Honors Tracks' Pillars

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Honors Program students who are interested in leadership opportunities can look no further than the new experiential Honors Tracks.

According to the Honors Program’s website, each track focuses on four pillars: learn, experience, collaborate and create. These pillars offer a personalized learning experience for students involving specialized classes, internship and community service opportunities, various leadership events for students to attend and student-led research based on topics related to their track. 

Junior and senior students have a choice between three honors tracks: Civic Leaders, Environmental Stewards and World Leaders. These tracks consist of cohort groups, containing 20 students per track. The deadline to apply to be a part of the tracks is Feb. 9. According to Tamy Burnett, assistant director of the University Honors Program, the program plans on adding more tracks in the future. 

“What I’m really looking forward to is that I think there’s so much potential for these tracks to offer students additional opportunities to customize their honors education at the upper level,” Burnett said. “It’s always been customizable, but we haven’t offered this framework in the past.”

The development of the honors tracks was led by Burnett. She said the tracks were created in order to provide junior and senior students with an upper-level education tailored to their future career interests. Difficulty along the way involved getting the word out across campus, according to Jacob Schlange, assistant director of Experiential Learning and Global Initiatives.

Burnett said some of the benefits of the tracks include leadership summits, group retreats and getting to know fellow Honors Program students and faculty on a more personal level. Students involved in the tracks are also given priority for scholarship dollars within the program.

Three new tracks are also in the works for the 2021-22 school year: one for those interested in graduate school, one for healthcare careers and one for innovation and creativity. Beyond that, though, Burnett said that they’re waiting to see how the first round of tracks go.

“It’s exciting to see the Honors Program develop additional pathways for students to focus more intentionally on topics that align with their future career goals,” Schlange said. “The interdisciplinary nature of these new tracks is one of their biggest strengths.”

While the tracks are open only to students in the University Honors Program, Burnett said she encourages underclassman students to apply to the Honors Program even if they did not apply when first applying to the university. While being accepted into the Honors Program does not guarantee entry to the honors tracks, students will be offered other opportunities within the program.

The process of the honors tracks spans over two semesters, according to Burnett. The spring 2020 semester is designated as an application period, while fall 2020 begins the curricular aspect for students who are accepted into the specialized program. 

“We’re very excited and we’ve heard a lot of students say they’re very excited about the opportunity,” Burnett said. “We’re excited to see it grow and build this first year, and people should certainly not delay in getting their applications in.”