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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

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

PAC discusses strategic plan and urban agriculture

At the recent President’s Advisory Commission meeting, President Napolitano praised UC ANR’s work in “areas of critical importance.”

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.

Jerry Lohr, right, congratulated fellow PAC member Grant Davis on his new position as director of the state Department of Water Resources.

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.

Following lunch, UC President Napolitano offered glowing remarks about UC ANR's contributions and the long-term strategy reflected in the division's new strategic plan. She said she was particularly impressed by ANR's recent work in water, childhood obesity, nutrition education, and Asian citrus psyllid, calling them “areas of critical importance.” She also praised Humiston's leadership in the area of tech innovation and partnerships.

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. 

Posted on Wednesday, August 30, 2017 at 5:06 PM
  • Author: Mike Janes

Travel funds available for UCCE specialists, AES faculty to collaborate with off-campus ANR academics

ANR will be making additional travel support available for UC Cooperative Extension specialists to collaborate with ANR academics off-campus, including UCCE advisors in the counties and ANR academics at the RECs in fiscal year 2017/18.

With the level of funds available, each specialist may apply for up to $2,500 for FY 2017/18 (travel reports must be submitted within 45 days of travel, and funds must be expended by June 30, 2018). These travel funds must be utilized by the UCCE specialists only and cannot be used for out-of-state travel.

UC ANR values the work of AES faculty across the three partner campuses. As the recognized lead for the California Agriculture Experiment Station, UC ANR receives federal Hatch funds to support the AES mission and distributes those funds to the three partner campuses to manage and support AES faculty. In recognition of the importance of the partnership between UC ANR academics and AES faculty, UC ANR is expanding the travel support program to include AES faculty as part of a pilot program. Upon completion of a request, UC ANR will 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 FY17-18. Additional support may be available through the campuses; AES faculty should consult their departments or colleges to determine if additional support is available. 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.

Completing a short online survey is the only step to apply for these funds.

A brief survey form is accessible from your ANR Portal. The direct link is http://ucanr.edu/survey/survey.cfm?surveynumber=18400. The survey asks 

•        Name and title of specialist requesting support

•        Project/Program name

•        Brief project description (one paragraph)

•        Collaborating advisors

There is no deadline for applications for these travel funds, but they must be expended in the fiscal year 2017/18.

 

Posted on Wednesday, August 30, 2017 at 4:35 PM

Names in the News

Light joins UCCE as agronomy advisor

Sarah Light

Sarah Light joined UCCE on July 5, 2017, as an area agronomy advisor in Sutter, Yuba and Colusa counties.

Light earned a dual M.S. in soil science & botany and plant pathology from Oregon State University and conducted her graduate research in potato production at the Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Eastern Oregon. Light, who speaks Spanish, also holds a B.A. in Latin American studies with a minor in Spanish literature from Brandeis University.

Prior to joining UCCE, Light was working as a Biological Science Technician for the USDA Agricultural Research Service on a project that evaluated the impact of biochar application on soil water properties. Light volunteered with the USAID Farmer-to-Farmer program in Malawi and worked for several years in small-scale farms and gardens in the Bay Area.

Light is based in Yuba City and can be reached at (530) 822-7515 and selight@ucanr.edu.

Milliron named UCCE orchards advisor

Luke Milliron

Luke Milliron joined UCCE on June 12, 2017, as an area sustainable orchard systems advisor in Butte, Glenn and Tehama counties.

Prior to joining UCCE, Milliron worked as an agronomy technician at Dellavalle Laboratory, Inc. since April 2016. He was responsible for soil and plant tissue sampling in almond, walnut, grapevine and processing tomato systems. He also supported grower irrigation management with neutron probe, pressure chamber and watermark readings.

From January 2015 to March 2016, Milliron was a UC Cooperative Extension horticulture intern, funded by the Almond Board of California and the California Dried Plum Board. During his internship, he was based in UCCE Sutter-Yuba and San Joaquin counties where he worked on 20 UCCE trials in almond, prune, walnut, processing tomato and landscape horticulture. Milliron also assisted UCCE farm advisors on visits with almond, prune, walnut and tomato growers, wrote newsletter articles and delivered talks to growers and pest control advisers.

Milliron earned an M.S. in horticulture and agronomy from UC Davis. His research focused on the measurement of almond tree water stress during winter dormancy. He earned a B.S. in agricultural science, with an option in crops and horticulture from California State University, Chico.

Milliron is based in Oroville and can be reached at (530) 828-9666 and lkmilliron@ucanr.edu and on Twitter @MillironLuke.

Satomi joins UCCE as forestry advisor

Ricky Satomi

Ricky Satomi joined UCCE on May 15, 2017, as an Area Forestry and Natural Resources Advisor in Shasta, Trinity and Siskiyou counties.

