- Author: Wendy Powers
I said ‘good-bye, for now' to the Great Australian Bight. It wasn't easy but it was time to get back to work. Travel turned out to be a bit hectic but everything worked out in the end. After all, if the worst thing that happened was that I had to stay a few more days, I certainly wasn't going to complain. One of the challenges was managing luggage; Qantas has different baggage rules with limits far less than that allowed by United Airlines. I found I had to juggle things around while still remaining under the weight limit that was less than what I had on the flight over. The result was moving items from one piece to another then weighing each piece (carry on and checked bags) to make sure I was under the total limit of 32 kg with no individual piece exceeding 23 kg. The process seemed more complicated than necessary and was further complicated by the fact that I wished to carry on my laptop and camera with extra lenses. Technology comes at a hefty weight.
The process of juggling buckets and keeping within a restricted limit that was far too low for what I wanted to accomplish served as a good step in bringing me back to reality (out of vacation mode). The process paralleled that of trying to maneuver UC ANR goals given budget realities. Faced with a flat budget that functions as a reduction because dollars don't cover the increased costs, does one devote the same level of funding to provide existing personnel with the resources for success (travel funds, discretionary funds, support staff) at the expense of increasing the number of programmatic positions (staff and academics) or vice versa?
I want both and I'm not giving up until we have both. Fortunately, and unlike the luggage situation, we can have both but it takes some work, some time, perhaps a leap of faith, and stepping outside the comfort zone. The fact that the Program Planning and Evaluation unit's academic footprint numbers show that we are holding ground in spite of last year's budget situation reflect that we can maintain support and numbers. Sometimes it feels like we are going backwards but then I realize that it was only a half-step backwards followed by a full step forward. The challenge is the time delay between steps.
We continue to hire new academics. Just yesterday Kamyar Aran started as an Assistant CE Specialty Crops Advisor with programmatic responsibilities in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties. Please take the time to welcome Kamyar and position our newest colleague for success. We have a few other new CE Specialists and CE Advisors joining UC ANR this month. I will share their information when their start date occurs.
In the meantime, there's a flurry of activity and interest in building support for UC ANR's budget. From UC Regents requesting tours of county-based programming to elected officials seeking input about our programs to clientele groups holding events and asking ANR to showcase their contributions, Anne Megaro has a full plate as do many, many others who develop and deliver the programs across the state who will be involved with these meetings. It is very exciting to see this high level of interest. Now is when we really have a chance to tell people who we are and the value our programs deliver all across California, to every Californian.
The August Costco Connection ran a story this month about the 5 questions to which the answers form the pillars of a company's success. In the article, the author references Steven Covey's comment that companies need to “begin with the end in mind”. The author concluded that “you can't know what you want to be until and unless you have envisioned it.” The timing of the upcoming 5-location workshops couldn't be better. Envisioning the ‘end' is the focus and more specifically, discussing how to provide the evidence that we have contributed to the stated end goal. The idea of capturing condition change data can be daunting but the author of the Costco Connection story says the answer to the ‘how' step is to “have fun, be brutally honest, work hard at it every day and it will become as natural as the air you breathe.” I'm counting on that applying the principle to the ‘how to have it all' question as well.