Tags Posts tagged with "UNL"


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photo courtesy UNL Communications

Sophie Ford

University of Nebraska leadership announced today the first phase of recommendations from the Budget Response Teams. The response teams were created to address reductions in state funding for the University of Nebraska school system. The teams, made up of hundreds of employees across the NU system, have been working since January to tackle the issues created by the $49 million budget shortfall.

The announced phase I changes include consolidation of several small teams across the separate universities into one, university-wide team. Separate small cyber-security teams across the NU system will be consolidated into a single university- wide team of 25. Energy and facilities teams across campuses will also be consolidated to one team. A university-wide procurement function will also be created, which NU leadership said “will integrate our procurement resources, talent and practices to provide more effective supplier management and cost savings.” A new university-wide HR team will also be put in place. Many of these consolidations may involve job cuts.

We will be thoughtful with these changes, but some new realities will not be convenient or easy. Job reductions will impact real people, with real livelihoods, though we will capture personnel savings through attrition wherever possible. —NU Leadership

In addition to several university-wide consolidations, the NU system will also reduce mileage reimbursements for employees using personal vehicles for university travel from 53.5 cents per mile to 25 cents per mile. Next week, NU leadership will bring a proposal to the Board of Regents to contract with travel expense reimbursement system Concur.

University-wide policies will be put in place to cut copying and printing costs, by keeping jobs in-house and reducing individual printing by employees.

Future strategies nearing finalization and announcement include printing and copying; financial operations and accounting; public relations, marketing and communications; and travel.

The University of Nebraska is as important to the state’s economy and quality of life as it has ever been. So as we do the difficult work of making cuts during a period of remarkable momentum, we’ll all need to be creative in finding ways to do more with less so that we can continue to serve the state effectively. —NU Leadership

More information can be found on the Budget Response Team website.


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Photo Courtesy of Omaha Baseball

Ray Koch

They say close only counts in horseshoes and hand-grenades, but the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s baseball team ought to be proud of their performance against in-state rival University of Nebraska at Lincoln Wednesday at Werner Park.

The Mavs showed they are not what their record says they are. Its clash with Nebraska was supposed to be a one-sided affair in favor of the Big-10 Cornhuskers. Instead, fans witnessed a tense, 9-inning chess match that could have gone either way. The Mavs had the Huskers up against the ropes much of the game, but couldn’t deliver the knockout blow to finish the upset, as the Huskers defeated Omaha 3-1.

In a game with nine starters from the Omaha metro area, Evan Porter made a bold decision to start senior Shane Meltz, who was 0-3 with an 8.38 ERA. The decision showed the brilliance of the young Maverick coach as Meltz did his job, holding the Huskers to one run in three innings of work.

“Meltz sets the tone for us when he goes out there as a starter,” Porter said.

In the bottom half of the second inning with Nebraska leading 1-0, the Mavs got the first two runners on, thanks to two errors by Lincoln third baseman, Luke Roskam. With Omaha eager to jump at the changing momentum, Parker Smejkal roped a double into left field to score Ryan Cate. Nebraska was able to limit the damage by getting Sam Palensky to pop-up with the bases loaded to get out of the jam with only allowing one run.

UNO faced a bases loaded jam in the third with Lincoln’s best hitter Scott Schreiber up. Schreiber laced a line drive that drilled Meltz in the leg, but the senior was able to recover and make the throw to first to preserve the tie.

“Getting that one timely hit has been our enemy all season,” Porter said. “We just have to keep grinding and keep battling, and it will pay off.”

Following the steps of its big brother, Omaha loaded up the bases as well in the third inning. With UNO’s patience at the plate amounting to base runners, Nebraska head coach Darin Erstad was prompted to make a call to the bullpen. A new arm was all the Huskers needed to stymie the Mavs hopes of taking the lead, as Nate Fisher retired two straight batters to end the peril.

With Nebraska up against the wall, Omaha left the bases loaded in two separate innings, shifting the momentum of the game. After holding the Mavs, Nebraska scored an unearned run on a wild pitch with two outs in the sixth inning.

