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Nature Bound

photo by Tim Fitzgerald

The research of Jeffrey French, the Varner Professor of Psychology and Biology at UNO, is featured in the April 26 edition of the international science journal Nature. Dr. French and his colleagues at Michigan State University are investigating the relationship between endocrine function and reproductive success among members of a hierarchical society. See article elsewhere in this issue for details.

history photo

Pictured above, construction booms on campus during April of 1969. In the foreground, the southeast addition of the second floor of the Eppley Administration Building with Allwine Hall under construction in the background.

This Week in Campus History

On April 14, 1971, The Gateway reported that the Kinks had cancelled their April 17 Omaha Civic Auditorium rock concert due to the illness of lead singer Rick Davies. The UNO Student Activities Association, sponsor of the event, planned to bill the Kinks for expenses incurred promoting the concert. It was hoped that with the money saved from the Kinks cancellation another concert could be organized in the near future, perhaps highlighting Van Morrison or Kool & the Gang.

Date: April 14, 1971
Source: The Gateway
Compiled by University Library Archives

Reg Chapman

The Kid's Doing All Right

by Warren Francke

In Danville, Ill., they boast of native sons: Donald O'Connor, Gene Hackman, Dick and Jerry Van Dyke. Now another son of the Illinois-Indiana border, Reg Chapman, is making a name - in television news with WNBC in New York City.

But Chapman, 37, got his start in Omaha, where he is kid brother to John Chapman, weekend sports anchor at WOWT-TV. ...continue

Work of UNO Researcher Published in Nature

hyenaIn the world of the spotted hyena, nature's experiment in behavioral endocrinology, high-ranking mothers may provide their cubs with a hormonal "gift" in the womb that may make them more successful when they become adults.

The study, reported in the April 26 issue of Nature, is the first demonstration that a female mammal's hormones influence her offspring's behavior and appearance in apparently adaptive ways.

Jeffrey French, the Varner Professor of Psychology and Biology at UNO, and Michigan State University zoology faculty Kay Holekamp and Ph.D. student Stephanie Dloniak are investigating the relationship between endocrine function and reproductive success among members of a hierarchical society. Their findings are the result of nearly two decades of National Science Foundation-funded field research on wild spotted hyena populations in the Masai Mara Game Reserve in western Kenya.

The female spotted hyena's genitalia have evolved into something that looks more like a penis than a vagina. In addition, females have been found to show more aggression than males, are first to the kill and are dominant in clan life – the reverse of the norm in mammals.

The team monitored androgen hormone levels of dominant and lower-ranking hyena mothers during their pregnancies. No differences were noted in the first trimester. During the third trimester, however, the androgen levels of the dominant females were substantially higher than their lower-ranking counterparts.

"It has been known for decades that pregnant female hyenas have high levels of the male-typical androgen hormones," Dr. French said, "but our study is the first to show that levels in pregnant females differ by the dominance status of the soon-to-be moms."

These differences in hormones have important consequences for behavior after the cubs are born. Dr. French and colleagues analyzed play bouts in the cubs, and instances of both aggressive and sexual behavior were charted.

The cubs born to mothers with high levels of androgen during pregnancy displayed higher levels of both aggressive and sexual behavior during their play bouts than cubs born to mothers with low levels of androgen, Dr. French said. "Play is serious business for hyena cubs, where they learn much about the kinds of behavior that will make them successful as adults," he noted.

Although the research team was unable to weigh individual cubs, Dr. French said, it's likely that cubs born to mothers with high androgen levels weighed more at birth and were more competitive for nursing bouts, given the anabolic effects of androgen.

The Nature paper highlights a novel finding in behavioral development. "Modification of offspring morphology and behavior by early hormones has been documented for about a decade in birds," Dr. French said, "but the hyena work is the first demonstration that a female mammal's hormones influence her offspring's behavior and appearance in apparently adaptive ways."

Mammalian mothers play an important role in how their offspring develop, and the hyena study suggests that a mother's influence includes her hormone levels during pregnancy.

