Posts Tagged: President’s Advisory Commission
The UC President's Advisory Commission met Dec. 14 via Zoom as coronavirus precautions continued to discourage travel.
“It's the beginning of a new phase,” said President Drake, announcing that the first coronavirus vaccines would be arriving at UC medical centers the next day. Acknowledging that the pandemic has created challenges for everyone, Drake urged everyone to protect themselves as they continue to perform critically important activities for Californians.
In her update on UC ANR activities, VP Glenda Humiston announced that she and AVP Wendy Powers have accepted leadership roles in the Association of Public Land-grant Universities (APLU). Humiston is chair of the Budget and Legislative Committee for the Experiment Station Council on Policy (ESCOP) and Powers is chair-elect of the Extension Council on Policy (ECOP).
Humiston also briefed PAC members on the 2020 California Economic Summit that was held online Dec. 3-4. The statewide conference focused on improving economic prosperity, environmental sustainability, and social equity. Humiston spoke about the benefits to California of investing in wildfire reduction and forest restoration work.
Dan Sanchez, UC Cooperative Extension specialist at UC Berkeley, gave PAC members a presentation on how UC ANR and partners collaborate to advance forest health, reduce fire risk and develop jobs and economic growth with high-value products from biomass.
During a report from the ANR Governing Council, UC Riverside Chancellor Kim Wilcox, who is chair of the council, encouraged more collaboration between UC ANR and campuses. He suggested climate change as a subject for connecting UC ANR and campus expertise.
Humiston noted that she and Powers recently gave a presentation about UC ANR to UC vice chancellors of research, who expressed interest in working with UC ANR and Powers has been meeting with them regularly.
Continuing with the natural resources theme, Ish Herrera, California Forward director of regional stewardship, gave a presentation on wood products and Eric Holst, Environmental Defense Fund associate vice president for working lands, gave presentations on forest management. Both see roles for UC ANR.
Herrera suggested UC could use wood products in building projects to create more of a market for trees removed to thin forests.
Fire management in forest ecosystems is one of more pressing issues in the state and ANR's interdisciplinary expertise makes it the “right organization, right time,” Holst said.
Deans gave reports on the School of Veterinary Medicine and the three Agricultural Experiment Station (AES) colleges affiliated with UC ANR.
In wrapping up the meeting, Drake lauded the group for “big thinking” and “broad thinking” to lift up society.
The PAC will meet again on March 22 via Zoom.
UC President Michael Drake attended his first meeting with the President's Advisory Commission on Agriculture and Natural Resources (PAC) on Sept. 30. Vice President Humiston, PAC Chair Jean-Mari Peltier and PAC members welcomed the ophthalmologist and former UC Irvine chancellor Drake home to UC and shared their excitement about the future of UC under his leadership.
After a series of presentations to provide Drake with perspectives on California agricultural and environmental issues and the role of UC ANR, he graciously stayed overtime to address members' questions and comments. Participants learned more about his background and his commitment to the university's role in addressing key agricultural, environmental, health and safety, and social justice issues. From his love of farm visits to his interest in carbon sequestration, it was clear that his leadership will bring exciting things to UC ANR.
California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross gave a presentation on California agriculture and CDFA's critical and valued partnership with UC ANR.
Six PAC members shared their experiences with UC ANR engagement in issues they face in the field:
- Mike Mellano, chairman of the Board and VP of Farming, Mellano & Company, discussed his third-generation family farm's reliance on UC Cooperative Extension partnership and agricultural research.
- Ashley Boren, chief executive officer of Sustainable Conservation, shared insights about the importance of UC ANR's work in natural resource conservation.
- Rancher Dina Moore of Lone Star Ranch focused on UC ANR's vital role in working with ranchers on livestock and timber management.
- Lon Hatamiya, president and CEO of The Hatamiya Group, shared insights on UC ANR's role in agricultural technology innovation.
- Celeste Cantu, vice chair of the San Diego Water Quality Control Board, discussed the important role of UC ANR and UC Master Gardener volunteers in addressing urban issues.
- Grant Davis, general manager of the Sonoma County Water Agency, covered UC ANR's contributions to and valued partnership in water resources management.
UC Riverside Chancellor Kim Wilcox provided an overview of the UC ANR Governing Council and the division's partnerships with campuses.
Deans David Ackerly (UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources), Helene Dillard (UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences) and Michael Lairmore (UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine) shared updates on current news, issues and challenges on their campuses.
