news releases

2005.12.23 > For Immediate Release
contact: Tim Kaldahl - University Affairs
phone: 402.554.3502 - email: tkaldahl@mail.unomaha.edu

UNO Professors to Take on Student Role in North Omaha Seminar

Omaha - Seventeen University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) faculty members will be students instead of teachers to start the New Year.  On Tuesday, Jan. 3, the group will begin to learn about North Omaha's past, present and future during "North O Seminar: A Service-Learning Project for Professors."

"Our goal is to give our faculty an understanding of the North Omaha community, its composition and culture so they can return to campus and create service-learning courses that are responsive to North Omaha's issues," said Paul Sather, director of the Service-Learning Academy (SLA).   The professors come from a wide variety of colleges and disciplines, from psychology to theater to high technology

Last year over winter break, 13 professors took part in a similar event that focused on South Omaha.  This year's seminar will run through Friday, Jan. 6.

At UNO, academic service-learning brings the talents and energy of university students into the service of the Omaha community.  "Faculty from last year's session have put together courses that have aided a variety of South Omaha small businesses and non-profit agencies this year," Sather said.  "It's a win for the university and our metropolitan community."

Faculty participants in the seminar are Jessiline Anderson, psychology; Stuart Bernstein, construction systems; Ana Isabel Carballal, foreign language and literatures; Mike Carroll, Goodrich Program; Nydia Jeffers, foreign language and literatures; Peggy Jones, black studies; Nancy Kelly-Gillespie, social work; Mary Lopez, public administration; Josie Metal-Corbin, physical education; Doug Paterson, theater; Karen Rolf, social work; Suzanne Sollars, psychology; Connie Sorensen-Birk, Project Achieve; Peter Szto, social work; Will Torrence, physical education; Jennifer White, physical education; and Peter Wolcott, information systems and quantitative analysis.

After being introduced and oriented to service-learning, faculty members will tour various businesses, agencies and education facilities, and meet with an array of community leaders.  Economic development, the arts, education and computer technology are just a few of the issues that will be examined over the four days of meetings and discussions.

"We know our participants will take away a greater understanding at the end of the seminar," Sather said.  "We also know they will be coming back and bringing students." 

In the spring of 2006, the group will reconvene to discuss how they can structure service-learning opportunities in North Omaha into their courses.

For more information about the workshop, contact  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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