ANR Employees
University of California
ANR Employees

Posts Tagged: Strategic Initiatives

Strategic Initiative Brief: video clinics, Knowledge Stream & thematic websites

Strategic Initiatives leaders will host workshops to create "how-to" videos.

Our digital journey: progress on video clinics, the Knowledge Stream blog and thematic websites.

Video clinics moving ahead - interested? 

Stay tuned for two Strategic Initiative-sponsored "how to" video clinics in April - one in the north and one in the south. We expect to train around 20 participants per clinic. 

What next? 5 steps to increased impact:

Step 1: an email to all from the SI leaders inviting indications of interest to participate 

Step 2: a pre-clinic webinar to learn the basics of storyboarding, branding, titling and describing videos, and more (applicable to all) 

Step 3: two days of hands-on experience, working with others on how to produce 1-5 minute branded “how-to” videos

Step 4: development of an online course and other resources to support on-going video production 

Step 5: people share with colleagues, using what they learn and upload. Best practices for uploading to the UC ANR YouTube channel (Strategic Communications will begin some serious curating and reorganization of our YouTube channel to facilitate discoverability of content). 

Currently available resources (please share if you have other good resources):

Strat Comm communications toolkit

For more information about the video clinics, Contact David Lile and David Lewis

Trivia Question: What is our top-viewed video with more than 1.5 million views? 

(Answer: Bed Bugs in Spanish)

Knowledge Stream blog and thematic websites

Join the movement: contribute!

The Knowledge Stream helps people find practical, "how-to" information. Submit a short story (200-800 words with picture and URL links) here. Stories will appear in the Knowledge Stream Blog and in the main web site Focus Areas. Stories may also appear on the home page tiles and in social media posts.

Focused, thematic websites like the UC IPM site are effective in delivering research-based, how-to information. Two other thematic sites are being further developed: Fire and Healthy Soils. Feedback and suggestions welcome. Please also share your suggestions for other potential thematic sites with the SI leaders. 

For more:

Fire: Max Moritz or Ricky Satomi

Soils: Mark Bell

SI leadership team: 

Posted on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 at 3:19 PM
  • Author: Mark Bell

Unifying, Communicating and Advocating: Video and Knowledge Stream

We are finishing the year strong and planning for success in 2020.

Videos for all? 

Consumers seek practical information from how-to videos.

In our digital and always-connected age, it seems almost everyone loves a good video. Did you know “how to” videos are the second most popular type of video viewed on YouTube (behind “product review” videos)? Videos are a great way to share your practical information. 

To help ANR staff and academics learn to make effective videos, the Strategic Initiatives leaders are planning a series of “how to produce good video” workshops. Stay tuned for early 2020.  

Want to get involved? We welcome suggestions (content) that you can send to any of the SI leaders. We also welcome suggestions on people to help plan and implement the video workshops. We will also support webinars on this topic (e.g., WebANR or SI Spotlight Webinars).

The workshops will be implemented in partnership with Strategic Communications, News and Information Outreach in Spanish (NOS), UC IPM and the Communications Advisory Board.

Knowledge Stream gains traction 

Knowledge Stream stories connect people to solutions for their real-world problems.

Got practical information to help people? You can help people find your practical information. Interest in and contributions to the Knowledge Stream blog (“news you can use”) is growing. These practical stories connect people to solutions for their real-world problems. The stories are not only featured in the Knowledge Stream blog, but can be featured on one of the six Focus Areas of the ANR website and/or one of the flexible UC ANR home page tiles.

Submit your story at Remember to include links to your practical information sources.

SI leadership team

For more information, contact your SI leadership team: 



Posted on Wednesday, November 27, 2019 at 5:38 PM
  • Author: Mark Bell

Unifying, communicating and advocating

People work better when they are part of a supportive team. With people scattered across 57 counties, six campuses, and nine research and extension centers, connecting people across UC ANR can be tough.

Our UC ANR Jigsaw consists of 50+ workgroups (formal and informal), 18 (active) Program Teams and five Strategic Initiatives (SI), which all have a role to play in helping us connect and communicate.

Recent SI efforts have focused on identifying which of our groups are active and the lessons for successful connecting.

The SI leaders organized a pair of webinars to engage with Program Team leaders. They used the webinar discussion to highlight ongoing efforts, clarify opportunities, build connections and improve communication. A recording of the Oct. 8 webinar led by Water SI leader David Lewis can be viewed at

If you only do one thing: If you aren't connected as well as you would like, visit this page and contact a leader from one of the Work Groups, Program Teams or an SI leader.

And if you do two more things:  Provide input here on our current Program Team themes and share your ideas to help us unify, communicate and advocate here.

To read about  other connecting and communicating activities being developed by the SIs to promote the work of UC ANR, see the September SI Brief.

For more information, contact your SI leadership team: 

Posted on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 at 3:57 PM

Strategic Initiative leaders: Unifying, communicating and advocating

Each month we will bring you a brief update on one or two topics being pursued by the Strategic Initiative leaders.

This month, learn about some of the connecting and communicating activities being developed by the SIs to promote the work of UC ANR.

Help people find your educational content through communication and thematic “how to” websites.


The Knowledge Stream provides practical educational content such as Matthew Shapero's grazing for fire fuels management story.

The Knowledge Stream “News you can use” provides simple relevant updates (200-800 words) to help people get to your practical educational content. 

Stories appear on the Knowledge Stream blog and will also appear on the relevant Focus area page of the UC ANR website. (Stories also potentially appear on the UC ANR main page).

Submit your story here. Strategic Communications will help with editing. 

Trending: Check out simple summaries of the current state of science in relation to some of the hot topics we need to deal with.

Share your ideas here - what hot topics do we need to be thinking about?

Thematic websites

With content experts and Strategic Communications, we are developing thematic sites to provide credible, relevant, practical how-to information that the people of California can apply to improve their lives.

For example, these websites are designed to be used by the general public: FireHealthy Soils and Knowledge Bank

Many Research and Information Centers (RICs) websites already have a thematic focus.

Share your ideas here for website improvement, educational content and to suggest other themes for websites.

For more, contact your SI leadership team: 

Posted on Tuesday, September 24, 2019 at 5:25 PM

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. 


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

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.


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

Next 5 stories | Last story

Webmaster Email: