- Author: Wendy Powers
If someone had told me even ten years ago that I would be watching a Governor's budget release as closely as I did on Friday, I would have thought they were crazy. But, that's precisely what I did, in between other meetings. I wasn't alone, either. The anticipation of waiting to see how our budget turns out for this upcoming fiscal year caused a number of us in ANR to listen to the unveiling of the budget while we multitasked, as were I suspect many across the UC system. You just never know where you will end up and how that changes your day-to-day work. So far, there seems to be some recognition that you can't indefinitely continue to do the same with less.
Over the weekend, Pam forwarded a Tweet from Camille von Kaenel (@conka) that said, “From the journalist perspective, extension advisors are golden sources for local environment, agriculture, and climate change articles.” Thanks, Camille! And, thanks to all who make that statement real! Let's hope many feel as Camille does, and we see even further support for our budget that allows for program expansion!
I met with the University Committee on Research and Policy (UCORP) on Monday, hoping to enhance their understanding of UC ANR and recognition that we can all achieve more by working collaboratively and pooling resources. The call was very positive, and I believe the members of UCORP would like to help their campuses better understand how they can work with UC ANR and benefit from that relationship. We talked about campuses perhaps ‘adopting a UCCE office' as a way of building a relationship, sort of Sister Cities. At least a couple of the members liked that concept, so perhaps, if there are UCCE offices also interested, the idea may grow into a pilot in a few locations.
The Peer Review Committee and the Ad Hoc Committees met Monday to review the logistics of their 2020 assignment. Both Pam Tice and Linda Manton didn't miss a beat in the preparations to serve as support and chair, respectively, despite a few years passing since they were full-time in UC ANR.
I am looking forward to attending a few of the Water Program Team webinars on California Water Challenges. I would anticipate strong attendance given that we seem to be a bit short of rain this year (compared to 2019). I love the idea of regular webinars as a means of providing education and conversation! Thanks to the Water Program Team for taking leadership on this effort. Take a look at the Learning and Development page for more information on this series and other opportunities.
The UC-CORO leadership program 2020 cohort starts this week. Although I nominated a few individuals for the program, I am uncertain who from UC ANR is participating this year. I will have a chance to meet with the Northern cohort on Tuesday which will alleviate the mystery for that group, but I will have to wait for an update about the Southern cohort group. It is always fun to hear from participants how they benefited from the program and what project their cohort took on during the program. I will have to wait and see.
- Author: Wendy Powers
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.