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Workgroups, program teams and strategic initiatives review shows clarity of purpose

A major factor in job satisfaction is the extent to which people feel part of a wider supportive community. Such connections have historically been offered in UC ANR through various means, including our structural units (i.e., our 81 workgroups, 21 program teams and 5 strategic initiatives).

Healthy organizations should regularly look at their structure. Important elements of structure include how the pieces fit together and how people may better connect to more effectively implement their work. In the summer of 2018, we began a series of discussions and surveys to revisit aspects of our structure.

Thank you to the 120-plus people who provided input on our structure and suggestions regarding how we may connect. 

Findings

1. Clarity of purpose:

The seeming fuzziness of the roles and goals of our workgroups (WGs), program teams (PTs) and strategic initiatives (SIs) is not as great as people may think. Many consistent findings arose across the different structural groups. A summary of our findings follows.

Workgroups (our oldest unit of structure) are the most readily understood. They represent active “communities of practice” (that can come and go) and are the primary place where people plan and implement (noting that such groups are both formal and informal).

One point of interest is that people didn't realize they could close or start workgroups as needed.

Program teams bring together people (typically from different workgroups) who are working on related but distinctly different topics to network, share and learn.

One clear observation is that PTs vary considerably in terms of the diversity of WG representation (e.g., 1 PT has 12 WGs and a few PTs have just 1 WG).

SIs are our highest form of aggregation (and currently the one that enjoys the least clarity). They function to unify, communicate and advocate as the umbrellas for the work we do. The recent addition for the SIs is the development of the focal areas and grand challenges, providing the opportunity to see the unifying focus in our efforts.

For more information about how workgroups, program teams and strategic initiatives fit together, see https://ucanr.edu/sites/StrategicInitiatives/files/295191.pdf.

2. Workgroups – Don't fix it if it ain't broken:

Of the 81 workgroups, 21 are considered very active and effective - while another 29 are somewhat active and 3 are new in 2019. The remaining 28 WGs have been inactive, as reflected by personnel or goal changes and will be officially closed (see list below). These can be easily reopened if demand arises.

The goal is for WGs to align with a single PT, which likely means realigning the PTs - see point No. 3 below. Currently some workgroups have no PT, whereas other WGs have aligned with many PTs.

3. Reformulate the topic areas for program teams:

The next step is to collect input and look at reformulating/reaffirming the PT themes. Currently, we have 21 PT themes. Some have no WGs under them. Others have many WGs under them. Some workgroups have aligned under many PTs, which creates uneven structure and at times uneven activity.

As we go forward, we encourage people to identify PT themes to 1) better represent the collective work of UC ANR, 2) create or show clearer paths for people to connect at the WG, PT and SI levels, and 3) help us refine the SI focal areas and grand challenges – providing greater clarity of our efforts and clearer SI alignment with the reformulated PT themes and WG efforts.

Opportunity for more input on PT themes

The PT discussions will include a webinar and county visits over summer.

Thank you all for your efforts and we welcome input.

Sincerely,

Mark Bell (Vice Provost Strategic Initiatives and Statewide Programs)

Strategic Initiative Leaders

HFC: Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty

SFS: Deanne Meyer and Neil McRoberts

Water: David Lewis

SNE: David Lile

Pests: Jim Farrar

—————————————

Workgroups to close. Note: If there is interest and leadership, workgroups can be readily opened by this simple new workgroup request.

1.   Air Quality

2.   Animals in Educational Settings

3.   Bioenergy

4.   Body Weight and Health

5.   Building Food Security

6.   Conservation Biology

7.   Dairy Goats

8.   Ecological Restoration

9.   Economics and Management in Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment

10.   Environmental Observation Network

11.   European Pear

12.   Exotic Fruit Fly

13.   Garden-based Learning

14.   Health Promotion & Disease Prevention

15.   Mosquito Research and Extension

16.   Pest Management in ANR

17.   Postharvest Integrated Pest Management

18.   Rangeland Watershed Program

19.   Turfgrass

20.   Urban Horticulture

21.   Water Quality

22.   Woody Biomass Utilization

23.   Families with Young Children

24.   Food Safety Horticultural Crops

25.   Land Use

26.   Linking Research & Education in Agricultural & Environmental Biotechnology

27.   Peppers

28.   Spray Application Technology 

 

 

Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2019 at 10:52 AM

Program Team meetings, fire summit and programmatic orientation dates set

River Fire burning at Hopland Research and Extension Center in July 2018.

Save the dates for Program Team meetings, a fire summit and UCANR's programmatic orientation.

Vision 20/20: A fire-resilient California: April 16-17, ANR-only follow-up meeting, April 18, Redding CA

The fire summit will bring together community leaders, policymakers, and movers and shakers—people like you!—from a wide range of disciplines on April 16-17. Vision 20/20: A Fire-resilient California will expand our understanding of California's fire problem and provide an opportunity to build connectivity, interaction and integration across disciplines and better understand the complexity of and find solutions to California's wildfire challenge.

On April 18, we'll have an internal ANR meeting where we can share our own work in fire and strategize how together we can better respond to California's fire challenges at local and regional levels. We hope ANR academics and staff from a wide range of disciplines will attend. Travel funds will be available for ANR-affiliated academics and programmatic staff.

Open to ANR academics and programmatic staff – registration now open.

UC ANR Programmatic Orientation: April 23-25, Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Parlier, CA

Plan to join ANR leadership for the Programmatic Orientation to discuss the mission of UC ANR and our varied roles in California and the University, as well as see examples of successful research and outreach programs. Take this opportunity to engage in discussions with colleagues about the resources and opportunities available through ANR as a UC division. 

All early career UC Cooperative Extension advisors and specialists, academic coordinators and administrators are invited to attend – registration now open.

