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Posts Tagged: Barbara Allen-Diaz

PAC discusses water and food initiative

Jack Hanson
On Dec. 15, President Napolitano met with the UC President's Advisory Commission on Agriculture and Natural Resources in Oakland for their biannual meeting.  A well-attended meeting, PAC members from all across California, including three new members: Jack Hanson, owner of Willow Creek Ranch; Jerry Lohr, founder and president of J. Lohr Vineyards and Wines, and Miles Reiter, CEO and chairman of Driscoll's, weathered the storm to join President Napolitano, VP Barbara Allen-Diaz, PAC Chair Don Bransford and the deans from UC Berkeley CNR, UC Davis CAES, UC Davis School of Vet Med and UC Riverside CNAS for a lively discussion on agriculture and natural resources research and programs at ANR and the four colleges, as well as the UC systemwide initiatives.

President Napolitano gave updates on the Global Food Initiative and tuition and discussed the importance of both to the state of California.  Ever engaging, Napolitano solicited suggestions and opinions from the commissioners, encouraged an open dialogue on her many initiatives and discussed her most recent decision to increase tuition. For their part, the commissioners offered the president their assistance and support.

Jerry Lohr
Allen-Diaz, who co-chaired the meeting with Bransford, provided the PAC members with a brief update on the state of ANR and her plans for the future. Following her address, AVP Bill Frost announced that ANR will be hiring 29 UCCE advisors and 16 UCCE specialists distributed around the state over the next two years, which was well-received news. 

To round out the session, the industry leaders had an opportunity to learn more about ANR's California Institute for Water Resources and the newly formed Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI). Director Doug Parker told the group what UC has been doing to help Californians cope with the drought. Director Lorrene Ritchie explained the Nutrition Policy Institute's mission, their work on the UC Global Food Initiative, and NPI's current collaboration with PAC member Rodney Taylor on the Fruit and Veggie Hub. The presentations provided the commissioners and President Napolitano a better understanding of the depth of ANR's research and the extent to which ANR's research positively impacts individuals and communities in California.

Miles Reiter
After the meeting, the president hosted a private reception for the commissioners at her home.

Dan Dooley, who was a charter PAC member and former VP of ANR, attended the meeting and reception. PAC members thanked him for his leadership over the years. Dooley retired from UC as senior VP for External Relations on Jan. 2.

The PAC will meet again in the spring.

Posted on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 10:00 AM

VP message to the ANR Community

Barbara Allen-Diaz
ANR Community,

Welcome to the New Year! I am very proud of all we accomplished in 2014. With retirements and turnovers, 360 new staff personnel joined us in 2014, and we hired 37 new CE specialists, advisors, academic administrators and academic coordinators. We established the Nutrition Policy Institute, ratified the California Naturalist and Master Food Preserver programs as official ANR statewide programs, completed strategic plans for three Research and Extension Centers, and funded a pilot program for graduate students at Berkeley interested in careers in Cooperative Extension. We completed a comprehensive review process for proposed new CE hires and released new academic positions in November to continue our efforts to rebuild our CE footprint throughout the state. Our Rosenberg Water Policy program was reviewed, our competitive grants program was evaluated, and a new-hire programmatic orientation was conducted. These are just a few of the many program highlights throughout the year.

We celebrated the Cooperative Extension centennial with commemorations and celebrations big and small. A highlight of the yearlong celebration was our May 8th Day of Science and Service, when 20,000 people around the state participated in sharing with us how they use water, procure their food, and observe pollinators in their own back yard. Many, many thanks go to our centennial committee for all their hard work.

Before I move on to my plans for 2015, I want to recognize our staff. They are an incredible group of passionate, service-oriented professionals who make all the work we do, as academics, possible. As we continue to rebuild our academic footprint across the state, we are cognizant of the need to ensure sufficient staffing so that all our ANR employees thrive in their various roles.

