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2013.09.19 > For Immediate Release
contact: Charley Reed - University Communications
phone: 402.554.2129 - email: unonews@unomaha.edu

Barron-McKeagney Goes From First-Generation Graduate to CPACS Assoc. Dean

Omaha - The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) and UNO College of Public Affairs and Community Service (CPACS) are proud to announce that Theresa Barron-McKeagney, director of UNO’s Grace Abbott School of Social Work, has been named the new Associate Dean for CPACS at UNO effective Monday, Oct. 14.

Barron-McKeagney, a first-generation college graduate, has directed the Grace Abbott School since 2004 after starting her UNO career as an adjunct instructor in 1989. She previously worked at the Chicano Awareness Center – now known as the Latino Center of the Midlands – after earning a Master’s Degree in social work from UNO in 1986.

“If you’ve ever jumped in a glacier pond, taking on this position is sort of like that,” Barron-McKeagney said. “It’s a bit scary, but it’s also invigorating and once you’re in you never want to leave.”

During her time as head of social work at UNO, Barron-McKeagney has pioneered a number of partnerships within and outside of UNO, including a dual degree with the UNO School of Criminology and Criminal Justice and getting social workers to spend more time at locations like the Douglas County Department of Corrections and Omaha Public Schools. The Grace Abbott School of Social Work has also been nationally recognized by U.S. News and World Report for its graduate program.

“When the Dean’s job opened up two years ago, I thought Theresa was the most logical candidate so when the Associate Dean’s position opened up, it was natural to look to her,” said CPACS Dean John Bartle. “She has done so much for the college already, and I eagerly look forward to what she will do in this new role.”

Barron-McKeagney, an alumna of UNO and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is taking the position vacated by Sara Woods, who recently took over as UNO’s lead community engagement official. Throughout her career, Barron-McKeagney said she has looked to the advice of her mentors and peers at UNO and in the community. Without them, she may have never decided to go back to school in the first place.

“Back in 1989 I was working at the Chicano Awareness Center, I was asked if there was any interest in getting my doctorate while teaching at UNO and all I could think of was me? Really?” Barron-McKeagney said. “It was a gift given to me on a silver platter.”

As associate dean, Barron-McKeagney will assist Bartle in administrative and outreach efforts for CPACS, which not only houses the Grace Abbott School of Social Work, but the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, School of Public Administration, Aviation Institute, the Goodrich Scholarship Program, the Department of Gerontology and UNO’s Division of Continuing Studies.

“I want to push for further partnerships here at UNO and in the community,” Barron McKeagney said. “Because that makes us family and there is nothing stronger than la familia.”

For more information or media requests regarding Theresa Barron-McKeagney’s appointment as associate dean of CPACS or about the Grace Abbott School of Social Work, please contact Charley Reed, UNO media relations coordinator, at unonews@unomaha.edu.


Theresa Barron-McKeagney (left) and CPACS Dean John Bartle (right)

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The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s metropolitan university. The core values of the institution place students at the center of all that the university does; call for the campus to strive for academic excellence; and promote community engagement that transforms and improves urban, regional, national and global life. 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.

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