- Author: Wendy Powers
Can you believe that the pool season is half over? The daily strawberry harvest is all but done in my yard, and even zucchini season seems to be winding down. The only thing not slowing down is COVID cases. I'm sure I am not alone when I say that I miss visiting our county and REC locations, field days, and events though it wasn't often that I could make such trips.
Work has not slowed at all. By not leaving town for vacation, I am optimistic I can avoid the accumulation of emails, messages, and meetings that would typically pile up while on vacation. This week I was supposed to be in Kansas City for meetings. The sessions will occur by Zoom, and the schedule condensed. Like many of you have experienced, the rest of the day has filled with other Zoom conversations. I turned in one of my homework tasks – an update on my slides for the Administrative Orientation in August. I started with an easy task rather than the most time-sensitive assignments. I am awaiting more motivation to tackle those. The opportunities keep flowing, and so, too, does the work that goes into exploring them! That's a good thing. We may have more success connecting with new partners now than we've had before, out of need, or for some other reason. I had an email from someone today about finalizing an agreement to fund a couple of Academic Coordinator positions. Honestly, I had feared the agreement would be put on hold, but it will move forward regardless of the COVID economy!
I was encouraged to see a call to action regarding our budget by our stakeholders and partners. Repeatedly over the last several months, I have thought about the challenges brought on as a result of not having the ANR budget treated as a campus budget. It had brought back memories of the same struggle in Michigan when the trustees handled Extension and the Agriculture Experiment Station (AES) budgets, each a line item in the state budget, different from the rest of the higher education budget. Given that faculty would have split appointments that crossed budgets, there was always a disconnect if the higher ed budget (both UM and MSU) received increases when Extension and AES did not. Eventually, there was an agreement to treat AES and Extension the same as the remainder of higher education. Hopefully, that same arrangement can be reached for UC ANR, again. I say 'again' because applying the 'UCSF Corridor Model' to ANR was intended to rectify the disconnect. We shall continue to push for the use of that model in FY20/21 and beyond.
Last week the Peer Review Committee met for a long day of conversations by Zoom. Despite the length, I found the meeting very useful. I did end up with homework, the likes of which I hope will make future advancement decisions more straightforward. I learned that there are 95 merit and promotion cases scheduled for 2021. Of course, some individuals may defer or depart. Acceleration cases will offset, or perhaps exceed, the number of deferrals or departures. Regardless, many academics will prepare portfolios this fall and into early winter, and many will review cases next spring. I might need to check the prescription on my glasses sometime after January.