Update | National Engagement

Third Annual BPI Summer Residency

It’s a wrap! BPI’s third Summer Residency has come to a close after three intensive weeks of workshops.

The BPI Summer Residency is an intensive cohort-based sequence that takes residents under the hood for hands-on and experiential workshops that explore the hows, whys, and whats of BPI’s approach to college-in-prison, followed by more technical conversations about mechanics and strategies of building robust, ambitious, and successful college-in-prison programs. Most workshops ran roughly 2.5 hours each and were led by BPI staff from across the academic, reentry/alumni affairs, and national engagement teams, as well as by BPI alumni, faculty, site directors, and members of the Bard administration.

The 2021 cohort of emerging leaders in the field of college-in-prison joined us virtually from California, Illinois, Georgia, Missouri, Indiana, Connecticut, New York, Tennessee, Massachusetts, and the UK. They represent community colleges, small liberal arts schools, and large research institutions as faculty, program directors, newly hired practitioners, graduate students, alumni, and directly impacted people.

Testimonials about the 2021 Summer Residency

“Relatively new to this work, I’ve been thoroughly amazed with the intellectual capabilities of our students, and the wisdom that BPI and the Consortium provide to this field. Both have far exceeded my expectations of what CIP could and can be!” – Cohort 2021 Resident

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“The generous, frank, strategic, compassionate, brilliant offerings of the Bard Prison Initiative faculty, administrators and staff were a goldmine. I struck gold.” – Cohort 2021 Resident, Sharon Varallo, Augustana Prison Education Program

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“I could not have conceived of a better way to start my new position. Throughout the residency, I felt strengthened, equipped, challenged, and hopeful because of what was shared and the community that was fostered among us.” – Cohort 2021 Resident Vanessa Estimé, assistant director for the Yale Prison Education Initiative (YPEI).

“BPI summer fellowship was THE best and most thorough training I have ever taken part in. The content was so thought out and impressive. We covered everything it takes to start, build or grow a college in prison program and learned from experts who have been doing this work for over 20 years. I am not a higher ed in prison professional. However, as a formerly incarcerated individual who has learned in prison and continued that education upon release, it provided me with immense professional development and personal growth.   The BPI fellowship I took part in was entirely virtual, and even though I had to join via zoom. Every morning I woke up with renewed vigor and excitement to learn again with my fellow cohort members.   For those in higher education in prison space, wherever you are in the process, you will learn and take away so much from this fellowship. You will learn from professors who teach inside, administrators who run the program, alumni who have benefitted from BPI instruction, and know that your work will have an immense impact.

I feel so fortunate that I could take part in this fellowship. I gained much more than just what was advertised ( which was a lot) I gained a community, a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose and a renewed hope for higher education in prison. Immediately after the fellowship, I was placed in a position to implement what I learned during this fellowship, helping formerly incarcerated students pursue higher education after release. The hands-on approach to this fellowship cannot be underestimated. The training/ workshops were not theoretical; we actively engaged and practiced much of what was being taught during this fellowship.” –  Cohort 2021 Resident, Michaell Griggs, Pitzer College, class of 2021


Workshops included

Introductions, Welcome, and History

Paradoxes of College-in-Prison

Language and Thinking: BPI’s Introduction to College


Writing and Math Curricula

Faculty and Volunteer Recruitment, Orientation, and Support

Academic Resources: Advising, Tutoring, Research Support and Libraries 

Introduction to BPI Admissions

Admissions Essay Reading — A Hands-on Experience

Admissions Interviews: Philosophy and Practice

New Student Orientation 

Working with Corrections

Cultivating College Community Inside: A Conversation with Site Directors and Alums

Practitioner Wellness: Sustainability, Compassion Fatigue & Secondary Trauma 

Reentry: Transitioning Home

Re/defining Reentry and Alumni Support

Development and Fundraising

Senior Projects and the BA 

A College within a College: Accreditation, Tuition, Pell/FAFSA and working within the larger college

Program Data, Metrics, Evaluation, Tracking and BPI’s FileMaker System

Documents and Tracking: Organizational Systems for Internal Documents & Paperwork

Computer Systems and Technology in Prison

Government Affairs

Career Specializations and Post-degree Coursework

Commencement Planning

BPI Summer Residency, Bard College, July 2019

Learn more about all of BPI’s National Engagement work, including the Consortium for the Liberal Arts in Prison here: bpi.bard.edu/our-work/national-engagement/

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