- Author: Wendy Powers
Program Council met on Wednesday. For those who were relaxing over the weekend and staring off into a lake, they were quickly pulled back to reality. We cancelled the Tuesday meeting, assuming we didn't have enough content to justify the day and a half. We ended up rushing to finish on time. It's difficult to judge, in advance, how much conversation a topic will generate. The first topic, alone, extended well beyond the allotted 45 min. It was about how to meet all of the needs within the constraints of limited resources. Messaging becomes key. I think it is human nature to feel unsupported when programs can't be supported at desired levels or even at levels they have been in the past (numbers of academics, support provided to REC research, travel and supply funds, grant programs, etc.). So how does one message sufficiently to overcome these feelings of abandonment? Is it even possible to message well enough or often enough, particularly when those impacted have already created their stories about the situation?
The next topic was work groups (WG), program teams (PT), and strategic initiatives (SI) and how best to support getting the work done in a way that promotes synergies and sharing, even across unexpected groups, in a manner that doesn't add layers of work to organizers or participants. Yet, at the same time, we need some record of accomplishment as a result of the efforts in order to convey the value of continuing. The SI Leaders polled the work group and program team leaders about their perceived value of WG, PT, and SI. As you can imagine, the responses were varied, indicating that each approach was everything from most important to least important. I imagine the same would be true if we polled the entire division on just about any topic – some would say the issue/program/investment should be our highest priority while others would rate it at the bottom. I'm not sure consensus is even possible for such a large, diverse, and dispersed organization.
Other topics included branding (should we be UC ANR or UCCE or perhaps represented by the well-recognized statewide programs) and strategies to increase entrepreneurialism in our programs. Overall, there was a bit of a theme throughout the day – that we can't please everyone and that it's difficult to message enough.
We also discussed the 2018 position call process and how to review the proposals during our October meeting. Between now and October, we all have some homework to do in reviewing the proposals. We anticipate having our recommendations ready following the November meeting. We will spend some time in November reviewing the process so, please, provide your ideas for improvement to any of the Program Council members. Your feedback is important to us.
And while we wrap up releasing the 2016 positions throughout the remainder of the calendar year, we have another outcome of that call to welcome to UC ANR. Jaspreet Sidhu started on Tuesday in Kern County as a Vegetable Crops Advisor. Please welcome Jaspreet!