UNO Points of Pride 2021-2022

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2021 2022

The accomplishments outlined in this book are just a snapshot of the incredible people, events, and opportunities taking place at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. 5 6 8 11 15 16 21 22 23


RETHINKING HIGHER EDUCATION E xploratory Studies was created to improve retention and graduation rates of “undecided” students. The new program includes a learning community; professional advisement; faculty and peer mentorship; and an immediate, temporary academic home and identity to support undecided (renamed “Exploratory”) students entering UNO. The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) developed and launched a novel Quantitative Reasoning (QR) program to innovate and transform the teaching of algebra, pre-calculus, and general education mathematics courses to improve student success. T he College of Public Affairs and Community Service (CPACS) meets the needs of today’s professionals with an extensive set of workforce development programs. New degree programs in areas such as Collaborative Leadership and Victimology keep students on the forefront of career opportunities. We put students first and involve them in applied research, community service, and service learning.

40 The number of online degree programs grew from 23 to 63



For the College of Communication, Fine Arts and Media (CFAM), being back on campus allows our artists, innovators, and creators to not only accomplish their work more easily, but to collaborate with others. Recitals, plays, concerts, competitions, and daily classes in the sculpture studio or printmaking lab have bolstered creativity, rejuvenating our drive to forge new paths and shape the future.

Strategic faculty hires in general education curricula enhanced student success rates.

Reduction in general education course withdrawal rates

Reduction of non-passing grades in STEM-related programs


33% 5

MOVING TOWARD THE FUTURE New Leadership Rich Klein, Ph.D., has joined UNO as vice chancellor for the Division of Strategic Institution and Student Success (SISS), a new campus unit distinct from the Division of Student Affairs, dedicated to leveraging data and analytics to support student recruitment, retention, completion, and job placement. The new division is an innovative restructuring that aligns institutional data, student performance metrics, and thoughtful financial strategy to foster student success and performance. The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) will soon launch the search for its next dean to lead the college into its next era. David Boocker, Ph.D., will conclude 14 years of leadership for UNO’s oldest and largest academic college at the end of the Spring 2022 semester.

Capital construction projects completed under Facilities Management and Planning included the Arts and Sciences Hall renovation, the new addition to Mammel Hall, and the new baseball/softball complex now proudly known as Maverick Park. Planning continues for the $35 million renovation of the Durham Science Center, scheduled to begin in the spring of 2022, which will be funded through a combination of both public funds and private donations.

Juan Casas, Ph.D., associate dean for Graduate Studies, was named acting dean for Graduate Studies. Deborah Smith-Howell, Ph.D., who previously served as dean of the Office of Graduate Studies, was named to a new position in the Chancellor’s Office as senior ddvisor to the Chancellor following six months serving as Chancellor Li’s interim chief of staff. Steve Kerrigan, J.D., was hired as assistant vice chancellor for Human Resources to lead a renewed and revitalized human resources function solely dedicated to supporting the faculty and staff on the UNO campus. Martha Garcia-Murillo, Ph.D., was named dean of the College of Information Science & Technology (IS&T) in 2021; becoming the first woman and first woman of color to oversee the college. drian Dowell, M.B.A., M.S.S.M., was named UNO’s next vice chancellor A of Athletics in 2021. He understands that athletics are a vital part of campus life, and he brings a proven record of leadership and success to our university.



The College of Business Administration’s new Rod Rhoden Business Innovation Center is open and serving students and the Omaha community. This 44,000-square-foot addition to Mammel Hall houses the School of Accounting; the National Counterterrorism, Innovation, Technology, and Education (NCITE) Center of Excellence; CBA Scholars Academy; and Entrepreneurship Lab. It acts as a central hub for applied learning, community engagement, and cutting-edge research.


Name Changes s UNO evolves to meet the needs of our state under new leadership, A we are evolving with it. In February 2022, University Communications (UComm) changed its name to the Office of Strategic Marketing and Communication (MarComm) to reflect our institution’s need to tell our story strategically to a broader audience.

The Office of Strategic Marketing and Communication (MarComm) embraces that idea every day as they work with campus partners to drive UNO’s overall perception, support recruitment, promote engagement, and strengthen retention.

Although the name has changed, MarComm’s core values remain the same—a commitment to offering premier service, inspiring passion for our university mission, fiercely protecting and strengthening the UNO brand, challenging complacency, and to constant innovation.

