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February 16, 2022

Understanding Educational Space Needs in Prisons

New Project Announcement

Across higher education, classrooms and study commons have been reimagined to foster student engagement and learning. But for higher education in prison programs, it can prove challenging to find spaces optimized for education, much less space designed to support their educational needs. Access—or the lack of access—to classrooms, libraries, and scientific and computer labs, can play determining roles in the quality of higher education programming. With many competing demands for space, Departments of Corrections (DOC) may be inclined to look…
January 5, 2022

Providing Library Services for Higher Education in Prison

An Interview with Jessica Licklider and Jeannie Colson

In a previous blog post I interviewed Jeanie Austin of the San Francisco Public Library about their new book on providing library services to incarcerated people. With the restoration of Pell funding for incarcerated students set to take place in 2023, the field of higher education in prison (HEP) is currently grappling with how to prepare for this long-awaited expansion of funding and opportunity, and academic libraries that wish to serve this student group must likewise prepare to meet…
December 7, 2021

Providing Library Services to the Incarcerated

An Interview with Jeanie Austin on Their New Book

Providing library services to people held in prisons and jails can be a challenging endeavor. Those who take on this work will need to navigate complex, and not always welcoming, corrections’ bureaucracies and face censorship or be themselves co-opted into censoring in ways that are antithetical to the ethical tenets of librarianship. Yet the information needs among incarcerated and detained people are immense given their limited access to the internet or other technologies…
October 5, 2021

Censorship in Prisons

Recording from the San Francisco Public Library's Banned Books Event Now Available

Last week was Banned Books Week, an annual event meant to celebrate the freedom to read and draw attention to censorship and other threats to free expression. As a report by the free expression advocacy group PEN America points out, America’s prisons are the locus of the country’s largest and most extensive censorship regime. While the free and unencumbered access to literature is a challenge for all incarcerated…
March 23, 2021

Teaching with Primary Sources: Pre-Pandemic Lessons for Post-COVID Futures

The second iteration in Ithaka S+R’s Teaching Support Services project investigates the teaching practices and support needs of instructors who work with primary source materials. Today we are excited to publish the project’s capstone report. Still in the pandemic but beginning to glimpse life on the other side, now is an opportune time to begin to envision not just the future, but the many potential futures…
March 15, 2021

Post-NCHEP Reflection

The Need for Digital Literacy in a Digitally-Connected World

The National Conference on Higher Education in Prison (NCHEP) concluded earlier this month. Due to the pandemic, this annual meeting of practitioners, students, and advocates moved online for the first time, and, while the in-person experience of community building is not easy to duplicate remotely, the increased opportunity for engagement and access certainly aligned with this year’s conference theme, “Amplifying Access.” With its assembly of breakout sessions, plenaries, and chat-boxes, the virtualized conference was better able to prioritize…
January 28, 2021

Convening the Cohort

Teaching with Digital Cultural Heritage Materials in the Pandemic

Last summer we announced a Mellon funded project to study how higher education instructors are adapting their practices of teaching with cultural heritage materials during the pandemic. In this post we share how our project is developing and the issues we are tracking as our research gets underway. Why are we doing this project? We remain in a similarly unprecedented landscape six months later, as the COVID-19 virus remains a terrible threat. Technology has allowed certain types of activities…
October 19, 2020

Increasing Access to Quality Educational Resources to Support Higher Education in Prison

New Project Announcement 

We are excited to announce a new project funded by Ascendium Education Group that will allow us to expand our current work on increasing access to quality educational resources for higher education in prison (HEP) programs. This grant will support both Ithaka S+R’s growing research focus in the field as well as JSTOR Labs’ innovative work on increasing access to academic resources for incarcerated students. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it abundantly clear that both HEP programs and…
August 17, 2020

Teaching with Cultural Heritage Online During the Pandemic

New Mellon-Funded Project

Today we are excited to announce a new project funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that will explore how teaching and learning with cultural heritage collections and materials is evolving in response to the pandemic. Instructors who seek to use cultural heritage objects from museums, archives, and special collections face unique challenges when adapting to remote teaching. What is needed is deeper understanding of, and better support for these instructors in this current moment.  This…
May 7, 2020

How Will Postsecondary Education in Prisons Need to Change in Light of COVID-19?

Reflections from an interim report on technological equity for incarcerated college students

The rapid shift to online or distance instruction in the COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the most pressing and challenging issues for the field of higher education. This sudden, mass migration to online learning has crystallized issues of equity and access, as not all students, instructors, or even institutions are equipped to make this leap. Lacking regular access to computers, and with virtually no access to the internet, incarcerated college students, and the programs that serve them,…
March 20, 2020

When Online Isn’t an Option

Higher Education in Prisons During a Pandemic

As the announcements of campus closures continue unabated, colleges and universities across the country are struggling to figure out how to adjust their teaching and learning practices, with many moving their courses online. But what does this mean for students who are incarcerated? Building on Ithaka S+R’s ongoing research on how technology can be leveraged towards increasing access to higher education in prisons and more equitable learning experiences, today we are taking a look at how the COVID-19…
December 12, 2019

Teaching Business: New Report Explores the Needs of Business Faculty

Today Ithaka S+R is releasing the first report in a new program focused on supporting teaching practices. In it, we explore the needs of faculty teaching undergraduate business. We started with business as it is consistently one of the most popular majors in the United States, and understanding the needs of faculty in this field can have a large impact on undergraduate teaching and learning. Informed by interviews with 158 business…
August 6, 2019

Inside an Ithaka S+R Training Workshop

In 2016, Ithaka S+R began collaborating with libraries to extend our deep dives into the research needs of faculty in a variety of fields, including, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Asian Studies, Religious Studies, Public Health, and Indigenous Studies. Having partnered with 75 university libraries for these studies, last year, we began using a…