Outreach and Education Committee

Wednesday, 9:00 a.m., Jan. 22, 2003

Commission Hearing Room
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
Item
No.
Subject Public Hearing
Agenda Item No.
  Approval of the Committee Minutes from the previous meeting  
  Summary of Minutes  
1. Chairman's Charges (Oral Presentation) Committee Only
2. Outreach and Education Plan Update
Staff: Steve Hall
Committee Only
3. Other Business  

Summary of Minutes
Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Outreach and Education Committee
May 29, 2002

BE IT REMEMBERED that heretofore on the 6th day of November 2002, there came on to be heard matters under the regulatory authority of the Parks and Wildlife Commission of Texas, in the commission hearing room of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Headquarters complex, Austin, Travis County, Texas, beginning at 2:15 p.m. to wit:

I. COMMISSION ATTENDANCE:
Katharine Armstrong, Commission Chair
Al Henry, Committee Chair
Ernest Angelo, Jr.
John Avila, Jr.
Joseph Fitzsimons
Phil Montgomery, III
Donato Ramos
Kelly Rising
Mark Watson, Jr.

II. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES: Minutes approved.
Motion: Commissioner Watson
Second: Commissioner Rising

III. THE FOLLOWING ITEMS WERE PRESENTED TO THE COMMITTEE FOR CONSIDERATION:

1. BRIEFING – Chairman’s Charges
Mr. Cook introduced Scott Boruff to present a briefing on the report addressing the charge to implement the provisions of the Sunset Bill. Mr. Cook further stated that Mr. Boruff’s briefing is an executive summary of that report.

2. BRIEFING – SUNSET RESPONSE – Education and Outreach
Committee Chair, Henry, called upon Mr. Boruff to introduce the item and Boruff noted that Steve Hall, Education and Outreach Director, was present to assist him in the briefing.

Boruff mentioned that the department is taking a hard look at its outreach and education efforts for the last year and in particular in the previous two months in which he served as interim director over the administrative divisions. He commented on the aggressive approach staff is using to develop a project plan much like was put forth through the business implementation plan.

He noted the problem that existed on getting our hands around what we actually do as an agency relative to outreach and education. He further noted that the good news is that there is a lot going on; but there exists some needs to tighten up and revisit some areas.

He brought up the Sheldon Lake Environmental Education Center as an example. He noted that he had recently been in the field and gave several examples of the types of activities field staff are involved in. (e.g. game warden, state park and wildlife division staff). He summarized his revelation that education and outreach are a part of the TPWD culture and not confined to any one unit.

He mentioned that specifically he was leading an effort to put forth a project plan including: 1) an Education and Outreach Advisory Group (external) being put together by the Commission Chair, 2) the creation of an Education and Outreach Task Force (internal) encompassing all resource divisions and tied to administrative divisions, 3) Deliverables of the project including a) Response to Sunset and b) Education and Outreach Plan.

He stated that the first deliverable (Sunset Response) was submitted and expressed confidence that it addresses the Sunset issues. He summarized what we looked at as a result of the Sunset charges (e.g. consistency with mission – yes). TPWD looked at the coordination of education and outreach activities and Boruff said that this is where TPWD might have its greatest weakness. The bottom line he stated is are we doing what we are supposed to be doing? Boruff said that there was no standard (business) model by which education and outreach programs were being delivered and different reporting and evaluation mechanisms.

The second deliverable, the education and outreach plan was going to be a comprehensive, agency wide plan, according to Boruff. He stated that the document would: 1) be a hand-in-hand effort between the advisory group and task force, and 2) lay down the groundwork and set the road map (for success).

One major accomplishment was to move the Education and Outreach branch to the Communications Division, effective November 1, so it could better reach out to our constituents. Steve Hall, Education and Outreach Director would answer to Lydia Saldana who, in turn reports to the new Deputy Executive Director over Administration, Drew Thigpen. Hall’s duty would be to put together a PMO – Project Management Office, specifically to manage the plan that includes identifiable milestones and deliverables. Each program (over 34 agency wide) would be "chartered" and reviewed, but allowed for divisional flexibilities as to what is appropriate in each unit of TPWD. Executive management would sign off on the charters and be more involved in the management of education and outreach activities.

The goal, Boruff indicated, is to create a central registry through the Education and Outreach Branch. Along with each charter, each program would also have a plan – creating a standard across the agency.

Boruff entertained questions at this point.

HENRY: Called for questions or comments.

MONTGOMERY: Asked if there was a budget and a series of objectives such as where we are going in certain areas. He asked, "How do we (commission) react from a policy standpoint?

BORUFF: Stated that it is the discretion of the Commission, but that we would have to bring the commission a plan (in January) for their approval. He indicated that there were already pretty good goals and objectives for most of these activities…what was needed, perhaps, is a business system to track and make sure the goals were demonstrable.

MONTGOMERY, HENRY and BORUFF: Discussed the merits of what we are doing, why we are doing it and where are we headed with many of our existing education and outreach programs (including clearly stated charters, goals and objectives).

MONTGOMERY: Stated that the Commission’s job is to set policy and posed what is it that TPWD is about – Fishing? Hunting? Conservation? Children? What are the choices and how are we weighting them?

ARMSTRONG: Addressed Montgomery’s questions by reviewing the purpose, goals and make-up of the forthcoming advisory committee that will assist TPWD in answering the kinds of questions he is posing. She stated that the advisory group would also be looking at what we are teaching, the actual curricula out there. She complimented staff for getting their ducks in order so we can move into implementation phase.

MONTGOMERY: Agreed and challenged the commission to further discuss the issue.

ARMSTRONG: Invited all the commissioners to attend the upcoming advisory committee meetings and stressed the importance of education and outreach to the state, to the people and to this commission.

ANGELO: Discussed his concern with measure of accountability (i.e measuring success or failure of an effort)

BORUFF: Agreed and reiterated the fact that while TPWD has been trying to be all things to all people, the commission should decide the priorities beyond the statutory mandates. He perceived that TPWD is fragmented in its efforts.

HENRY: Delivered a final plea for wrapping up the session.

MONTGOMERY: Summarized his thoughts and posed a recommendation for how the commission ought to proceed. He specifically suggested further process for discussions, setting out a range of options and matching them with the dollars available.

HALL: Agreed and stated the kinds of efforts already being made internally such as assessments and summarized the failures of educators to look at the business side and long-term measures of their programs. He echoed everyone’s remarks in that the PMO process give us a model by which to work and mentioned Wildlife Expo as an example of the model in action. He referenced the book, "Recreation Program Opportunities" and its availability to the public and to the commissioners looking for a source of what TPWD programs are out there.

HENRY: Summarized the committee proceedings by encouraging a status report in January and that he is encouraged by developments to date. He also complimented staff and echoed Mr. Montgomery’s concerns about knowing what bang we are getting for our bucks.

ANGELO, ARMSTRONG AND BORUFF: Complimented Mr. Thigpen in his short tenure and recognized (and teased) him in short discussion and laughter.

HENRY: Called for further questions.

ARMSTRONG: Commented on the formation and meeting (first) of the Education and Outreach Advisory Group.

HENRY: Asked for questions and adjourned the meeting.

IV. ADJOURNMENT: 3:00 pm


Committee Agenda Item No. 1

Outreach and Education Committee
Chairman's Charges
January 2003

(This item will be an oral presentation.)


Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Presenter: Steve Hall

Outreach and Education Committee
Outreach and Education Plan Update
January 2003

I. Discussion: Staff will brief the Commission on status and development of the Department's outreach and education plan including update of activity roster and plan charter.


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