Posts Tagged: Cooperative Extension
Californians have been dealing with wildfires, the pandemic, power shutdowns, excessive heat and drought, sometimes all at the same time. In every county, UC Cooperative Extension is there to assist community members.
To better serve their clientele, nearly three-quarters of UC Cooperative Extension employees say they need professional development related to disaster response, according to a new study led by Vikram Koundinya, UC Cooperative Extension evaluation specialist in the UC Davis Department of Human Ecology.
Koundinya and coauthors Cristina Chiarella, UC Davis doctoral graduate student researcher; Susan Kocher, UC Cooperative Extension advisor for the Central Sierra; and Faith Kearns, California Institute for Water Resources academic coordinator, surveyed UC ANR personnel to identify existing disaster management programs and future needs. Their research was published in the October 2020 edition of Journal of Extension.
“It's becoming so common that our folks are being put in the role of responding to disasters, while not having much training or background to do so,” Kocher said.
“And, it's really cross-disciplinary,” she added. “Right now, our nutrition folks are doing so much with assisting their communities with food access during COVID. Others, like Faith Kearns, have been working hard to address drought and help clientele weather drought impacts. There are the individual events like the LNU Lightning Complex fires [wildfires caused by lightning strikes in Lake, Napa, Sonoma, Solano and Yolo counties that burned from Aug. 17 to Oct. 2, 2020], but really, so many of us are currently doing disaster work across our disciplines and that role will only continue to expand with climate change-induced disasters. Once you frame it as ‘disaster work' you can start to see how our system needs to be much more prepared and to learn from and collaborate with each other and with disaster organizations.”
The survey showed that about one-third of the 224 respondents had been involved in preparing for, responding to, or helping communities recover from disasters. Respondents also noted a variety of needs related to disaster preparedness, response and recovery systems, procedures, materials and equipment, and educational materials.
“UC ANR personnel reported a need for professional development related to understanding how we fit into broader disaster response systems (73%) in California, what Extension resources are available for disaster response (63%), how the landscape of disaster risks in California communities is changing (62%), how communities can mitigate or manage disaster risks (62%), how to develop pre-established networks within the organization for responding to disasters (52%) and coordination with local and state entities (48%),” Koundinya said.
The authors note in the journal article, “Even though UCCE has been playing a critical role in disaster response for decades, because of the size and geographic spread of the UCCE system, disaster management approaches and materials have tended to develop piecemeal on a program-by-program and often county-by-county and disaster-by-disaster basis.”
The article, “Disasters Happen: Identifying disaster management needs of Cooperative Extension System personnel” can be viewed at https://joe.org/joe/2020october/a2.php.
“We recommend that the findings be used for designing professional development on the topics and needs identified by the respondents,” said Koundinya.
In her blog ANR Adventures, AVP Wendy Powers, wrote about the report, “The tables identifying needs are of particular interest to me and perhaps something the Learning and Development team might think about for future trainings.”
2018 CE position proposals are released for recruitment:
- #12 Production Horticulture Advisor, San Diego County
- #42 Agronomy Area Advisor, Merced County
- #54 Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor, Siskiyou County
- #58 Nutrition, Family, and Consumer Sciences Area Advisor, San Mateo-San Francisco Counties
- #62 Vegetable Crops and Small Farms Advisor, Riverside County
- #66 Pomology and Water/Soils Area Advisor, Kings County
The Academic HR unit will begin to work on recruitment plans for the above CE Advisor positions immediately following the winter break.
In addition, I commit to refill the position “#49 Irrigation and Water Resources Advisor, Glenn County” at such time that a gap occurs.
These were difficult decisions to make because while we need the above positions, there are many more needs for both CE Specialist and CE Advisor positions that continue to wait for additional funding. Additionally, while we have grown the CE Specialist numbers over the last several years, the number of CE Advisors in the field has steadily declined. For this reason, we are not releasing additional CE Specialist positions at this time. I remain deeply committed to the 4-H Youth Development Program and support the current conversations underway about investments in expanding non-academic support to improve program delivery to our local communities.
I hope to release 5 to 6 more positions in the spring/summer. This is possible, in part, due to the advanced notice provided by individuals planning to retire June 2020. In addition, we will complete recruitment of other academic positions currently advertised, including those that are funded through partnerships. See Status of Recruitments and Hires for a list of positions under recruitment now. That list does not reflect a few recent CE Advisor and CE Specialist hires who have not yet started.
I wish to thank the Program Council for their work providing recommendations to me. Likewise, I thank the County Directors, Program Team Leaders, Statewide Program/Institute Directors, REC Directors and Associate Deans for their efforts to identify priority needs.
