A major factor in job satisfaction is the extent to which people feel part of a wider supportive community. Such connections have historically been offered in UC ANR through various means, including our structural units (i.e., our 81 workgroups, 21 program teams and 5 strategic initiatives).
Healthy organizations should regularly look at their structure. Important elements of structure include how the pieces fit together and how people may better connect to more effectively implement their work. In the summer of 2018, we began a series of discussions and surveys to revisit aspects of our structure.
Thank you to the 120-plus people who provided input on our structure and suggestions regarding how we may connect.
1. Clarity of purpose:
The seeming fuzziness of the roles and goals of our workgroups (WGs), program teams (PTs) and strategic initiatives (SIs) is not as great as people may think. Many consistent findings arose across the different structural groups. A summary of our findings follows.
Workgroups (our oldest unit of structure) are the most readily understood. They represent active “communities of practice” (that can come and go) and are the primary place where people plan and implement (noting that such groups are both formal and informal).
One point of interest is that people didn't realize they could close or start workgroups as needed.
Program teams bring together people (typically from different workgroups) who are working on related but distinctly different topics to network, share and learn.
One clear observation is that PTs vary considerably in terms of the diversity of WG representation (e.g., 1 PT has 12 WGs and a few PTs have just 1 WG).
SIs are our highest form of aggregation (and currently the one that enjoys the least clarity). They function to unify, communicate and advocate as the umbrellas for the work we do. The recent addition for the SIs is the development of the focal areas and grand challenges, providing the opportunity to see the unifying focus in our efforts.
For more information about how workgroups, program teams and strategic initiatives fit together, see https://ucanr.edu/sites/StrategicInitiatives/files/295191.pdf.
2. Workgroups – Don't fix it if it ain't broken:
Of the 81 workgroups, 21 are considered very active and effective - while another 29 are somewhat active and 3 are new in 2019. The remaining 28 WGs have been inactive, as reflected by personnel or goal changes and will be officially closed (see list below). These can be easily reopened if demand arises.
The goal is for WGs to align with a single PT, which likely means realigning the PTs - see point No. 3 below. Currently some workgroups have no PT, whereas other WGs have aligned with many PTs.
3. Reformulate the topic areas for program teams:
The next step is to collect input and look at reformulating/reaffirming the PT themes. Currently, we have 21 PT themes. Some have no WGs under them. Others have many WGs under them. Some workgroups have aligned under many PTs, which creates uneven structure and at times uneven activity.
As we go forward, we encourage people to identify PT themes to 1) better represent the collective work of UC ANR, 2) create or show clearer paths for people to connect at the WG, PT and SI levels, and 3) help us refine the SI focal areas and grand challenges – providing greater clarity of our efforts and clearer SI alignment with the reformulated PT themes and WG efforts.
Opportunity for more input on PT themes
The PT discussions will include a webinar and county visits over summer.
Thank you all for your efforts and we welcome input.
Mark Bell (Vice Provost Strategic Initiatives and Statewide Programs)
Strategic Initiative Leaders
HFC: Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty
SFS: Deanne Meyer and Neil McRoberts
Water: David Lewis
SNE: David Lile
Pests: Jim Farrar
Workgroups to close. Note: If there is interest and leadership, workgroups can be readily opened by this simple new workgroup request.
1. Air Quality
2. Animals in Educational Settings
4. Body Weight and Health
5. Building Food Security
6. Conservation Biology
7. Dairy Goats
8. Ecological Restoration
9. Economics and Management in Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
10. Environmental Observation Network
11. European Pear
12. Exotic Fruit Fly
13. Garden-based Learning
14. Health Promotion & Disease Prevention
15. Mosquito Research and Extension
16. Pest Management in ANR
17. Postharvest Integrated Pest Management
18. Rangeland Watershed Program
20. Urban Horticulture
21. Water Quality
22. Woody Biomass Utilization
23. Families with Young Children
24. Food Safety Horticultural Crops
25. Land Use
26. Linking Research & Education in Agricultural & Environmental Biotechnology
28. Spray Application Technology
- Author: Deanne Meyer, Sustainable Food Systems Strategic Initiative Co-Leader
- Author: Mark Bell, Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives and Statewide Programs
Being able to connect is key to the success we in UC ANR enjoy in developing and providing solutions to help the people of California.
Please provide your input (see #3 under "Where are we?) to see how we might do this even better.
A summer survey to program team leaders and workgroup chairs asked for input on how we currently connect (and our current structure).
