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 appreciated the extra day this weekend to catch up on all sorts of things. Labor Day weekend is always bittersweet though because it means the end of summer – that 'slower' time of year. I won't miss the triple-digit temperatures, but I will miss the pool season. This year, it was troubling to learn about the tragedies in the chartered boat off the coast of Ventura County and the devastation caused by hurricane Dorian.
Last week training sessions were held to prepare academics for the 2020 merit and promotion process. It seems hard to believe it is time to think about it already. Committees (Peer Review Committee and the Academic Assembly Council Personnel Committee) are finalizing recommended changes to the e-book. I know the Personnel Committee meets next week; perhaps the PRC meets sometime next week as well. The goal is to clarify expectations and provide suggestions that result in a less time-consuming process. There won't be a complete overhaul of the e-book, as expectations haven't changed, but anything that helps make assembling the packages easier is worth an effort.
The Vice President's Council and the Deans Council met last week as well. While it wasn't long ago, I'm already struggling to remember what the primary topics of discussion were. The Deans Council focused on preparations for next week's Governing Council meeting. The Governing Council meeting will focus on providing the Council with a detailed understanding of UC ANR's budget, including the use of AES funds (state and federal) by the three AES campuses.
Program Council meets in Riverside this week. The agenda includes time to celebrate Georgios Vidalakis' naming as the Citrus Endowed Researcher and a tour of the Citrus Clonal Protection facility. Also, we will visit the News and Outreach in Spanish team. On Thursday, a few of us will meet with the CE Specialists at UC Riverside before heading back north. During Program Council, we'll discuss what to do about the 2020 Position Call Process and brainstorm ideas to find new revenue streams. Strategic Initiative Leaders will talk strategize ways to improve how we get information distributed throughout the Division in timely and accurate methods.
I had a chance to visit with the UCCE San Diego office last week. We met for about an hour and a half and just talked. Ideally, I would be able to do this regularly with all offices. The challenge, of course, is in finding the time to make the trip. The fall travel season seems to start next weekend. However, I'm open to an invitation from any county office interested in looking at options. Often, the round-the-table discussion is most useful for communication.
I mentioned that I am getting ready to go on vacation. Because of my pending absence, my calendar is packed this week and I have many things that must be completed well before the business day starts or long into the evening. But, there's an opportunity in this in that if the pace keeps up, I am guaranteed good sleep on my flight to vacationland.
During Program Council this week we spent much of our time discussing our vision of community and how reimagining community could better position us to have a positive impact on every Californian. The topic is uncomfortable at times however, I find it energizing when I view the conversation through the lens of incredible ‘opportunity' rather than the lens of ‘giving something up'. Members of PC helped me stay focused on the opportunity and recognize that we can choose to be an agile organization because we have amazing, talented people everywhere throughout the division. These people, all of us, can choose to be agile. Imagine the possibilities if we all chose to see the opportunity and pivot in a direction that guides to greater impact – the results would be truly remarkable! The conversation left me tired, but that, too, contributes to my opportunity for good sleep later this week.
The conversations reminded me of a TED talk I had listened to some time ago. The speaker said, “If you get the environment right, every one of us has the capacity to achieve remarkable things”. I completely buy into this idea, particularly after 3 years of getting to know the people that are UC ANR. The speaker went on to talk about the elements that get an organization or a marine troop past the danger: trust and cooperation. At one point in the PC discussion we questioned ‘how do we make this happen' and, not surprisingly, that's where we get a bit stuck. Building trust has its own set of challenges and efforts needed. Cooperation is a different story; we often cooperate on projects but that cooperation is contingent on a shared vision or goals. In a large organization with many moving parts and layers upon layers of complexity, while (I hope) we all want to achieve that big goal of improving life for every Californian, I suspect it is difficult for everyone to see the picture from the same angle. As a result, like a hologram, people see very different things making even what one considers ‘danger' inconsistent. I need to think more about this.
Two busy days to go this week but already I have been 1) challenged by something, and 2) learned something. Now I need to focus on 3) helping someone in order to complete my checklist. Surely there's an opportunity somewhere. Perhaps at Open Office that starts in 20 minutes.
