I spent a fair bit of time this weekend reading the draft report to our Federal partners (USDA). It is a big undertaking to craft the 78 pages of activities and impacts, beginning with each of you entering data into Project Board. Strategic Initiative leaders or other leaders within the division comb through the data to pull out key impact stories. Each of those individuals or 2-person teams submits their information to the Program Planning and Evaluation team, and from there it is formatted and compiled before editing to read from a single voice. This year we were able to organize the report around condition changes that will resonate with our partners. Below are a few examples :
Condition Change: UC ANR contributed to increased agricultural efficiency and profitability.
- After presenting the sorghum trial results, 92% of 60 growers and industry consultants expressed a willingness to plant the low seeding rates that performed best in trials. Before the workshop, most growers were planting higher seeding rates because of industry recommendations. This increased efficiency should result in good yields with lower seed inputs, and thus improved profitability. (Note: this is a behavior change where follow up can confirm that the change in profitability occurred.
Condition Change: UC ANR contributed to improved animal management, productivity, and efficiency.
- In 2017, 780 dairies acquired the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program's environmental stewardship certification qualifying for a 50% fee reduction in water quality fees. The actual value to producers exceeds $2,250,000 annually.
Condition Change: UC ANR contributed to improved food security.
- Over 1,200 UC CalFresh participants responded to a survey about their experiences with the Plan, Shop, Save and Cook curriculum, designed to help adult participants stretch food dollars by learning shopping strategies and meal planning. Participants reported improved food security by running out of food less often (36%). Also, 4,000 EFNEP adult graduates reported an average monthly food cost savings of $38.20, which collectively saved California EFNEP families $2,916,340.The survey results support national data that, according to the USDA Economic Research Service, the estimated percentage of food-insecure households in 2013-2015 was 12.6%, which decreased by 3% from 2010-2012 estimates.
Condition Change: UC ANR contributed to increased ecological sustainability of agriculture, landscapes, and forestry.
- Concerning Asian citrus psyllid, more than 10 million natural parasitoid enemies have been mass reared and released in California in cooperation with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). Establishment has been confirmed at 95% of release sites, parasitoids have spread up to eight miles without human assistance, and pest populations have declined on average by about 70%.
Condition Change: UC ANR contributed to the increased ecological sustainability of agriculture, landscapes, and forests.
- Extension about oak restoration has led to planning and contracting several projects covering 300 acres. As of 2018, 212 acres of oak woodland have been successfully restored. Additionally, with support from UC ANR, the Natural Resources Conservation Service now has a legal permitting pathway for their oak restoration programs.
Condition Change: UC ANR contributed to improved water use efficiency.
- Garden Walks program participants saved over 9000 gallons a year on average when compared to control groups. Total water savings for all participants over the lifetime of the program are over 27 million gallons to date, and the program has cost less to run over that same time-frame than it would cost to directly buy 27 million gallons at the average rate paid by the Metropolitan Municipal Water District residential customers.
These are just a few of the many, many examples provided that are sure to impress our Federal partners as they have me.
If you happen to be following the ERS/USDA move updates, you will know that California is no longer under consideration despite, in my opinion, meeting the criteria as well as many options in the 27 states that remain under consideration. That's only eight states fewer than the original list; perhaps a strategic move on the part of the Secretary. Pretty much the whole state of Virginia remains under consideration, which makes far more sense to me than Tallahassee (the only area of Florida still under review). And, does anyone even know where Hanover Township, PA is, much less why a private citizen would submit a bid that remains under consideration? Perhaps the answers will be revealed soon.
Over the weekend I received the photo from Mark Bell. Care to take a guess where he is? That answer to follow.
If you happen to be keeping track, I have 61 dossiers remaining.
How did you use your extra hour this weekend? I pretty much slept through mine. My goal was to get through a bit of a cold and laryngitis. I'm not sure how much it helped. I did also get out to see the sandhill cranes in Woodbridge, as did others that arrived by the bus load. It must have been Lodi's festival this weekend; I probably should have checked first. Fortunately, the cranes got the message and were present in what must have been thousands of birds well before the sunset fly in. If you haven't visited the Woodbridge Reserve, it's worth a stop though it is admittedly difficult to predict where the cranes will land each evening. Fortunately there is no shortage of other bird species to watch. One of this year's World Food Prize laureates, Lawrence Hadad, stated that “In an unreliable world, diversity is the most reliable currency”. I believe that applies here.
Dr. Emmanuel Okello started November 1 as a CE Specialist at UCD in the School of Vet Med, specializing in Antimicrobial Stewardship. And today marks the start date for Daniela Bruno, a Dairy Advisor, based in Fresno, with programmatic responsibilities in Fresno and Madera Counties. Please take a few minutes to welcome Emmanuel and Daniela to UC and UC ANR.
This week is a Strategic Initiatives leader meeting followed by a Zoom meeting of Program Council. Early this week I need to finish identifying commodity group liaisons for those boards that have research committee. My plan is to start meeting with the liaisons periodically, by Zoom, just to stay in touch and provide an opportunity to share relevant information (2-way communication). That's scheduled to start in early 2019. I'm also establishing a REC Users Committee that will begin meeting in early 2019, again by Zoom. The goal with this committee, at least initially, is to share information and hopefully improve understanding. Despite already having more than enough standing meetings, I don't think we can over-communicate. And, even if we don't like the message, communication is better than silence and leaving one to create their own story.
