Reaching the Summit
OLLAS celebrates a decade
Walking the Walk
UNO administration becoming increasingly diverse
In Case of Emergency
“Color Blind,” Award-winning
Among UNO’s diverse deans is Gail F. Baker, who heads the College of Communication, Fine Arts and Media.
And her take on color is award-winning.
In November, Baker received a third Emmy Award, this time for producing the feature-length documentary, “Colorblind: ReThinking Race.” She received her award at the Chicago/Midwest regional Emmy Awards.
“The best thing about winning this award is the message it sends to our students,” Baker says. “I started as a journalist and what I learned about listening, storytelling and making deadlines has served me well throughout my professional life. I want our students to use their UNO experience to seek new and different opportunities.”
As a college student, Baker interned at the Chicago Defender, a century-old publication serving Chicago’s African-American community. She later became a full-time employee of the newspaper. Baker later began a career in higher education. Beginning in 1995 she joined the University of Florida and held several positions there until taking her present post at UNO in 2006.
“Colorblind: ReThinking Race” examines institutional racism in health, wealth, education and the justice system. It premiered on WYCC PBS Chicago in 2012. The film can be viewed in its entirety at Vimeo.com.
Baker also has received Emmy Awards for script writing on two other documentaries: “Paper Trail: 100 Years of the Chicago Daily Defender” (2006) and “DuSable to Obama: Chicago’s Black Metropolis” (2011).
It began with a conversation between Nate and Hannah Schwalb.
Both saw a need for a place to study Israel or Jewish studies among the Jewish community. But the Schwalbs did more than just talk.
They sprang into action, founding UNO’s Natan and Hannah Schwalb Center for Israel and Jewish Studies in 2009.
“We ended up choosing both Israel and Jewish studies because the topics are so intertwined,” Schwalb says. “Furthermore, there is an insufficient knowledge of these topics, and with most centers like this one on either coast, we thought it would be unique and beneficial to have one in Omaha.”
Growth has come quickly. The center boasts popular offerings such as the Phil and Ruth Sokolof Lecture Series and monthly Middle East Forums. A minor and more community programming also are on the way.
“Our mission is centered on interdisciplinary and engaging practices with both Jewish and non-Jewish students and members of the community,” says Moshe Gershovich, professor of history
and director of the center. “What we have done already is just the beginning, and we are already working on some new ideas
A recent development is the addition of Anat Gilboa, a visiting art professor from Israel as a Schusterman Fellow. Gilboa is teaching two classes, one on Israeli visual culture on gender and discrimination and the other on Jewish and Israeli art. Students in each class reflect the interdisciplinary and community engagement aspects of the Center’s mission, coming from a variety of majors and including seniors from the community who are auditing the class.
“I am also working on an art exhibit on campus in the spring dedicated to the theme of ‘Yearning for Zion,’” Gilboa says. “We are welcoming local and Israeli artists to share their work, and then hope to have lots of visitors view it during its showcasing.”
Schwalb is particularly excited to have Gilboa aboard as a sign of the success of
“Anat is one of about 20 Schusterman Fellows,” he says. “Of all the universities with centers like ours, she ended up here at UNO, which means we have to be doing something right.”
This summer the center will offer a study abroad trip to Israel with a focus on Israeli history and archaeology. Unlike most
study abroad trips run through UNO, the trip will be open to students and community members.
“All along we’ve hoped to be able to send our students to Israel since it is truly the center of most of our study,” Gershovich says. “While they are there they can see firsthand the sites and history of both Judaism and Israel, meet and learn from Israeli scholars, and hopefully have a little fun as well.”
— Nicholas Sauma, University Communications
Program in Bloom
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