We had a good conversation during Tuesday's Academic Assembly Council. There was a long list of topics, but we were able to work through the list in the 2 hours we had. Honestly, we could have spent far more time on issues such as expectations of the different academic ranks, future hiring of academics, the importance and challenge of everyone hearing the same message across a large, dispersed organization, the merit and promotion process and time it takes to conduct the process each year, and feedback from across the academic assembly.
Program Council met at the Hopland REC, beginning Tuesday evening for dinner. Wednesday included an overview of the REC, a small slice of the vital work conducted there over the years, and a look at the plans, including opportunities that have resulted from the devastation of the fire. John did a great job with the presentation. We took a walking tour of the lower area of the REC which was very popular with participants. Program Council did have work to do; we spent time talking about what members saw as opportunities for the RECs.
Following Program Council, we headed to Lake County to have dinner with Rachel and Glenn. Thursday started with a good discussion in Lake County. I was surprised, in a good way, to learn that the local Tribal Health has doctors who prescribe Master Gardener classes as part of the diabetes prevention program. That's a powerful statement about the contribution of UC ANR programs to overall health and an excellent justification for working with counties to find support for our programs through Prop 63 funds that are grounded in improving mental health. We learned about how vital UC ANR programs are to a County of 65,000 people with little infrastructure and staggering statistics about the health and well-being of the County residents. UC ANR accomplishes its work through key partnerships. It was a story we had heard before, in other counties across the state.
We went on to Glenn County and learned about the great things going on there; we met a farm family that benefits from some of the work of UC ANR CE Advisors. Now we have a team of Community Educators to advance similar work. There is significant research going on in Glenn County that helps farmers and families, alike, address business and personal challenges.
During the week we learned of the Governor's new budget. UCOP remains flat. It is difficult to hear the news, given the evidence of how vital our work is to the people of California. We need to continue to share our stories, gathering more of them with more concrete impact data. While I am disappointed in the budget outcome, we are by no means defeated. Tomorrow starts another week with its own set of setbacks that don't even come close to competing with all of the successes./span>
My allergies are controlling me, again. I don't have any travel over the next 2 weeks so no reprieve in the short term. At least the heavy lift of yard work is done for a bit. And, I am down to 6 dossiers remaining for first review. I hope to knock out 1 or 2 of those today.
In the meantime, I've finished a project I had worked on for a while. As I've mentioned before, it would be an exaggeration to say that I enjoyed the project. But truth be told, given the outcome, I suspect I will undertake such a project again. Had the outcome not justified the means, I would not but, in this case, the toil was worthwhile. The process was new to me, contributing to both the excitement of a challenge and the frustration over having to read the instructions, repeatedly. However, the challenge wasn't difficult; it was time-consuming and new. The process took some getting used to, but what ‘new process' doesn't? At times, it seemed that this new process was wasteful but when I measured the actual waste, it turned out to be quite low. I guess things that appear to be destined to fail may, in fact, work out okay in the end provided you follow the directions and see things through to the end. Anyway, now I am on to a new project that requires more creativity with no instructions. We'll see how it turns out.
Yesterday was all about the budget. Glenda, Tu, Jan and I met for a few hours to put final touches on our annual presentation to the President then strategize about goals and how best to achieve them. Later, Jennifer joined us to review a limited number of budget requests. Of course, without knowing anything definitive about our FY19/20 budget, no final decisions could be made. The realist in me can't overlook the fact that public education, in general, needs to become increasingly creative in how it finds funding going forward; just following last year's directions doesn't suffice. Regardless of where we sit in the OP budget today, and what conversations are going on around the state, the reality is that UC ANR can't maintain all that it has had in the past if it relies on state and federal funding sources to be the provider. That's not to say that we don't seek as much as we can from those sources; just that the funds don't have the purchasing power they once did.
Tomorrow I have a chance to visit with the Academic Assembly Council before heading off to Program Council that will be held at the Hopland REC. This might be the first time I have visited Hopland when it wasn't raining! Weather aside, it is always nice to see John, Hannah, and the Hopland team.