Our Mission


The mission of the Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences is to discover and apply scientific information related to food, nutrition, physical activity, and health behavior to optimize public well-being.

Our Facilities and Resources

Leverton Hall
Human Sciences Building
Neihardt Residential Center
Coliseum

To better serve students in the pursuit of their career goals, the Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences was formed by merging two departments with long and distinguished histories at the University of Nebraska: Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics & Health and Human Performance.

Located within five buildings on two University of Nebraska-Lincoln campuses (Ruth Leverton Hall, the Human Sciences Building, and Filley Hall on East Campus as well as Neihardt Residential Center and the Coliseum on City Campus), the Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences provides a comprehensive approach to the health and wellness of individuals and communities. We do this by combining expertise in the areas of nutrition and health education, dietetics, exercise physiology, sports nutrition, biochemical and molecular nutrition, culinary sciences, and food service administration.

Our History

Rosa Bouton
Domestic Science class at Mechanic Arts Hall, 1904
Home Economics Building, 1905-1972
Leverton Hall was named after Dr. Ruth Leverton who served as professor of human nutrition at the University of Nebraska from 1937 to 1954 and later, as assistant director of the Human Nutrition Research Division of the USDA in Washington, D.C.
Mabel Lee was a pioneer of physical education, particularly for women, in the early part of the twentieth century who spent the bulk of her professional career at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She served as the director of physical education for women as well as a professor from 1924 to 1952.
The Scarlet Hotel

1891

The Department of Health and Human Performance was established when the Board of Regents voted to require physical training for female students as a partial equivalent to the military drill required of male students. Professional preparation of teachers of physical education began later in the 1890s.

1898

The University establishes the "School of Domestic Science" with Chemistry Professor Rosa Bouton named as its director. Domestic Chemistry courses covered subjects such as food analysis, sanitation, and contaminants in food. Housed in Mechanic Arts Hall on city campus, Dr. Bouton served as the school's sole instructor with eleven students newly enrolled.

The two-year program was described by the University bulletin this way: "To train the mind and develop character in the kitchen as well as in the laboratory. Special attention is given to the principles of cooking, economical methods of cooking, as well as methods to render food nutritious, palatable, and attractive."

1905

The Board of Regents elect to construct a new building on the Farm Campus to house laboratories and classrooms needed for the newly named Department of Home Economics.  Called "The Women's Building" during planning and construction, it provided dormitory rooms for 40 women and included laboratories and classrooms for Home Economics instruction. By 1906, the program had been lengthened to four years, leading to a bachelor of arts degree.

1908

Construction of the new Home Economics Building was completed with classes beginning in the summer.

1909

Home Economics became a department in the College of Agriculture. New courses included clothing construction and design, dietetics, home decoration, household administration, and teacher training with practice teaching.

1925

Construction of the Coliseum was completed with construction cost of $435,000. The facility originally housed several offices including the Men's Athletic Department and Men's Physical Education Department.

1941

Ruth Leverton was tasked with initiating human nutrition research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and given a small laboratory in the meat science building. At that time, not many researchers had both the competencies and the resources to conduct valid nutrition research using human subjects. Knowing the potential, Dr. Leverton lobbied the university to construct a building to specifically house nutrition laboratories and accommodate nutrition research. Funding was approved by the Board of Regents and construction of a new Food and Nutrition building began in November.

1943

Construction of the new Food and Nutrition Building was completed. Designed to house more than just food and nutrition laboratories, the building included a cafeteria, dining rooms, a kitchen, offices, classrooms, and research facilities.

This window, set over the main entrance and still in place today, features the Betty Lamp, a symbol representing the field of Home Economics:

With the nation in the midst of World War II, the Food and Nutrition Building was initially used as dormitory and classrooms for Specialized Training, Assignment and Reclassification (STAR) members, a U.S. Government program which channeled new military recruits to appropriate education situations. The University of Nebraska was one of only three colleges in the United States designated to assess and assign recruits on to any of 220 higher education sites.

