Last week I visited the last of the counties, at least for my ‘initial' visit. It took a bit longer than I had hoped but California is a big state and things always seem to crop up on my calendar. Then there's a list of ‘standing meetings' like Program Council, VP Council, REC calls, CD calls, Executive Council not to mention staff meetings in 2 offices, Core Leadership, Senior Leadership, Ethics and Compliance meetings. So when I realized this morning that I have no open days in November and very few in December I really shouldn't be surprised. Even some of the UCOP holidays seem to get booked over (Veterans Day, for example).
Also of no surprise is the comment I've heard all around the state that our visits are a rare opportunity for all of the county team to come together and learn about the programs and accomplishments of their peers. I suspect that was the case for the Yolo, Solano, Sacramento group we met with last Thursday as well as the Placer-Nevada team that we saw on Friday. I heard from many that peer networking was one of the highlights of the 2018 statewide conference as well; an opportunity to see each other in an environment that had both structured and unstructured time. Time, maybe more so than funds, is what prevents all of us from connecting more. Everyone is running in many different directions in order to contribute to the greatest extent possible.
Contribution by UC ANR has also been a regular theme of my conversations around the state. In Placer-Nevada I learned that, in part due to the work of the team:
- 86% of orchard growers now mulch their orchards (up from 18% in 2005)
- 90% of orchard growers now prune
- 90% of the repeat business training participants are profitable compared to only 24.8% of respondents to the 2012 Ag Census,
- UCCE has an economic multiplier effect of 1.86 and helps contribute to the 29.2 jobs produced for every $1 mill in ag production
The first two bullet points, above, contribute to the change in conditions that are conveyed in the last two bullet points. So how does one gather the information to document change in practices/behaviors? These questions came up during our visit to the Capitol Corridor team as well as during visits with other areas of the state. Cindy can share how she collected the data, above. For similar programs, periodic survey data to growers or grower groups, or even observation by a CE Advisor may work when the grower group is small. Gathering data from CCAs, PCAs or a commodity organization are another means of gathering data. Note that the change in behaviors for mulching reflect a 13-year timespan, suggesting that one doesn't want to collect data monthly or even quarterly. In this case, there was likely research that took place over years to document effectiveness followed by communication (meetings, newsletters, blogs, one-on-one consultations) to promote adoption. That all, collectively, and with likely additional influences (price of mulch, availability of mulch, testimonials from grower colleagues, etc.) has resulted in behavior change. Likely, the science supports use of mulch as a strategy to reduce input costs, improving overall profitability. If the grower also participates in the business training classes, they are even more likely to be profitable (class surveys compared to Ag Census data) and result in more jobs to stimulate the local economy.
As we discussed in Woodland, I think there would be real value to having a chance to have unstructured time to brainstorm how we document our contribution to improved conditions. And then there's the added benefit of that chance to just network.
My civic duty is over. Now it's time to really focus on reviewing merit and promotion documents. With less than 50 days left between now and when I need to have them completed, I have 92 left to review. The math is simple enough so it is just a matter of actually reading 1 to 2 per night followed by reviewing all of the other feedback provided from supervisors, peers/colleagues, and the peer review committee, then writing up my own evaluation document. So far I have 0 complete. On the upside, only 92 more to go.
I have no idea where time is going. I actually started to write this blog on Monday and now it's Thursday. I still have 92 dossiers to review. But in between we've had:
- Program Council which was just a quick call on Tuesday afternoon to more or less check in with few meaty agenda items,
- A really productive meeting with the SI Leaders that covered topics ranging from strategies to increase the number of UC Delivers submissions,
- A call on Monday afternoon with the Task Force on Agriculture and Natural Resources ( a committee of the Academic Senate) where the focus of the conversation was the committee's interest in ANR making itself better known and accessible to all 10 campuses,
- Some administrative things, including the staff evaluation process in both Davis and Oakland (2 different systems so that makes it interesting and a bit of a challenge to keep straight),
- Personnel-related topics that could be any number of things,
- A continuing discussion with CDFA about a potential partnering opportunity that is making headway,
- A couple of meetings and work related to quantifying and conveying progress in our strategic plan, which is relevant to our upcoming annual review meeting with President Napolitano,
- A meeting to talk about the Public Value Statements and next steps,
- And an extended meeting of the executive leadership group to think strategically, which ended up being as much about fires as it did long-term positioning (a reflection of everyone having piles of work in front of us, making it hard to see over the pile)
And now it's Thursday with a whole day of opportunity ahead of me. Mark B., Mark L. and I have a call scheduled mid-morning to talk about the Vice Provost – Academic Personnel and Development position. While I don't have the committee report yet, I want to get their thoughts about the candidate, the position and how it fits into other internal and external factors, including budget and the President's pending decisions about reorganizing UCOP. Regardless of the outcome, the commitment to outstanding personnel development and service remains. Similarly, regardless of the reorganization outcome, the commitment to the mission and the amazing work of ANR remains. There is great comfort in knowing that we will continue to improve the lives of Californians and challenge ourselves to achieve stronger outcomes with greater impact.
