- Author: Wendy Powers
There is still time to raise your hand in support of California's 4-H program! It's easy. It's free. And if can result in a $20,000 award to the state program to support youth development in California.
I'm in San Diego at the spring meeting of Extension program leaders, Extension directors, and Ag Experiment Station Directors. The views are great and the water really close. Yesterday we spent the afternoon talking about increasing cultural competency in our states. The discussion had quite a bit of focus around increasing partnerships with the 1994 institutions and increasing capacity funding through the Federally Recognized Tribal Extension Program (FRTEP). The whole conversation had me thinking about our one of our public value statements: Developing an inclusive and equitable society. When that statement was first developed there was considerable discussion about the principles as a component of everything we do; the act of inclusion without giving it any thought because it is second nature is the indicator that one is culturally competent. Admittedly, I questioned why, as a core value, we would have a stand-alone public value statement around inclusion. However, as I listened to the conversations yesterday and this morning, it became clear to me that by calling this out as a one of our UC ANR statements, we make the commitment to move the needle.
A portion of the conversation centered on the need for the academic review system to reward for impact and teamwork. I honestly don't remember how we moved to such acknowledgment when the topic was cultural competence, but that's how meetings go. I do know that at UC ANR we are doing exactly this; questioning the ‘so what' of our work and the change in conditions that resulted as opposed to focusing on evidence of scholarship (i.e. the number of publications and grant dollars secured). We've seen the value of our impact stories when we've made visits to offices of our state and federal elected officials. The impacts, not the activities, cause people sit up and take notice. Fortunately, we have many stories to tell, ranging from work with the Fresno Street Saints to efforts to improving water use efficiency.
Some of the conversation addressed the problems of using an ‘expert model' in community work. I think framing about our work, even if only in our internal conversations, under knowledge areas serves to perpetuate the expert model. Framing our work around condition changes and/or public value statements avoids said problems.
If put to a vote today whether to leave ‘Developing an inclusive and equitable society' as its own public value statement or to consider it inherent within the others, I believe I would raise my hand to leave it as is.