James Smith, who came in relief for Omaha, shut down the Huskers for three innings before surrendering the unearned run.

For much of the game, Omaha had Nebraska right where they wanted them.

“We had a great approach all game, and I felt like we had good plate discipline,” Porter said. “Just one hit away.”

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Joe Franco

The University of Nebraska at Omaha used to be referred to as the “University of No Opportunity” from those that resided in this city and attended Creighton and the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

UNO was a Division II school just a few years ago. The university was irrelevant and looked at as a joke. Those that were laughing a few years back may have their sense of humor reevaluated after Omaha was voted the Best Student Section in the country by the National Collegiate Student Section Association.

Dating back to March 14, the NCSSA began pooling in the top 16 finalists for the best student section in the country. Among those 16 student sections were Nebraska’s main university and arguably one of the best football crowds in the country, UNL. More importantly in that crowd of 16 was a school that just made its name into the Division I scene. UNO earned the right to be mentioned in the conversation that was debated across the nation.

As the voting continued, four schools emerged into the Final Four. Two of those were from the great state of Nebraska.

Lincoln and Omaha were eventually voted into the final two schools in the country for the best student section. Needless to say, the Nebraska community was being represented on a nationwide platform that displays true dedication from its fans.

The rallying began and the race to the winner was on. Anyone was able to vote, as this was public participation in search for the best student section in the country.

The votes were tallied last on April 3 and it was decided. The “Maverick Maniacs” were selected as the best student section in the country, outlasting over 1,000 other universities. UNO director of Student Involvement Bill Pickett was filled with Maverick pride once the results were tallied.

“I am completely overwhelmed with the support from the UNO community,” Pickett said. “We saw the opportunity to be recognized for our strong commitment to supporting athletics, and immediately began spreading the word. It was truly an all hands on deck, grassroots approach.”

Not only did Omaha win, but the final two schools were both from Nebraska. Having that accolade truly displays the serious nature college students take in their athletic pride. UNO Student Body President Patrick Davlin mentioned how this award put both schools on the map.

“Having worked with my fellow student body presidents across the University of Nebraska system over the last year, it is no surprise that both schools’ support were far and above the rest of the country,” Davlin said. “This isn’t just a win for UNO, it’s a win for Nebraska.”

UNO has come along ways in the past few years in terms of its athletic program. From making its first Frozen Four, to opening the Baxter Arena, to this year’s basketball team making the Summit League Championship, Omaha is on the rise to solidify its legitimacy as a serious contender nationwide.

Winning the Best Student Section of the year was pretty sweet for Omaha, but beating a school that has seemed like the cool, older brother was the icing on the cake.

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Cassie Wade

For many people, fashion is a form of self-expression, a way to show the world who they are without speaking. For University of Nebraska at Omaha student fashion designer Georgia Kennedy, fashion is also a form of art.

Kennedy, a sophomore political science major, creates her designs by using unique materials, such as plastic and metal, in place of cloth.

“I’m more into unconventional fashion, so not using fabric as the regular textile and kind of going outside the box,” Kennedy said. “Right now I’m actually making a dress that’s going to be fully draped out of chain for a girl. [It’s] more of kind of the idea of fashion as art instead of fashion as ready to wear.”

Kennedy began her college career at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln where she came up with the idea to use unique materials for her designs after taking a class on how fashion is directly linked to a person’s identity.

“That just kind of opened my eyes to what fashion can really mean for a person and how everyone should have the chance to dress and portray their personality at the same time,” Kennedy said.

In order to help other people portray their personalities through fashion, Kennedy aims to create designs that break down fashion stereotypes.

“I want to break those restrictions where people feel like you have to wear certain things in certain situations because I feel like that’s really limiting as far as expressing your personality,” Kennedy said. “That’s what I want to continue to do.”

With an ever-changing sense of style currently described as “’90s rock-grunge phase,” Kennedy also personally feels the importance of dressing for yourself rather than for others.

“If I didn’t dress a certain way, I wouldn’t feel like myself,” Kennedy said. “So I feel like its more of a natural thing that people dress how they want to portray themselves to the world.”

Though she just began working with unconventional materials in the past year, Kennedy’s passion for fashion began in childhood.

