- Author: Wendy Powers
As I interacted with colleagues last week and learned that it was raining in their part of the state, I was a bit jealous. I'm over that now, having watched it rain for more than 24 hours beginning Sunday afternoon and wrapping up after dinner last evening. For the most part, the rain was light. Monday afternoon, however, was filled with thunder and power surges, although the power didn't go out until today. By dinner time yesterday, the front yard had become duck habitat, a new event for us but not altogether surprising given that the winter of 2019 our backyard was home to sandhill cranes. Life is full of surprises!
During a Zoom break today I read an article that Glenda sent that I can't help but share. The author is the former President of Goucher College, a small private college in Maryland that happens to be the alma mater of one of my sisters. The topic is the featured conversation in many of my meetings, both within UC and across the country. One line, in particular stuck out: “…now we need to embrace a greater tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty”. As a ‘planner' the concept is, without question, uncomfortable, but the author reinforces the idea that tactical moves don't prepare one for the future the way that strategical decision do. And while uncomfortable, it is better to be prepared by building nimbleness and flexibility into our plans, than to be caught off guard. A year ago we started planning a summer meeting focused on the future of the land-grant institution. The timing for that topic couldn't be better. I met with the AAC Specialist representatives today and they talked about how things have changed on the campuses and the sense that fall courses will be delivered online. It may be more true now than previously that the only constant is change.
Several of my meetings have brought up the topic of investment into tools and resources necessary for relevancy and access in the future. This includes a discussion with other Western Extension Directors that are considering our needs for executive staffing (what support do we and our program leaders need, both in terms of skill and FTE), with REC directors regarding investments to best position the REC system going forward, and with eXtension regarding where the organization needs to direct their efforts to maintain relevancy to Cooperative Extension units across the U.S. If you have ideas regarding eXtension, in particular, please share your thoughts with me.
Here's a nice surprise! Did you know that IGIS offers office hours to support those using the R statistical program to analyze their data? What a great resource for UC ANR! My days of using SAS are behind me at present, but who knows when I might need mixed model assistance in the future? Oddly, I just provided data analysis advice to my brother-in-law a few weeks back. That's just one of the informative items shared on the Innovation Tracker that Linda Forbes launched. Take a look and see what other things you can learn. Or, share an idea or two.
No surprise, I see a calf running around next door. This one is approximately 6 months old. Perhaps she will scare the ducks away before heading back to her pen.