Posts Tagged: July 2020
As you know, the University is experiencing severe fiscal challenges across all locations because of COVID-19 and its economic fallout. UC ANR is facing a possible 12.7% budget reduction for the 20-21 fiscal year. The University is hoping for a supplemental federal appropriation from Congress which may help to reduce the budget cut.
“Congress wanted to pass the fourth COVID supplemental package before August, but they weren't able to come to an agreement,” said Anne Megaro, director of governmental and community relations. “Many of them are still in D.C. working and it could take several more weeks of negotiation before the bill is finalized.”
Until we know more about our fiscal position for the coming year, we are implementing measures to ensure that we are able to continue to deliver the UC ANR mission. As these fiscal challenges become more apparent, many of you have expressed concerns about continued job security and what's next.
UC ANR's strength lies squarely with its people. We have a strong commitment to our employees and seek to implement this by being proactive, transparent and innovative wherever possible. In addition to this ongoing commitment, we will prioritize protecting programmatic goals and current positions. Layoffs will be considered only as a tool of last resort to address the fiscal challenges.
We will approach this situation as we have faced many other challenges - thoughtfully, strategically and with our employees and mission in mind. To do this effectively and equitably across UC ANR, we are implementing a series of strategies.
To achieve the above we initiated a hiring freeze effective July 1 and deferred funding requests for new staff positions and expenditures. Staffing requests will only be approved by exception based on compelling priorities. This hiring freeze will remain in effect for 12 months, unless the budgetary condition improves. Additionally, we are:
- Ensuring a high level of flexibility to reassign current staff to critical positions using the current Redeployment program, wherever possible.
- Approving reasonable use of the voluntary Employee Initiated Reduction in Time (ERIT).
- Proactively considering other UC systemwide strategies for actions to reduce costs such as voluntary reduction in time and voluntary early retirement.
- Working to grow and diversify the Division's revenue streams, prioritizing the development of contracts and grants, gifts, and other independent revenue sources.
- Maintaining programmatic delivery and continuing to invest in key areas, including those identified in the strategic plan, to strengthen delivery of extension and operational efficiency to further our mission.
Our hope is that the hiring freeze and other cost-cutting measures will be short-lived and that Congress will provide the necessary funds to minimize cuts to the University. UC has initiated an advocacy campaign to encourage Congress to support state funding as well as supplemental research and cooperative extension funding.
UC ANR recognizes the importance of helping employees manage a work/life balance. During the COVID 19 pandemic, it is understandable that some employees may wish to temporarily reduce their appointment time to address priority family and self-care needs. UC ANR is providing opportunities for flexible work schedules and reduced time appointments through programs such as the Employee-initiated Reduction In Time program (ERIT).
For academics, approvals for one year or less will be considered and are subject to renewal consideration. All requests to reduce the appointment time must be supported by supervisors. Final approval rests with AVP Wendy Powers. The academic or supervisor may end such approved arrangements with a 30-day advanced notice.
Salary, monthly sick and vacation leave, and UCRP service credit accruals will be calculated on the reduced appointment percentage. You are also encouraged to contact the UC Davis Benefits Office to discuss the implication of healthcare coverage for any such reduced appointment.
Academics who are interested in seeking a voluntary reduction in time, please complete the documents listed below and submit to Tina Jordan (email@example.com).
Staff employees may, with the approval of their department, reduce their working hours and corresponding pay between 5% and 50%. For more information about the Employee Initiated Reduction in Time (ERIT) Program, please visit the website or contact John Fox or Bethanie Brown.
UC ANR employees made their voices heard through the 2020 ANR@Work survey. The survey received a 73% response rate with over 74% of respondents stating that they are a “satisfied” or an “extremely satisfied” UC ANR employee.
The inaugural ANR@Work survey was distributed to academics, staff and county-paid employees between March 17 and April 3, 2020. The goal of the anonymous survey was to obtain feedback about the work environment at UC ANR.
“Your responses tell us the top strengths of UC ANR include feeling valued by your department, feeling welcomed in your workplace, and feeling your department supports your work-life balance,” said John Fox, executive director of Human Resources.
Two of the top-scoring issues (4.4 out of 5 on the scale) show that respondents feel their supervisors treat them with respect and that their supervisors are supportive of their personal issues.
We hear you.