“When I was a little kid I had fashion sketch books, and it was just so much fun,” Kennedy said. “The very first thing I ever made was a bag. Super simple, but even just picking out the textile and print that I wanted, every single little detail is part of your personality … and it’s just fun.”

Since she works with unconventional materials, Kennedy is mostly self-taught.

“A lot of it is just me going through YouTube videos and Martha Stewart’s page … because working with unconventional stuff is new to me, too,” Kennedy said. “It’s kind of like whatever project I’m working on or new material I’m working with, it’s kind of like an experiment.”

Zachary Henry, who works with Kennedy at H&M and also has experience with fashion design, said Kennedy’s designs “are very forward,” especially for Omaha.

“Since the Midwest experiences the trickle-down effect in the fashion industry, we are generally the last to be updated on trends,” Henry said. “To see Georgia thinking outside the box with her designs … is really cool and not something you see often here.”

Kennedy is currently working to get her name out into the fashion world. She’s building a portfolio and hopes to participate in Omaha Fashion Week.

“You never know in the fashion industry because it’s not stable,” Kennedy said. “The goal is to have my own label one day, but we’ll just have to see how it works out.”

Ultimately, designing helps Kennedy to express her personal passions.

“I’m very passionate about women’s rights. Creating fashion for women and having them connect to it is a big part of what I want to do,” Kennedy said. “It’s so cool that something I create someone chooses that to wear to reflect their own personality, so I’m directly connecting with that person.”

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Joe Franco

What seemed like an average Wednesday night for Nebraska football fans actually turned into a monumental phone call. Nebraska head coach Mike Riley dialed up his friend of 20 years and told him he no longer had a job at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

Riley made the decision to not renew his life-long assistant and buddy, Mark Banker’s contract as Nebraska’s defensive coordinator on Jan. 11. This unexpected and sudden news came as a surprise to the rest of the staff, players and fans.

Who would replace Banker after two years in Lincoln? A man named Bob Diaco.

When fans first heard the news of the recent hire of new defensive coordinator Diaco, they asked the same question when they heard Mike Riley would be the new head coach two years ago. “Is this really the best guy we can get?”

The former UConn head coach has a long list of experience on his résumé, despite being just 43-years-old. Since his first job as a graduate assistant at his alma matter in Iowa in 1996, Diaco has been a defensive specialist for more than 20 years.

Diaco’s claim to fame was during his three years as Notre Dame’s defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. In 2013, Diaco coached NFL linebacker Manti Te’o and led his defense to the national championship game against Alabama.

After Diaco’s success at Notre Dame, the New Jersey native took a job as the head coach at the University of Connecticut in 2014. Unfortunately for the young coach, the brief three-year stay was underachieved, and he finished with an overall record of 11-26. Diaco was released from the University this year after finishing 3-6 on the year. Nebraska quickly swooped in and made the move to hire him as defensive coordinator. Was this a plan in the making?

It appears that Riley had a plot brewing for quite some time after this season. Nebraska logged four losses on the year, but it was the way they lost that had most fans upset. Something had to change in Lincoln, and according to the Omaha World-Herald, Banker knew it.

“It’s easy—62 points against Ohio State, 40 points against Iowa and 38 in the bowl game,” Banker said. “Big plays. All those things. That’s what people don’t like.”

Since being relieved of his head coaching duties, Diaco can now return to his specialty, and can ooze all of his focus on the 11 Black-shirts. He’s been successful once, who’s to say he can’t do it again?

After frantic Google searches of Diaco, Nebraska fans realize that this guy could be the change the Huskers needed to become a playoff contender each year. He could be the small addition to finally clinch those late-game, close fourth quarter battles the Huskers have been prone to losing the last few years.

Bob Elliott, a former colleague of Diaco, voiced his opinion on the young defensive specialist.

“I think that this is a great opportunity,” Elliott said. “I think Nebraska is getting maybe the best defensive coordinator in the country, in my opinion anyway, and I think Bob is going to a place that’s just ripe for success in the Big Ten West.”

