During the May 2016 commencement, you may have seen the story of One Grad's Inspiring Walk Across the Stage. This is just one of many ways QLI and UNO collaborate. This is the type of engagement with the community that UNO is nationally recognized for.
Here's a look at the connection points between UNO and QLI and how they align with UNO's three strategic goals.
Related: More on UNO's Campus Commitment to Community Engagement
What is QLI?
QLI is not like other brain and spinal cord rehabilitation centers. At QLI, they believe that great rehabilitation is more than just the science of physical recovery – it is the art of rebuilding a life.
Their Tri-Dimensional Rehabilitation program could not be recreated just anywhere. For QLI to exist, it took a special combination of philanthropic support and a local population of specialists in brain and spinal cord trauma. Like UNO, QLI believes that place matters.
Infographic: How QLI and UNO Collaborate
How QLI and UNO Collaborate
Goal 1: UNO will be recognized as a student-centered metropolitan university
Not only does UNO pride itself on being accesible, QLI and UNO students have real stories of collaborating, such as this one:
One Grad's Inspiring Walk
Taryn Schaaf is a recent alumna of UNO's Grace Abbott School of Social Work. She's also one of QLI's patients. With help from both institutions, Taryn was able to acheive her dream of walking across the stage at commencement. Here's a look at Taryn's inspiring walk across the stage.
Goal 2: UNO will be recognized for its academic excellence as a leading metropolitan university
Biomechanics and QLI Fellowship
UNO is student-centered and encourages civic engagement at all levels. From the administration to undergraduate students, UNO connects with its community to promote positive social change in Omaha and beyond.
In 2015 Dr. Sara Myers of UNO's Department of Biomechanics began collaborating with the leadership team at Quality Living Inc. (QLI), a rehabilitation center specializing in brain and spinal cord injuries. Both groups wanted to develop a meaningful research project that would benefit the patients at QLI.
To support the new area of research, the NU Foundation worked together with UNO and QLI to help find students to perform this important research. The researchers are studying the impact of a moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise program on cognition, gait, and balance in individuals with traumatic brain injury.
As a clinician, sometimes you get questions that come to your mind, but sometimes the answers aren't out there," Dexter added. "So to have people that I can team up with and work on something like that, it really is fantastic.
- Brad Dexter, coordinator of physical and occupational therapy services at QLI on benefits of working with UNO
Brad Dexter, coordinator of physical and occupational therapy services at QLI, is one of the researchers working on the project.
Dexter had a simple way of describing what it is like to have UNO's Department of Biomechanics in his own backyard.
"It's fantastic!" he said.
"As a clinician, sometimes you get questions that come to your mind, but sometimes the answers aren't out there," Dexter added. "So to have people that I can team up with and work on something like that, it really is fantastic."
Goal 3: UNO will be recognized for its outstanding engagement with the urban, regional, national, and global communities
Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center and Service Learning Academy
UNO's collaboration with QLI illustrates our commitment to community engagement. Through mutually-beneficial partnerships, UNO is able to better serve its students and community.
QLI has used the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center for off-site meetings ever since it opened in 2014. Carsten Froelich, corporate communications specialist at QLI, said it has become a popular place for them to meet.
"The environment at the Weitz CEC is so creative and collaborative, it’s the first place we look if we need to get away from the desk and work strategically," said Froelich.
The Service Learning Academy has also been involved in numerous projects with QLI. Recently, they completed a three-month long project with local elementary schools to construct an herb and vegetable garden on QLI's campus. Now the patients can make their own fresh garden salsa.
UNO Athletics and Baxter Arena
QLI has become very familiar with UNO's campus. Their annual fundraiser "An Evening at the Fair" will be hosted at the Baxter Arena this September and the rock wall in the Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (HPER) is often used by QLI's patients as well.
To top it off, UNO athletic director Trev Alberts sits on QLI's board of directors, and QLI CEO Patricia Kearns serves as a mentor for Maverick student athletes in a leadership program.