We wrapped up the Information Sessions on Friday. Mark stayed behind in San Diego to enjoy the weekend. Each session brought about different topics for discussion during the open session. One common theme was that of the need to retain current academic and staff employees as well as a need to increase the numbers of employees focused on program delivery.
This week I will be back in San Diego on Wednesday to talk with the local office about the challenges of reduced staffing. The UCCE San Diego team isn't alone in this challenge, but we need to do some planning and brainstorming. I don't expect there will be time for the zoo or the sunset unless there is a delay in my return flight.
I'm headed to Fresno Tuesday evening to attend a local meeting to discuss the 4-H program and brainstorm how best to fund program growth. Hopefully, the attendees bring good ideas to the conversation. That program is doing such important work. Recently, the County received a $62,000 grant to pilot Work-Based Mentoring with At-Risk/Foster Youth. Congratulations to Alena and the team for their efforts to make this happen!
We are identifying new funding models for positions across the division. Considerations include County or other partner support for program staff or academic positions, endowments for program staff or academic positions, and recharge for business and research positions. All options come with challenges. Status quo has its own set of challenges.
On our way from the Kearney session to the San Luis Obispo session, we stopped at the SunMaid grower store in Selma. We discovered flavored raisins. Who would have thought that raisins, a product that has stood on its own for decades, would need to reinvent itself to keep up with changing consumers? One of our traveling group commented that the expansion in the product line did not sit well with the industry. I suspect that will change if the marketing strategy proves successful.
Thursday the Vice President's Council meets followed by the Dean's Council. At some point, I will have to identify what preparations I need to do for those meetings, but for now, I will focus on now through Wednesday.
Regardless of whether or not the groundhog saw his shadow, budgets were due this week. The Resource Planning & Management team goes to great lengths to improve, streamline and clarify the process but even so there's a mad rush to get things in on time. Given what we are hearing about state and federal budgets, preparing the UC ANR unit budgets had unit directors not needing to spend much time dreaming about increasing budget requests but rather figuring out how to do more in a way that is cost-neutral, at best.
Fortunately, we have Zoom which really helps reduce travel and still provide more of a face-to-face experience than Skype or Adobe Connect ever did. Program Council used Zoom at the meeting earlier this month and for the topics covered and the time it saved those not in Davis, I think it was a great option, saving time and travel expense for most of the Program Council members. It's a sound step towards a goal of reducing travel expenditures.
The 2018 position call process is now open so between that and budget season as well as requests to fill positions off-cycle, recruiting for on-cycle positions, and restructuring administrative positions in a cost-neutral manner, I've been mentally summing up the cost to fill a vacancy. When you consider the cost to advertise, interview, relocate, and provide start up, it's staggering. Rough estimates suggest that Specialist positions need to be open for almost 2 years in order to accrue sufficient salary savings to put a new person in place; Advisor positions about 6 months assuming the positions are filled during the first recruitment. The difference is the startup package. I guess this explains why positions at most universities aren't open for recruitment until after a vacancy has occurred as opposed to a forthcoming, or planned, departure.
While that may seem like gloom and doom, I believe our numbers of academics are up over last quarter. I'm eagerly awaiting the numbers later this month and will share them as well as last quarter's. Because people come and go throughout the year, a snapshot isn't as useful as seeing changes quarterly. Hopefully it doesn't look like my fun curve but no doubt there are ups and downs.
The World Ag Expo is over for 2018! There was good traffic through the UC ANR tent for the period of time I was there. Surendra Dara (@calstrawberries) seemed to have a good-sized crowd. A few of us took a tour of the Vet Med Teaching and Research Center in Tulare today – incredible new facility there that Jeff Dahlberg and I guess had to cost $100 million and counting while it wraps up construction. Tomorrow I have an opportunity to meet with Kevin Day and his team that work out of Kings and Tulare Counties though a few have other commitments.
More travel next week so I'm looking forward to 3 nights at home where I don't have to wonder what plumber thought it was a good idea to install the shower head at a height of 5' 2”, be surprised to learn, first hand, that they do still sell cars without remote entry and clocks in them, fight with the car gadgets to figure out how to turn on the headlights.
Thanks so much to all of the Program Team Leaders and member, the Statewide Program Directors and the Strategic Initiative Leaders for the hard work they completed to review and improve upon our division-wide condition changes. The timeline was short; it's never long enough, the timing was poor; end of summer is not a good time to pull people together, and the work was a challenge; something new for UC ANR to do this at a division level, but they did a tremendous job and really stuck it out despite the challenges!
These groups have submitted their ideas for condition changes to be coded into Project Board. Katherine Webb-Martinez, Mark Bell and I have reviewed the recommendations and compared the proposed variations for the original 19 that were proposed by multiple groups as well as new condition changes that were recommended. The recommended changes were not drastically different from the original but changes were proposed and adopted with the final list is now a bit longer but still manageable. The next step is for a group of self-identified 12 (Program Team Leaders, SI Leaders, Statewide Program and Institute Directors) to work together and, using this new list plus the 2025 Strategic Vision, revise the Public Values Statements drafted back in May. I so appreciate those that have stepped up to continue this work process – not surprising given the commitment and leadership ingrained in so many across UC ANR!
I suspect this iterative process of drafting and revising is a bit frustrating for many but, as we use this information to convey the importance of your work to those who don't know us and we seek to find increased support for your work, it is important to put forth compelling Public Value Statements and be able to ‘bucket' our impacts so that the stories behind the condition changes are readily available to share with decision-makers, prospective funders, and each other. These benefits are above and beyond that which comes from aligning our work with the 2025 Strategic Vision in order to position ourselves to achieve the Vision and support our achievement with stories of how we have made a difference even to those who don't know us. So THANK YOU to all for the commitment to the process and the enthusiasm you've demonstrated for continuing excellence in UC ANR!
Along the lines of “identify the performance objectives and then determine the design” that I have talked about previously, I've been thinking about the upcoming 2018 Position Call. Program Council has discussed the process a few times and soon we will need to have that nailed down. Below are what I believe to be the key attributes of the ideal process
- Considers needs/gaps across the state and across program areas
- Engages clientele/stakeholders in the need identification process
- Seeks input from all UC ANR academics
- Builds recognition of needs across program areas through a collaborative process
- Results in decisions that reflect ‘hearing' academics, partners, stakeholders
- Makes it easy for Program Council (PC) to recognize high priority positions
What am I missing? Thanks in advance for your feedback!