Upcoming Program Team meetings

                Water Resources PT – March 5-7 – Registration

                Positive Youth Development Meeting – March 18-20 – Registration

                Pomology (PECC) PT – March 27-28 – Registration opening soon

                Dairy Production and Food Safety PT – April 9-10 – Registration opening soon

                Research to Policy PT – April 10-11 – Registration opening soon  

Posted on Tuesday, February 26, 2019 at 6:04 PM

How might we connect better?

Being able to connect is key to the success we in UC ANR enjoy in developing and providing solutions to help the people of California. 

Please provide your input (see #3 under "Where are we?) to see how we might do this even better.

A summer survey to program team leaders and workgroup chairs asked for input on how we currently connect (and our current structure). 

The three main findings were:

  1. Our current structure [roles of Workgroups (WG), Program Teams (PT) and Strategic Initiatives (SIs)] is - shall we say - somewhat “fuzzy.”
  2. Even with the lack of clarity on WG, PT and SI functions, people greatly value the opportunities to engage and interact.
  3. There is a desire to identify which of our (80+) workgroups are active and still needed.

Where are we? What are the actions in play?

  1. Workgroups: Frequently Asked Questions” A fact sheet on our structure was developed to help clarify roles – your feedback is welcome.
  2. Identify active Workgroups. This week, we are doing a follow up survey with WG chairs to seek input on the level of WG activity and connections.
  3. Your input welcome. We welcome your input through this simple survey - 5-10 minutes can help us all move forward. Please complete the survey https://ucanr.edu/survey/survey.cfm?surveynumber=26325 by Jan. 4.

What's next? After receiving input from you and the workgroup chairs, we will revisit our structure (program teams, etc.) and see how we can better connect.

Thanks for your efforts to help us positively impact the lives of all Californians.

Posted on Monday, December 17, 2018 at 3:28 AM
  • Author: Deanne Meyer, Sustainable Food Systems Strategic Initiative Co-Leader
  • Author: Mark Bell, Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives and Statewide Programs
Tags: December 2018 (18), Program Teams (10), workgroups (5)

Integrating Climate Change in UCCE Programs Workshop set for Jan. 23-24

Wildfire singed this landscape in Madera County. Photo by Rebecca Ozeran

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing farmers, natural resource managers and communities in California.

On Jan. 23-24, the Climate Change Program Team will hold the Integrating Climate Change in California Cooperative Extension Programs Workshop at UC Merced.

“It's open to all ANR academics and program staff who are interested in the topic,” said Ted Grantham, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at UC Berkeley.

“This meeting will bring together ANR academics and programmatic staff to strengthen interdisciplinary collaborations and enhance the capacity of UC Cooperative Extension to advance climate-change mitigation and adaptation efforts in California,” he said. 

The day-and-a-half-long workshop will include updates on the latest science on climate impacts and sessions that focus on disaster preparedness and response, climate science communication, and climate-smart agriculture. The workshop will also include interactive dialog to identify priorities for enhancing the visibility, relevance and impact of ANR's climate-change research and extension programs.

In breakout sessions, participants will discuss wildfire hazard mitigation, environmental education and citizen science, building climate resilience with tribes and vulnerable communities, environmental horticulture and more.

To register and view the draft agenda, visit https://ucanr.edu/sites/CalClimateChange/2019_Workshop.

Posted on Thursday, November 29, 2018 at 6:11 PM

ANR funding support update

Colleagues,

As mandated costs continue to outpace available funds, UC ANR is taking action to ensure financial prudence while continuing to devote our limited resources to our priorities. These include the approved systemwide merit program and the two UC ANR equity programs designed to improve the competitiveness of salaries for academics and staff, among other goals. As Vice President Humiston recently said, “People are our greatest asset; without you, we cannot achieve our research and extension mission.” Please see related programmatic funding updates below.

Program Team Funding 

  • For FY2018-19, UC ANR is providing funding for Program Team meetings, during which related Workgroups can also meet. These meetings provide the opportunity to network, share and learn. To find out about the meetings, check the Program Team meetings web page.
  • Over this coming year, UC ANR program leadership will continue to solicit input on opportunities to improve our Strategic Initiative, Program Team and Workgroup structure and roles. Thanks to Program Team Leaders and Workgroup Chairs who provided input through the August survey. 

CE specialist and AES travel funds to work with CE advisors or at the RECs

  • Continuing in FY 2018-19, UC ANR is making travel support available for CE specialists to collaborate with UC ANR academics off-campus, including CE advisors in the counties and UC ANR academics at the research and extension centers. Each specialist may apply for up to $2,500. These travel funds must be expended by June 30, 2019, and used by the UCCE specialists only, and cannot be used for out-of-state travel.
  • UC ANR continues to support travel by AES faculty to meet and work with UC ANR county-based or REC-based academics. Support is limited to $1,000 per AES faculty member with a cap on the total pool of funds available set at $25,000 for FY 2018-19. This travel support must be used by the AES faculty member for his/her own travel to plan and execute research or present research findings at meetings hosted by UC ANR academics. Additional support may be available through the campuses; AES faculty should consult their departments or colleges.
  • Completing a short online survey is the only step in accessing these funds.

ANR funding opportunities/grants

  • For 2018-2020, UCANR will not be issuing a call for proposals for the ANR Competitive Grants Program nor the High-Risk/High-Reward Program, and the Matching Program is on hold. These funds are being redirected given the current budget situation.  
  • UC ANR continues to accept submissions for the Opportunity Grants Program, which provides small amounts of funding to initiate and complete critical short-term research, outreach, or training efforts. Proposals are accepted at any time. For more information, see the web page.

Sincerely,

Wendy Powers
Associate Vice President

 

 

Posted on Friday, September 28, 2018 at 3:11 PM

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