Our college preparatory program, comprising five courses in writing and math, aims to prepare students both academically and socially for college-level coursework, to establish a learning community, and to provide an opportunity for students to experience a positive shift in identity—for example, to student, scholar, academic, and community member—and a shift in their perception of their own abilities.
Instructors in the college preparatory program all work as volunteers, and most are faculty or graduate students at some of the Bay Area's most prestigious colleges and universities. Instructors typically spend 8-10 hours per week on instruction, grading, and lesson planning, and often co-teach courses with 1-2 other instructors.
At the Prison University Project, we pride ourselves on serving as a training ground for new educators. Volunteer instructors teaching college preparatory courses participate in pre-semester training workshops and receive mentoring and supervision throughout the semester from the Prison University Project. Staff support instructors as they adapt their pedagogy and design courses that provide accommodations for students with learning disabilities.
In contrast to widely-available correspondence courses available at a cost at most prisons, our courses are in-classroom and discussion-based, and offer transferable credits.