Since July 1, 2021, UNO’s inspirational story has been a catalyst for economic growth and improvements to our community’s quality of life.

F ollowing a recent name change and building expansion reflecting tremendous growth and innovation, the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences (CEHHS) continues to influence the fields of human movement and performance, health, education, and STEM.

Operational Improvements The UNO Libraries successfully switched Library Management Systems (LMS), along with the other University of Nebraska universities, making it easier and more user-friendly to navigate our catalog. Several campus-wide reporting improvements were coordinated, led by the Budget Office, where highly manual, paper-driven processes were streamlined and automated to create greater efficiencies on both the front and back end. newly launched student migration dashboard was a key A addition in supporting Exploratory Students and equipping colleges with better data to support them once they have changed programs. cademic Affairs instituted a ladder rank system for academic A advisors across campus. The Office of Graduate Studies continues to evolve its team structure to ensure a high level of service to all UNO’s programs, faculty, staff, and students by hiring a newly developed full-time marketing coordinator; appointing a second associate dean position; and seeking to fill an enrollment specialist position. As the UNO Office of Graduate Studies builds out its team, the unit continues to reimagine the graduate admission experience with a newly designed and optimized admission packet and website presence.






Amount of times UNO faculty articles were read in The Conversation

people sent to the application webpage from the digital campaign



People served through more than 28 events

More website page views than the previous six months



Access the Experts segments published, elevating faculty expertise

Request for Information forms received from the digital campaign



Total LiveChats. 80% fielded by MavIGATORS and 12% by housing

New followers added across social media platforms.


RESEARCH & GRANTS F unding from the Department of Defense, NASA, and the National Science Foundation is helping us explore critical areas such as recyclable and antimicrobial materials for 3D manufacturing on the International Space Station; improved walking outcomes for veterans and service members with limb loss; and course development that strengthens workforce skills like data literacy and collaboration. T he university hired a cluster of five faculty related to the National Counterterrorism Innovation, Technology, and Education (NCITE) Center in collaboration with the College of Public Affairs and Community Service, the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business Administration, and the College of Information Science & Technology. This group has already positively impacted our grant portfolio. T he College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences faculty continue to expand research through innovative grants and partnerships, including the Biomechanics Research Building welcoming their first on-site clinical partner and tenant, Innovative Prosthetics and Orthotics.


Sponsored research exceeded our all-time high for a fiscal year already in the first 6 months of 2021-22



The UNO Pitching Lab, a collaboration between the Athletic Training program and Biomechanics, is helping athletes improve performance and reduce injury through individualized biomechanical analysis. T he College of Information Science & Technology’s (IS&T) established the Center for Biomedical Research and Innovation (CBIRI), co-directed by Ann Fruhling, Ph.D., in collaboration with the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC). S ince July 2021, IS&T faculty have submitted more than 100 grant proposals which generated close to $8 million in grants and contracts to conduct transformative research.



Employee of the Month award recipients are recognized for their exceptional job performance, interpersonal skills, expertise, and adaptability. 2021 Employee of the Month

Student Achievement

July 2021: Grant Hilgenkamp

MavRadio senior Avarie Howard became the first female sports play-by-play announcer to receive a first place Eric Sevareid Award at the Midwest Journalism Conference.

August 2021: Joni Fichtl September 2021: Chloe Smith October 2021: Shakeil Channel November 2021: Allison Johnson

ollege of Communication, Fine Arts and C Media (CFAM) senior Diana Muñoz was selected as a Most Promising Multicultural Student by the American Advertising Federation and was invited to the national event in New York City. T hrough all their work, Student Government’s members have remained dedicated to academic excellence, completing last semester with a cumulative GPA of 3.5.

Staff Achievements

December 2021: Melinda Hunke

The Kudos Award recognizes the accomplishments of outstanding employees from across the four University of Nebraska campuses. Winners are presented at a Board of Regents meeting. 2021 Kudos Award Winners June 2021: Sarah Weil August 2021: Nik Stevenson October 2021: Sammi Kaiser December 2021: Hanna Wanzenried Solberg

Faculty Achievement ealth & Kinesiology students have been H integral parts of the campus COVID response, providing testing and contact tracing support for the UNO Office of Health Security.