2015 will bring changes, but also opportunities. As many of you know, I am retiring in June of this year. A new VP search has begun, and although it is time for me to transition, we still have much still to do in the next six months. I intend to bring to fruition some important efforts that I, and your leadership team, have been working on for the past three years. Many of our efforts have been focused on increasing the visibility and recognition of the outstanding, problem-solving research, education and extension work of our CE academics and staff. ANR, as the home of Cooperative Extension and the Research and Extension Center system and providing leadership to the Agriculture Experiment Station, is an important arm of the University of California, and has been recognized as such in many ways including the restoration of our direct reporting line to the UC President, and by financial support from our many friends throughout the state.

In the next six months, we will be very busy. Our financial model currently depends on revenues from the state, federal government, endowments, gifts, contracts and grants - much like a campus. Unlike a campus however, our funds are managed across five different UC ledgers, causing incredible inefficiencies in analyzing and accounting for the expenditures of our funds. We are using a number of vehicles to rectify this, including UC Path, pursuing a single-unified business unit, and clarifying our partnerships with our campus colleagues through detailed business services agreements.

Our CE academics were removed from the Academic Senate many, many years ago. However, we have a strong CE Academic Assembly Council and a robust academic merit and promotion system, which continues to ensure the excellence of our academics in research, education and extension. To address one inequity, we are working with the Academic Senate to establish equivalent status for our CE academics that parallels the Agronomist series, and is a small step in having UC recognize the research and education work of our CE ranks. We also recognize other inequities affecting our CE academics relative to the rights and privileges of other UC academics, and your leadership is working to address them.

Our new hires, academic and staff, will need robust orientation and training programs. Chief of staff Jan Corlett, and training coordinator Jodi Azulai are taking the lead and will work with our existing training committee, strategic initiative leaders, and statewide program directors to both continue and improve our offerings. The Work Environment study results will be an important additional metric in our thinking about orientation and training for ANR. In addition, we will create a Staff Assembly Council to improve the voice for our staff throughout the system.

Bringing our efforts to fruition will improve the Division's efficiency, accountability and work environment. Achieving these sets of actions will enable us to focus more time and resources on what really matters – the core services that UC ANR provides the people of California. Along with our AES colleagues and other partners across the state, UC ANR Cooperative Extension advisors and specialists, program reps, academic coordinators and administrators provide research and education programs that are science-based and provide solutions to some of the most pressing problems in agriculture, natural resources, nutrition and youth development. That is our mission, and one that all of us in ANR take on with passion and pride.

Best wishes to all of us for a fruitful (and very busy) 2015.

Barbara Allen-Diaz
Vice President


Posted on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 10:00 AM

Names in the News

Mike Janes
Janes to lead ANR Strategic Communications

Dear Colleagues,

Please join me in welcoming our new Strategic Communications Director to ANR.  Mike Janes comes to us from the Sandia National Laboratory in Livermore where he has been the Communications and Media Relations Officer for over ten years. His extensive experience with communicating science to a wider audience is a skill that will greatly benefit ANR. 

As you all know, we are heavily involved with many of the President's Initiatives – Food, Carbon Neutrality and Mexico. In support of these initiatives, we have an opportunity to share the research and program delivery stories from our academics all over the state of California. Mr. Janes is arriving at a critical time to help us leverage these opportunities, and showcase the exceptional work of ANR.

Mr. Janes also led the lab's Diversity and Inclusion Action Planning Team, and we look forward to having him engage with our own efforts to ensure that ANR has a welcoming and inclusive work environment. Earlier in his career, Mr. Janes worked as the Media Relations Director for the American Institute of Architects, and as the Senior Media Relations Manager for Special Olympics International.

Mr. Janes is an Air Force veteran and has an M.A in strategic communication and leadership and a B.A. in broadcast communications. He will be based in Davis and starts on February 2, 2015.


Barbara Allen-Diaz
Vice President

George Zhuang
Zhuang named UCCE viticulture advisor

Shijian (George) Zhuang joined UCCE on Jan. 2 as a viticulture advisor in Fresno County. His background is in Viticulture and Enology, Food Science and Horticultural Science. Zhuang's research focuses on wine, raisin and table grapes.

