OMAHA – The Service Learning Academy at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) will have new leadership following the announcement of Julie Dierberger as just the second director in its history.
Dierberger, who has been the SLA’s P-16 Initiative coordinator since 2010, begins her new role on Monday, July 3, and replaces former director Paul Sather, who is retiring after leading the SLA since 2005.
Officially Dierberger will be known as the Paul Sather Distinguished Director of the Service Learning Academy at UNO. The endowed position was created in 2014 and is funded through the Weitz Family Foundation.
Sather, who has worked at UNO since 1992, was previously a professor of social work and spent several years as assistant director of the program before moving into his role as SLA director.
As director of the UNO SLA, Dierberger will oversee all programs, initiatives and staff members. Her responsibilities will also include fundraising, grant writing and outreach to community partners.
“I am extremely excited to serve in this role and build on the strong foundation that Paul has created with the Service Learning Academy,” Dierberger said. “UNO’s metropolitan mission means being engaged with the community and I want to help identify a strategic vision for that future with our partners and stakeholders.”
Since its founding in 1998, the UNO SLA has brought the classroom into the community through more than 2,000 courses featuring service learning components that have benefited hundreds of local nonprofits and community groups.
In 2014, UNO received the Presidential Award for Economic Opportunity as part of the President’s Higher Education Honor Roll thanks in large part due to efforts from the UNO SLA.
“Serving as Director of the Service Learning Academy has truly been a privilege,” Sather said. “It’s been a joy to work with such creative faculty members, students, and community partners in developing projects that really make a difference in our community. I am absolutely certain that work will thrive and grow as Julie Dierberger leads the Academy. She has the vision, energy, and ingenuity to bring our community engagement efforts to whole new levels of programmatic excellence and deeper community impact.”
As coordinator of the SLA’s P-16 Initiative, Dierberger worked directly with service learning courses that paired UNO students and community organizations with students ranging from preschool level to seniors in high school.
In total, more than 13,000 P-12 students have actively participated in service learning projects supported by the P-16 Initiative. This has also resulted in more than 100,000 hours of service to the community.
Dierberger is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts degree in Educational Administration. Prior to her role as P-16 Coordinator she was Director for Student Involvement at Midland Lutheran College.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.