Alumni Achievement Travis Deyle, 2005 alumnus and cofounder and CEO of Cobalt Robotics, received UNO’s Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award. He was designated in the MIT Tech Review among the “Top innovators under 35” and among the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s “40 under 40.”

e awarded the first cohort of 25 W Distinguished Professors and Senior Lecturers, which are new titles that were implemented to recognize significant faculty leaders. T eacher Education Department (TED) alumnus Lee Perez (pictured right) was awarded Nebraska Teacher of the Year by the Nebraska Department of Education, an honor that follows TED’s 2020 University-wide Departmental Teaching Award, one of the NU System’s most prestigious recognitions.

UNO WON 4 OF THE NU SYSTEM-WIDE AWARDS, INCLUDING A SWEEP OF FACULTY AWARDS: President’s University-wide Departmental Teaching Award: Management Outstanding Research and Creative Activity Award: Nick Stergiou, Ph.D. Innovation, Development and Engagement Award (IDEA): Christine Cutucache, Ph.D. Outstanding Teaching and Instructional Creativity Award (OTICA): Ramazan Kılınç, Ph.D.




NATIONAL RECOGNITION Online programs received national recognition, including notable jumps in rankings from U.S. News & World Report, by jumping up 24 spots to being ranked 29th in the nation.

TOP 10

The College of Public Affairs and Community Service (CPACS) is nationally renowned for its top ten ranking by U.S. News and World Report for its Criminal Justice and Criminology Online Program.

93% Graduation Success Rate (GSR) which was tied for third in the Summit League with the second highest score

7 Maverick teams had a perfect 100% GSR: men’s basketball, men’s golf, hockey, men’s tennis, women’s basketball, women’s tennis and volleyball


Athletic Achievements ompetitively, the Omaha Maverick Volleyball team made history C this fall with its first 20-win season. The Mavericks won their first conference championship at the Division I level by finishing 16-2 in conference play (20-10 overall). Senior Sadie Limback (pictured above) was named a Second Team Academic All-American by the College Sports Information Directors of America. Limback is the first Maverick volleyball player in the Division I era to be named to any Academic All-America team. The Omaha Hockey team matched its single-season program record with 10 non-conference wins. The Mavericks finished nonconference play at 10-2, equal to the mark set by the 2015-16 team. The Omaha Men’s Swimming & Diving team is currently competing in their first season as Mavericks’ newest Division I team. Omaha Athletics has the only men’s Division I swimming and diving program in the state of Nebraska.


UNO rose to being ranked 18th in the nation for Best Online Programs for Veterans by U.S. News & World Report, a ranking which specifically considers affordability and accessibility of online programs for veterans.

The College of Business Administration’s online bachelor’s programs in Business received its first-ever U.S. News & World Report ranking, immediately jumping up the charts to 40th in the country.

The College of Information Science & Technology’s (IS&T) bachelor’s program in Computer Science climbed 56 spots (now ranked 154th) in the U.S. News & World Report Best Computer Science Undergraduate Program rankings.

TOP 25


Nationally-ranked best four year public institution for Millitary Friendliness by Military Times

In 2021, CPACS won two national first-place awards from the Voinovich Public Innovation Challenge and the Adult Learner Impact Award. Many faculty are also national award winners.


CAMPUS SUPPORT Support for Students A new, in-person Career Studio in the Milo Bail Student Center enables any student to drop-in for career exploration, resume/cover letter development, a professional head shot, or general career advice. lumni programs include the new UNO Grads A Give campaign, through which graduating students give back to support other students. early 500 young alumni, have participated in N the award-winning Young Alumni Academy, a networking and professional development group that expands with a new cohort each year. Student Government is working on a variety of projects with the goal of innovating new ways to serve our student population in the most empowering way. Projects include the discontinuance of third-party proctoring platforms and developing a first-generation student agency. T he UNO Office of Graduate Studies supported the institution’s return to traditional operations in Fall 2021 while still allowing for successful virtual and digital operations to serve students, faculty, and programs both online and on campus.

97 16

Students have been paired with alumni and industry mentors through the newly launched Maverick Mentoring program.


Support for Staff T he Staff Advisory Council (SAC) works to support and celebrate hard-working staff members and engages with the community. In November, SAC hosted a lunch serving 475 staff members, including those working overnight who were able to take part in an evening meal option. T hanks to a collaboration between SAC and the Office of Academic Affairs, additional programming including access to the GallupStrengths Finder personal development tool and a staff administrative fellowship program are in the works.

According to Forbes, UNO is ranked second among mid-size employers in Nebraska and in the top 25% of mid-size employers nationwide at 101st out of 500.

