4-H week ended on a high note. I received the photo, below, from Steven Worker. Notice the enrollment statistics for the program with overall growth by 141% and a 290% increase in Latino youth enrollment over the previous year! Congratulations, Sonoma County UCCE! Steven is noticeably absent from the photo; he must have been running the camera. Seeing Diego in the picture reminded me of my visit to the 4-H program in Sonoma County, where the youth were learning about the four forces of flight. It's no wonder the program is growing when you learn things like that.
I received an article last week claiming victory for Fresno County as the top ag producing county in the U.S. Congratulations, Fresno County! Kern closely followed Fresno County, then Tulare Counties, so a shout out to them as well. The article quoted the Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO as pointing out that almost all of the top 10 agricultural counties are in California. The rankings may be no surprise to us, but it is nice to know others across the country hear the news.
Last week the VP Council (Vice President's Council) met. This Council is made up of the statewide program and institute directors, business unit directors, vice provosts, and the associate vice presidents. The group meets quarterly to talk about issues of importance to the division. Last week, much of the meeting was about the results from the recent Staff Engagement Survey and moving forward to address some of the findings. The report is long, and in addition to positive outcomes, there is always room for improvement.
Kamal Khaira attended the VP Council meeting, just back from a trip to Bora Bora. I have to admit that I am a bit jealous. I lose track of time, but it's hard to believe that Kamal has been leading the UC CalFresh program for just over a year now. If you haven't had a chance to meet Kamal, take a look at the new UC Davis alumni feature and learn more about her background and what drives her. Then, be sure to find the time to connect with Kamal. Be sure to read the ‘Making A Difference' story on page 18, too. It is truly inspiring.
Later today, I head down to San Diego for the Western Region Administrative Officers Meeting. I don't usually attend this meeting. However, California is hosting the conference this year. I have a chance to welcome the group and thank them. The administrative officers and their teams provide tremendous support to the programs of UC ANR and its equivalents around the region.
It is a short week for me. I am taking Friday off as part of a long weekend to celebrate a milestone wedding anniversary. It will be far from a trip to Bora Bora but still better than the honeymoon, where we spent the night at a hotel near campus. The next morning we fed my anaerobic digesters before heading back to say farewell to out-of-town family and friends. Yep, we've come a long way.
Twice in the last week, someone has raised to me that I should be more active on social media. I have all the classic excuses: 1) no time, 2) don't want to be tied to my phone that much, 3) a Luddite-in-training (maybe a Neo-Luddist), 4) can't decide which platform, 5) can't be constrained to 60 characters, 6) nothing exciting to say, 7) don't like the idea of being followed, 8) I am better suited as a lurker. I wonder how long I can get by using those excuses. I may need to take some lessons from a few of the gurus, like Rose Hayden-Smith, Faith Kearns, and, of course, the Strategic Communications team. But, you know I don't like homework (very low on the Fun Scale).
If you are an Instagram user, be sure to follow Laura Snell and Dustin Blakey. They post incredible photos – clearly the benefit of living in some of the more remote areas of California. Dustin recently posted a fantastic night sky of Volcanic Tablelands #volcanictablelands. Rob Bennaton sent me a photo of a few of the Contra Costa 4-Hers meeting with their Board of Supervisors (thanks Rob!) in celebration of National 4-H Week. What an exciting day for the youth! The Board learned a bit about the program and the positive impacts the program has on youth, thanks to the 1-pager that Charles Go put together.
Fun Facts (compliments of Charles Go)
- 4-H youth are 3.5 times more likely to contribute to their communities
- 89% of 4-H youth indicate that they think about how their choices affect others
- 4-H youth are two times more likely to go to college
- 83% of 4-H youth are comfortable being a leader
- In Contra Costa County, 4-H youth participated in 229 projects ranging from cows to computers, public speaking, and financial management
- 262 adults serve as volunteers in Contra Costa County, and there are over 200 Junior and teen leaders
I haven't been out visiting counties lately (invitations welcome), so I appreciate the photo and facts. They are a nice departure from my odor facts.
Today was a full day meeting of Glenda, Tu, Kathy, and myself to talk about items that have been awaiting our decision as well as do some planning. You would think with all of the meetings we have, we wouldn't need an additional meeting, but opportunities are rare to focus on topics and plan or project, versus react. Everyone is swamped with meetings.
I became so engrossed in having a few hours of unscheduled time the other day that I ended up missing a meeting. I'm not sure when that popped up on my calendar, obviously sometime after I had last checked. The upside is that I did get a few things checked off my list. I'm still working on a presentation, but knowing I don't have to finish it until Sunday, I am likely to continue procrastinating.
Last week the strategic planning team for the communications units (Publications and Strategic Communications) met for the first time. As an ice-breaker, Nilofar asked each participant to share what they like most about autumn. Nothing too surprising emerged. The surprise for me was that its autumn and, 90° F today.