The three main findings were:
- Our current structure [roles of Workgroups (WG), Program Teams (PT) and Strategic Initiatives (SIs)] is - shall we say - somewhat “fuzzy.”
- Even with the lack of clarity on WG, PT and SI functions, people greatly value the opportunities to engage and interact.
- There is a desire to identify which of our (80+) workgroups are active and still needed.
Where are we? What are the actions in play?
- Workgroups: Frequently Asked Questions” A fact sheet on our structure was developed to help clarify roles – your feedback is welcome.
- Identify active Workgroups. This week, we are doing a follow up survey with WG chairs to seek input on the level of WG activity and connections.
- Your input welcome. We welcome your input through this simple survey - 5-10 minutes can help us all move forward. Please complete the survey https://ucanr.edu/survey/survey.cfm?surveynumber=26325 by Jan. 4.
What's next? After receiving input from you and the workgroup chairs, we will revisit our structure (program teams, etc.) and see how we can better connect.
Thanks for your efforts to help us positively impact the lives of all Californians.
Several program teams and workgroups will be meeting before the end of the year. See below.
Viticulture Program Team Meeting
Thursday, Nov. 3
J. Lohr Wine Center in Paso Robles
Discussion topics include wine grape production manual, GiESCO meeting and tour in Argentina/Chile, November 4 seminar and potential future seminars in other areas.
Program Contact: Mark Battany
SNE and EIPD Joint SI Conference
Wednesday, Nov. 16
The Conference Center, UC Davis
the Joint Strategic Initiatives Conference for Sustainable and Natural Ecosystems (SNE) and Endemic & Invasive Pests & Diseases (EIPD) provides an opportunity for colleagues to learn about the projects, programs, and research efforts happening throughout the Division that are at the intersections of pest management and natural resources. Several work groups will meet and an in-service training will be held in conjunction with this conference. The full agenda is here.
Meat Production and Food Safety Program Team Meeting
Wednesday, Nov. 30, through Thursday, Dec. 1
Nugget Hotel and Casino in Sparks, Nevada
Discussion topics include Taurus, livestock economics, water use by cattle on California rangelands, greenhouse gas emission and the livestock industry and more. See the full agenda here.
Vegetable Crops Program Team Meeting
Monday, Dec. 5 through Tuesday, Dec. 6
UC Davis, ARC Ballroom
The Weed Workgroup will meet with the Vegetable Crops PT on Dec. 6, and individually on Dec. 7 at the Lecture Hall in Bowley Center.
The UC ANR Pest Management Program Team will meet June 13-15, 2016, at the UC ANR Building at 2801 Second Street in Davis.
Planned workgroup meetings:
Spray Application Technology: Tuesday, June 14, 1 p.m. -5 p.m.
Plant Pathology: TBD
Workgroup chairs and other program team leaders who are interested in holding meetings in conjunction with this June meeting should complete a brief online form. Meeting space will be released by May 20 so please submit requests before that day to ensure availability.
If you have questions or need more information, contact UC ANR Program Support Unit.
Registration is now open for five program team meetings planned for this spring. More information on these meetings and program teams is online at http://ucanr.edu/sites/programteams/.
- March 8, Dairy Production and Food Safety, Embassy Suites, Monterey (held jointly with the first Golden State Dairy Conference).
- March 17-18, Pomology (formerly called PECC) Foundation Plant Services Pete Christensen Conference Room, Davis
- March 21-22, Youth Development and Healthy Behaviors Joint Meeting, San Joaquin Valley Room, 2801 Second St., Davis. The Diversity Workgroup is planning to meet on March 23-24
- March 22-23, Agronomic Crops, San Joaquin Valley Room, 2801 Second St., Davis. Precision Ag Workgroup is also planning to meet on the afternoon of March 23.
- April 11-12, Agricultural Production Systems, Putah Creek Lodge, Davis
- Date pending, Pest Management
Who should attend: Anyone (including ANR and non-ANR personnel) who wishes to be a part of any of the program teams that will be meeting. ANR will fund the travel of ANR academics and program representatives (be sure to obtain approval from your supervisor or program lead).
Workgroup chairs: If a program team that your workgroup is affiliated with is meeting and you'd like to convene your workgroup, complete a brief online form and UC ANR Program Support will make the arrangements for you.
Program team leaders: If you would like to convene your program team, please complete a brief online form. The Program Support Unit will respond to you as soon as possible.
Travel funds: Travel funds are available for ANR personnel. Please be prepared to estimate your travel expenses when you register. Travel approvals will be sent to you within one week of registration.