Open Enrollment has begun! Through 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 20, you can make changes to your benefits or the family members you enroll — just choose your location under "make changes" on the Open Enrollment website.
Highlights of this year's Open Enrollment include low cost increases for most of UC's medical plans and a few important changes, including new benefits eligibility rules for domestic partners, changes for Health Net Blue & Gold and new voluntary pet insurance. Make sure to read your Open Enrollment booklet and visit the website to learn all about your choices for this year.
Even if you're happy with your benefits and don't plan to make a change, make time for a few important steps:
- Enroll or re-enroll in a flexible spending account (FSA). Your other benefits will continue if you don't take action, but you must re-enroll each year to continue your FSA.
- Review all of your plan options to make sure you're still enrolled in the best benefits for you and your family.
- While you're signed in to your benefits account, make sure your personal information is up-to-date and complete.
New resources on the Open Enrollment website
Visit the Open Enrollment website for resources to help you better understand your benefits choices.
New educational videos offer user-friendly explanations of all sorts of topics, including:
- What's Changing
- Cost Scenarios
- Choosing a Medical Plan
- Tax-Advantaged Accounts
- Maximizing Your Benefits
Get started today, so you have plenty of time to make informed decisions about your 2019 benefits!/span>/span>
Open Positions. Two SI leader positions are scheduled to rotate off at the end of 2018. This change offers opportunities for others to take the lead for
Who is eligible to apply? The positions are open to all UC ANR academics, including Agricultural Experiment Station faculty and Cooperative Extension advisors and specialists. Strategic Initiative leaders are appointed by the Associate Vice President on a rotating basis for three years, with a possibility of extension.
Current SI leaders
- Endemic and Invasive Pests and Diseases Jim Farrar
- Sustainable Food Systems Deanne Meyer and Neil McRoberts
- Sustainable Natural Resources David Lile
- Water Quality, Quantity and Security Doug Parker
- Healthy Families and Communities Keith Nathaniel
The SIs help unify, communicate and advocate for what UC ANR does. See the UCANR Strategic Initiatives website for more information.
To apply for one of the SI leader positions, complete the simple form at http://ucanr.edu/survey/survey.cfm?surveynumber=25782. Applications will be accepted until Nov. 9.
Applicants will be contacted for interviews in late November or early December. The new leaders are anticipated to start on Jan. 2, 2019.
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.
Notwithstanding Prop. 64, using, distributing and possessing marijuana remains illegal under federal law. The Drug Free Schools and Communities Act and the Drug Free Workplace Act require that UC, as a recipient of federal funding, establish policies that prohibit marijuana use, possession and distribution on campus and in the workplace.
For additional information on UC policy regarding controlled substances, visit http://ucop.edu/marijuana-and-drug-policy.
- Author: Maci Mueller
Two University of California graduate students have been selected by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources as UC Global Food Initiative (GFI) fellows for 2018-19. Graduate students Melanie Colvin at UC Berkeley and Maci Mueller at UC Davis will work with ANR academics and staff to conduct and communicate about UC research for improved food security and agricultural sustainability.
Melanie Colvin, a graduate student at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, focuses on addressing nutrition-related diseases through preventative measures. As a GFI fellow, Colvin will work with Nutrition Policy Institute researchers to conduct a secondary analysis of the Healthy Communities Study, a six-year observational study that included more than 5,000 children and their families from 130 communities in the United States. The native of Chapel Hill, N.C., will analyze the relationship between household food insecurity and physical activity. Colvin plans to pursue a Ph.D. with a goal of a career in public health research.
"The GFI fellowship allows me to experience many facets of developing meaningful research questions that I will address on my own one day as a principal investigator," Colvin said.
Maci Mueller, a doctoral student in animal biology at UC Davis, is interested in a career at the interface of agricultural science and policy, particularly related to the problems that might be solved using innovative breeding tools, such as gene editing. Using a variety of communication tools, the Princeton, Neb., native will work with UC ANR's Strategic Communications team to inform the public about UC ANR's contributions to agricultural, food and nutrition research and related policies.
“I am excited to learn from UC ANR's Strategic Communications team and for the opportunity as a GFI fellow to gain hands-on agricultural research communication experience,” Mueller said.
In addition to their individual projects, the 2018-19 GFI fellows are invited to participate in systemwide activities designed to enhance their leadership skills and enrich their understanding of the food system in California.
The UC Global Food Initiative was launched by UC President Janet Napolitano in 2014 with the aim of putting UC, California and the world on a pathway to sustainability. The GFI fellows are part of a group of approximately 50 UC graduate and undergraduate students working on food-related projects at all 10 UC campuses, UC Office of the President, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UC ANR. Each participant receives a $4,000 award to help fund student-generated research, projects or internships that support the initiative's efforts to address the issue of how to sustainably and nutritiously feed a world population expected to reach 8 billion by 2025.
Wolpert retired in 2013 after 28 years as a UCCE specialist studying grape rootstocks and varieties.
In 1995, he established a wine grape varietal trial at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center to find new varieties suitable for warm, dry weather. Wolpert selected 55 winegrape cultivars from Spain, Greece, Italy and other areas where the climate is similar to the San Joaquin Valley.
In a 2013 article in Wines & Vines, Glenn McGourty, UC Cooperative Extension viticulture advisor in Mendocino County recalled Wolpert's rapport with growers.
“We were sitting around this table with this wine and Jim says to the farmer, ‘Oh this is really, really quite refreshing on a day like today,'” McGourty recalls with a laugh. “It was more a vacation sometimes when we were out there in the field, rather than work.”
In announcing Wolpert's passing, David Block, Department of Viticulture and Enology chair, posted photos and the following statement on Facebook:
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Jim Wolpert. Jim was more than just a colleague and friend to all of us in V&E. As a CE Specialist in Viticulture, he spent a good part of his career conveying mission-critical information to the grape and wine industry throughout the state. As a researcher, Jim focused on rootstock evaluation, as well as scion clonal trials, including the important Heritage Zinfandel clones that he planted at Oakville. For us here in the department, however, Jim will be most remembered for getting us to where we are today as a department, both figuratively and quite literally, as he was instrumental, as Chair, in creating the vision for the Robert Mondavi Institute. Without his vision and persistence, Jim would not have been able to convince Robert Mondavi that a world-class department needs world-class facilities in which to thrive. In this way, Jim shepherded the Mondavi's truly transformative gift into the reality of the beautiful complex we have today. Many of you will have seen the granite benches in our complex dedicated to leaders of our department. It is quite fitting that one of these benches is dedicated to Jim and is in the middle of the complex that he envisioned and built during his 10 years as Chair of the department. Today, the bench is adorned with flowers to celebrate his life.
On a personal note, Jim started as chair of the department the same day that I started as a faculty member at UC Davis in 1996. During the next 10 years and beyond, Jim was truly a mentor to me as I went through the tenure process and my program grew and developed, continuing on to my time now, as chair. His advice was always useful and his comments constructive—delivered with a healthy dose of his trademark Midwestern charm that immediately put you at ease. In fact, nearly all of the comments and remembrances I've received in the last two days have spoken of his mentorship. It's reassuring that Jim and his advice will live on in so many of our V&E family members in so many ways.
We will miss Jim tremendously.