No surprise then that the Development Services team is gearing up for Giving Tuesday. Given the importance of the UC ANR work all across the state, I'm hopeful that many of our supporters will turn out. During Lorna's update to Program Council last week, we learned that giving to UC ANR was up 8% this past fiscal year compared to the previous year. Across the U.S., donations were up only 1.5%. Another 8% increase this year would be nice.
Since moving to California, fall equates to fire danger, and it seems that this will be a particularly windy week. Brian Oatman and his team have sent out PG&E power outage warnings, and there's a fire burning in Napa. Not the type of 'treat' anyone wants, especially the many still recovering from wildfires over the past couple of years.
I met with the UC Davis Specialists Advisory Committee today. The Dean's office has a door wrapped in brown paper with a question on it “What do you like most about fall?'. The responses written across the door were similar to those provided by the strategic planning team – intense colors, favorable temperatures, holidays, and food. While there were no surprises in the responses, it was a pleasant surprise to see Amanda Crump at the meeting. It sounds like her graduate class to teach students about Extension is going well. She mentioned that the students represent all program areas. I found it very encouraging that her enrollment has been strong. I attended the meeting to pitch an idea and gather feedback. It sounds like the idea won't work out as I had thought but a different approach may be feasible. I need to keep thinking (ideating) on it.
This week is light on meetings. I should have time to review e-book changes, develop a presentation for next week, and review of a staffing plan proposal. My Program Council homework is complete. The way the days fly by, the next meeting will be here before I know it.
A couple of weeks back, I had a chance to see the Hispanic Heritage Month video that featured DREC director, Jairo Diaz. I meant to find other videos, but I lost track of the thought. Today I had a chance to see those videos featuring Fe Moncloa, Maria de la Fuente, and Aileen Carrasco –Trujillo. They were as inspiring as any TED talk I have heard lately. I highly recommend you take the 12 minutes to review the four videos. Each of the featured ANR team members talks about their values and what brought them to UC ANR. Immediately I thought how fun it would be for people throughout UC ANR to have a similar video on their ANR portal page. Then I remembered that JoLynn Miller is working on something just like this for the County UCCE page (and that I owe her something). Perhaps this is a new trend.
Equally inspiring was a conversation I had with Devii Rao and Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty today. Devii is working on a vision for UCCE in San Benito County, to share with key County administration and perhaps a couple of Supervisors later this month. She has some great ideas, building off what peers have shared and her knowledge of what County needs and priorities are. I like the phased approach she is building and the connection to partners. I know Devii is putting much effort into this; hopefully, the prospects energize Devii.
Program Council produced some homework. For some reason I can't quite define, this month's meeting left me a bit tired. We spent a fair bit of time talking about needs across UC ANR (people, support) and how to prioritize and meet those needs. Lorna Krkich spoke to us about the nuts and bolts of working with the Development Services team (how, who's responsible for what, what are their goals, etc.). Jim Downing and Linda Forbes met with Program Council to talk about their strategic plan development for both the Publications unit and the Strategic Communications Unit. Jon Wilson joined them to talk about the vision for a much-needed overhaul of the web presence (Integrated Web Project). The Council welcomed the presentations as nice breaks from other topics.
Not unlike most weeks, it has been a 'learning week.' I am looking forward to the rest of the week.
I didn't get as much done las week as I had hoped. I had planned to find some time during the conference to sneak away and check some items off my 'to-do list.' I couldn't find a session I could or wanted to miss. Weather in Houston delayed my return on Friday but, I was able to get some things done in the airport. Then I spent Friday night in the ER with a family member. So much for getting up early on Saturday. Somehow things worked out, and I'm not too far behind where I had hoped to be on tasks. Funny how that goes.
While in the ER, I recalled the story that one of the presenters, Kathryn Segovia, told us on Tuesday, a story about Doug Deets. I recommend you look into his TED talk. Much of Tuesday' meeting last week revolved around Design Thinking. The presenter, Kathryn Segovia, a former 4-Her from Nebraska, is a faculty member at Stanford. While the day was much like a day we spent two years ago when we worked with the Adobe Kickbox and talked about Ideation, Kathryn's interpretation of Design Thinking has an added component of empathy. Doug Deets discusses how the addition of empathy in his creative process improved the success of his design.
This week is Program Council week. We will review the nominations for the two open at-large positions on Program Council. I haven't seen the list yet. I hope several people have indicated interest, but given the time commitment that Program Council requires it is understandable if few can make the time. Friday is the monthly call with County Directors and REC Directors. It's good to be out of airports for a couple of weeks.
On Tuesday, Mohammad Safeeq starts as a CE Specialist in Water and Watershed Sciences Specialist at UC Merced. Please join me in welcoming Dr. Safeeq.
It sounds like things are going well so far with UC Path. The Beehive Team has worked hard to make sure things go smoothly. They have spent many hours preparing for this week, designing the system and thinking through any problems that might arise. Please be sure to thank them for their efforts.