Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Date of this Version



Published in Informed Transitions: Libraries Supporting the High School to College Transition, Kenneth J. Burhanna, editor. Libraries Unlimited, an imprint of ABC-CLIO, LLC, 2013. Pp. 161-169


Copyright 2013 by Kenneth J. Burhanna.


Since 2010, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) libraries have been collaborating with the Office of Admissions on an innovative program working with high school seniors through the Nebraska College Preparatory Academy (NCPA). Over the past 10 years, Nebraska has been affected by Nebraska's dramatic changes in racial and ethnic diversity. Despite a rapid rise in ethnic diversity over the past 10 years, the state was still 90 percent white at the time of the 2010 census. Over the past decade, UNL has been interested in actively recruiting students and faculty from ethnically diverse backgrounds. This initiative centers on recruitment strategies within the state that tap into the cultural richness of Nebraska's residents.

In 2006, Harvey Perlman, chancellor at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, created an innovative program to recruit first-generation, low-income high school seniors through the Nebraska College Preparatory Academy ( The aim of this program is to promote the benefits of higher education among Nebraska's underserved populations and to provide academic and financial resources for first-generation, low-income high school students to pursue postsecondary education. NCPA is a unique collaboration between the University Libraries and the Office of Admissions and is funded solely through private donors and grants, unlike similar initiatives focused on supporting first-generation, low-income students, like the nationally recognized and federally funded Upward Bound and the Ronald McNair Scholars program. In November 2008, voters in Nebraska approved a ban on affirmative action, Nebraska Civil Rights Initiative 424 (Ballotpedia 2012), which prohibits discriminating against or granting preferential treatment to individuals or groups based on race, gender, or national origin. This bill has hindered the University of Nebraska's ability to recruit students from diverse populations. The university has altered its approach to attracting students who are first-generation college attendees with low income and experiences living or working in diverse communities. In 2009, despite these challenges, the university celebrated the most ethnically and racially diverse freshman class in its 140-year history (UNL 2009).