Diaco mentioned his appreciation of the history Nebraska has to offer in it’s football program. In his first interview as a Nebraska coach on Sports Nightly, Diaco noted that Riley and the tradition were the two big reasons why he took the job in Lincoln.

“If you love college football and you live in the continental United States, then you know Nebraska football,” Diaco said. “And if you’re a defensive coach or player, you know the Blackshirt defense.”

So, who is Bob Diaco? Only time will tell for Husker fans, but the clock in Lincoln always seems to tick faster than usual.

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Joe Birge

A vast sea of people at the zoo during the day followed by an intimate meeting with students in the evening is a daily experience for Elizabeth Mulkerrin.

As the director of education at the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium and an adjunct instructor at UNO, Mulkerrin flirts with her two great loves in life, education and natural sciences.

She found her love for these topics while studying biology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. After several semesters of “chasing fish,” she finished with a master of science degree in educational administration. She started teaching biology at Burke High School in 1994, and taught full-time for six years. It wasn’t until she heard the unexpected calling of the Henry Doorly Zoo, when she combined her two great passions.

“The Henry Doorly Zoo and Burke made a partnership to start a ‘high school,’” said Mulkerrin, “The zoo interviewed teachers and they basically said that if they have the program, it’s going to be with Elizabeth. I was asked by the director if I would come over to the dark side of education, which is what he called Informal Science Education.”

In 2000, Mulkerrin broke her contract with Burke to start the education program at the zoo. Students enrolled in Informal Science Education classes at the zoo have the opportunity to get out of the classroom and get their hands dirty. Since becoming the its director of education, Mulkerrin hasn’t been a full-time teacher. Instead, she has satisfied her desire to directly teach students by serving as an adjunct instructor sporadically throughout the years.

“Being an adjunct gives me my student fix, since I don’t teach full-time anymore,” Mulkerrin said with a sparkle in her eye, “When I teach in the evenings, I still get to be with students. They are like really big kids.”

Currently, Mulkerrin teaches one class. This fall is her second semester teaching Trends and Strategies in Science Education, which is a master’s course in the education program. She uses the class to help students understand and analyze trends in education throughout the United States.

Mulkerrin describes her class curriculum as: “Keeping up with what’s new and what’s different with teachers’ ideas about teaching in the classroom. We also go over how to use resources in our communities, so we go on field trips to different corporations to show how they can integrate it.”

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COURTESY OF www.philosophy.rutgers.edu
COURTESY OF www.philosophy.rutgers.edu

By Matthew C. Stelly

I originally wrote the guts of this article and made the presentation in October of 2000, and presented it at the “People of Color in Predominantly White Institutions Conference” that was sponsored by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

That fact in itself – that UNL would sponsors such a conference despite its negligible numbers of black students on campus — is akin to having the local White Citizens’ Council sponsor a workshop on the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

It is the height of hypocrisy for this country’s institutions of higher education to pay lip service to “diversity” and more recently, “inclusion,” when its history, political intentions, strategies and tactics are all aimed at dictatorially and unilaterally keeping Blacks at the bottom of the system. What I postulated and proposed 15 years ago remains accurate this very day.

The logical question to ask is: can a system that has made tens of octillions of dollars discriminating, excluding and legally segregating a people overturn itself in the name of becoming more “diverse”? Or is it more likely that the gradual “browning” of the country – demographic transition – is going to cause a new program, plot or tactic to be implemented, where there is the appearance of diversity when, in reality, campuses and other societal institutions remain as white-dominated and discriminatory as ever.

For every program that talks about engagement, inclusion or diversity there is a grant program somewhere. And as has been said, federal grants are the majority population’s government cheese.

To begin with, majority group members cannot and should not lead or run programs that are truly committed to “diversity.” How could they? Their version of diver-sity is akin to their commitment to being “color blind,” and we know that such a term is an insult to peo-ple of color. If you’re “blind” to a person’s color, then the only way you can treat that person is as if he or she is another white person – tanned and ethnically different perhaps, but another white person nonetheless.

The white version of “diversity” is what they call inclusion. What arrogance! Who is going to de-termine who is “included”? Furthermore, “included to be among whom”? Included to do what?