I look forward to sending more of these notices soon!
On Aug. 1, phase 2 of the Cooperative Extension Positions Call process ended and phase 3 began. During phase 2, the Program Teams reviewed the 40 phase 1 proposals and submitted six additional proposals. All submitted proposals are posted on the 2018 Call for Position web page: http://ucanr.edu/2018callforpositions.
- The statewide programs and institutes are now reviewing all 46 proposed positions to determine if there are any positions they feel are of higher priority.
- If so, they can propose up to two additional CE advisor positions and two additional CE specialist positions by Sept. 15 – keeping in mind that the more proposals there are at the end, the lower the probability of being approved for recruitment.
- The proposals that did not make the phase 1 final 40 can be picked up during these subsequent phases. They can be found on the proposal ideas web page. New proposals are not limited to these ideas.
After Sept. 15, Program Council will review all the feedback and make recommendations to the vice president.
“We thank the ANR network for actively engaging in this participatory process to strengthen and rebuild CE positions statewide,” said Wendy Powers, associate vice president.
ANR is committed to increasing our academic footprint for more effective deployment of Cooperative Extension (CE) specialists and advisors to address local issues with global impact. The 2018 CE Call for Positions is released, with the aim to identify positions that address programmatic gaps and emerging needs. The call, including the position proposal template, new process flowchart and timeline and criteria, is posted at http://ucanr.edu/2018callforpositions.
The advisor and specialist position proposal-development processes will be open from Feb. 8 to Sept. 15, with three phases of groups working collaboratively to develop proposals, and later phases reviewing earlier proposals to add proposals that they think are higher priority. Each proposal development phase is intended to include internal consultation and external input from ANR stakeholders to identify priority needs.
“Strengthening and rebuilding the ANR network remains a top priority for ANR,” said Wendy Powers, associate vice president. “Since the beginning of 2012, ANR has hired 175 academics, and has 11 approved CE positions under recruitment in 2018 (list posted on the 2018 call web page). Through this call, we plan to add around 26 additional crucial CE positions.”
Powers said, “As with the current recruitments, we will remain nimble with future hiring in phases over time to enable us to accomplish the search and hiring process in an orderly fashion, evaluate resources on a real-time basis, deal with unexpected changes in staffing, and address unforeseen critical gaps as they emerge. The resources released through retirements and separations continue to enable us to hire new advisors and specialists. The ANR strategic plan 2016-2020 also prioritizes strengthening partnerships to establish new co-funded positions and developing other new sources of revenue to grow the academic footprint.”
Downtown Oakland was the site of the biannual UC President's Advisory Commission on Agriculture and Natural Resources (PAC) meeting on Aug. 9, which included a Q&A session with President Napolitano, program presentations from UC Cooperative Extension county directors Rob Bennaton and Igor Lacan, and updates from deans Helene Dillard (UC Davis), Keith Gilless (UC Berkeley) and Kathryn Uhrich (UC Riverside), as well as Executive Associate Dean John Pascoe (filling in for Dean Michael Lairmore, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine).
In her opening remarks, UC ANR Vice President Glenda Humiston introduced Mark Bell, the division's new vice provost for statewide programs and strategic initiatives. Bell spoke about the strength of the UC system, the diversity of programs offered by UC ANR statewide, and his plans to leverage the strong volunteer and staff base of programs like UC Master Gardeners and 4-H.
Humiston also offered updates on the division's strategic plan and the significant progress made in implementing its key goals. Associate Vice President Tu Tran then gave a presentation on the division's financial situation, which he titled “A Fiscal Plan for Success.” Tran addressed UC ANR's place in the state budget and its revenue projections through FY 2021-22, which includes significant growth in major gifts and fundraising.
Bennaton and Lacan both gave spirited and enthusiastic presentations that were received well. Bennaton, who serves as county director for Alameda and Contra Costa counties as well as UCCE urban agriculture advisor for the Bay Area, discussed the benefits of urban agriculture and the assortment of activities going on in community development, habitat restoration and youth programming.
Lacan, also a UCCE environmental horticulture advisor for the Bay Area and co-director in San Mateo and San Francisco counties, talked about the diverse and richly rewarding work he spearheads in urban forestry. His work currently focuses on sustainable management of urban trees and urban water.
During a Q&A period, the president engaged PAC members on various issues such as potential public-private partnerships that could involve UC ANR, targeted approaches to advocacy and deferred maintenance needs for UC writ large but also for UC ANR and its research and extension centers system, specifically.
The deans gave updates on research and activities occurring at their respective colleges and school.
The next PAC meeting is scheduled for December, also in Oakland.