Are jurors allowed to yell out ‘Objection'? I've wanted to say that so many times over the last couple of days. I'd like this whole process to move along at a faster pace. A few years ago I went through a training that built on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator by answering a series of questions, pre-training, that provided insight into how participants process information. During the training, we simulated a 1-hr meeting during a 1-min exercise. The first group spent less than 15 seconds (or less than 15 min of the 1-hr meeting) gathering data, proposing solutions, and preparing an action plan. The fourth group spent the entire meeting wanting to gather and discuss data, thus not getting to the point of discussing solutions or developing an action plan. I was in the third group, spending half the meeting gathering and interpreting data, a quarter of the meeting proposing solutions, and the final quarter of the meeting developing an action plan around the preferred solution. So I can only imagine how frustrated/bored those jurors that exhibit behaviors like those in the first two groups of the simulation are with this process.
I've heard great things about the personality type training that was conducted at the statewide conference. Perhaps this is one that we could offer again as a webinar. I'm hoping we are able to do that with the training that was provided on the topic of managing change. If you attended a training that you thought was exceptional and appropriate to be offered to all of ANR via a Zoom webinar, please let me know and we can see what we can accommodate. It's important to continue the conversations that were started at the conference. Webinar-based trainings and discussions throughout the year are one way to do that. Given the response to our keynote speaker that's another topic that might be worthy of further discussion. Remember, Dr. Antwi Akom has a TED talk that you might be interested in taking a look at.
Don't forget about the Third Thursday WebANR Cafes that start in May! It couldn't be any easier to remember – the same Zoom room each month and always the third Thursday of the month. I've marked my calendar without even knowing the topics. At only 30 to 35 minutes each, and over the noon hour, it's an easy investment of time to make, regardless of the topic. And for those months that are already booked on my calendar, I love the fact that I can go to the recording and get caught up on the conversation after the fact.
Looking forward to hearing your ideas. Time for me to go back to the juror box. At least I get Monday 'off' and can be back in the office for the day.
The conference was hectic. The INTJ in me came out when I went back to my room to grab my bag before checkout; a part of me just wanted to sit in the dark for a bit and process everything. But I didn't. Instead I attended a focus group to talk about program evaluation; sharing approaches and challenges. The group, approximately 12 persons, was comprised of people from across program areas including the nutrition programs, the small farms programs and 4 economists.
Earlier that day I stopped into a data party. If you saw anyone running around with birthday party hats on, that's likely where they had been. I had never been to such a thing. The focus was around the award- winning Youth Retention Study. During the party, participants took a gallery walk to review data and then they reviewed a data placemat. While there wasn't cake, there were streamers and party horns. Contact Kendra Lewis #kendramlewis for her experience with data parties; everyone was definitely having a great time!
A number of people stayed after the end of the conference to participate in the New Academic Cohort meeting. While a number of participants were close to 4 years with ANR, 2 had been with ANR for only 2 weeks. You can imagine, then, the variation in needs. But also apparent was the willingness of the 3 to 4 year employees to help their new colleague and provide tips related to documenting things that later go into ones PR and how to navigate things like travel reimbursement. We had good discussions about hiring staff and left with a list of topics for upcoming conversations and calls. John Fox, Katherine Webb-Martinez, Mark Bell and Katherine Jarvis-Shean put together a great afternoon. If you fit the ‘new academic' definition (4 years or less) and haven't yet been involved, give it a try.
I ended the week with a number of ideas that will make things better and/or easier for people across ANR. These are the low-hanging fruit. I will see what we can accomplish and how soon. I took much of the weekend off from ANR work and instead spent time in the garden. There's definitely a down side to owning a property with beautiful gardens. My allergies are glad to be back to work.
The hard part about taking time off is getting back into the ‘work' mindset. I'm not sure I am fully back yet. Of course, some argue that we should bring our Saturday selves to work on Monday so this may work out well. Either way, this week is primarily phone calls and meetings by phone. On Wednesday I visit the San Joaquin office, my home office! Then on Friday I head to the South Coast REC. And even next week I don't have any overnight travel.
