- Author: Brent Hales
Happy Monday all,
I have had the pleasure of visiting numerous Research Extension Centers (South Coast, Hopland, Sierra Foothills, Intermountain, West Side, Lindcove, and Kearney). I have also visited UC Irvine, UC Davis, and UC Berkeley. I soon will visit UC Merced and UC Santa Cruz. I have engaged with hundreds of ANR employees, campus-based faculty, specialists, and administration, and many stakeholders. My main takeaway throughout these visits is that UC ANR is truly an amazing organization!
As I have had the pleasure of getting to know everyone, I have consistently been amazed with the people, the organizations, and the programs that are all things UC ANR. I have had the pleasure of meeting many of you and I look forward to meeting you and learning from you.
My goal has been and continues to be to improve what we do and how we do it. That only comes as we work together to improve our organization and the communities that we serve. If there is an opportunity to engage with you in your programming or if there is an event that you think it would be good for me to attend, please invite me. I won't likely be able to get to everything this year but my engagement with everyone does not have an expiration date. I genuinely want to hear from you and learn from you.
I promise to take more pictures and use less text in the future. I just had to say this. I am eager to meet you and meet with you. I hope that you know that I am so grateful for what you do to improve the lives of Californians throughout our amazing state. I wish you truly the best!
- Author: Brent Hales
Happy Thursday All,
I am excited beyond words to have joined UCANR. The opportunity to serve along with so many talented and committed people is far beyond what I thought what I would ever have the chance to do. I am honored to be included with you as we serve the people of California.
There are a few items that I would like to bring up. First of all, I would like to gratefully acknowledge the contributions of Deanne Meyer. Her exemplary service over her storied career and her most recent service as Interim Associate Vice President is aspirational. She has and continues to serve with incredible insight and unwavering grace. I am grateful for her and for her innumerable contributions to UCANR and to the people of California. I also want to express my sincere gratitude for her guidance as I have taken on this role.
Next, I would like to share my thoughts on the future of the blog. It has taken me a while to get my entries started but I am certainly committed to keeping it going. I believe that consistent, clear communication is key to providing timely and relevant information to the Division. I would also like us to consider some ways that we can improve the future directions of the blog. I invite anyone and everyone to share with me insights, opportunities to recognize colleagues, and other information that you feel that it would be good to share with colleagues. I can't promise to use everything that I receive but I would like to ensure that we provide opportunities for us to hear about the various parts of the organization, to learn what is going on across the state, and within the organizational units.
I will also be inviting leaders from across the organization to share their insights on future blog posts. The reality is that when we put on the proverbial UCANR name badge, it is helpful to know what each program does and the intersections of service that are available in our communities and across the state. Be on the lookout for posts in the coming months that reflect the broad diversity of programs and people in the organization.
Finally, I want to thank everyone. I have been extremely pleased with the open and inviting reception that I have received to date. I look forward to engaging with everyone across the system in the coming months. We are planning numerous opportunities for us to engage with one another and to get to know one another. That won't be just here in Davis. These events will happen across California. I also want to thank you for your service and commitment to the people and the communities of California. You are the reason that UCANR exists. I look forward to meeting and thanking everyone personally.
I hope that everyone is enjoying the summer and that you will take time to take care of yourself.
June zoomed by in a whirlwind. We're all excited to welcome Brent Hales as AVP for Research and Extension. Brent hit the ground running on Monday. His schedule is filled with meeting direct reports, getting to know Academic Human Resources team members, and getting his emails to work. As many know, the key item is to have a functional email. Thanks to everyone who did the pre-arrival onboarding both his ANR and UCOP emails work! This is a BIG reminder to everyone who is onboarding employees to start the email acquisition process as soon as possible so people. A huge shout out to IT Kathy Eftekhari and IT for making this all happen! I'll work with Brent over the next two months as he settles in.
I'll do a combination of June summary and July adventures over the next few weeks.
June 29 was the magical day for Advisors Jim Downer, Cindy Fake, John Harper, Craig Kallsen, Rachael Long, Brian Marsh, Fe Moncloa, and Marisa Neelon. We congratulate them on Emeritus title, wish them well in retirement and look forward to seeing them working on their emeritus workplan beginning August 1 as they finish up projects. Combined these colleagues shared over 200 years of service. Simultaneously, Specialists Alan Mchughen (housed at UCR) and Specialists Loren Oki, Stephen Kaffka, Elizabeth Mitcham, and Dan Putnam (housed at UCD) retired with 143 years of combined service. Their impacts will be realized for decades to come! Meanwhile, July 3rd marked 50 years of service (fifty, it is not a typo) for David Zilberman, Professor, Robinson Chair and CE Specialist at UCB. Congratulations one and all on incredible accomplishments and milestones!
