- Author: Wendy Powers
This week I am up on the 46th parallel. It seems much further from Sacramento (38° N) than the coordinates suggest. The snow is gone as is the lake ice. Some damage that resulted from a hard winter has been left behind. While I'm sure the soaring eagles, lake loons and daffodils just coming into bloom are a welcome sight for many, we've lost the ice caves and the Northern Lights for at least a few months. You can't have everything – at least not all at once.
Technically, I'm on vacation. But with only 17 merit and promotion packages completed and 75 to go, making a dent on the 63 packages I downloaded before I left seems like an obvious thing to do when phone and WiFi signals are weak and my other options include power washing, painting, yard work or other repairs during an unseasonably warm week (up to 75° F).
As I read through the dossiers I continue to learn more about the work of UC ANR. While I previously wondered if we should be doing more to address the aging population (eating to live), I read about the inspiring work that at least one of our academics is doing to address the needs of this group. In a different dossier I learned more about the work of an academic whose efforts address, almost exclusively, the needs of underserved audiences.
Most, if not all, of the work we do is important. Having sufficient capacity to have a meaningful impact as opposed to being spread too thin is the challenge. With so many needs and opportunities in front of us, how do we decide what to do and what to not do? We can't do everything with finite resources, and do it all well. So as I read through dossiers, I can see how decisions have been made to shift and, often times, focus efforts towards the greatest need or the opportunity or the greatest impact. After all, the goal isn't to have individuals contribute to as many condition changes as possible, but to have individuals focus their efforts such that their work contributes to meaningful change in conditions. In order to direct sufficient effort towards a targeted change, one has to pass up other opportunities so as to avoid becoming stretched too thin.
Though I really need this vacation, if only to have time to read the bulk of the dossiers, I am missing, for perhaps only the first or second time, a MultiState Research Committee meeting that I have attended since 1997. Another example, that you can't do everything. Hopefully the group is having a productive meeting. Given all the new, young talent within the committee, I have no doubt they are planning great things. Perhaps I can catch up next year.