Dr. French's Endocrine Bioservices Lab on the UNO campus has developed non-invasive research techniques that allow scientists such as the Michigan State team to monitor subtle changes in the hormone concentrations of mammals that live in social groups in complex environments. The techniques also minimize the need to restrain animals for sample collection or to disrupt ongoing social interactions.

The research in Dr. French's UNO lab has been supported by grants from the National Institute of Health and the National Science Foundation since 1987. Since 1991, his lab at UNO has focused on the black tufted-ear marmoset and the white-faced marmoset, two of South America's endangered primate species.

For more information, contact Dr. French at 554.2558 or

IS&T Dean Candidate Forum Cancelled

The UNO College of Information Science and Technology (IS&T) dean candidate forum set for today, April 27, at The University of Nebraska Peter Kiewit Institute atrium has been cancelled.

For more information, contact Leah Pietron, search committee member and associate professor of information systems and quantitative analysis, at 554.2801 or

School of Communication Alumni Panel Event Today

The UNO School of Communication will host a panel discussion featuring a diverse group of its alumni today, April 27, in conjunction with Communication Week. The event, titled ""If I Knew Then What I Know Now," will be held in the Milo Bail Student Center Dodge Rooms at 1 p.m. All interested students, faculty and staff are invited to attend.

The featured panelists are listed below.

- Wendy Townley is a public affairs specialist for Cox Communications. Townley is an award-winning writer who has been published across the nation.

- Christine Kasel is editor in chief of Omaha Magazine, which also publishes The Encounter, B2B Quarterly, Physician's Bulletin and several custom publications, including Omaha Chamber of Commerce's Guide to Greater Omaha and the Convention and Visitor Bureau's Guide.

- Reg Chapman is a general assignment reporter for WNBC-TV in New York, where he has been since last year. To read a feature about Chapman, visit the Web at

- Joan Lukas is co-owner and president of Leslie Kline Lukas & Associates, the region's largest public relations firm. Last year, she was awarded the Alumni Achievement Award by the School of Communication.

For more information, call 554.2600.

Retirement Reception Today for Cheryl Conn

The university community is invited to attend a retirement reception for Cheryl Conn today, April 27. The event will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Milo Bail Student Center Chancellor's Room.

Conn has served as the administrative technician for the UNO Division of Continuing Studies (DCS) for the last eight years. She got her start at UNO 25 years ago in the engineering college and subsequently worked for purchasing, grants accounting, KVNO and facilities management before coming to the DCS.

For more information, call Dave Cassiday at 554.2371.

May FEAP Hours Announced

The Faculty/Staff Employee Assistance Program (FEAP) provides short-term counseling, assessment and referral services for faculty, staff, their spouses or significant others, and family members. FEAP offices are located in 206 Eppley Administration Building.

The May schedule is as follows:

May 1, 4, 12, 18 and 26
12:30 to 4:30 p.m.

May 10, 16, 24 and 31
8 a.m. to noon

Appointments are free and available by calling 554.3120 (UNO) or 559.5175 (UNMC).

Fidelity Representative on Campus May 17

Fidelity representative Chad Anderson will be on campus for individual counseling sessions Wednesday, May 17, from 1 to 5 p.m.

To schedule an appointment, call 1-800-642-7131.

"Jazza on the Plaza" Under Way

The sixth annual "Jazza on the Plaza" is taking place on the Milo Bail Student Center Plaza this week through Friday, April 28.

The award-winning UNO Jazz Ensembles and Jazz Combos will play at noon on the plaza between Allwine Hall and the Milo Bail Student Center in honor of Jazz Appreciation Month.

The UNO Jazz Ensembles are under the direction of Pete Madsen, assistant professor of trombone and coordinator of jazz studies at UNO.

"Bring a lunch and a friend, and enjoy spring weather and live jazz," Dr. Madsen said.

For more information, contact Dr. Madsen at 554.2297 or

Retirement Planning Education Ends April 28

The retirement planning education series sponsored by Human Resources concludes Friday, April 28, with a pre-retirement planning seminar. The event will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. in the Milo Bail Student Center Gallery Room. All interested faculty and staff are invited to attend.

