The Nebraska Now program, formerly known as Advanced Scholars, began in 2005 with the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR) offering selected college-level coursework, research and other forms of experiential learning opportunities for high school students through the Nebraska Academy.
Students taking Nebraska Now courses offered by CASNR automatically become participants in the Nebraska Academy (these courses have the following CASNR course prefixes: AGRI, AGRO, ASCI, ENTO, FDST, HORT, and NRES).
Research indicates that many students have a good deal of their high school graduation requirements satisfied by the time they reach their senior year. Additionally, many are prepared to experience the academic demands, but perhaps not ready for both the academic and social demands, of college. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources wishes to provide opportunities by:
- offering introductory science-based college credit bearing courses via distance;
- hosting on-campus, credit bearing science-based workshops;
- increasing the number of high school students conducting supervised research projects with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln faculty;
- and featuring student research projects during on-campus undergraduate research fairs.
The development of the Nebraska Academy comes at a time when several major state entities have placed a high priority on successful student transition between high school and college. One entity, the Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Post-Secondary Education, calls for higher education to “collaborate with K/12 districts and schools to assure statewide access to advanced placement and college-level courses for academically prepared students to facilitate a successful transition to postsecondary education course work” (Comprehensive Plan for Statewide Education, 11/28/00). Another, the Nebraska State Board of Education, is encouraging building “partnerships with others outside the school system, i.e. business, industry, post-secondary education, other schools, parents” (Norfolk, NE Forum, 4/5/04).
High ability junior and senior high school students that meet the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's entrance requirements (ACT of 20 or better or in the top half of their high school classes, see UNL bulletin for additional details) and that are interested in pursuing a post-secondary degree should be encouraged to participate in the Nebraska Academy. Further, it is recommended that students considering participating in the Nebraska Academy have at least a grade of ‘B’ or better in high school biology.
Participation in college-level coursework, workshops, and research projects associated with the Nebraska Academy will provide an enhancement of high school learning. Additionally, students will be able to experience the academic demands (rigor) of college while still high school students, as well as practice their time management skills as they learn to balance multiple academic demands. Some of the courses feature inquiry-based activities, which include insect pet exercises and web-based assignments, engage students, and promote problem solving and critical thinking skills, and many courses offered in the Nebraska Academy satisfy University science and technology requirements.
Staff from the Nebraska College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources will collaborate with local school administrators, teachers, and University of Nebraska-Lincoln alumni to identify donors for Nebraska Academy scholarships. The local scholarships will defray some, but not all, of the cost of tuition and fees for the courses, workshop and research fairs.
For more information contact the CASNR Dean's Office at (402) 472-2201.