TMU 6(19) -- September 22,2009

Project Improve
Cruz teams to help inmates

Office of Latino / Latin American Studies (OLLAS) faculty member Ana Cruz spent nine weeks of the summer volunteering approximately three hours each Saturday to work with the Latino inmates at the Douglas County Correctional Center.

OLLAS summer program

The summer partnership between the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) and the jail is a first for creating an educational, informational program in Spanish for the Latino inmates who cannot take advantage of the existing English-only programs.

The program, Project Improve, included activities that focused on writing, reading and film analysis. The activities led to reflection, introspection, self-expression and discussion of family-related issues, Cruz said.

A highlight was the reading and recording of a children’s story.  "We provided the parents with an array of children’s books in Spanish, from which they could choose one per child," Cruz said.   "We encouraged the parents to provide a brief, personal message to the child prior to reading the story."  The book, along with the CD, was mailed by the Programs Coordinator of the Douglas County Correctional Center to the inmate’s home.

The OLLAS faculty members represent six different departments and three different colleges including College of Communication, Fine Arts and Media.

UNO enrollment gains
Campus tops 15,000

The University of Nebraska at Omaha reported a 2.9 percent increase in student enrollment for the fall 2009 semester -- 14,619 UNO students.  Numbers also increased in the College of Communication, Fine Arts and Media.

Total campus enrollment increased 2.6 percent compared to last year.  First-time freshmen and transfer students account for about 3,400 of UNO’s student population, an increase of about 4 percent when compared to the fall 2008 semester.

UNO enrolled more than 160 new students from Harrison, Mills and Pottawattamie counties in Iowa. Students from these three counties are taking advantage of the Metropolitan Advantage Program (MAP), which offers tuition below out-of-state rates, but slightly higher than in-state rates.

Before MAP, Iowa students attending UNO paid the nonresident rate of $502.50 per credit hour. Today, MAP students pay $255.75 per credit hour, which is 150 percent the resident rate of $170.50 per credit hour.

“As we welcome our 100th class of incoming freshmen, UNO ranks among the nation’s elite metropolitan universities,” Chancellor John Christensen said.  “We are committed to providing a dynamic and diverse higher-education experience in a metropolitan setting where our students develop the academic skills needed to be successful wherever their lives or careers may take them.  Fortunately, the majority of our graduates stay in Omaha, continuing to contribute to the community's vitality.”

Leadership workshop
UNO cultivates qualities

Senior Vice Chancellor Terry Hynes and Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean for Graduate Studies Deborah Smith-Howell organized a leadership workshop to assist current and future campus leaders.

Dan Wheeler engages faculty in leadership discussion

Leadership expert Dan Wheeler guided professors through research findings on academic leadership.  Among those attending from the School of Communication were: Teresa Lamsam, Lynnette Leonard, Mike Hilt, Barb Pickering, Karen Dwyer and Jeremy Lipschultz.

Of note
Excellence in print and action 

Dave Ogden is continuing his pioneering service-learning work in the Media Relations and Principles of Public Relations courses.  Student clients include:  World AIDS Day, VNA's Operation Frontline, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the Nebraska AIDS Project, the Middle School Learning Center Initiative, the Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance, the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging, Keep Kids Alive - Drive 25, UNO's Fall break Project and a number of other campus programs.

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Alumnus Matt Tompkins of Clear Channel in Omaha spoke to the new Online Media course, which has some sessions scheduled at the KANEKO library and gallery in the Old Market.

Matt Thompkins offers advice for launching a career

The course, which is being taught by Jeremy Lipschultz, meets most of its sessions via Adobe Connect and Web cams.

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Instructor Abbie Syrek has two National Communication Association presentations at the NCA November meeting in Chicago. Her individual presentation is "An Examination of Post-Place Communities:  Using Discourse to Reinvent Group Identity in Rural Nebraska."  She also is participating in a panel on, "Crafting Organizational Culture:  Using Discourse to Manage Stability and Change in Forensics Teams."  Syrek, coach of UNO Forensics, also announced that there is a new blog to follow the season.

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Associate Professor Hugh Reilly presented a talk Sept. 18 on the Great Sioux Uprising of 1862.  The School of Communication research colloquium focused on how Minnesota newspapers reported events that led to the single largest number of public hangings in U.S. history on Dec. 26, 1862.

Hugh Reilly

Reilly has a forthcoming book on newspaper coverage of Native Americans on the Great Plains during the 19th Century.

Did you know?
People in the news

Alumna Peg Peterson has a new position with Professional Veterinary Products. PVP is a distributor of 22,000 various pharmaceutical and animal supplies to the veterinary  medicine industry.  Here in Omaha, they have a large call center, warehouse/distribution center, and sales/marketing force.   She will be  doing training and organizational development work  -- designing training  programs, identifying and developing management talent, building bench  strength for future growth, and succession planning.  "It is exactly what I love to do, and PVP seems to be very committed to their  employees and the community," Peterson said.

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A number of School of Communication faculty members and graduate students participated in UNO workshops at the beginning of the academic year: Holly Miller, Adam Tyma, Chris Allen, Lynnette Leonard, Marlina Davidson and Abby Poulter.

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Chris Allen performed in Annie Warbucks at the Chanticleer Community Theater in September.

Evidence of excellence

1. School of Communcation faculty are in their tenth year of campus leadership in the innovative Teaching Circles program.  School  faculty also are active in Research Triangles and Community Engagement Links.

Karen Dwyer and Marshall Prisbell speak at Teaching Circle gathering

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2. The Public Relations Student Society of America UNO chapter has a busy start to the academic year. PRSSA helped out at "Hula Hoop  and a Can of Soup" event Sept. 9 in Elmwood Park.  Seniors Alicia Kettleson, Jen Lane and other PRSSA volunteers worked at the unique food drive. Hula hoopers twirled their hoops while DJs spun tunes and Food Bank volunteers collected cans of soup and other nonperishable food.


September is Hunger Action Month, and the School of Communication is collecting items for the Food Bank.

Meanwhile, Maverick Solutions and the Voices Against Violence Task Force doled out 200 hot dogs and 20 pies at the Back-to-School BBQ at Maverick Village Sept.  10.  Students also watched an outdoor viewing of "The Waitress," a 2007 film about a young waitress who longs to escape her abusive husband by winning a pie-baking contest.  The task force has a goal of changing the culture of intimate partner violence acceptance.

In other news, the location of the sixth annual "La Notte Italiana (Italian Night) fund raiser dinner Oct. 4 has been changed to The Red Eye West, at 17520 Wright St., just south of West Center Road. The Red Eye is a new establishment owned by Wayne and Amy Gilroy Knight. She is a 2001 speech graduate and former UNO PRSSA president.

Looking in
Images from school

UNO Forensics held a fundraiser bake sale.  The group raised money for upcoming travel expenses.

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School of Communication faculty have a focus on student advising, as the College of Communication, Fine Arts and Media continues to grow.

Around town
Omaha happenings

Omaha's new pedestrian bridge

End of another baseball season

 Autumn in Nebraska: Sunset on the river birch

Dates and times
Upcoming events


4 - Italian Night, The Red Eye West, at 17520 Wright St, 6 p.m. 

10 - UNO Homecoming Tailgate Party, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

12-15 - National Communication Association, Chicago


9 - Holiday party, Arts and Sciences 140, 11:30 a.m.

23 - Alumni Night on the Ice, Qwest Center, 5:30 p.m.

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