College in Prison

Every year since 2007, EMU faculty have volunteered to teach classes for Michigan’s incarcerated women students at the Women's Huron Valley Correctional Facility (WHV) as part of EMU’s College in Prison program. First, EMU courses are offered to “inside” students; second, Inside-Out courses bring 15 EMU students together with 15 incarcerated students to learn together. Both types of courses provide students with the same academic rigor as those taught on EMU’s campus.

A wide variety of college courses have been offered by EMU faculty volunteering their time, including classes in Africology and African American Studies, Anthropology, Biology, Creative Writing, Criminology, Economics, English Literature, History, Psychology, Social Work, and Women’s and Gender Studies. These courses are the same as those offered at EMU and are taught twice a month from September to May.

In 2011, we began offered courses as part of the national Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program. In these courses, 15 EMU students learn alongside 15 incarcerated students in a classroom located at WHV. Most semesters, Women’s and Gender Studies offers an introductory course (WGST 202: Introduction to Gender and Sexuality). Inside-Out instructors complete a national training program as part of their preparation to teach at WHV.

We have been accepted into the Second Chance Pell program, which will allow our students at WHV to begin taking courses for credit and us to pay our faculty to teach. We are in the process of creating a BA program that will launch in either May or September 2023.

This program is currently administered and coordinated by Beth Currans, Department Head of Women’s and Gender Studies.

Course materials for incarcerated students are purchased using funds donated by community members interested in the success and effectiveness of the program.

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