- Author: Wendy Powers
I was caught in the rain yesterday. That's not something I can say too often in California! And despite the fact that I don't much care for rain (snow is much preferred!) I don't dare complain. It sounds like we have quite a ways to go to achieve the desired state for moisture and snowpack, though we are making progress (70% in the Sierra).
For some reason a number of things are ending up in my junk mail these days. My understanding is that this is the result of stricter security measures with the host server. Three quarters or more of the travel reimbursement submissions I approve are landing in the Junk folder. Fortunately I check that folder when I am working on a laptop or desktop. However, I don't have that folder in the mobile version of my email and I tend to approve both timesheets and travel via my phone. My apologies to those who find their travel reimbursements held up by me. I don't think it is happening often, but my apologies, nonetheless.
I hear the email that went to academics about completing the ‘condition change' survey went to the Junk or spam folder for many as well. If you haven't completed it, take a look in those folders and see if it might be there. The purpose of the survey is to see how current effort is directed towards the 24 condition changes identified as key to achieving our UC ANR desired state (the 2025 Strategic Vision). The goal isn't to check every box but rather, for individuals to think about what condition changes they will measure from their work, over time. Additional condition changes may result from their work, but, if no one is measuring the change we won't have the data to support that our work makes a difference. Rather, we can focus on what we are measuring and convey that message. I have no idea what to expect from the survey but we plan to share the results in a poster at the upcoming Statewide Conference so that everyone can see the distribution of effort across the academics who participated in the survey.
The survey will get us thinking about how we, as individuals, are using our time and collecting impact data and then allow each of us to make adjustments to our efforts. I've heard concerns about how the time needed to realize change in conditions; the intent is to focus on change at the programmatic level and not at the project level. For example, I wouldn't expect a change in water quality to be the result of a publication or a workshop I delivered but rather as a result of the sum of things I do in my program (multiple research projects, several publications, regular meetings, perhaps implementation of a tool I co-developed) that has a targeted intended outcome (water quality).
The other message I hear went to the Junk folder was an update on the RECs and recharge rates. There's been much effort to position the RECs on a course of meeting research needs, long-term. We're looking at costs differently and looking at opportunities differently. It's not easy and the answers aren't obvious. But the conversations have been thoughtful and thought-provoking. Rates for the upcoming fiscal year should be available soon and while the approach may be tweaked in subsequent years, the time-consuming work undertaken over the last 6+ months will remain the basis for years to come. There's more work to do and things to consider, then reconsider. The effort is far from junk and allows the REC system to move towards its desired state.
Many more conversations with County Directors yet to be had during the annual evaluation process. Once I wrap those up, I hope to take some time to reflect on what I have heard; common themes and recommendations. In between, I need to work on my own annual review documentation. Tips and suggestions welcome!