Program Council has completed its work for the grants cycle. VP Humiston should announce her decision soon. Next week it's time for Program Council to meet again (already!). I need to start preparing for that meeting. And if anyone has suggested improvements for the position call process, please share by the end of this week. We will be discussing the process and reviewing suggestions at the meeting next week.
Thanks for the feedback on Dan Foley's TED talk that I mentioned previously. A keynote speaker for the April 2018 UC ANR Statewide Conference has not been finalized. A few weeks back, Glenda and I heard a talk by Regina Dugan, VP Engineering at Facebook. We agree that she was impressive – perhaps we can land her for the statewide conference. We would need to identify a topic. A couple of things VP Dugan said really stuck with me. One was that, by 2030, 80% of current jobs won't exist. That has me wondering whether or not we are thinking around the corner far enough to prepare our students, our clientele, and our organization to be successful and relevant? How will Cooperative Extension do business in 2030 and how do we prepare for that? VP Dugan was referring to robotics, advanced instrumentation, and artificial intelligence replacing human labor and while it isn't immediately obvious how that eliminates the need for discovery and research dissemination, no doubt there will be some impact on CE roles and responsibilities.
The other comment VP Dugan made in her talk was that the “risk of failure is the price we pay for the privilege of making something great”. I can only imagine the number of great things that haven't happened because someone was afraid of failure. The principle of risking failure in order to do something great ties back to the ideation, that I learned about in early October, where you throw out many ideas and test them early on in the idea development process so that failures, while potentially many, are small. This conditions one to accept failure as part of the creative process rather than fear failure. How does one retrain themself to embrace failure in order to make an exceptional contribution? And how do we reward the attempt to succeed in spite of failure or even measure/value the attempt?
I'm still suffering from ‘time off brain' so I won't solve this today. But I'd love to hear ideas. Until next time, welcome back and good luck getting back into the swing of things.
Hopefully everyone in UC ANR is staying far out of the fire zone though it may be increasingly difficult to do. It sounds like SLO and Mariposa Counties are two of the worst areas at this point.
This week has been a week full of meetings. Program Council met to talk about the position call process. The process isn't finalized yet but we made good progress. The goal is to retain ample opportunity for input into high priority positions. We need to be realistic in how many positions can be moved forward and submit those representing the greatest needs making it easier for Program Council to make good decisions. There is an important role in the process for those submitting positions; that is to work in groups, perhaps across program teams to refine how many positions are submitted.
Plans for the April 2018 Statewide conference are coming along. The theme for the event is Innovation in Action with plans to showcase efforts across UC ANR through a lens that focuses on the creativity that happens every day. Be sure to start looking at the UC ANR website for program and agenda updates. In addition to a phenomenal learning opportunity, it will be motivating to see everyone in one place and meet some of the new faces. This includes the suite of gift officers who, while new to UC ANR, are already off and running to share the word about the great things happening across the division.
It feels like summer is starting to come to a close quickly. I didn't make it to any of my professional society meetings this year; a bit disappointing but too many conflicts during those weeks. I turned down 2 opportunities to manage peer review panels; one for NIFA and a second for an ARS program review but in both cases they really didn't give sufficient lead time so I'm not sure how successful the program managers were in recruiting a panel manager for their desired timeline. I also have two promotion packages in my Inbox for faculty seeking promotion to Full Professor at other institutions. And I am working on a couple of manuscripts so that keeps me tied a bit to the science. A new manuscript recently surfaced that will be interesting to co-author – it's addressing a general topic of sustainability metrics for food production.
Similar to other years, my ‘summer to-do list' doesn't have an appropriate number of items crossed off. I'll bet I'm not alone in feeling that way. Time to light a fire under my feet and get going on some of those items. Don't tell anyone but I seem to have a couple hours open tomorrow morning so now excuse to not being highly productive.