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.
Have you ever heard of Reggie Rivers? I suspect you are most likely to be familiar with that name if you are a Broncos fan. Reggie was the keynote speaker at a conference that a number of us are attending in Denver. I must say, he gave the best keynote I've heard in probably the last 12 months. He was funny, engaging, educational, and was able to relate to every person in the room, football fan or not. Even the AV support staff were engaged (I sat in the back of the room, right in front of the AV staff so I could hear them responding to questions and laughing throughout the talk).
Reggie talked about leadership and teamwork concepts that we've all heard before. What was novel was how he used his experience as a Denver Bronco to illustrate concepts. He talked about innovation, trust, consistency, and effectiveness as the attributes that contribute to one team standing out above all others. Reggie described the need for all players to feel empowered to act, not only owning the problems but recognizing the responsibility to provide solutions rather than waiting for someone else to do so. I learned about the importance of the powerless position coaches who lead without authority and coach things that cannot be achieved with natural talent, alone. As a Gator, it was particularly interesting to get the insider scoop why it is that Tebow, perhaps the greatest college player of all time, didn't make it in the NFL. Despite his incredible talent as an individual, his ‘scrambling' translated into an unpredictability that prevented other team members from doing their job.
The rest of the sessions, well let's just say I must have done a poor job selecting from the options. But I managed to complete one merit review this evening, and I am optimistic that I will make better selections tomorrow. I plan to spend much of the day talking about capacity funds – those are the federal funds that are the source of salary and benefit funds. While it is exciting that NIFA competitive funding appropriations increased for FY19/20 (appropriated, not allocated), if the tradeoff is reduced capacity funds, we have a problem. We'll see what I learn.
Katherine Soule is a speaker on Wednesday! I head back to Sacramento Wednesday and don't plan to be back in Denver any time soon.
While it was nice to see rain Tuesday night, now I can't help but wonder if it's rain that is delaying my flight home.
This week I seem to have been involved in a number of conversations around service and leadership. In part, it is because we are getting feedback on a proposed reorganization of the leadership structure to better meet needs of academics. At the same time we want to offer greater opportunity for people to give a leadership role a try, without needing to quit their current role cold turkey. As someone who found myself in a leadership position as a result of my distrust that the current leaders would make good decisions, I can honestly say that even I am surprised by what I currently do on a day-to-day basis. Who knew I would ever completely walk away from the real manure! But I remember once asking a mentor who was a faculty member, moved into administration, was at the time back in a faculty position, and then eventually retired as a university president why he liked administration and he responded that as a faculty member his research made a difference but it was on a much smaller scale than the change he could affect as an administrator. And more importantly, he continued, the administrative positions provided the platform for him to cultivate the next generation of scientists on a scale much larger than his own program could ever achieve. This conversation has come back to me this week as the County Directors talked about developing new County Directors through a CD Institute and discussed a proposed leadership position focused on academic personnel policies, recruitment, promotion and professional development. Those subjects are important to so many of us and offer service opportunities that may be some of the most impactful one could undertake.
Other conversations included the need to help others identify where service opportunities exist as well as leadership opportunities. There are no doubt many throughout UC ANR but I suspect it is not obvious where and when they are available. And perhaps too often we approach individuals who we think would serve in the service or leadership capacity well, at the exclusion of others who might be just as suitable but may not be on the radar. I've been pleasantly surprised at the number of County Directors who have raised their hand to take on more work – both as service and as leaders – when we all know that their plates are already quite full. Their commitment is truly remarkable. This leaves me very optimistic about our path forward and I find myself, again, reflecting how impressive the people of UC ANR are. It also leaves me committed to put more effort into increasing awareness of opportunities for service and leadership across UC ANR.
I am, however, less optimistic about the flight as the gate agent continues to apologize that the plane still hasn't left its current location to head in this direction. It promises to be a late night so I had better find a place to charge my phone and laptop.