Satomi earned an M.S. in forestry from UC Berkeley and a B.S. in forestry & natural resources and society & environment from UC Berkeley.

Prior to joining UCCE, Satomi worked as a research associate with the UC Wood Biomass Utilization Group, analyzing wood utilization capacity in California. His master's thesis focused on productivity and cost tracking of forest fuel mastication treatments using open source geospatial analysis. He also developed interactive web and audiovisual platforms to enhance delivery of forest management practices to the public. From 2009 to 2013, Satomi was a field forester working on inventory and management plans for land ownerships throughout Northern California.

Satomi is based in Redding and can be reached at (530) 224-4900 and rpsatomi@ucanr.edu.

Montazar joins UCCE as water management advisor

Ali Montazar

Aliasghar Montazar joined UCCE on June 1, 2017, as an area irrigation and water management advisor in Imperial and Riverside counties.

Prior to joining UCCE, Montazar was a project scientist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis for three years. From 2011 to 2014, he was a research associate in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources at UC Davis. He is also a former associate professor at the Department of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering at the University of Tehran, Iran. Montazar has more than 15 years of research, extension, teaching and technical consulting experience and has served in several leadership positions in agricultural water management and irrigation engineering in California and abroad.

Montazar, who is fluent in Persian and Arabic, earned a Ph.D. in irrigation and drainage from University of Tehran, Iran; an M.S. in irrigation structures from Tarbiat Modares University, Iran; and a B.S. in irrigation engineering from Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran.

Montazaris is based in Holtville and can be reached at (442) 265-7707 and amontazar@ucanr.edu.

Chen named nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor

Wei-ting Chen

Wei-ting Chen joined UCCE on Aug. 29, 2016, as the area nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor in San Mateo, Santa Clara and San Francisco counties.

Prior to joining UCCE, Chen worked for a health communications firm based in Atlanta, Ga., where she managed health communication projects for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and led user research and evaluation efforts for web-based health communication products.

At Johns Hopkins University, she developed an urban agriculture summer training program for low-income inner-city teens, led the founding and operations of the university's first community garden, conducted a literature review on the topics of community food security and farm-to-school through the Center for a Livable Future at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and surveyed SNAP recipients at farmers markets about their experience with fruit and vegetable incentives. Her dissertation combined her interest in poverty, social policy, and food system issues and examined public assistance-dependent mothers experience as consumers in the food system and how they made food decisions for their households. From 2005 to 2008, Chen, who is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, worked for the California Charter Schools Association coordinating its board and leadership development program.

She earned a Ph.D. and an M.A. in sociology at Johns Hopkins University and her B.A. in political science and sociology at UC Davis.

Chen is based in Half Moon Bay and can be reached at (650) 276-7429 and wtgchen@ucanr.edu.

Megaro joins ANR as government and community relations director

Anne Megaro

Anne Megaro joined UC ANR as government and community relations director on Aug. 28. In her new role, Megaro will guide UC ANR employees in nurturing relationships with government officials and will monitor legislation that could affect UC ANR. She will also develop programs to promote community awareness of UC ANR.

Megaro, who earned a Ph.D. in animal science from Cornell University and a B.S. in animal science and management from UC Davis, brings a solid understanding of agriculture, science and the UC system along with knowledge of California's legislative processes.

“We're absolutely thrilled to have someone of Anne's caliber and credentials on board at UC ANR,” said Vice President Glenda Humiston. “Her hiring is a real coup for us and couldn't come at a more critical time. Educating our elected officials about the value of ANR research and outreach is always important, but especially as we try to increase investment in research infrastructure to address issues such as water, wildfire, invasive pests, food insecurity and other challenges facing the state.”

For the past five years, Megaro has been the California State Senate Committee on Agriculture's consultant. As the sole agriculture committee consultant for the Senate, Megaro planned legislative hearings, conducted independent research and analyzed agricultural bills to advise senators and staff on policy and legislative issues. She collaborated with senators, assembly members, governor's staff, legislative staff, government agencies, stakeholders and members of the public to resolve issues related to specific bills or policies.

“With the goodwill she's developed and contacts she's made in the state Senate, coupled with her ability to work with UC Cooperative Extension county directors and Research and Extension Center directors on effectively engaging policymakers at the local level, Anne will elevate UC ANR's ability to connect people with the data they need to make informed policy decisions,” Humiston said.

Megaro is based at the ANR building in Davis in Room 178 and can be reached at (530) 750-1218 and ammegaro@ucanr.edu.

Haver named interim associate director of REC system

Darren Haver

Darren Haver has agreed to serve as the interim associate director of the Research and Extension Center system, effective Oct. 1, 2017. Haver has served as the UC Cooperative Extension water resources advisor in Orange County since 2002, director of South Coast Research and Extension Center in Irvine since 2009 and director of UC Cooperative Extension in Orange County beginning in 2011.

