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Annual Reports

1997Letter from the Director

Organizational Structure and the Criteria for Success

Photo of Frank Zalom

Each year, those of us associated with the Statewide IPM Project review the mission of our program. Interestingly, our analysis of the pest management issues facing California continues to support the mission given to us by those who proposed and helped establish the program in 1979. The organizational structure of the IPM Project was not typical of most University of California efforts of that time, which were strongly disciplinary-based and administered within rigid administrative units. Rather, our structure evolved to foster cooperation and teamwork, provide flexibility for identifying and responding to priority issues, bridge traditional campus research and county Extension boundaries, blur distinctions between academics with different types of positions, and establish networks with individuals and organizations outside of the University to provide relevant, science-based pest management information.

Given this background, I have found my participation in the current strategic planning effort of UC's Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR) to be especially interesting. The current DANR planning effort has been underway since April 1995, and has involved dozens of DANR academics and over 150 external constituents. As a result of this effort DANR Vice President Reg Gomes has designated the following criteria for organizational success:

  • Cooperation, collaboration and teamwork exist.
  • Programs are adaptable, flexible, and responsive to high priorities.
  • There is a very strong local or county connection for delivery of DANR programs.
  • There is access and widespread use of electronic technology in all parts of DANR.
  • Administration is efficient and responsive to programs.
  • There is a continuum between research and extension.
  • There is equal respect and status for all academics in DANR.
  • There is public understanding and support for DANR programs.

What is striking about these criteria is how closely they fit the structure and programmatic activities that have evolved for the IPM Project. Cooperation and collaboration between UC scientists and the IPM Project has been essential for the success of most IPM Project activities such as the production of IPM manuals, Pest Management Guidelines and Pest Notes. The IPM Project can help facilitate the production of such materials, but the information must ultimately come from other experts. Use of ad hoc advisory committees that include both UC and external representatives for planning training programs and products such as study guides, as well as to set research priorities for the grants program, has made the IPM Project responsive and relevant. There is a strong local connection in the delivery of IPM information through the IPM advisors, as well as through good working relationships that have been developed with other UC Cooperative Extension advisors over the years.

The IPM Project has been a leader in the use of electronic technology for delivery of IPM information, as illustrated by its outstanding World Wide Web site. The program supports the continuum between research and extension by sponsoring research projects that consider implementation and, conversely, extension projects that have a documented research base. Research review committees include scientists with both research and extension appointments. Participation in the production of text documents and training programs is encouraged no matter what the academic title of the participant. Contributions are evaluated less by title than by substance. Finally, over the years, through good communication, IPM Project constituencies have broadened substantially as clientele familiar with its activities have come to understand what the program is trying to accomplish.

We support DANR's planning efforts, and agree with Dr. Gomes' criteria for success. By those measures it would appear that the structure that has evolved for the IPM Project, with considerable input from so many different people over the years, has served it well.

Sincerely,

Frank G. Zalom

Director

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Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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