To watch the recording of the PAC meeting, visit https://youtu.be/ED5lbF61F_g.
10:10-10:30: California Agriculture and CDFA's Partnership with UC ANR – Karen Ross
10:30-11:00: UC ANR Engagement with Issues in the Field
-Farming and Ag Research – Mike Mellano
-Natural Resource Conservation – Ashley Boren
-Livestock and Timber – Dina Moore
-Innovation and Ag Tech – Lon Hatamiya
-Urban Issues and Volunteers – Celeste Cantu
-Water and Local Agencies – Grant Davis
11:00-11:05: UC ANR Governing Council and Partnering with Local Campuses – Kim Wilcox
11:45-12:00: Campus Updates from AES Deans
The President's Advisory Commission on Agriculture and Natural Resources met via Zoom April 9 as everyone was sheltering in place during the coronavirus pandemic. Jean-Mari Peltier, PAC chair, welcomed the PAC members for their last meeting with President Janet Napolitano. Last September, Napolitano announced that she will step down as UC's leader Aug. 1.
President Napolitano commended ANR for its flexibility in response to the COVID-19 crisis. ANR is “the University of California for large parts of the state and we're proud that you are,” she told VP Glenda Humiston, adding that ANR is performing well under her leadership.
Napolitano thanked the PAC members for contributing their time and advice during her seven years at the UC helm, calling ANR “essential to UC identity as land grant university.” The commissioners thanked the president for her support for ANR. In response to questions about building support for ANR with her successor, Napolitano recommended taking the new president out of Oakland for site visits to learn about ANR. She described her visits to Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Humboldt County and other ANR sites as “eye opening.”
In her update about ANR, Humiston reported that despite the coronavirus pandemic's disruption to public gatherings, all ANR programs are still serving communities. “I'm really impressed with the innovative ways they are finding to deliver outreach,” she said, adding that advisors are adapting, for example, doing ranch visits via phone. Humiston also described the UC ANR Governing Council's tour of the South Coast Research and Extension Center in February to see how ANR engages urban Californians. She noted that a regents tour of South Coast REC planned for April 23 has been postponed until after the pandemic passes.
Karen Ross, secretary of California Department of Food and Agriculture, joined the group to discuss how CDFA is responding to food system disruption resulting from the COVID-19 crisis. “I am optimistic about agriculture; we are so innovative and resilient,” Ross said, adding that she is concerned about funding for UC ANR and UCCE. She recommended seizing the moment while consumers are thinking about the food system to educate people about UC ANR's role.
Building on their December meeting, the PAC members continued their discussion of the future of the commission. They discussed recommendations to ensure the success and sustainability of ANR as well as the PAC.
They recommended the role of PAC members include
- Communication & advocacy
- Engaging as a strategic tool for problem solving
- Being a connector to industry leaders
- Supporting fund development
- Advising on strategy and mission priorities
To make their membership meaningful, the commissioners said they would like
- Greater active involvement
- Knowing they add value
- Feeling connected with ANR and other PAC members
- Sharing critical information
Although the PAC usually meets twice a year – in the spring and fall – the PAC agreed to meet again via videoconference in May or June to discuss and approve the new PAC charter.
Expanding ANR's academic footprint, leveraging citizen science and applying research to policy were on the agenda for the UC President's Advisory Commission on Agriculture and Natural Resources when they met Dec. 18 in Oakland at UC Office of the President. The commissioners also discussed how to ensure the long-term success of UC ANR and the role of the PAC in helping to sustain UC's Agriculture and Natural Resources research and Extension mission.
Jean-Mari Peltier, who succeeded Don Bransford as chair, welcomed new commissioners: Celeste Cantu, vice chair of the San Diego Water Quality Control Board; Lucas Frerichs, associate director of state policy for The Nature Conservancy; Corinne Martinez, partner in the Martinez Family Limited Partnership and Berryessa Gap Vineyards; and Cher Watte, executive director of the California Asparagus Commission. Mike Mellano, CEO of Farming for Mellano & Company, also began serving as vice chair.
UC President Janet Napolitano was unexpectedly summoned to meet with Governor Gavin Newsom in Sacramento, so she met with the group later in the day.
