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2008.07.21 > For Immediate Release
contact: Wendy Townley - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: wtownley@unomaha.edu

School of Social Work Director Tapped for National Aging Academy

Omaha - Theresa Barron-McKeagney, director of the School of Social Work at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), is one of only 12 university deans and directors across the country selected to participate in the first class of a national leadership academy on aging.

The Leadership Academy in Aging is sponsored by the Social Work Leadership Institute, a project of the New York Academy of Medicine. Its program partners include the National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work, and the John A. Hartford Foundation. The estimated value of training is $10,000 per participant and covered by grant dollars.

The academy meets four times beginning this September and ending June 2009. Barron-McKeagney will travel to Tarrytown, N.Y.; Philadelphia, Pa.; San Francisco, Calif.; and New York, N.Y., for the four sessions.

By participating in the program, deans and directors will have the opportunity to:

• Raise their school’s visibility and status within the university;
• Recruit students by strengthening their school/university’s presence in the field;
• Strengthen legislative outreach and education skills;
• Strengthen community development skills while increasing their school’s role in the community and broader environment;
• Strengthen capacity-building and management skills;
• Build strategic leadership skills;
• Increase resource development skills; and
• Mentor or be mentored by senior deans.

Barron-McKeagney has played an active role in local human service agencies, including the Chicano Awareness Center, Goodwill Industries, the Omaha YWCA and the Council Bluffs Human Relations Commission.

The Council Bluffs, Iowa, native earned a master’s degree from UNO in 1987 and a doctorate degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1993. Her professional specialties include Latino populations, social work theory and diversity, social welfare policy, at-risk youth and mentoring. From a social work perspective, Barron-McKeagney focuses on child welfare, mental health, social policy, diversity and gerontology. She is a board member of the Iowa West Foundation.

She has served as director of UNO’s School of Social Work since 2004.

Barron-McKeagney’s interest in aging became personal in November 2005, when her mother lived in her home during the final six months of her life.

“I have always learned a great deal from my mother, even though she did not receive more education than the 10th grade and was an immigrant from Mexico,” Barron-McKeagney wrote in her applicant letter.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Dr. Barron-McKeagney and demonstrates the respect in which she is held in the Social Work field,” said B.J. Reed, dean of the College of Public Affairs and Community Service at UNO. “To be invited as part of the inaugural class is truly an honor.”

“Dr Barron-McKeagney’s strong efforts to build linkages among the School of Social Work, the Gerontology Program here at UNO and the University of Nebraska Medical Center Department of Geriatrics will be furthered by her participation in this leadership program,” Reed said.

Barron-McKeagney will spend the next academic year as a distinguished visiting professor at Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) in San Antonio, Texas, where she will work on a book about UNO’s Aguante Project, the mentoring program funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice, and a research product about the OLLU students on role attribution. Barron-McKeagney will also work with Texas Sen. Carlos Uresti and OLLU students regarding child welfare.

* *

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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