- Author: Wendy Powers
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.