Vice President Glenda Humiston gave the commissioners an update on UC ANR activities and plans to expand the academic footprint. Although a flat budget has constrained hiring, ANR partnered to fund nine academics, which will provide salary savings of $700,000 over 5 years. With $1.6 million from the California Department of Food and Agriculture, UC ANR hired 14 community educators for 3 years. The UC Presidential Matches leveraged six donors to provide $6 million for UC ANR endowed positions.
She showed a series of maps, explaining how UC ANR is trying to fill positions by discipline and location in the state.
Humiston lamented that most UCCE advisors serve more than one county. “Multicounty assignments are not ideal,” she said. “This is a big state -- 30 of our counties are bigger than other U.S. states. We've got to get more people out in the field.”
To meet the evolving needs of California, the division will seek to hire academics to address farm mechanization, pest management for organic agriculture, fire science,agritourism and community and economic development, in addition to current positions.
To give the PAC members a broader perspective of the ways UC ANR connects with the public beyond UC Cooperative Extension advisor and community educator interactions with clientele, Humiston invited speakers from within and outside of UC ANR.
Heidi Ballard and Ryan Meyer of the UC Davis Center for Community and Citizen Science and Mark Bell, UC ANR Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives and Statewide Programs, discussed opportunities for expanding citizen science with UC ANR.
Yana Valachovic, UC Cooperative Extension director and forest advisor for Humboldt and Del Norte counties, described how she engages stakeholders and policymakers in her region. She is an active member of the California Fire Science Consortium to educate the public – including regulatory agencies, the insurance industry and community planners -- about fire. Because of her expertise, legislators have asked Valachovic for advice in crafting policy for forest management and wildfire.
“All of our academics have expertise,” Humiston said, “but not everyone is comfortable talking to legislators.”
Anne Megaro, government and community relations director; Lorna Krkich, executive director of development services; Linda Forbes, director of strategic communications; and Jim Downing, director of publishing, described the functions of their units.
Krkich reported an 8% increase in donations and a 79.4% growth in Giving Tuesday donations over the past two years.
The participants, seated at tables of four to six people, discussed the following questions:
1. What are your recommendations on actions needed to ensure the long-term success/sustainability of UC ANR? (including communications, programming, expanding reach, government relations, fund development, etc.)
2. What should the role of the PAC be in helping to sustain UC ANR?
3. What will make your membership/participation on this Commission personally meaningful?
Some of the recommendations for ensuring long-term success included training academics to be spokespeople, taking funders on tours to see firsthand the benefits resulting from UC ANR research and extension, and educating the new UC president about UC ANR. The commissioners also suggested crafting messages about UC ANR that are easy for the public to understand.
PAC members offered to introduce UC Cooperative Extension directors to other influencers and to tell people about the value of UC ANR. They asked to receive information about UC ANR activities more often than the biannual meetings and Connected newsletters, including calls for specific actions that PAC members could take to help.
Deans Helene Dillard, David Ackerly, Kathryn Uhrich and Michael Lairmore gave campus updates, then the commissioners met with President Napolitano at her residence.
Several people asked Napolitano about the search for her successor. She explained the presidential search process and encouraged the PAC members to participate in the town halls and to submit their suggestions for criteria for candidates to UCPresidentSearch@ucop.edu.
The PAC will meet next in the spring.
The UC ANR Advisory Committee, appointed by President Janet Napolitano to consider options for UC ANR's structure, governance and funding, submitted its recommendations to her, Don Bransford told the UC President's Advisory Commission on Agriculture and Natural Resources (PAC), which met Dec. 18 at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Berkeley.
PAC Chair Bransford, who also served on the UC ANR Advisory Committee, said the committee saw opportunities to strengthen governance, increase budgetary transparency, provide more stable and predictable funding models and enhance collaborations between UC ANR and UC's broader academic and research enterprise.
The committee, which included deans Kathryn Uhrich of the UCR College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences and Michael Lairmore of the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis, consulted internal and external stakeholders, then conducted its own analyses in consultation with UC ANR leaders.
The committee made four key recommendations:
- Maintain UC ANR's status as a systemwide program within UCOP, reporting to the president.
- Create a UC ANR governing council for oversight and to promote greater understanding of UC ANR across the university.
- Create a funding model using a combination of the “set-aside” and “corridor” models.
- Retain campus oversight of and reporting responsibility for state Agricultural Experiment Station funds.
Napolitano told the PAC she would be moving forward on the recommendations because she thinks they will ensure ANR greater budget stability, a broader understanding of ANR across the UC system and create more opportunities for collaboration between ANR and campus academics. She issued a statement Dec. 19 on her decisions for UC ANR.
