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2006 Program Review

Purpose of the program review
Review recommendations: Executive Summary
Members of the review panel

Purpose of the program review

The University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources has a policy of regularly reviewing its statewide programs. The 2006 review of UC IPM was intended to assess its productivity, effectiveness, and efficiency and to evaluate its achievements over the past ten years. This review was also intended to determine the appropriateness of the program’s strategic plan for the next five years and to consider its continuation as an ANR statewide program.

Specifically, the review team

  • Critiqued the strategic plan, especially in regard to its vision and ways the program might ensure leadership.
  • Evaluated the program areas with respect to function and impact, identifying strengths and areas needing improvement.
  • Evaluated the grants programs in terms of process, priorities, and impact.
  • Evaluated the program’s outreach efforts, including conventional and emerging technologies.
  • Evaluate the collaboration, communication, and leadership within the program and with ANR, related programs, and other states.
  • Assessed the adequacy and suitability of the program’s financial and human resources, including organization and leadership.

Review recommendations:
Executive Summary, from the Program Review Report, November 2006

At the request of the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources a review of the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program was conducted October 24 – 26, 2006, in Davis, CA. This report represents the findings of the nine member review team made up of stakeholders and University faculty representing the interests of the agricultural and nonagricultural sectors, regionally and nationally.  Observers of the review process indicated that this team was one of the most well prepared and engaged review teams they had ever experienced.  Given their interests in the success of the UC IPM Program they also have expectations that their recommendations will be given serious consideration and implemented as thoroughly as possible. The report is organized into four sections; Introduction/Context; Responses to the Seven Objectives of the Review; Major Recommendations; Proposed UC IPM Organizational Chart.

Overall the review team finds the UC Statewide IPM program to be functioning very well, achieving its stated mission, and responding to the needs of California. The Program has had enormous positive impact on the state of California – helping to protect the environment and reducing risks to human health. The Program is highly valued by the agricultural community and considered to be the “gold standard” for IPM. The IPM Advisors are seen as invaluable partners to the Cooperative Extension advisors in the counties and to the AES researchers on the campuses. UC IPM publications are recognized and valued worldwide for information ranging from the basic principles of IPM to specific recommendations for control of pests. The UC IPM Program is clearly the leader in promoting the development and implementation of IPM.

In the context of a rapidly changing world, with increased globalization, urbanization, and new and pressing environmental issues, the UC IPM Program is poised to build on its strengths and reputation to contribute even more to the needs of the state of California and beyond. With expansion into the urban sector, the Program will be contributing to the needs of all of California’s citizens and thereby make IPM a household word. This will reflect extremely well on the University of California, an institution clearly engaged in generating and delivering new knowledge that is relevant and that ensures a healthy environment and safe and abundant food supply for the citizens of California and the world.

The panel provided responses to each of the seven Objectives of the review and generated a series of major recommendations, which are provided in this Executive Summary that follows. Additional minor recommendations are imbedded in the full report.

