news releases

2005.01.03 > For Immediate Release
contact: Teresa Gleason - University Affairs
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: tmgleason@mail.unomaha.edu

UNO Professors to Take on Student Role in South Omaha Seminar Jan. 3-7

OMAHA - Frank Bramlett, an assistant professor of English, teaches linguistics at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO).  On Monday, Jan. 3, he'll experience what it's like on the other side of the podium in conjunction with a new project sponsored by the Service-Learning Academy at UNO.

Bramlett and 14 other faculty members from a variety of disciplines will participate in the "South O Seminar: A Service-Learning Project for Professors."  The weeklong workshop will allow the group to study the history and culture of South Omaha while complementing that study with service at community-based organizations.

"Our goal is to give this group an understanding of the South Omaha community, its composition and culture so they can return to UNO and create service-learning courses that are responsive to South Omaha's issues," said Nora Bacon, interim co-director of the Service-Learning Academy (SLA). 

At UNO, academic service-learning brings the talents and energy of university students into the service of the Omaha community.  "Students not only address community needs but also enrich their own education by experiencing the real-world application of academic subjects and developing the habit of active citizenship," said Paul Sather, interim co-director of the SLA.

In addition to Bramlett, the faculty participants are Maria Arbelaez, history; Stuart Bernstein, construction systems; Mike Carroll, Goodrich Program; Ana Cruz, communication; Judith Monarriz Diaz-Kelsey, information science and technology; Rich Furman, social work; Hollis Glaser, communication; Tatyana Novikov, foreign languages; Doug Paterson, theatre; Jeanette Seaberry, counseling; Mary Caroline Simpson, art and art history; Connie Sorensen-Birk, Project Achieve; Peter Szto, social work; and Melissa Zimmerman, Metropolitan Community College.

The workshop runs Jan. 3-7.  After 10 hours of instruction and orientation to service-learning, each participant will be placed with a partner agency.  They will then spend 15 hours observing and contributing to the work of the organizations. 

Among their many activities, the group will tour the Project Omaha History Museum at South High School, hear a panel presentation from South Omaha leaders on the community's strengths and challenges, participate in a "treasure hunt" along 24th Street and visit Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.

The partner agencies are the Chicano Awareness Center, El Museo Latino, Family Housing Advisory Services, the Juan Diego Center, the Immigrant Rights Network, the Latina Resource Center, One World Health and Project Omaha.

The final morning of the workshop will be devoted to collective reflection on the experience.  And, as part of their "student" role, each participant will be required to take a test.

Later this spring, the group will reconvene to discuss how they can structure service-learning opportunities in South Omaha into their courses.

For more information about the workshop, contact Bacon at (402) 554-3318 or nbacon@mail.unomaha.edu, or Sather at (402) 554-2850 or psather@mail.unomaha.edu.

The Service-Learning Academy at UNO was established in the spring of 1999 with a grant from the Nebraska Consortium for Service-Learning in Higher Education.  Its goals are to coordinate UNO's service-learning effort by providing a central point of contact between the campus and community-based organizations; to encourage, assist and recruit faculty members interested in developing service-learning courses; to provide professional development opportunities in service-learning; to maintain and provide a library of the most current service-learning resources for faculty and community personnel; to make information about service-learning available to students; and to cultivate continuing professional working relationships among the stakeholders in service-learning – faculty, students and community.

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