The seminar will be led by Marlene Schneider from UNO's Faculty Employee Assistance Program. Schneider will focus on helping employees plan for the emotional and social aspects of retirement.

For more information, contact Esther Scarpello, manager of benefits, at 554.3660.

Free Screening of "The Silent Killer" April 28

The Omaha chapter of Americans for Informed Democracy will host a screening of "The Silent Killer: The Unfinished Campaign Against Hunger" Friday, April 28. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 7 p.m. in the Milo Bail Student Center Nebraska Room.

A discussion will follow the movie. For more information, visit the Web at

Heartland Philharmonic to Perform April 30

The UNO Heartland Philharmonic Orchestra will perform its final program of the season Sunday, April 30, at 7:30 p.m. in the Strauss Performing Arts Center Recital Hall. Tickets are $5 for adults, and $4 for students and seniors.

The theme of the program is "Sunday in the Park." The orchestra will play works that celebrate the pastoral nature of spring – Griffes' The White Peacock, Debussy's Rhapsody for Saxophone and Orchestra and Beethoven's Symphony no. 6 ("Pastoral"). Christopher Stanichar, an assistant professor of music at UNO, will conduct this program.

For tickets or more information, call 554.3427.

Nominations Sought for Del and Lou Ann Weber Award

The UNO Honors and Awards Committee is seeking nominations for the Del and Lou Ann Weber Award. The deadline is Wednesday, May 10.

The Del and Lou Ann Weber Award recognizes a current, full-time faculty member or administrator who has provided outstanding professional service to the community. Recipients have demonstrated success in extending the intellectual resources of the university beyond the campus by providing leadership, professional expertise or information to address important and relevant issues. The award is accompanied by a stipend of $2,000.

Nomination criteria and procedures are available by clicking on the following link:

Del and Lou Ann Weber Award

For more information, contact Lanyce Keel, chairperson of the University Committee on Honors & Awards, at

May 10 Audio Conference to Highlight Commuter Students

Student Organizations and Leadership Programs (SOLP) will host "Understanding and Retaining Commuter Students" Wednesday, May 10. The event, an interactive audio conference, will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Welcome Center, 111 Eppley Administration Building.

John Garland, coordinator for the National Clearinghouse for Commuter Programs (NCCP) and interim coordinator for the Office of Commuter Student Involvement at the University of Maryland, College Park, will be the presenter. Garland is an authority on understanding the experiences of students living off campus and American Indian college student retention.

Those who attend will learn:
- How to best define commuter students for your particular campus;
- Common needs and concerns of commuter students;
- Useful theoretical frameworks for working with commuter students;
- Strategies for promoting commuter student success;
- How to utilize the Council for the Advancement for Standards (CAS) guidelines for developing commuter student services on your campus; and
- Where to find resources and references for working with students living off campus.

For more information, contact Barb Treadway at 554.2711.

"The Learning Horizon" Workshop Set for May 15

Faculty Development, Information Technology Services (ITS) and the UNO College of Education will host a daylong workshop titled "The Learning Horizon: Shining the Light on Instruction and Technology" Monday, May 15. The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Milo Bail Student Center and is open to all UNO faculty and graduate assistants.

The workshop will include opening and lunch plenary and breakout sessions. Breakout sessions will be offered in four tracks: instructional design, assessment, technology tools and knowing your learner.

Lunch will be provided, and a door prize drawing for an iPod Nano will be conducted at the end of the day. For more information on the breakout sessions, visit the Web at

To sign up for workshop:

- Go to;
- On the left panel, select "Training Tools" > "Training Registration" > and "UNO";
- Click on the triangle next to the "Learning Horizon Workshop";
- Select the date, and check for a reminder e-mail;
- Enter your SAP personnel number (this is the five-digit number on your picture ID and paycheck statement);
- Click "Sign Up," and then click "OK" to confirm your personnel number; and
- Add the class to your calendar when you receive the e-mail confirming this registration.

If you have problems registering, contact ITS Customer Services at 554.HELP (554.4357).