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2008.03.14 > For Immediate Release
contact: Tim Kaldahl - University Relations
phone: 402.554.3502 - email: tkaldahl@mail.unomaha.edu

UNO Event to Focus on Access to Education; Will Use Deliberative Polling

Omaha - A University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) event set for Friday, March 28, will focus on an issue important to many people on campus -- access to education.

“A random selection of undergraduates will take part in the session as part of a deliberative poll,” said Greg Petrow, a UNO political science professor. “UNO is a metropolitan university. Many, many of our students currently and historically are the first in their families to attend college. Much of the discussion will be on what are the costs that make it harder for our students to get an education and what public policies can increase access.”

Participants will meet from 5 to 9 p.m. in the Milo Bail Student Center. Petrow said 100 to 200 students—from a randomly sampled cross section of UNO—are expected to take part. Participants will receive a free pizza dinner at the event and a bookstore giftcard as an incentive.

The event will use deliberative polling, which combines small-group discussions involving large numbers of participants with random sampling of public opinion, Petrow said. The overall purpose is to establish a base of informed public opinion on a specific issue.

More information on the deliberative polling process, including a brief overview of the history of deliberative polling, is available online at UNO at www.unomaha.edu/adp/activities.php.

“Some of the questions we intend to look at include, would students support greater state funding of education, or higher taxes to support such funding?” Petrow said. “The tuition UNO students pay goes to the system general fund, and only some of the money comes back to this campus: would students support increasing the amount that returns here?”

UNO is a member of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), which leads many initiatives, including a campus civic engagement initiative, to increase political participation and discussion. Deliberative polling is a new component of civic engagement for AASCU.

UNO is one of about a dozen campuses across the country conducting deliberative polls this semester as part of the initiative. Each campus is planning its own deliberative poll, with different topics and different populations. Representatives from each campus will meet in June to give papers about their polling events at the annual AASCU conference.

“Most people who participate in these events enjoy them,” Petrow said. “It’s an opportunity to meet peers and discuss issues with them in an engaging way, as well as an opportunity to learn more about an important public policy issue.”

For more information, call (402) 554-3502.

***

UNO will celebrate its 100th anniversary beginning October 8, 2008. This celebration will recognize the partnership among the City of Omaha, its citizens and UNO to build a vibrant and dynamic community. The centennial theme is "UNO: Central To Our City Since 1908." This theme acknowledges the past contributions of UNO to the community and sets the stage for great things to come.

UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908. For Centennial information, go to http://www.unomaha.edu/100/.

 

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