Prior to joining UCCE, Zhuang was a viticulture intern at E & J Gallo Winery where he worked on several research projects that included precision viticulture and differential irrigation. This experience provided him a greater understanding about viticulture and vineyard management in the Central Valley and the needs and future challenges of the grape industry, such as limited water availability, labor shortage and invasive pest species. From 2009 to 2012, Zhuang was a master graduate research assistant at Michigan State University where he participated in research projects such as experimental trials of new varieties (NE 10-20), early leaf removal on pinot noir, foliar nitrogen application on chardonnay and crop and canopy management on concord grapes. Zhuang also worked on canopy microclimate management and crop load manipulation in order to improve fruit quality. During his research study, Zhuang gained skills in the analysis of different chemical components, such as anthocyanins and phenolics, in grapes and wines as well as grape flavor chemistry components such as methoxypyrazines.

Zhuang earned a B.S. in viticulture and enology from China Agricultural University, Beijing, China, and a M.S. in horticulture from Michigan State University. His master's thesis focused on the impact of viticultural practices (crop load and canopy management) on fruit quality of cabernet franc grapevines grown under cool climate conditions.

Zhuang can be reached at (559) 241-7506 and

Jim Downing
Downing named Cal Ag editor

Jim Downing is California Agriculture journal's new executive editor. Downing, who joined UC on Jan. 12, is familiar with UC Cooperative Extension from his years covering agriculture, energy and climate policy for the Sacramento Bee. He even read California Agriculture as an undergrad at Cornell University.

Until joining UC ANR, he was principal in Jim Downing Consulting, where he wrote and produced publications on science, natural resources, policy and management for clients such as the Nature Conservancy, the Water Education Foundation and the Union of Concerned Scientists. Besides his Bee reporting, Downing has professional experience in agriculture, with international fellowships in water reuse and reclamation and in rural and urban water quality. He has two master's degrees from UC Berkeley, one in civil and environmental engineering and the other in energy and resources.

In his new position, Downing will oversee California Agriculture's content, quality, accuracy and strategic direction, planning and producing issues that speak to the journal's educated and cross-disciplinary readers.

Downing can be reached at and (530) 750-1352.

UCCE nutrition honored in Kings County

The UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program in Kings County was honored as the Most Outstanding Support Agency at the 2014 Kings Prevention Awards. UC CalFresh community educator Sue Lafferty and UC CalFresh program representative Denise Cuendett accepted the award at a breakfast program on Dec. 4 in Hanford. The Kings Prevention Awards were presented by a local coalition called the Kings Partnership for Prevention.


Posted on Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 11:33 AM

ANR town hall recording available about work environment assessment

VP Barbara Allen-Diaz held a town hall today (April 29) for ANR employees to discuss the UC ANR Work Environment Assessment. Jan Corlett, the VP's chief of staff, presented results of the survey. They both answered questions from the audience.

The UC ANR Work Environment Assessment results are based on a 64 percent response rate from UC Cooperative Extension specialists, UCCE advisors and staff located throughout the state. However, these results do not include Agricultural Extension Service faculty and UCCE specialists located on the Berkeley, Davis and Riverside campuses who received the campus survey; or staff in Oakland who received the UCOP survey.

The UC ANR Work Environment Assessment results are at A recording of the 37-minute town hall discussion is posted at

Posted on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 12:59 PM

UCOP honors our Land Grant legacy

On July 2, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Act into law, which led to the creation of UC and the other Land Grant universities. To commemorate the sesquicentennial of the occasion, UCOP created a Morrill Act slide show with quotes from VP Barbara Allen-Diaz, UC Cooperative Extension advisor Rose Hayden-Smith and UC Berkeley wildlife and forestry professor Reginald Barrett, whose great-great grandfather, Jonathan Baldwin Turner, was the leader of the movement that launched the Morrill Act. See the story at The direct link is

Posted on Tuesday, July 3, 2012 at 12:11 PM

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