The Dean's Future Scholars program is housed in the College of Education & Human Development at the University of Nevada, Reno. DFS was established in 2000 by Dr. William Sparkman, the Dean of the College of Education & Human Development from 1998-2010, who brought the program concept from Texas Tech University. Today, Dean Donald Easton-Brooks is committed to supporting the program's mission.
Each year students are identified in the sixth grade from selected Title 1 schools throughout the Washoe County School District (WCSD) for participation in DFS. Once students are identified during their 6th-grade year, DFS will follow the students at their respective school throughout their middle school, high school, and college. In addition, DFS has an open door policy where program alumni can access guidance and support, long after high school or college graduation.
Very few outreach programs comprehensively address the needs of students at each developmental level, but this long-term approach fosters a "family feel", which is the secret to the program's longitudinal success. Since its inception in 2000, 1,357 students in WCSD have participated in the program. To assist students in graduating from high school and college, DFS provides:
- Long-term mentoring
- Opportunities for students to earn high school and college credits
- Academic tutoring
- Employment opportunities on the university campus
- Assistance with college entrance requirements
- Financial aid opportunities