- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
The extended vacancy of the Youth, Families and Communities Director position (vacant 17 months) has given UC ANR leadership time to consider program needs and how the Division can best meet those needs moving forward. After reflection, collecting recommendations from the respective Statewide Directors and gathering input from the broader ANR community, AVP Wendy Powers has decided not to fill the YFC director position.
“Interim co-directors Shannon Horrillo and Katie Panarella have provided excellent leadership and afforded the Division an opportunity to invest the unused salary provision to further strengthen and support the YFC program,” Powers said.
Funds designated for the YFC director position will be reinvested into YFC programs to support growth and new opportunities. The statewide program directors identified program integration among 4-H Youth Development; Nutrition, Family and Consumer Sciences; Master Food Preserver and Master Gardener programs as a key priority.
“In support of their vision, we will hire a Program Integration Coordinator that will support efforts to integrate across programs and disciplines to maximize extension efforts and identify new multidisciplinary funding opportunities,” Powers said. “This is consistent with the original intent of having a YFC program and a goal within the UC ANR strategic plan to better integrate and focus our efforts.” The position will be released in the coming months with interviews anticipated in May.
“Subsequently, based on the directors' recommendations, we will invest in hiring a Master Food Preserver and Food Entrepreneurship Academic Coordinator,” Powers said. “This position will bring together our existing work with home food preservation, cottage foods and innovation in agriculture to best address the food security needs of California and to pursue funding opportunities to implement programming.
She also announced plans to hire a part-time 4-H online data system administrator to centralize some 4-H online administrative functions at the state level, reducing the administrative workload on 4-H county-based staff and increasing technical assistance and support.
“We believe this plan will provide the needed support to position YFC for growth and to meet future needs,” said Powers.
Shannon Horrillo will continue permanently as the statewide 4-H director and Katie Panarella as the statewide Nutrition, Family and Consumer Sciences director and co-director of the Master Food Preserver Program. They will continue working in partnership with Missy Gable, the statewide Master Gardener director and co-director of the Master Food Preserver Program to lead these high-priority ANR statewide programs and integration in ways that leverage their assets for greater collective impact.
Following a search process for the Youth, Families and Communities (YFC) director position, ANR has decided not to fill the position at present.
“This decision did not come easily because we were successful in attracting a number of outstanding candidates, each of whom would bring different experiences and perspectives to the position,” said AVP Wendy Powers in announcing the decision.
Given the current search for a Vice Provost of Statewide Programs and Strategic Initiatives, with whom the YFC Director would work closely, coupled with the need to recruit for a new Vice Provost for Cooperative Extension (following Chris Greer's decision to leave the post), and the strategic planning process that ANR has just begun, ANR leaders decided to take time to re-assess the needs of the YFC programs.
“Before moving forward, we want to be sure we are allocating resources such that programs can be best positioned to meet future needs,” said Powers. “We do want to thank the search committee for their efforts in identifying strong candidates and for taking the time to see the process through.”
For the time being, Shannon Horrillo, associate director of 4-H program and policy, and Katie Panerella, associate director of nutrition, family and consumer sciences program and policy, will continue to share the YFC director duties, as they have for the last year.
“They have done a great job leading the programs and there is no reason at this time for that to change,” said Powers./span>