Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a workshop for UF faculty about the UF Strategic Development Plan, in encouragement of the plan’s action step to develop a New American City by “connecting talent to issues.”
62 faculty from UF had applied for small research grants given by UF to encourage them to work on community issues; although they were unable to fund most, there were still enthusiastic faculty from across campus who wished to make connections to positively impact Gainesville. The workshop was led by Dr. Paul Monaghan from Agricultural Education and Communication, and we had many UF/IFAS faculty there including Anna Prizzia representing the Field and Fork program. I would describe the event as almost like speed dating for faculty, as we rotated tables and discussed our current projects and ideas and shared what resources we lacked.
As a former Gainesville City Commissioner, I was excited to offer connections to community leaders, elected officials, city departments, and local non-profits who would be interested in the UF talent in their area of expertise. What I think came out of it was a clear interest by UF faculty to do more to make our community an even better place for citizens, and it was a new opportunity for UF faculty to meet each other and share common goals and activities. Due to its success, UF is now brainstorming the best mechanism to continue these connections with our faculty. If you have ideas and aren’t sure where to start, contact me.
Personally I found a faculty member from the College of Design, Construction and Planning who specializes in energy usage data in buildings and analyzing it; needless to say, I am excited to show him that UF/IFAS continues lead the way on campus in the effort to save money by investing in energy efficiencies that reduce utility bills! Stay tuned on that topic, I will bore you more on it in the future…