Their version of inclusion is akin to the military’s version of it: include people of color to fight in the war and once they’re in, send them to take the point or bring up the rear. Control them through the use of“total institutions where their clothes, the time they go to bed or take a piss, and eat are all controlled by the people doing the “including.”

In other words what I call forced one-way integration. To be “included” is viewed as an honor while those who are not included are deemed somehow unfit.

It is for these reasons that I call this particular mind set and strategy the “qualified intentions” approach. The intentions are not sincere or bereft of considerations for quotas, control systems and monitoring. Were it not for the Federal govern-ment’s fear of black reprisals, few of these campuses would have any black students on them at all. The intentions are “qualified” because they have pre-determined parameters and boundaries.

There were no boundaries on the slave system that got our ancestors over here. There are no parameters on the percent-ages of Blacks and Latinos locked up in penitentiaries around the country. And there sure aren’t any boundaries on who gets shot in the back, killed while handcuffed or pulled over because they “looked suspicious.”

True diversity cannot be designed or formulated as these major colleges boast about and claim to be doing. Selective admissions, ma-triculation agreements and for-mulas are the new order of the day. True diversity cannot be implemented by those who do not understand diversity or those who have never seen it in operation, or think diversity is a matter of the tanned versus the untanned.

True diversity is not just a matter of numbers, but a matter of quality. As the late, great Albert Camus once wrote, “The evil that is in the world always consists of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding.”

COURTESY  OF theleadershipsource.com
COURTESY OF theleadershipsource.com

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By Joe Willard

According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, every day 42,500 people are compelled to leave their friends and family behind due to religious persecution and genocide. Fifty-one percent of those refugees are children younger than 18 years old.

The U.S. State Department reported that next year it will admit 85,000 refugees, including approximately 10,000 Syrians.

Rula Jabbour is Syrian. She is also a doctoral candidate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, majoring in International Relations with a focus on Middle Eastern studies. Her mother and father are refugees.

In July of 2012, Jabbour’s father received a phone call.

“They will come to your home tonight and kill you,” the caller said. “’They’” was ISIS (Daesh). Jabbour and her family are Catholics. Because they were unwilling to convert, Daesh was determined to execute her father. They still are. Today, her father feels guilt for leaving his family behind, but if he returns home he will almost surely be killed.”

Jabbour was one of five people to speak on a UNO panel last week at the CPACS Collaborating Commons. Refugees are Us: Faces of the Global Crisis in Nebraska, was an interactive discussion about the global refugee crisis. The roundtable discussion was the first of many, part of the Frances and Sam Fried Holocaust and Genocide Initiative.

According to Lana Obradovic, assistant professor of political science at UNO, the event was set up two months ago.

“It was planned to show that people are already here… so that people will hear refugees’ stories,” Obradovic said.

Obradovic, herself, is a refugee from Bosnia. She was also a member of the panel.

According to Jabbour and Obradovic, another focus of the forum was to talk about what Nebraskans can do to help refugees. The one thing refugees need the most is people who care about them.

“We needed friendships,” Obradovic said.

Jabbour said people are able to sponsor refugee families. They can also teach refugees English, or even explain things as simple as how to shop or to get health insurance.

While the purpose was to showcase refugees and their needs, comments earlier that day by Gov. Pete Ricketts cast a shadow over the event. As of last Wednesday, there were 31 governors opposing the resettlement of Syrian refugees in their states.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, states do not have the power to reject refugees for three reasons. First, as recently as the Refugee Act of 1980, it’s been made clear that the federal government has “ultimate authority to handle refugees protected within our borders.” Second, for more than 100 years, the Supreme Court has maintained that once people are admitted into the United States, they can live wherever they want to. Third, under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, states are not able to discriminate based on race, religion, or national origin.

“I think the governor should apologize for his statement,” Jabbour said. “You cannot generalize terrorism or ISIS to a whole population.”

To sponsor a refugee family or volunteer assisting refugees in Omaha, contact Lacey Studnicka at Lutheran Family Services Nebraska. Information: 402-536-3500 or lstudnicka@lfsneb.org