel expenditures, and time and attendance abuse. Whistleblower complaints through our office have triggered investigations revealing more than $576 million in wasteful spending, such as:
- Four psychiatrists at a state facility worked significantly fewer than 40 hours per week during a one year period. The cost of their missed work hours totaled $296,000.
- A state official received $152,000 in improper travel expense reimbursements over a 37-month period.
- An administrator unwisely entered into two contracts that wasted $652,919 in state managed funds and did not comply with state contracting requirements.
WE INVESTIGATE COMPLAINTS
We report substantiated allegations to the head of the employing agency, the Legislature and the Governor. In addition, we report some of the substantiated allegations to the general public, keeping confidential the identities of the state employees involved. You can view these reports on our website at www.auditor.ca.gov/reports/investigative.
WHAT TO REPORT
Pursuant to Government Code section 8547.2, subdivision (c), improper acts by a state agency or employee that should be reported to the State Auditor include:
- Violations of state or federal law, including theft, fraud or conflict of interest;
- Noncompliance with an executive order, Rule of Court, the State Administrative Manual, or the State Contracting Manual;
- Misuse or waste of state resources, including property or employee time;
- Gross misconduct, incompetence or inefficiency.
WHAT WE CAN'T INVESTIGATE
We do not have the authority to investigate either violations of internal department policies or procedures or local government agencies and employees.
WE PROTECT YOUR IDENTITY
If you report an impropriety, you are protected by the Whistleblower Protection Act, which:
- Requires us to protect your identity (except from law enforcement);
- Prohibits intimidation, threats or coercion by state employees that could interfere with your right to disclose improper governmental activities.
If you believe that you have been retaliated against for disclosing an improper governmental activity, you should report this immediately to one of the following agencies:
State and Court Employees
State Personnel Board
801 Capitol Mall, MS53
Sacramento, CA 95814
California State University Employees
Vice Chancellor of Human Resources
401 Golden Shore
Long Beach, CA 90802
Or contact the appointed campus administrator.
University of California (UC) Employees
Contact the locally designated official for the UC facility at which you are employed. Visit www.ucop.edu for more information.
HELPFUL TIPS WHEN FILING A COMPLAINT
Prepare Before Filing
Gather your thoughts before filing a complaint and prepare yourself to answer the following questions:
- What is the improper activity?
- Who acted improperly?
- Where does that person work?
- How often and for how long has the activity been occurring?
- Why has it been allowed to continue?
Support What You Allege
We are unable to investigate allegations without support for your complaint. Therefore, please remember to include the following:
- Description of the evidence that proves what you are saying.
- Names and telephone numbers of knowledgeable witnesses.
- Copies of any documents you have in your possession that support your allegation. (Please do not submit original documents, as they cannot be returned.)
Consider Providing Contact Information
You have a right to file a complaint anonymously. However, we may not be able to investigate your complaint if we cannot talk to you to confirm the information you are providing or obtain additional information. Please remember that if you identify yourself to us, we cannot reveal your identity to anyone else without your permission, except to appropriate law enforcement personnel who are conducting a criminal investigation.
Keep Your Complaint Confidential
We investigate complaints as confidentially as possible to protect both your identity as a whistleblower and our ability to gather information without interference. To protect the confidentiality of your complaint, we encourage you not to tell anyone that you filed a complaint with us.
We refer substantiated violations of law to law enforcement agencies, as appropriate.
HOW TO REPORT
You have three ways to report information to us confidentially:
Call the Whistleblower Hotline at:
(Note: The hotline is staffed Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, callers may leave a brief recorded message during other hours.)
Mail information to:
California State Auditor
P.O. Box 1019
Sacramento, CA 95812
Submit a complaint online to:
To view an informational webinar hosted by CalHR, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WFYLhJDOss.