It appears that it is also time for those of us based out of Oakland to complete our mid-year goal update. Considering I can't remember even entering goals for the year, this promises to be interesting. Actually, it offers a good opportunity to focus my efforts, and time, towards my intended outcomes and condition changes, allowing me a chance to redirect time away from those things that don't necessarily lead to the desired change in condition. Later this week I have a meeting to review metrics for the goals that I ‘own' from our strategic plan. It is shaping up to be a goal-oriented week.
Yesterday was the start of my third year with UC ANR. I didn't go out and celebrate because we had our meeting with President Napolitano today and she is always well prepared for these meetings so I wouldn't want to risk not being on my toes. Overall, it was a good meeting. We were well prepared and we had strong progress on our goals to be shared. I haven't fully processed the conversations but I'm sure thoughts will weave their way into future blog posts.
Earlier in the day, President Napolitano gave a Town Hall meeting in Oakland. One statistic she shared that we should all be talking about is the fact that 42% of UC graduates were first generation students. That's amazing and I have no doubt that the work UC ANR does around the state contributed to some of those students making their way to UC, through youth development efforts, programs that enhanced skills or business success of parents, and/or money management and budget classes.
During the Town Hall the President was asked about the current practice of leaving vacant positions open. She gave an interesting answer, indicating that it's an opportunity for all to think about what they were doing and if it was the highest priority work versus using the vacancy as a driver to improve process efficiency. She went on to say that ‘change', while hard, can come from within and often it is that change that most contributes to success. The response caught me off guard but at the same time was quite empowering, as I believe it was intended. Sort of a “be the change” message.
During the noon WebANR, Nancy Franz talked about using Public Value Statements in your own program or your team's work. If you were unable to join, check out the recording. And if you have topic ideas for the WebANR series – topics ranging from effective program delivery, to resourcing your program, to navigating the office environment and systems – feel free to contact Jodi Azuli and share your idea! Be sure to thank Jodi for the work she has been doing on these third Thursday WebANRs.
While I may not be an official anniversary celebration, there's lots to celebrate in UC ANR. Fe Moncloa was just appointed to a national leadership role as co-chair of the 4-H PLWG, Equity and Engagement for All (EEA) committee. In this role, Fe will support the professional development needs of 4-H Extension professionals on issues of equity, belonging and inclusion. Congratulations, Fe!
The work of the Fresno UCCE team was recently recognized by CalCAN for their work with the SWEEP program. Congratulations to Michael, Ruth, and team! I had a chance to visit this office not too long ago and we visited a farmer who works closely with the local team. I don't think I will forget anytime soon how moving it was to hear about the partnership with the women's shelter nor with the Street Saints organization.
These are just a couple of examples of what we all have to celebrate. While the process of reviewing merit and promotion documents takes time, the timing is perfect as it allows me the chance to wind down each of my ‘years with UC ANR' recognizing and rewarding all of the outstanding effort, all across the state.
Tomorrow I need to pull together a presentation for the ANR Advisory Committee about the delivery of our programs and processes in place to review and resource programs. It's an easy sell to convey the importance of everyone's work. I just need to sit down and put it together.
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!
In preparation for the Aug 29-30 workshop with Program Team Leaders, SI Leaders, Statewide Program Directors and Institute Directors, I've been working on a couple of logic model examples that illustrate the progression from activities to public value statement. I've used my own past work as an example, because it's what I know best. Take a look at what I've put together:
In the process of this exercise, I've used a fillable logic model template that many of you may recognize; it's from Ellen Taylor-Powell (Emeritus, the University of Wisconsin) and one provided as an example by USDA-NIFA when they have offered grant programs that require submission of a logic model (integrated projects). The concept of a logic model makes perfect sense to me. But I struggle with 3 elements of it:
It seems backwards to me causing one to work from right to left. Logically, I would want to know what I wish to accomplish in my work (the ‘so what') and from there determine the path to get there, working from 30,000 ft down to ground level that represents the activities I undertake. After all, I don't use my GPS to tell me where I am; that's not useful when I already know I am lost. Rather, I use my GPS to guide me where I want to go and provide me an ETA. But first I need to know where I want to go.
Where does one put the metrics and indicators to be used to measure extent of change? It seems to me this is a critical part of the planning process if one is to be successful. I wrote them in the text associated with the condition change but there they seem buried a bit.
Do we actually measure Learning Change in our work? If we are using standardized tests in 3rd grade then perhaps we do have an indicator of knowledge. An certainly when we test someone (history exam, pesticide applicator's exam, etc.) we are measuring learning change that is the result of exposure to information over some period of time. But in my work, I really didn't measure learning. The exception would be to compare pass rates of manure applicators who took our training versus those who took the test without first taking the training. Otherwise, we spent considerable effort asking participants if they felt like they learned something as a result of their attendance. Self-reporting data just isn't a strong metric, in my opinion. Had you asked me if I felt like I learned a lot the first time I took calculus, I would have said ‘absolutely'. But the sad truth is my test scores did not reflect much knowledge in the subject. So I have opted to leave blank the learning change portion of my logic model example.
I still don't fully understand the portions of the logic model about Assumptions and External Factors. Sometimes one just has to sit through a learning exercise multiple times to get it. I eventually aced calculus, not because the instructor or content changed. I suspect attention and attendance had something to do with the improvement (external factors?)