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). 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, based on the Bard Prison Initiative’s (BPI) successful admissions model, this 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.

What courses have been taught already?

SC215 Plagues and Pandemics by Nancy Allen

LI120 Literary Foundations by Mako Yoshikawa

LI120 Introduction to Literary Studies by John Plotz

VM200 Media Criticism and Theory by Eric Gordon

VM220 Writing the Short Subject by Ougie Pak

WR121 Research Writing by Stephen Shane

EC210 Topics in Economics: Business of Finance by Carol Osler

SO210 Topics in Sociology/Anthropology: Introduction to Genocide Studies by Shelly Tenenbaum

MT 106 Business Mathematics by Eiki Satake

VM101 History of Visual Media Arts II by Miranda Banks

LI212 Black Revolutionary Thought by Kimberly McLarin

TH215 U.S.Theatre and Performance by Joshua Polster

CC100 Oral Communication by Keri Thompson

SO200 Race and Ethnicity: The Key Concepts by Amy Ansell

IN208 Rainbow Nation? Race, Class, and Culture in South Africa by Cara Moyer-Duncan

WR101 Where Nonfiction Meets Poetry: The Personal Essay by Andrew Dugan

IN154 Introduction to Social Theory–Power and Privilege by Mneesha Gellman

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.

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)