“Overall, while scores were not low, employees shared opportunities for improvement, which included wanting to have more of a voice on how to improve UC ANR, and wanting to hear more from senior leaders about long-range goals and strategic direction,” Fox said. “Another opportunity to improve was in the area of feeling more valued by the organization.”
Fox will review the overall ANR@Work survey results during the Town Hall Zoom meeting on Thursday, Aug. 20, at 1:30 p.m.
“We plan to repeat the survey annually for at least five years,” Fox said. “The 2020 survey results establish a baseline for continually assessing UC ANR's work environment.”
See more about ANR@Work Survey results at https://ucanr.edu/sites/anrstaff/Diversity/ANR@Work_Survey_741. Questions or comments about the survey? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Building a resilient food system: Webinar series is off and running
Worried about our food system? Healthy Families and Communities and Sustainable Food Systems Strategic Initiatives are encouraging continued discussions on how to reimagine them. Sign up below and join us for Food System Resiliency webinars on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month, through at least November, to continue the discussion.
Please let us know if you're interested in providing leadership or participating in a webinar for this series. Contacts: Deanne Meyer (SYS SI leader) and Lynn Schmitt McQuitty (HFC SI leader). The six-part series covers:
Webinar #1 - Food Safety and COVID-19 (July 14) See Slides (PDF)
Webinar #2 - California Food Systems: Partnerships and Resources(July 28) See Slides (PDF)
Webinar #3 - The Ins and Outs of Niche Marketing Meat (Aug 11) register here
Webinar #4 - Beef Supply Chain and Market Disruptions (Aug 25) register here
Webinar #5 - TBD (Sept 8)
Webinar #6 - Victory Gardens Then and Now (Sept 22) register here
Visit the Spotlight webinars page to see recordings.
Growing Reach and Impact by Enhancing Our Virtual Skills
We continue to explore and develop materials to help us better use virtual tools. Visit the UC ANR Learning & Development Site (UCANR.edu/L&D) to learn more about:
- Integrated Web Platform (IWP). See the summary ideas for our emerging Integrated Web Platform project
- Online courses. Check out the recently developed Checklist: online course minimum standards
- Video. Develop your "How-to" video making skills
- Virtual Consultations. Get some Virtual consultation tips
- Webinars. Pick up some pointers from the engaging webinars checklist or explore deeper to develop your webinar skills
All of these materials have been developed with input from many, many colleagues. Let us know what skills or tips you found useful and what more you'd like to learn.
For more on the SIs and their activities, contact:
Jim Farrar (EIPD)
David Lewis (Water)
David Lile (SNE)
Deanne Meyer (SFS)
Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty (HFC)
ACWA honors PCWA and French Meadows Forest Restoration Project team
The Association of California Water Agencies has selected the Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) French Meadows Forest Restoration Project for the 2020 Clair A. Hill Agency Award for Excellence. The award recognizes exemplary programs developed by ACWA members that creatively address water industry issues and show commitment to water use efficiency and conservation, leadership in broad water-related issues, and excellence in agency management and operations.
The French Meadows Project is a collaborative partnership that aims to accelerate ecologically based forest management to reduce wildfire risk and promote healthier, more resilient source waters. Safeeq Khan, assistant UCCE specialist in water and watershed sciences at UC Merced's Sierra Nevada Research Institute, is part of the project team that includes members from the Placer County Water Agency, U.S. Forest Service, Tahoe National Forest, Sierra Nevada Conservancy, Placer County, American River Conservancy and The Nature Conservancy.
As a part of this effort, Khan is evaluating forest management impacts on hydrology (e.g. snow accumulation and melt, soil moisture, streamflow and evapotranspiration) and forest health (e.g. tree growth and mortality) in the headwaters of the Middle Fork of the American River.
“The overall aim is to measure and assess the effects of restoration treatments on downstream water supplies, and drought resiliency in source-water watersheds,” Khan said. “My research team is working on installing and measuring water- and energy-balance in the project area and has acquired digital imagery for the site that provides baseline before-and-after data for analysis and scaling.
The results will inform land managers locally and across the region of the multi-year impacts of landscape-scale vegetation treatments and stimulate further participation in both restoration and long-term management.”
The award was presented to PCWA during ACWA's 2020 Virtual Summer Conference. As a part of this award, PCWA will have the honor of awarding a $5,000 scholarship to a deserving student in the name of Clair A. Hill.