I hope you are doing well in what has been a busy summer. Today, I want to take a moment to keep you abreast of the progress within our Texas A&M AgriLife strategic planning process. If you recall, the Texas A&M AgriLife strategic plan was announced earlier in January 2021, and as a result, we formed a steering committee and five initial working groups.
The volunteers of these working groups are paving the way to create a better Texas A&M AgriLife. The individuals in these working groups are some of the most impassioned, dedicated representatives of Texas A&M AgriLife, and I am very thankful for their dedication to this important initiative. Instead of me telling you about their experience, I want you to hear it directly from them and learn more about their excitement for the future of AgriLife. I hope the video linked below inspires you for our collective future.
We are truly stronger together, and these groups’ work will ensure our viability and success as an organization long-term.
Now, on to tactical updates from our five working groups:
AgriLife Ambassadorship Working Group
Champion: Rebecca O’Neal, events manager
The AgriLife ambassadorship working group continues to evaluate current practices and identification for areas of opportunity moving forward. The working group defined what the term ‘ambassadorship’ means to each member. Additionally, the group discussed what generates their individual sense of pride and belonging when serving as a member of Texas A&M AgriLife.
Communicating the Strategic Plan Working Group
Champion: Holly Shive, assistant vice chancellor for marketing and communications
The communicating the strategic plan working group continues to further develop and implement the communication plan with regular email and webpage updates. Charged with helping members of Texas A&M AgriLife understand the strategic plan, the group looks forward to continuing an open line of communication to keep everyone up to date on the work happening within the five working groups.
Leadership and Professional Development Working Group
Champion: Caitlyn Calvert, assistant vice chancellor for digital learning
The leadership and professional development working group started by splitting into subgroups to allow for a concentrated focus at identifying and addressing the unique needs for leadership and professional development across AgriLife. They have evaluated existing programs and opportunities for both. They continue to outline the needs and recommendations that include concepts like the possibility of a tiered leadership excellence program that would allow for all faculty, staff and administrative leaders to participate. For professional development they are exploring opportunities that are available across the system and outlining targeted offerings for AgriLife employees to enhance performance across the organization.
Matrix Management Structure Working Group
Champion: John Tracy, Ph.D., director of the Texas Water Resources Institute and interim head for the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering
The Matrix Management working group continues to regularly meet and boasts a healthy balance of representatives from across Texas A&M AgriLife. To date, the group has held a series of thought-provoking discussions to roadmap a matrix management system at Texas A&M AgriLife. So far, as a group, they have developed a working definition of matrix management, identified key characteristics of a program operating within a matrix management system and evaluated the benefits and costs associated with implementing a matrix management solution for Texas A&M AgriLife programs. The group plans to continue meeting through the summer and fall semesters.
Responding to an Evolving Texas Working Group
Co-champions: Caitlyn Calvert and Holly Shive
The responding to an evolving Texas working group has met regularly since its conception. The group, divided into four subgroups, has already completed a current environmental scan and best practices peer review. Currently, the group is undergoing a stakeholder review to identify current and future stakeholders, which will culminate in a final recommendation report that outlines strategies, tactics and success metrics to help Texas A&M AgriLife continue providing trusted and effective resources and solutions to a rapidly evolving Texas.
I hope that in this brief update, you are able to see the wonderful progress made to date by these dedicated employees. To continue to ensure your voice is heard within this process, our working group champions ask that you complete a short survey to help our groups better gauge the status and needs of Texas A&M AgriLife employees regarding the current organizational culture, perceived needs regarding leadership and development as well as solicit feedback on the strategies used to communicate the plan. The deadline to complete the survey is August 6.
All in all, with the help of our strategic plan and some dedicated volunteers, we are steadily working towards a better Texas A&M AgriLife. To learn more about the strategic plan, visit tx.ag/strategy. If you have any questions, I invite you to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Susan Ballabina, Ph.D.
Deputy Vice Chancellor, Texas A&M AgriLife
Chair—AgriLife Strategic Plan Steering Committee