Over the course of the next two years, more than 13,000 men from the United States as well as other countries of the world lived here before being reassigned to study engineering, foreign languages, personnel psychology, dentistry, and medicine in the U.S. Army's Specialized Training Program (ASTP).

Army recruits in formation outside of the Food and Nutrition building, 1943

1946

The Men's Physical Education Building was constructed on the SW corner of 14th and W Streets.

1957

Cafeteria remodeling and reorganization took place at the Food and Nutrition building in order to provide meals for students living in the new residence halls on East Campus.

1968

Construction was completed on the Women's Physical Education Building at 14th and Vine and the building was dedicated that November.

1974

Major remodeling began at the Food and Nutrition building which included specialized laboratories for teaching, research, and extension. Facilities were added for live-in subjects, dormitory space, and a kitchen/dining area.

1977

In honor of Mabel Lee, the Women's Physical Education Building at 14th and Vine was renamed Mable Lee Hall.

The opening of the new East Campus Union provided new space within the Food and Nutrition building to offer students laboratory experiences in institution management and quantity food preparation.

1978

In honor of Ruth Leverton, the Food and Nutrition building was renamed Ruth Leverton Hall.

2010

Leverton Hall was renovated to include updated air handling systems, redesigned building space, and completion of the new Biomedical Research Core (BORC) lab.

2020

Mabel Lee Hall demolished to make way for construction of a new facility which will be home to the College of Education and Human Sciences. The project is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2022 and will feature new classrooms, meeting spaces, offices, labs, and a 400-seat auditorium.

2022

Exercise physiology lab to relocate from Neihardt Hall to the newly constructed Mabel Lee Hall.

Hospitality, Restaurant, Tourism Management (HRTM) to relocate to the Scarlet Hotel on Innovation Campus which will include new academic spaces, office suites, as well as a commercial teaching kitchen.

Our Curriculum


1919

The curriculum was changed to place more emphasis on professional training such as dietetics, institutional management, and teaching. Also included for the first time were courses intended primarily for graduate students.

1921

The Division of Food and Nutrition was established.

1962

The Department of Food and Nutrition received approval from the American Dietetic Association for a dietetics program.

1967

Master's degree program approved.

1969

Dietetics internship program initiated.

1975

After years of pursing independent existences, the men's and women's physical education departments merge to form a single "Department of Physical Education and Recreation".

1977

The Nebraska Center for Health Education, previously affiliated with the University Health Center, was added to the department to form a new "School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation".

1991

Department renamed "Nutritional Science and Dietetics".

1993

The "School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation" renamed "Department of Health and Human Performance".

1997

Community Nutrition and Health Promotion established as a graduate specialization.

2003

The "Department of Nutritional Science and Dietetics" and "Department of Health and Human Performance" are merged and renamed "Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences".

2005

Nutrition and Exercise approved as an undergraduate program.

2017

Community Health and Wellness approved as an undergraduate program.

2019

Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition established as a graduate specialization.

2020

Hospitality Management established as a graduate specialization.

2021

Professional Studies in Dietetics (PSD) established as a graduate specialization.

NHS Department Chairs

1991-2011  Marilynn Schnepf

2011-2017  Timothy Carr

2017-2018  Linda Boeckner

2018-Present  Mary Ann Johnson

Our Research and Achievements

Fayrene Hamouz, 2016 National Restaurant Association Lifetime Achievement Award
Janos Zempleni, 2019 Osborne and Mendel Award
Terry Housh, 2020 Boyd Epley Lifetime Achievement Award

2009

National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) designates the Terry J. Housh Young Investigator Award in his honor.

2014

Establishment of the Nebraska Center for Prevention of Obesity Diseases through Dietary Molecules  (NPOD).

2016

Fayrene Hamouz recognized with Lifetime Achievement Award from the Nebraska Restaurant Association.

2019

American Society for Nutrition (ASN) awards Janos Zempleni the Osborne and Mendel Award for seminal discoveries in extracellular vesicles.

2020

National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) grants the Boyd Epley Award for Lifetime Achievement to Terry Housh.