Boston, MA — A University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) alumna has been chosen as the inaugural director of Campus Compact for the Great Plains and will oversee the new coalition of colleges and universities across Nebraska, Kansas and South Dakota that seek to advance the public purposes of higher education.
As director, Mary Ryan, who has spent the last 26 years as an administrator at the University of Kansas will spearhead coordinated civic and community engagement efforts among the region’s colleges and universities. She will work with students, faculty, staff and community organizations to support greater integration of activities in civic and service learning, community based research, national service and other areas in which institutions of higher education can contribute to the wellbeing of communities across the Great Plains.
Campus Compact for the Great Plains is part of the national Campus Compact network, which includes more than 1000 colleges and universities. The offices for Campus Compact for the Great Plains will be housed in UNO's Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center.
“Mary Ryan has proven herself to be a high-‐ impact leader whose work has benefited students and communities,” said Andrew Seligsohn, President of Campus Compact. “Campus Compact for the Great Plains is about helping colleges and universities strengthen communities and our democracy, and Mary is the right person to make that happen.”
"Mary Ryan is an accomplished higher education leader who has made a positive impact in the lives of KU students and the communities they serve," said John Augusto, Assistant Vice Provost for Experiential Learning at the University of Kansas and a member of the search committee that identified Ryan. "As a native Nebraskan who has worked in Kansas for years, Mary knows our region well and is perfectly positioned to build Campus Compact for the Great Plains into an effective force for our states."
"The University of Nebraska Omaha is thrilled that the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center will be the home for Campus Compact for the Great Plains," said Julie Dierberger, Paul Sather Distinguished Director of UNO's Service Learning Academy. "We are excited to work with an accomplished leader in Mary Ryan and confident that UNO will provide a great home for Campus Compact for the Great Plains to make an impact across our region."
Ryan, a native of Omaha, holds a master’s degree in guidance and counseling from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas.
After serving 10 years at KU Lawrence in Admissions and New Student Orientation, Ryan joined the KU Edwards campus in Overland Park in 2001, serving on the leadership team for the Vice Chancellor. Most recently, she has held positions in both Academic Affairs and Student Affairs at KU Lawrence.
She has also worked at the University of Nebraska Omaha, Creighton University, and the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Recently, UNO has had several students identified as recipients of Campus Compact's national Newman Civic Fellowship.
Earlier this year, Junior Jimmy Nguyen, a biology major who is part of the Goodrich and Project Achieve learning communities, was recognized for his community service efforts in his hometown of South Sioux City. In 2016, current senior Antonio Campbell, a math major and member of the UNO University Honors Program, was recognized for this work with rescue shelters in the Omaha community. In 2015, recent alumna Brieland Fripp, who studied marketing at UNO and was part of the Thompson Learning Community, was recognized for her efforts for teaching STEM principles at several Omaha afterschool programs.
About Campus Compact
Campus Compact is a national network of more than 1000 member campuses advancing the public purposes of colleges and universities by deepening their ability to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility. As the largest national higher education association dedicated solely to campus-‐based civic engagement, we provide professional development to administrators and faculty to enable them to engage effectively, facilitate national partnerships connecting campuses with key issues in their local communities, build pilot programs to test and refine promising models in engaged teaching and scholarship, celebrate and cultivate student civic leadership, and convene higher education institutions and partners beyond higher education to share knowledge and develop collective capacity.
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.