As our academics know, the merit and promotion season ended in June. There were 68 dossiers. A huge thank you to the members of the PRC, Ad Hoc committees, and Personnel Committee for their thoughtful analyses of each dossier. This remarkable group of academics makes the process run. Thank you, Steven Worker who worked with Vice Provost Obrist, in managing the process and to Michelle Leinfelder-Miles for her leadership with the Personnel Committee. We have a remarkable group of academics who dedicate time to make this happen. A special congratulations and thank you to Daniel Obrist who championed his first merit and promotion cycle and Vanya Woodward who gathered the many letters of evaluation from external evaluators. My takeaway from reading 68 dossiers: we have impactful work occurring statewide! It's impressive. A few suggestions to all academics: 1) take time to read the eBook long before you start assembling your dossier; 2) attend trainings regularly during your first 6 years as your responsibilities in the first three terms change; 3) prepare your dossier in advance to request input from peers and your CD; and 4) view dossier preparation to reflect on your work. Since academics are proud of their work it stands to reason time is invested to assemble a fabulous dossier to share.
By now academics and their supervisors are aware the deadline for Project Board and merit and promotion dossier is December 8. We've moved the date for two reasons. First, the Federal Report is due earlier, so we had to move the Project Board deadline. December 8 is now the deadline for everyone (campus and ANR). Program Planning and Evaluation needs sufficient time to harvest information out of Project Board for our Federal Report. Second, the compressed time frame for merit and promotion dossier reviews is unreasonable. Ask anyone who is on the Peer Review Committee, and they'll let you know. My suggestion was November 1. In a compromise we went with December 8. This due date can be tried for a year or more. In a few years, this date may need to move to November 1 with all our extra academics. You can expect trainings to come earlier. Stay tuned for additional information.
Last week Vice Provost Daniel Obrist and I spent a few hours with Anna Lee and Steven Worker to run through discussions related to PRC activities. Before we know it, it'll be time for our debrief in August.
I am so impressed with the scholarship, scholarly activities, ideation, and general superb work that is done throughout ANR. We have great work that makes a difference to Californians daily.
Saturday was the State 4-H Field Day and Fashion Review at Wellman Hall on the UC Davis campus. I took a break from writing merit and promotion decisions and comments to drop over. The 4-H members, leaders and support teams were in full force. Club members were in their uniforms doing presentations. Although I missed some of the events, I was able to see the great skills members gain. Presentations take organization and courage. For some, presenting to a group of people requires bravery. Everyone was happy to be back to in-person events. And it was a beautiful day! Ryan Cleland, Gemma Miner, and Carolyn Warne were busy answering questions and helping people at the ANR table. Countless others were engaged in making the event happen. Kate Lynn Sutherland (Program Support Unit) was a volunteer wrangling sound equipment proving that 4-H youth give back to their community. Way to go Kate Lynn! The day was complete when I ran into a friend who is a volunteer leader in Hilmar. It's a small world!
Congratulations to Placer/Nevada Master Gardeners who rocked the house on giving day! This awesome group of volunteers certainly cultivated donors well to be responsible for many donations. You set an example for others to reach. Well done!
Last week was filled with evaluations, analyses and planning to move construction projects forward on three of our Research and Extension Centers (REC). On Monday,Darren Haver, Annemiek Schilder, Adam Novicki and I spent hours working through important conversations about the move from Falkner Farms to the new location. There is much planning to do and great opportunities for our future. Although every move has its disruptions, I can't wait to see the exciting new projects that will happen to address ANR program areas in Ventura County. Tuesday, at South Coast REC Darren and I worked with Chris Martinez (Center Superintendent), Adolfo Limon, Brian Krall, Brian Oatman, Jennifer Bunge, and Maru Fernandez with the ICAMP project lists (integrated capital asset management program). Items on the list are assets whose previous condition assessment fared poorly; repairs needed or falling apart. It's important to physically take the list to the locations and go through them line by line. We do not want to invest in a project that was either already completed or no longer existed. Then we braved traffic and headed southeast to Desert REC. Wednesday started early in an attempt and avoid the heat of the day. Jairo Diaz (Director) and Gilberto Magallon (Center Superintendent) hosted us as we looked at irrigation pumps/reservoirs, buildings, the feed mill, metabolism room and numerous other buildings.
Elizabeth Moon, Director of Workplace Inclusion and Belonging joined us on our journey. She was able to meet with County and ANR members at both locations and gain an appreciation for the depth and breadth of work we do. It's one thing to look at our websites. It's very different when you walk around and see, touch, smell, feel the work we do. Master Food Preservers were working on a project at SCREC. Turns out there wasn't enough liquid in what they were making so the recipe needed a modification. Everyone huddled around to figure it out. We didn't stay long enough to see their final products. I'm sure it was successful!
Academics know this is the time of year when the peer review process winds down. A HUGE SHOUT OUT of gratitude to colleagues who put in countless hours on the Peer Review Committee. The comments I've seen thus far are thorough, thoughtful, and professional. A big THANK YOU to Stephen Worker, Daniel Obrist and Anna Lee who worked made the process go as smoothly as possible. Since it's not quite done yet, there is more heavy lifting with final decision letters, updating UC Path and providing results to all applicants. I remain busy re-reading dossiers and all supporting letters while writing and refining final letters. My recommendation to all-- READ and FOLLOW the eBook guidelines. Although it may be easier for the academic to include all kinds of information in tables and lists that is outside of the review period, it leaves a poor impression on the individual reading the materials.