132 Andersen Hall
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Charlyne Berens is passionate about the First Amendment and freedom of expression -- and about good reporting, writing and editing.
She is associate dean and teaches honors courses about freedom of expression. During her years at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, she also has taught courses in writing, reporting and editing as well as a media survey course for majors and non-majors. She was one of the faculty members who helped produce "Renovating the Republic," the depth reporting magazine about Germany that was published in 2007, and "Fabric as Narrative," a magazine about international quilting that was published in 2008.
She taught junior high English for several years, but both she and the junior high-age children of the world were better off when she switched jobs and spent 14 years as editor and co-publisher of the community newspaper in Seward, Neb. But teaching college students is another matter, and she counts herself lucky to have been able to teach full time in the University of Nebraska–Lincoln journalism college since 1995. She also is director of University of Nebraska–Lincoln's Dow Jones Newspaper Fund editing internship boot camp each spring.
In addition to teaching, she loves to write and has published two books about the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature. One, "Power to the People," specifically examines the Unicameral's historical roots in populism and progressivism. The other, "One House," looks at whether the one-house body has lived up to the promises of its founders. Her most recent book, "Chuck Hagel: Moving Forward," is a biography of Nebraska's former U.S. Senator, now U.S. Secretary of Defense. She has also published a biography of a respected long-time Nebraska state senator, the late Jerome Warner, and a number of journal articles about Nebraska history and politics.
And she blogs periodically about journalism, politics and free expression here.
At University of Nebraska–Lincoln, she served for two years as a member of the Chancellor's Speaker Bureau and has been a presenter at University of Nebraska–Lincoln Honors Colloquia and Distinguished Scholars Day for eight years.
She speaks several times a year about Nebraska's unique legislature to service groups and classes and, every other year, to incoming state senators. She also conducts workshops on usage, grammar and punctuation for a variety of groups.
She received one of the Freedom Forum Journalism Teacher of the Year awards in 2002 and was honored with University of Nebraska–Lincoln's College Award for Distinguished Teaching that same year. She was named Outstanding Educator of the Year for 2005-06 by the Association of Students of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She was named to the Nebraska Press Association Hall of Fame in 2011 and received an honorary doctorate from Concordia University Nebraska in 2012 and even got to speak at the graduation ceremony, which was great because she loves to give advice.
She and her husband live in Lincoln and have two daughters and sons-in-law and three grandchildren, all of whom live in Wisconsin.