The week has flown by. The fall is flying by. It's all good but hard to keep up. Others have made the same comment. I hope this isn't a sign of age.
Monday turned out to be one meeting after the next, but all good meetings. During the CE Specialist meeting at Davis, we had a chance to meet a few of the newest CE Specialists and say hello to others. That meeting always seems too short. My last meeting on Monday consisted of a Zoom call with, among a number of others, Shannon Horillo. It was nice to see her!
The Program Council schedule was full. We had a presentation from the chair of the SAREP program review committee, planning the process to review CE Advisor and CE Specialist needs at our next meeting, a more generic conversation about academic planning, and an update from Academic HR regarding emeritus status. I'm not sure how Katherine and Jennifer keep up with the conversation, but I'm counting on them to remind me what ‘to-dos' I left with from the meeting.
Oddly, today was a light day, as is tomorrow. I must be missing something. Likely it is a reflection of the fact that I haven't been out to visit any county offices or RECs lately. I am not short on things to edit or prepare so no doubt the day will pass quickly. Who knows, I may catch up on things before heading to a meeting that runs Saturday – Tuesday.
Congratulations to Jairo, Gilberto and the DREC crew! They survived an AAALAC review with apparently no actionable items. The final report isn't in yet, but things look promising. My lab in Michigan underwent an AAALAC inspection twice while I was there. Fortunately, I had an outstanding manager who kept the lab inspection-ready at all times.
Be sure to thank all of the veterans for their service that continues to keep us safe.
Wow – this week and next seem to be a mad rush to get everything done before the winter break. The result will be even greater need for a break that will only happen if I get everything done in time. Truth be told, the ‘break' is shaping up to be far more hectic than the norm so I will be glad to get back to work.
Today I met with the UC Davis Specialists and some of the AES faculty. It was great to hear what the Specialist Advisory Committee has been working on and hear a college update from Dean Dillard. The conversation throughout the meeting was positive despite the difficult nature of the topics (REC recharge rates, the recent outcome of the 2018 Position Call Process). Perhaps there is never gain without some pain. What really stuck with me was the statistic that Helene presented indicating that over 50 of the 67 UCD CE Specialists received an award in FY2017-2018! That is impressive! No wonder it is so easy to love the work of UC ANR. And no wonder UC Davis is top ranked in so many fields!
I spent some time over the weekend getting notes out to the last of the Ideation Workshop teams. I remain hopeful that most of the teams continue to develop their ideas. The teams had great ideas; my abbreviated summary of the ideas are below. Teams are open to additional membership and expertise. If you know someone who attended the workshop, be sure to ask the participant about the projects listed below. If any titles interest you, I would be happy to connect you to the teams for further discussion.
Synergists – Developing credit-based internship courses for UC students
Bond's Beach Party – Incentivizing and rewarding revenue generation by academics
Wolf Pack – Creating ANR stories to foster donor support
HAKZ Inc. – Building a food waste collaborative
Insight Out Explorers – Development of a platform for peer sharing of best practices to enhance fund development efforts
Zootopia – Fee-based adult learning opportunities as part of the UC ANR portfolio of offerings
Impact A-Team – Creating a Consumer's Report system for ag tech
A-Team – Developing a subscription service for online learning
Girl Party – Establishing scientists in residence within county-based Cooperative Extension
Flying Squirrels – Offering farm-to-dinner with a scientist events as a fundraising opportunity
ANR 3.0 – Expanding evaluation service offerings within UC ANR
Tomorrow I am visiting San Francisco and San Mateo County offices. Tomorrow will be my first time to visit the San Francisco space that we now rent a couple of days each week. Igor was successful in negotiating use of the space, and while it may seem a small step, it represents a door opening that could lead to an even stronger partnership and presence in San Francisco. Maggie Gunn attended the Ideation Workshop so I had a chance to meet her then but this visit will be my first chance to talk to her about her goals and challenges in her new position as 4-H Advisor and co-County Director. Given traffic, tomorrow promises to be a long, but exciting day.
This week I was fortunate to be invited to meet with the Positive Youth Development (PYD) Program Team and chat about the function of program teams. I heard what I have heard before; that is, there are too many meetings. What was perhaps different in this conversation was that the group had spent some time during the planning stage of the meeting developing an agenda that created value and purpose for the meeting. They held a poster session as a means of exchanging not only updates but ideas that might springboard into programming down the road. We all have too many meetings and the ones we would like to rid ourselves of are those we don't find value in. I applaud this group for seeking the value and I suspect that, as they continue down this path of really focusing on developing a valuable meeting, for some of them it might become one of the meetings they look forward to most.
As I write this it has me thinking about a lab meeting I held last week while I was in Michigan. I really couldn't spare the time and we've been meeting for the last year via Zoom just fine but because I was in town, we met in person which usually means a longer meeting. The nature of the meetings has certainly changed over the last year as we've been transitioning out of projects and into new careers. One of my grad students and a technician are each giving 5 minute poster presentations today at the Michigan Cattleman's summer tour. That same technician also had an interview yesterday for a new position. So last week's meeting focused on those items by having practice presentations and a mock interview. After 2 hours in the meeting I walked away thinking that was time very well spent. The content of the 5 minute presentations changed quite a bit and I think my technician was better prepared for the interview even if the questions we practiced weren't asked. We all gained from the experience, even the graduate student not presenting and not interviewing for this particular position. I gained from it as well because they are a reflection of my abilities and standards. I have no doubt the poster presentations will be a success (they are in a few hours) and I already heard yesterday from the chair of the search committee that my technician is the top candidate. We all got out of the meeting what we were willing to put into it.
Mark Bell and I met with the UC Berkeley CE Specialists on Wednesday. The weather was so much nicer than Davis this week! Among other things, the topic of program teams came up there as well. Jennifer Sowerine has obviously given this some thought as she articulated a role for program teams as: professional development, shared learning space, networking. She wasn't in attendance at the PYD meeting the day before but there are clearly some common themes emerging as these discussions take place. I suspect these functions may have been part of the thought process in developing the program team model. I also suspect that formation of program teams were the result of reduced funding available to fund work groups directly. That funding remains elusive so while there are opportunities for changes to the model and/or alignment of work groups under program teams, the resources to go back aren't buried somewhere just waiting to be dug up. We have to charge forward with what we have and optimize its use.
Vernard Lewis attended the CE Specialist meeting at UC Berkeley. He is winding down his official career but, like so many others, plans to remain engaged with UCB and UC ANR. Congratulations to everyone who is looking towards the next chapter! While it is easy for those remaining to get caught up in what we are losing, we are all so grateful for the contributions of our colleagues and friends and wish you the very best in the future. As I think about all my yet unopened boxes that the movers delivered my advice is to pack everything so as to not leave it for the next person but only move the memories; it will make unpacking so much easier.