NO’s Staff Advisory Council worked on U multiple topics that impact both staff, such launching a summer flexible work schedule pilot program. I n the spirit of shared governance, SAC continues to partner with UNO Administration on a variety of projects and ideas – advancing its collective effort of UNO being the best place to learn, work, and grow. This has led to the adoption of new initiatives, including the ‘Stay Conversations.’

Support for Faculty NO Libraries’ Open Access resources U have become popular among the faculty and staff. To help promote Open Access resources, UNO Libraries this past year signed publication agreements with certain journals to allow UNO authors to publish their work for little to no cost.

T he Faculty Senate organizes service opportunities every year for faculty to serve on approximately 35 committees throughout the university, plus ad hoc committees as needed, such as a committee formed to find ways to better support adjunct faculty.

Addressing Mental Health ounseling and Psychological Services C (CAPS) experienced a 71% increase in counseling sessions in Fall 2021 compared to Fall 2019 (pre-pandemic). It now offers a hybrid telehealth plus in-person counseling model, which creates greater access for students who prefer one modality over the other. This fluid model has also provided flexibility for students facing circumstances that could impact their attendance.

T hrough efforts and strategic planning associated with ZeroSuicide, CAPS implemented an intervention program identifying high risk students upon counseling intake. These students and the intake counselor engage in a plan for safety and outreach if the student does not show up for future appointments. This is a best practice for intervening with high-risk suicidal mental health clients.

T he new Gatekeeper Suicide Prevention Program is designed to help the UNO community prevent suicide by teaching faculty, staff, and students how to recognize signs and how to intervene in a crisis.

e-Stress Fest at the library was a huge D success during Finals Week. This included 200 take-and-make craft kits, a daily dinosaur scavenger hunt with prize bags for each winner, and 120 coloring activity kits.

new “embedded therapist” model was A successfully created in Multicultural Affairs, the Thompson Learning Community, and on Scott Campus to better meet the needs of students where they are.

The most ‘pup-ular’ event of De-Stress Fest was a visit from two therapy dogs with almost 230 students stopping by to pet the pups.


Diversity & Inclusion UNO Academic Affairs hired 90 full time faculty in 2021

60% Women


People of color

I n a commitment to culture, diversity, and inclusion, the forthcoming Samuel Bak Museum and Academic Learning Center aims to call attention to the injustices and inequalities in our society and explore profound questions about human nature through the art of Holocaust survivor Samuel Bak. It will serve as a campus collaboration hub for scholarship, community engagement, and educational activities dedicated to human rights, genocide studies, the Holocaust, and artistic work. NO’s Faculty Senate collaborated with UNO’s Staff U Advisory Council and Student Government to create common language around UNO’s Hate and Bias Policy and reporting procedures for possible inclusion in course syllabi or on Canvas. S tudent Government (SG-UNO) has been hard at work living out the Maverick values, taking a deliberative approach to ensuring that inclusivity be a priority on our campus through allocating additional funding to our student agencies and by collaborating with the other NU student governments to pass a resolution that conveyed that our campus should be a place for everyone.


A.T. MILLER NAMED UNO CHIEF DIVERSITY OFFICER As Chief Diversity Officer, Miller will serve on UNO’s leadership team, overseeing a university-wide effort to evaluate existing programs, policies, and practices to identify opportunities for collaboration and coordination. “Diversity does not have a singular definition and each one of us has a wealth of intersectionalities that make us who we are,” Li said. “UNO’s mission of providing access and support to all begins with ensuring we are welcoming to all students, faculty, staff, and guests. Dr. Miller is a dedicated public servant with tremendous experience in the classroom, in the community, and in working with government leaders to develop and implement programs that can enhance and grow our role as Nebraska’s urban university.” Miller is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards as well as the author of nearly 20 different peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters; they have presented their research across dozens of universities and conferences; and they are and have been a member of a number of professional associations including the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity; Social Science History Association; the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network; National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education, and American Studies Association. They are a musician and poet and shared several examples of their original poetry with the UNO community during the search process.


COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT ommunity Engagement Center partners reported more than 30 collaborative projects C with a full range of campus partners. These projects included service learning; faculty research and evaluation; student internships and community service; tree planting in Elmwood Park; and more. F rom being involved in the community through mentoring Nathan Hale Middle Schoolers to participating in community gardening to developing a legislative affairs committee focused on developments at the Unicameral, Student Government has been intentional in emphasizing the importance of community engagement. hile supporting a virtual and physical space for collaboration, the Community Engagement Center W hosted its 3rd Annual Curious People lecture series with 22 events total. Over the past three years, the series engaged more than 620 attendees from the Omaha community and beyond. T he College of Business Administration (CBA) introduced the new Prep Academy program, providing K-12 students who aspire to a future in business with free academic camps tailored to their success in college and the workplace. Camps kick off in Summer 2022 and cover digital marketing, social media communications, supply chain management, and entrepreneurship in connection with Omaha-area industry leaders.


Clothing items were donated in 2021 Off-campus, Staff Advisory Council embraces the university’s metropolitan mission by supporting the community through seasonal clothing drives.


Connecting with Alumni The UNO Alumni Association is one of Omaha’s longest-running nonprofit organizations, formed in 1913 by the first class of UNO graduates. Through an array of programs, events and communications, the Association serves university students, faculty and staff, and an alumni network composed of more than 118,000 living graduates — 65,000 of whom live in the greater Omaha metro area. T housands of graduates also have remained connected to UNO and to each other through the Golden Circle, a social series founded in 1984 for alumni of 50 years ago or longer. ll alumni also remain connected to UNO through the association’s UNO Magazine and a A comprehensive digital communications suite including the UNO Alumni app, email, websites, and an array of social media platforms. lumni initiatives promote career and workforce development, continued education, attendance at A Maverick athletics competitions and family events. A robust service component mobilizes the efforts of hundreds of graduate volunteers who each year serve UNO and their communities.



ANNIVERSARIES The College of Public Affairs and Community Service (CPACS) celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Since 1972, CPACS has been at the forefront of solving community problems, advising policymakers, and empowering professionals to lead society.

fter a record enrollment in Fall 2020, enrollment in Fall 2021 came in strong, A although slightly smaller in size. UNO defied some of the national enrollment trends during COVID. T he UNO Office of Graduate Studies celebrated a successful Fall 2021 semester with overall record graduate enrollment of 3,131 students (an increase of 0.2% from Fall 2020). That record enrollment includes 593 graduate students who identify as a minority (an increase of 6.7% from Fall 2020). ew first-time/first-year undergraduate students increased among African N American students, international students, and students enrolled in the College of Business Administration and College of Information Science & Technology. The new first-time/first-year student group is the second-largest class recorded. S tudent enrollment in the College of Business Administration experienced continuous and significant growth in 2021, witnessing a 6% increase in undergraduate enrollment and a 49% increase in graduate enrollment compared to pre-pandemic numbers.

KVNO Classical 90.7 FM announced its 50th Anniversary: A year-long celebration, recognizing its history and importance to both classical music and to the Omaha community, is underway and will continue through 2022.

uring the 2020-21 academic year, service learning courses saw recordD breaking enrollment, including approximately 4,000 students in 249 courses (64% online) and collaboration from 153 community partners. Twelve Faculty Fellows—one from each of the academic colleges and one for each of the university’s Big Ideas—helped to facilitate the growth of engaged teaching, research, and scholarship in collaboration with the Service Learning Academy.

EXPANDED OPPORTUNITIES FOR WORKING PROFESSIONALS UNO expanded opportunities for working professionals to pursue UNO coursework and advance their careers through the new Career Currency partnership with leading Omaha-area companies. • Union Pacific • Werner Enterprises • Mutual of Omaha • Physicians Mutual

• Omaha Public Power District • First National Bank of Omaha • Metropolitan Community College • Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Nebraska


pril 2022 marks the 8th year for UNO’s Barbara A Weitz Community Engagement Center (CEC). Partnerships result in shared benefits for community organizations, as well as teaching, research, and learning for UNO students, faculty, and staff.

Career Currency partnerships grew to


Businesses and organization


Enrolled students

On the cusp of celebrating its 50th anniversary, the UNO Faculty Senate maintains active working relationships with the Staff Advisory Council (SAC) and Student Government (SGUNO). It also provides critical input about university policies, procedures, and programs on behalf of all faculty members to the UNO Administration and the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska.


The University of Nebraska does not discriminate based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, and/or political affiliation in its programs, activities, or employment. Facts and figures presented in this book are based off of statistics obtained from the 2019-20 academic year. 0159BKCHAN1020