Major recommendations

  1. Organizational Issues
    The issue of organizational structure came up repeatedly during the review and is an issue that needs to be addressed to prevent stagnation and allow Program expansion into the urban arena. See also the Organizational chart found on the last page of the full report.
    1. Integrate Publications and Information Systems functions under a single unit with one Associate Director of Communications (existing FTE) to improve workflow and manage projects more efficiently. At present these units are separated physically and institutionally and this leads to serious inefficiencies.
    2. Create an Associate Director of Strategic Program Development position (existing FTE) to focus on expansion of UC IPM programming, with emphasis on the urban arena. In addition, this position will be responsible for oversight of the IPM Grants Program and will ensure coordination with any other grants initiatives such as the Pierce’s Disease and Exotic Pest programs.
    3. Create an Associate Director for Agricultural and Urban Advisors position (existing FTE). This Associate Director would ensure that the IPM Advisors act as a unit to maximize mentoring, shared expertise, and articulation of statewide goals and would be responsible for evaluation of all IPM Advisors in conjunction with the County Directors, designing clear merit/advancement guidelines, and ensuring excellent communication between IPM field staff and office staff.
    4. Create two Project Directors positions (non UC IPM FTE), one each to manage the Pierce’s Disease and Exotic Pests Research Programs. This is seen as an effective and efficient means to ensure high quality review of proposals and a means to distribute the grants management workload beyond UC IPM.
    5. There is an urgent need to consolidate the UC IPM Program into a high quality workspace. The review panel considered the current situation, especially as it applies to the Publications and Information Systems groups, as unacceptable due to the many inefficiencies and lack of opportunity for true teamwork.
    6. Strengthen UC IPM’s role in the merits and promotions process for all UC IPM Program staff. There are inconsistencies and inequities in who provides oversight and input into merits and promotions that needs to be corrected.
  1. Prioritization and Strategic Planning
    Refill the Director for the UC IPM Program position as soon as possible. It will be important that the administrative demands on the new Director be reduced so that he/she is able to effectively position the program to best contribute to major policy and funding opportunities. It will also be critically important that the nature of the Director’s appointment be clearly articulated to ensure success in hiring and retaining the best possible candidate for the position.
    1. Move aggressively into urban areas through augmentation without compromising agricultural areas. Expansion into the urban arena would help address a multitude of pest management issues facing millions of California’s citizens, help raise public awareness of the value of UC IPM and make the UC System more relevant to the people of California. The recommendation to move into the urban arena was the most consistent and strongest recommendations heard by the review panel and included the creation of a Research and Extension Center, (much like the model of the Kearney Research Center for agriculture) for Structural IPM.
    2. Delay expansion into Natural areas and focus emphasis on Agricultural and Urban areas. Although the panel saw the value of expansion into Natural areas, the needs in the urban sector where clearly more pressing and with limited resources viewed as the most important area for expansion at this time.
    3. Develop a re-staffing plan with time lines to minimize gaps in programming due to retirements. With a number of staff approaching retirement, there is a critical need to put into place a plan to minimize disruption of the excellent successful programs currently in place. Potential solutions include phased retirements or post retirement mentoring arrangements to ensure smooth transitions in programming as new staff come on board.
    4. Re-create a UC IPM Program Policy Advisory Committee (PAC). The review panel recommends the immediate re-establishment of the PAC, which should consist of both internal (UC) and external stakeholders representing both urban and agricultural interests. The PAC will provide feedback to the Program, help set priorities, and assist in the evaluation of the Program’s ability to meet its goals. The PAC can also build support for the Program by assisting in development, fundraising, and collaboration with external stakeholders.
    5. Incorporate a measure of the economic/environmental problems that are being assessed (engage social scientists/economists). The review panel suggests that UC IPM use some of their limited grants funds to partner with social scientists or economists to develop improved methods of impact assessment, which could feed back into more targeted and effective delivery of program services.
    6. Address UC IPM’s relationship to the national IPM roadmap. Significant effort was invested in the development of a national vision for IPM and the UC IPM Program should align its mission and vision with the national roadmap.
  1. Evaluation
    1. Identify funding for evaluation and impact assessment of IPM programs. The review panel considered the need for improved evaluation and assessment of impacts to be extremely important and thus recommended that specific funding be sought to support this effort.
  1. Building on Strengths: Responding to the needs of California
    1. Partner with counties to create 4 Urban IPM Advisor positions (e.g., structural, landscape). The need for expansion into the urban sector was considered paramount for the UC IPM Program and an efficient means to accomplish this was by partnering with the counties to create new urban IPM advisor positions located strategically across the state.
    2. Fund a grants program for agricultural and urban issues at $1.5M/year. A fully funded grants program for both agricultural and urban issues was seen as being critical and synergistic to the overall success of the UC IPM Program. The UC IPM Program is providing an increasingly important role in generating the applied research needed to keep California agriculture competitive at a time when the applied research mission activity within ANR at the campus level is declining. The panel heard repeatedly that the UC IPM grants program has an outstanding reputation and that extremely high quality technical information is being generated. In addition, the grants program facilitates interactions and networking with Specialists, AES faculty, and Advisors. The average grant size should be raised to $50,000 per year to cover the increasing cost of graduate students and technical support.
    3. Create 10 Associate IPM Advisor positions over the next 2 years. As the number of CE Advisor positions in the ANR pool decline, the idea of joint appointments between the CE and IPM Advisors appears to be an excellent option. Such joint appointments are relatively inexpensive and expand the influence of the UC IPM Program and allow for new peer collaborations and partnerships at the county and regional levels. The review panel was quite impressed by the CE Advisor/IPM Advisor from Kern County who has become the first example of such an association.
  1. Other recommendations, but not specific to the UC IPM Program
    1. ANR should hire a pesticide application/technology specialist (outside of UC IPM Program). UC IPM research grants, IPM advisors, and others within UC have done a great job developing alternatives to pesticides, improved pest monitoring methods, economic thresholds and have helped determine the most effective but selective treatments that might be used in various situations. However, the whole system is breaking down in some cases because growers do not have sufficient information to apply treatments correctly.
    2. Address marketing, printing and distribution issues with ANR Communications Services. The review panel was concerned about the limited relationship between UC IPM and Communication Services. For example, in several cases UC IPM has been approached by commodity groups to produce specific manuals but when the products are printed, there is no formal process by which UC IPM is consulted in relation to determining optimal print run size and marketing strategies. This is a lost opportunity for ANR.
    3. The low pay scale for UC Advisors needs to be addressed. Given their greater roles in applied research along with their important roles as educators, this issue needs to be addressed.

Members of the Review Panel

  • Michael Hoffmann (Chair), Director, Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station
  • Mark Cady, Program Director, Biological Farming & Sustainable Cotton Project, Community Alliance with Family Farmers
  • David Duncan, Branch Manager, Pest Management and Licensing Branch, California Department of Pesticide Regulation
  • Thomas Gordon, Professor, Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Davis
  • Joseph G. Morse, Professor, Department of Entomology, University of California, Riverside
  • Debbie Raphael, Toxics Reduction/Green Building Program Manager, Department of the Environment, City and County of San Francisco
  • Philip A. Roberts, Professor, Department of Nematology, University of California, Riverside
  • Gary Van Sickle, Research Director, California Tree Fruit Agreement
  • Jeffrey A. Wyman, Professor, Department of Entomology, University of Wisconsin, Madison

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