- Author: Wendy Powers
One of the things that emerged during a visit to the Central Sierra MCP last week was that the group didn't often have a chance to get together and learn about what each other is doing. Distance between offices is part of the challenge. The other factor is that everyone is so busy with their own work and rarely has time to stand still. As a result, taking the time to educate myself, Mark L., and Mark B. about their programs turned out to be a great opportunity to learn about each other's programs.
During an early June visit to the Sutter/Yuba office, we learned how that group had creatively bridged the internal communication gap within the office by starting a monthly stone soup lunch. The result was the development of efforts that crossed program areas and enhanced the team's ability to meet clientele needs. And, in fact, the Advisors in the Central Sierra MCP mentioned that perhaps they at least ought to make it a priority to talk or get together more regularly.
Across UC ANR there are efforts underway to seek improved methods of communication so that we all better understand what's going on and, more importantly, find ways to glean efficiencies in our own efforts by learning from others and building on what others have done.
The R&E Council had a call today and communication was a topic of conversation. This includes conveying information across the division and developing a common message. We have some homework to do to determine what works now (best practices) and what can be developed to enhance current communications (what haven't we tried?). We've implemented some things, like the Connected newsletter and the new Leadership CT group for all unit directors.
Tomorrow and Wednesday the Program Council meets. Communication is one of the topics for this month's meeting. Mark Bell led a team that developed a document describing the benefits of working across the Researcher – Specialist – Advisor continuum. I share the document with new CE Specialists, CE Advisors, and AES faculty early in their careers through a welcome email. The intent of my communication is to help new hires get to know UC ANR and how all of the pieces connect (Ag Experiment Station, Cooperative Extension, the RECs, Statewide Programs, UC ANR academics and staff, researchers, etc.).
So it seems that the topic of communication is all around us. Of course that then has me thinking about the two-sided nature of communications. That is, someone has to listen/receive the information.
Some good news – UC Merced is now, in addition to UCB and UCD, providing access to library materials for UCCE! If you missed the communication about this, take a look: https://www.library.ucdavis.edu/guide/ce2018/.