“Darren brings a wealth of experience to this position,” said Wendy Powers, associate vice president and interim REC director. “We continue to develop a plan to address administrative vacancies and look forward to working with him in this interim role.”

Haver will serve in this capacity until June 30, 2018, or until a new director is appointed. He will succeed Lisa Fischer, who plans to retire from UC ANR in September after five years as associate director of the REC system.

“Under her direction, each REC has developed a strategic plan to set the course for the future and numerous capital improvements have been made to the RECs, including new office and conference spaces,” said Powers. “We wish Lisa the very best as she takes on new adventures.”

Harper honored by California Wool Growers

John Harper

John Harper, UCCE livestock advisor for Mendocino and Lake counties, received the California Wool Growers Association's Golden Fleece Award at their annual meeting Aug. 19 in Cambria.

The Golden Fleece Award is presented each year to a living and active member of the California Wool Growers Association or a public official who through his or her position has made a lasting contribution to the California sheep industry. This is the “un-sung hero” award. Recipients are intended to be those individuals who have given unremitting support and service to the California sheep industry and received little recognition for their efforts.

“John Harper was honored with the California Wool Growers Association Golden Fleece Award for his unrecognized contributions as livestock/natural resources advisor for Mendocino and Lake counties to the California sheep industry over the years,” said Erica Sanko, CWGA executive director. “John is known statewide and nationally for his sheep shearing and wool grading schools, which provides a much-needed resource of qualified sheep shearers for the California sheep industry.”

Since 1990, Harper has been hosting the UC Cooperative Extension Sheep Shearing School, which is the only program of its kind in California. At the five-day intensive course, more than 300 students from California, other states and other countries have been trained to shear sheep, giving them skills to start a new and profitable career. Harper, who serves as secretary for the Mendocino/Lake Wool Growers Association, has also authored or co-authored more than 350 research-based articles and publications.

Ingram honored by Nevada County Fair board

Roger Ingram

Roger Ingram, UCCE advisor emeritus, was named the 2017 Blue Ribbon Award recipient by the Nevada County Fairgrounds Board of Directors. The award was created by Western Fairs Association (WFA), a nonprofit trade association serving the fair industry, to recognize those who support and contribute to the quality of their local fair. During opening ceremonies on Aug. 9, Ingram was recognized for his contributions to the agriculture programs at the Nevada County Fairgrounds.

Ingram's involvement with the fair began in 1986 when he joined UC Cooperative Extension as the 4-H/livestock and natural resources advisor in Nevada County. At the Nevada County Fair, he organized and conducted a livestock judging contest until 1995. He has been instrumental in coordinating carcass quality programs for fair animals and working with exhibitors and leaders to understand the data and to use it to improve their feeding and management practices.

From 2006 to 2011, Ingram gave a series of agriculture-related presentations at the fair as part of the workshop series coordinated by the Nevada County Resource Conservation District.

“For decades, Roger has been an advocate of local youth in agriculture, particularly the youth at the Nevada County Fair,” said Rea Callender, CEO of the Nevada County Fairgrounds. “His contributions to the agriculture programs at the Fairgrounds have educated adults and children.  Whether it's participating in the annual farm day, assisting with agricultural youth programs, serving as a guest speaker in the seminar series at the fair, or assisting the kids at the fair – his work is invaluable.”

 

Putting Youth on the Map wins UC tech award

The University of California recognized 10 teams from across the system with the 2017 Larry L. Sautter Award. Putting Youth on the Map won a Golden Award. The Center for Regional Change's interactive website provides analyses of California youth well-being and curricula on how to use them. The website is a resource for researchers and policymakers, as well as youth and adult advocates, who are working to ensure the well-being of young people in the state.

The annual award, which is sponsored by the UC Information Technology Leadership Council, recognizes collaborative innovations in information technology that advance the university's mission of teaching, research, public service and patient care, or that improve the effectiveness of university processes. The award encourages collaboration and solution sharing across the UC system. Systemwide Chief Information Officer Tom Andriola announced the winners Aug. 8 at the UC Computing Services Conference in San Diego.

Nancy Erbstein, who holds a research faculty appointment in the UC Davis Department of Human Ecology, is the principal investigator for the project. UC Cooperative Extension advisors Charles Go, Russell Hill, Anna Martin, Fe Moncloa, Terri Spezzano and Steven Worker; UCCE nutrition education coordinator Dennis Carrasquilla, UC CalFresh director David Ginsburg and former Youth, Families and Communities Program director Constance Schneider contributed to the development of Putting Youth on the Map.

The resource was created with support from The California Endowment, UCANR, the Center for Collaborative Research for an Equitable California and Sierra Health Foundation.

The Putting Youth on the Map website is at http://interact.regionalchange.ucdavis.edu/youth.

 

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