Emerson Prison Initiative FAQs

Who are EPI students?

EPI provides rigorous liberal arts education to the inaugural EPI cohort of twenty incarcerated students at Massachusetts Correctional Institute at Concord (MCI Concord). Students are working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Media, Literature, and Culture from Emerson College. EPI does not offer classes at any other facilities. EPI students have a range of preparation for college. Some have taken numerous college classes prior to prison or while incarcerated, some have just completed their GEDs and are brand new to college, and some completed their GEDs or high school diplomas years or even decades ago while either outside or inside prison.

How were students selected for admission to EPI?

In Fall 2017, EPI’s first cohort went through a five-step admissions process: an information session, a timed essay exam that was scored by a panel of Emerson and BPI faculty, interviews, and finally the admission of the top twenty applicants. EPI admission is highly competitive – only twenty out of nearly 100 applicants were selected to be part of this inaugural cohort.

Who can teach for EPI?

Any terminal degree-holding faculty member is eligible to apply. While Emerson faculty will be given priority to teach EPI courses, interested faculty from other colleges and universities are welcome to apply, and will be particularly welcome in fields that have less robust offerings at Emerson.

Why teach for EPI?

EPI students are adult learners who are generally highly motivated, dedicated to the material and process of being in college, and are able to bring their lived expertise to their studies. The pedagogical process of teaching the same content to very different groups of learners across divergent campuses environments has been intellectually gratifying to previous college-in-prison faculty.

How do I apply to teach for EPI?

Interested faculty members should submit a cover letter explaining their interest, relevant background, and availability, along with a complete course syllabus, to the EPI Director. Curricular decisions are generally made more than a year in advance of the semester to be taught. Please note that some courses may make excellent offerings but might not fit in the course sequencing of a given semester. Please indicate in your cover letter the preferred semester or semesters that you would be able to teach.

How can Emerson College students get involved?

Emerson College students interested in engaging with EPI can enroll in IN 347: EPI Co-Curricular or reach out to Program Coordinator, Dr. Cara Moyer-Duncan.

Who may I contact with further questions about EPI? 

You may email the program’s director, Dr. Mneesha Gellman, at mneesha_gellman@emerson.edu.

An EPI student holds a classroom text at MCI Concord (Photo courtesy of MA DOC)