The Nebraska Academic Experience
Academic Support Program
Nebraska student-athletes lead the nation in Academic All-Americans and Top Ten Award winners
Part of this success is attributed to the comprehensive academic support program that is in place at Nebraska. Specific academic support services available to all student-athletes focuses on transition, retention and graduation. Services are administered by 14 full-time staff members and approximately 75-100 tutors. The full-time staff includes a director, two associate directors, four academic counselors, three learning specialists, two assistant academic counselors, an administrative assistant and a computer technician. The director has a direct reporting line to both the Faculty Athletics Representative and the Director of Athletics.
The Dick and Peg Herman Family Student Life Complex offers Nebraska’s student-athletes a 50,000 square foot complex that is open for use over 120 hours each week. Within the Herman Student Life Complex, six interrelated centers provide a variety of resources to student-athletes: the Hewit Academic Center; the DJ Sokol Enrichment Center; the Scott Technology Center; the Abbott Life Skills Center; the Papik Compliance Center, and the Lewis Training Table.
Nebraska’s academic support program has been certified by the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics (N4A) as meeting the standards established by the N4A and the tutorial program has been certified as a model tutoring program by the College Reading and Learning Association. In addition, the University of Nebraska Faculty Senate Intercollegiate Athletics Committee conduct an annual review of specific components of the academic support program or other academic topics current in intercollegiate athletics.
The primary responsibility of each member of the academic support staff is to monitor academic progress and maximize academic achievement as student-athletes work toward graduation. One or more members of the academic support staff is assigned to monitor each team.
Academic support staff monitor and provide assistance with NCAA initial eligibility and University of Nebraska admissions to prospective student-athletes. Academic support staff work in conjunction with university advisors to assist student-athletes with major exploration, course registration, and an understanding of university, Big Ten Conference, and NCAA academic policies.
Academic progress is monitored each semester through frequent meetings with individual student-athletes and supplemented by academic progress reports from instructors. Academic progress reports are sent electronically to the instructors of all student-athletes three times each semester. Course instructors typically comment on attendance class participation and estimated grade. This information is utilized to determine additional services and resources that may be beneficial to the student-athlete.
Academic support staff review progress toward graduation and NCAA progress-toward-degree requirements for athletic eligibility on an ongoing basis. The Assistant Registrar for Athletic Certification is consulted regularly to review the eligibility certification of student-athletes.
Finally, academic support staff refer and make student-athletes aware of numerous University of Nebraska campus resources.
All new student-athletes are required to attend an orientation at the beginning of their academic career. Student-athletes are introduced to staff, faculty, administrators and a variety of resources that will help facilitate the transition into college while enhancing awareness of support services in the Department of Athletics and across campus. The student-athlete orientation is provided in addition to other new student orientation/enrollment programs offered by the University of Nebraska.
Educational assessments are administered to student-athletes upon request from a student-athlete or recommendation from an academic support staff member, coach, sport psychologist or faculty member. Referrals are made to a consulting psychologist who conducts assessments. If it is determined that a student-athlete meets criteria for a learning disability or another medical condition that impedes the student’s ability to reach their academic potential, the student is referred to the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities where appropriate accommodations are implemented.
Academic support staff serve as mentors to all incoming student-athletes and a select group of returning student-athletes. Student-athletes in the mentoring program meet with their mentor weekly to develop time management skills, gather and report academic progress information, and discuss academic success strategies.
Student-athletes have access to both individual and group tutoring. Tutorial sessions are designed to guide the student to learn and achieve within the course content, develop study skills, promote independent learning, encourage academic success, and improve student retention. Additionally, writing consultants trained by Nebraska’s English Department are available to assist student-athletes with the writing process. Nebraska’s tutorial program is certified as a model tutoring program by the College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA). CRLA certification requires that each tutor receive extensive training which includes instruction regarding relevant NCAA rules, tutorial policies and procedures, information regarding academic ethics and honesty, and individual and program evaluations.
Academic support staff determine which student-athletes are required to attend study hall based upon test scores, class rank, grade-point average, probation status, present class schedule and past academic record in addition to consulting with coaches. Student-athletes are either required to complete a designated number of study hours or participate in an individualized study program each week.
Upon arrival to the University, new laptop computers are provided to all student-athletes for use during their academic career at Nebraska. The Herman Student Life Complex also has a number of computers and printers available for student-athlete use while working in the Dick and Peg Herman Family Student Life Complex.