As most of you know, Bill Frost, our associate vice president (AVP), intends to retire in June. In light of his impending departure from ANR, we are looking at augmenting the leadership structure to provide better support for ANR's extensive programs and initiatives. Currently we have challenges in balancing program delivery and administration with the need to expand our efforts in strategic initiatives, partnerships, funds development and raising the profile of ANR. To better provide for those needs, we're moving forward with a few modest but important modifications. The changes are in no way set in stone — we're going to evaluate things over the next several months and will make adjustments as needed. Those changes will be:
- The new AVP, which is under recruitment, will have several current responsibilities removed and be based at UC Office of the President in Oakland (UCOP). This will allow the new AVP and the AVP for Business Operation to work closely as a team on day-to-day operations, and to coordinate regularly with counterparts at UCOP. The new AVP will be more focused on ANR's engagement with the entire UC system, policy issues and partnerships that will benefit ANR. One aim of this change is to augment the Vice President's ability to engage more on funds development, strategic opportunities, policy development, expanding collaborations and raising ANR's profile.
- We will create a new position, Vice Provost Strategic Initiatives & Statewide Programs. The leaders of the strategic initiatives, Nutrition Policy Institute, California Institute for Water Resources and statewide programs will all report to the Vice Provost Strategic Initiatives & Statewide Programs. The position, which will be based in Davis, will coordinate ANR's engagement in the UC President's initiatives, provide leadership for ANR's Strategic Initiatives and enhance synergies between initiatives and our various programs. Like the Vice Provost for Cooperative Extension, this new position will report to the AVP.
- Management of the REC System will be removed from the AVP and the current associate director position will be elevated to director. Lisa Fischer will be appointed interim REC System director for two years, followed by an open recruitment for the director position.
Going forward, the Senior Leadership Team, along with 21 program and unit directors, will serve as my VP Council. We will meet quarterly to strategize on how best to engage with initiatives, new partners and opportunities as they arise. The VP Council will also serve as a sounding board on policy and program issues as well as help design action plans to best serve ANR goals. Shortly after these changes are implemented, we will also seek to empower both the Academic Assembly and the new Staff Assembly to serve as strong voices in the shared governance of ANR.
It is my hope that these changes will enhance our efforts to rebuild the ANR and Cooperative Extension footprint around the state. These modifications should allow me to do what I see as the core part of my job: finding new sources of funding, building new partnerships, enhancing key collaborations, and positioning ANR as the premiere source of science and solutions for the challenges facing agriculture, natural resources and the health of our communities. I also believe that improving the ability of all the voices in the ANR system to be heard will greatly improve how we advance that science and develop those solutions. We will all be able to achieve far more as a well-functioning team with access to the knowledge, information and skills of every member.
Thank you for being part of the ANR team. I look forward to working with you as we implement these changes!