In 1969, Jody was invited to chair a session at the Missouri Valley History Conference in Omaha, where she was informally interviewed for a position at UNO. She didn’t realize that she had been interviewed until a couple of weeks later when someone from UNO’s history department called her in Baton Rouge and asked where her curriculum vitae and application papers were. Excited by the opportunity to pursue teaching medical history and other interests beyond survey courses, she sent in her materials and accepted the position when they offered it to her.
Because she had been on sabbatical when she accepted the job offer at UNO, Jody was required to teach for the fall semester at LSU. This means that she moved up to Nebraska in January of 1970 right after a snow storm. With no snow tires or a good winter coat, she wasn’t quite prepared. Never having heard of wind-chill indices, she wondered if she had made a horrible mistake. But she braved the weather, even on those long walks across campus to classes, and she came to like Omaha very much.
Jody had never been interested in family or women’s history, and in all her time at Henderson and LSU, she had never had a female history professor. The only books she had read on the history of women dealt with the movement for woman suffrage. A history department colleague and friend, Jackie St. John, feminist and founder of Omaha’s National Organization for Women chapter, developed and lobbied for a two-semester course in the history of women in America that the department and College both finally accepted. UNO was among the first colleges to offer a course in women’s history. Jody doubted there would be sufficient material for two semesters of women’s history, or perhaps even one semester, but Jackie assured her there was plenty!
The course was set to begin in the fall of 1973, but Jackie became seriously ill at