For Faculty

The Center for Prison Education welcomes course proposals from faculty who are interested in teaching in prison. To learn more about this opportunity or to submit an initial proposal consisting of a brief course description, please contact Tess Wheelwright,
  • FAQ For Faculty

    1) How does the Center support Wesleyan faculty who teach in prison?

    Each professor teaching in prison is compensated for their work. Professors will have access to the logistic support of the CPE Program Coordinator and Fellow throughout the semester. Faculty will also have the opportunity to connect with previous faculty, sit in on classes, and discuss course plans and syllabi with the Center’s Academic Planning & Development Manager and members of the Faculty Advisory Committee. Professors may choose to have teaching assistants as well. 

    2) How are incarcerated students selected to participate in the Center?

    Over the summer of 2009, the Center’s Faculty Advisory Committee reviewed over 100 applications, each consisting of an analytical essay and a personal statement.  Fifty applicants were offered interviews with Wesleyan faculty and the Center’s staff and 19 participants were selected. Four additional admissions processes were held in 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017 at Cheshire CI. In the winter of 2012 we admitted our first cohort of students at York CI, the state’s only women’s facility. In 2015 and 2017 we held additional admissions cycles at York.

    3) How are students graded?

    Incarcerated students receive A-F letter grades. It is the fundamental contention of the Center that the same standards of academic rigor that adhere on the main campus can be upheld in a class taught in prison. This means that expectations and evaluation should be identical to those of a class taught on the main campus.  

    4) How do students conduct research in prison?

    Although the internet is not available in prison, students have access to a computer lab within the facility where ITS has installed a stand-alone JSTOR index as well as the Wesleyan library catalogue. Students are able to submit requests for articles or books, which are then retrieved by main campus student volunteers. The CPE Fellow, TA’s, and writing tutors also assist in bringing materials in and out of the facility on a daily basis, responding to the needs of specific courses and the research interests of students.

    5) What sorts of classes is the program looking for?

    Our goal is to offer a well-rounded curriculum aimed at introducing first-through-sixth year students to the widest possible range of disciplines and methodologies in the liberal arts.

For Students

Wesleyan students can become involved with the Center for Prison Education in a number of ways; assisting with academics, research, logistics, communications, events and more! The most common positions available are Course Assistants and Office/Research Assistants.

Course Assistant positions are available to seniors who are passionate about education and expanding the Wesleyan college community. They are matched 1:1 with courses offered in facility that they either have taken before or have extensive transferrable knowledge around. CAs go to facility 1-2 times per week to attend their assigned study hall/class sessions and to provide extensive academic support to CPE students. Besides in exceptions when it is arranged by the professor, these positions are reserved for current Wesleyan students. All the positions for the Fall 2023 semester have already been filled. 

Office/Research Assistant positions assist with completing research requests and general administrative tasks. This position is available to all class years and is a great way to get involved in the behind the scenes administrative work that it takes for our program to function. All of these positions for the Fall 2023 semester have already been filled as well.

We always welcome energetic and diverse students from a wide range of disciplines and interests to join our team and become involved. If you would like to be added to our list of students that are notified when opportunities are available or have any general questions, please contact

Support Us

The CPE is an independently funded entity and relies exclusively on grants and individual donations. Your support is critical to the longevity of our program. Please consider donating to provide this year's books and supplies to our students or sponsor a course. Contact us directly if you are interested in hosting an event to allow your friends and family to learn more about the CPE. We thank you for your support!