I write this column with a deep sense of regret. After serving as Director of UC IPM since March 2003, I am leaving UC IPM at the end of November 2006 to return to Australia as Dean of the University of Melbourne's Faculty of Land and Food Resources.
I want to thank all of the UC IPM staff, UC staff more generally, and all of you who have taken time from your busy days to contact me over the last three and a half years. I have learned a great deal in my time with UC IPM, where the staff are extremely professional, and have gone well above the call of duty to make me feel welcome and to enrich my life with new perspectives and excellent advice. It has been a pleasure to lead UC IPM and develop stronger links with government agencies, environmental groups and agricultural communities to try to meet new challenges in air and water quality. We have also forged new relationships for pest management in urban environments and natural ecosystems. I plan to keep following progress at UC IPM in the future.UC IPM Advisor Coordinator Pete Goodell will serve as interim director until a permanent director can be recruited.
In 2006, UC IPM embarked on two significant efforts aimed at improving the program and moving into the future. ANR's Program Council requested a program review of UC IPM to examine whether it's been meeting its mission, in what ways the program could be improved, and how to grow it.
To get ready for the review, UC IPM engaged an external consulting firm to help conduct a strategic planning effort and asked stakeholders throughout ANR and outside the university to determine the program's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The consultants independently obtained comments and criticisms from four focus groups and nearly 40 phone and e-mail interviews, including from within the University, Cooperative Extension, other government agencies, environmental groups, and commodity representatives.
Stakeholders strongly supported the past and current efforts of the UC IPM Program and suggested that the program should move aggressively to address urban pest management and new trends, continue to respond to public policy issues such as air and water quality or biodiversity, and maintain and grow the cadre of IPM practitioners. An assertive new vision for the UC IPM Program was adopted: “Making ecosystem-based integrated pest management the way Californians manage pests.” The process identified a need to establish clear strategic priorities based on the nature and scope of the pest management need and the likelihood a solution can be developed and will be adopted. UC IPM expects to invite stakeholders from agriculture and urban pest management to help begin the priority setting process early in 2007.
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