Mark L. is packing up in Nebraska today and heading west on Monday. He doesn't start until June 1 but he's already got a number of things on his calendar (meetings, field days) for May. I don't envy him these next couple of weeks. The movers were in Michigan late May 2017 but it seems like that was forever ago and I'm glad to have only a distant memory of the hassle. So glad to be ‘settled' and a part of ANR. Soon, even jury duty will be a distant memory.
The new Public Value Statements (PVS) have been posted. While I certainly wouldn't state that these are ‘forever final' they are what we are going to work with for the foreseeable future. This version is markedly improved over the first draft, which were an impressive product given the timeframe provided to develop (a single 2-day meeting with no follow-up editing) and the fact that this was the first time leaders across the division were asked to come together and craft a set of PVS that reflected the breadth of ANR. If you think about it, that first draft was really a remarkable accomplishment! The most recent version of statements are a reflection of considerably more time to contemplate the draft statements, followed by several rounds of editing. The process as a whole resembles an ‘ideation' activity whereby the original brainstorms are improved upon in an iterative process. Had we been committed to the original draft statements, and unwilling to change, we would have missed the opportunity to use these improved upon statements.
When I think about change I am often drawn back to a conversation with a sibling and Bank of America's business model that embraces change. But it's not just Bank of America that seeks change as a key element of continuous improvement. Should you happen to be on a Southwest flight over the next week, take a look at the current issue of the magazine and see how the concept is embodied in the philosophy of Google as well. Heidi Zak's husband, a former Google employee, reflects that "this is how Google works. It's all about change; they're constantly changing the way they work because it creates room to innovate". A colleague sent this to me yesterday. As difficult as change can be, it's heartening to see that it can be effective (as well as a bit scary!).
The value of the PVS extend beyond the intended goal of helping us see how we can focus our efforts by spending time where we can derive the greatest impact. When Nancy Franz joins us in June for the WebANR, she plans to share with us success stories of how PVS have been used in Extension, to help us all better understand the opportunities before us now that we have 7 remarkable ‘elevator pitches' to share with those who don't really know the work and impacts of ANR. Our listeners might include ourselves (those of us who haven't had the chance to really get to know all of the work of ANR because we are so busy with our own work), prospective ANR colleagues, potential partners and allies in our efforts, and supporters who share our values and goals.
I think we are on the edge of something that is more powerful than any one of us could have imagined. So take a look at the PVS and find your own story in them. In the near term, we'll be sharing how the PVS connect to the 24 condition changes. Academics have provided feedback how their work connects to the condition changes and we know that programmatic staff connect to them as well. We're working to close the loop and determine how best to capture staff and academic impacts that move the needle on the condition changes.
Thanks to all for the contributions and feedback!
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!
Here we are to Thursday and this is my first post for the week. I continue to work my way through reviewing the merit and promotion packages – some really good stuff in the dossiers! We seem to have a large number of last names beginning with ‘D','M', and ‘S'. Not as many ‘R's' as I would have expected. While the reviews seem to take, on average, about 60 min each it's a great way for me to learn what everyone is doing. I still have a goal of getting to every county office at least once every other year, but, until I make my way around the state at least once, these dossiers are helping me get to know everyone. Though truth be told, I really thought I would be more familiar with everyone's work and know the name and program area of every advisor by now. When I left high school, knowing at least the name and something about all 750 of my classmates, I assumed I would do the same at Cornell. I'd say I eventually knew everyone in my major but perhaps my goal of knowing everyone in my graduating class was a bit ambitious. And perhaps my current goals are a bit ambitious, but given the importance of individuals to UC ANR, I'd say it's a worthy aspiration. So if I haven't been to your county yet, please give Kathryn Stein a call and she will work on arranging a visit to you and some neighboring counties. Scheduling fall visits to the campuses is underway right now so it's a good time to fill the calendar.
Next week is my 1 year anniversary! Despite DMV's best efforts I do now have a CA driver's license and am now eligible for all the benefits of living in California. My anniversary falls on the same day as the Town Hall webinar to update everyone on plans and processes for Goal 5 of the strategic plan:
- Tuesday, June 20, 2017, from 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
- Join by Zoom at https://ucanr.zoom.us/j/369866693
- Join audio by phone at +1 408 638 0968 | Meeting ID: 369 866 693
Following, there will be a series of information sessions held around the state. These meetings aren't just for academics – everyone is encouraged to attend but please register so there is an accurate head count and sufficient chairs. The webinar next week will be just an hour long with very brief Q&A. The information sessions, however, will include open conversation time after lunch with Mark Bell and I. As busy as summer is, I hope we have a good turn out and insightful conversation at the information sessions.
We will share the Public Value Statements in their current form during the information sessions. But here's a preview. Note I have done some minor wordsmithing from what the groups actually developed, not changing intent but phrasing them consistently. We will work on these more at the workshop in late August for program team, strategic initiative, institute, and statewide program leaders.
UC ANR Public Value Statements – as of June 15, 2017
- UC ANR helps enable Californians to pride themselves on a culture of innovation and willingness to adapt
- UC ANR contributes to sufficient, safe, healthy food for all Californians
- UC ANR Contributes to safe and healthy environments
- UC ANR develops a qualified workforce for California
- UC ANR ensures a safe and healthy California for all people and communities
- UC ANR helps meet California's climate goals and build communities resilient to extreme weather
- UC ANR contributes to reduced racial and ethnic inequality