Uhrich said she sees the governing council as an “opportunity to educate, integrate and be inclusive” to have people from across the UC system and outside of UC participating.
In other discussions, Napolitano commended ANR employees for their responses to the Camp Fire and Woolsey Fire, noting that employees and volunteers lost homes in the devastating wildfires.
At a recent meeting with some legislators to discuss automation and the future of work, wildfire, health issues and homelessness, Napolitano said the policymakers told her they want to hear more from UC experts to help them think through policy challenges.
One commissioner commented, “We're going to have more fires, more foodborne illness outbreaks. Let's have our folks out there to talk to media and have them wearing a UC shirt.”
Napolitano replied, “I like the idea of folks wearing UC garb when they're on TV.”
Humiston and Tu Tran, associate vice president for business operations, briefed the PAC on ANR's budget. Administrative costs are up this fiscal year to invest $4 million to join UCPath, the new systemwide payroll and personnel system. UC ANR has begun the transition and will go live in March-April. “Ultimately UCPath will save us money, but it's costing us now,” Humiston said.
Due to budget constraints, Humiston explained that UC ANR isn't offering competitive grants nor announcing UCCE positions to be filled in 2018-19. Recruitment for previously approved positions is ongoing and new hiring will begin as resources become available to make the long-term commitment to support positions.
In her budget PowerPoint presentation for the PAC, Humiston listed actions ANR has taken in the past to compensate for budget cuts and steps that will be taken in FY 2018-19.
Tran explained that UC ANR relies on six sources of funds – state, federal, county, extramural, endowments and income from gifts, patents, investments and program fees. State funds, which constitute the largest portion of the division's funding, pay for employee salaries and benefits. He noted government funding is highly volatile so “we are trying to raise money in other ways.”
California Agricultural Resources Archive
UC Merced's librarian HaiPeng Li, project archivist Lisa Valens and project director Emily Lin gave a presentation on the California Agricultural Resources Archive or CARA. The UC Cooperative Extension archive project, which was launched after UC Cooperative Extension's centennial in 2014, started with UCCE in Merced, Humboldt and Ventura counties. The team has been digitizing annual reports and historical photos to make them accessible to the public and researchers.
“The data isn't just history,” Humiston asserted. “There are notes on research that may hold the key to something like huanglongbing.”
Mining the data, advanced analysis and linking to other information might open new avenues of research, she said.
UC ANR is seeking partners and trying to raise funds for the archive project. Jim Downing, publications director, will assume leadership of the project to succeed Jan Corlett, chief of staff to the vice president, who plans to retire in July.
To help students with career planning, Helene Dillard, dean of the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, said she seeks UCCE advisors to show students the research and outreach being done in the counties and planning a course on Cooperative Extension to introduce students to career options. She is in talks to partner with UC Davis medical center on health research such as the connection between diet and disease.
David Ackerly, dean of the UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources, announced the recent hiring of new Cooperative Extension specialists Ellen Bruno for policy analysis and Rob York for fire and policy, and that he is striving to create new faculty positions that will not depend on state money. He also announced that UC Cooperative Extension specialist Adina Merenlender received a $5 million gift to train California climate stewards through a program similar to California Naturalist. Ackerly also noted that Giannini Hall is closing temporarily for seismic upgrades so faculty and staff are packing to move out during construction.
Katherine Uhrich, dean of the UC Riverside College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, announced CNAS has hired 24 faculty this year including two Nobel laureates – Richard Shrock and Barry Barish. She also announced that Givaudan, a Swiss company that creates fragrances and flavors, is donating funds to cover UCR's citrus variety collection, to protect the trees from pests and diseases.
Michael Lairmore, dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis, announced that his veterinary team worked tirelessly treating animals injured during the Camp Fire, taking in 70 animals, most of which have returned to their families. About $2 million has been donated to offset the costs of treating the animals. Veterinarian Jamie Peyton covered burns on cats and dogs with tilapia skin to help with healing and has a provisional patent for the fish skin treatment. Lairmore also announced the school is planning to build a Livestock and Field Service Center. “We are in need of donations and there are naming opportunities for interested individuals or companies,” Lairmore told PAC members. He also announced the hiring of Emmanuel Okello, the new UCCE specialist in antimicrobial stewardship.
The PAC, which meets twice a year, will meet next in the spring.