At what appeared to be the final stages of Grace College’s severance with prison education in the state of Indiana, the school has opted to inherit Ivy Tech Community College’s role in managing the Department of Correction’s GED program.
Dr. John Teevan, former director of the Prison Extension Program at Grace and current director of the Weber School, says that Grace College is happy to partner with Ivy Tech as the shift transpires and is eager to continue its investment in the state’s adult prison education initiatives.
The decision came just recently as the Department of Correction signed a contract that will let Grace manage five correctional facilities in the northern region of the state while Oakland City University will take the southern region.
“The top administration [at the Department of Correction] thoroughly endorsed us,” said Teevan, who, along with Grace’s provost, Bill Katip, has helped the school get back into this unique teaching outlet. “We were very pleased that they were so good to work with.”
Teevan said the transition should be a very straightforward one. The staff currently involved with all the Adult Basic Education programs will continue as usual. Ideally, the only initial, noticeable change will be the name on the paychecks. Grace will hire the seven GED instructors requested by the state bringing the staff to a total of 22. There are also 11 vocational education instructors who have already been working with the program. An increased staff will mean that more qualified prison students can attend classes if they choose to enroll.
The GED program—beginning this fall—will be also be accompanied by other educational projects that Grace hopes to expand in the coming years. At the Michigan City prison, the Pacer program will help students in the system prepare for college classes. A small cohort of students at the same facility will also have the opportunity to be involved in Grace’s GOAL program, the school’s adult education initiative for college students.
These are not in any way connected with the Adult Basic Education based state contract, but are a part of Grace’s own endeavors in the lives of prison students, clerks and tutors with whom they have already established a good rapport.
Teevan also said that Grace is currently looking to hire someone with a principal’s degree who will have sufficient skills to be able to manage the adult prison education program at an administration level. Teevan will serve as overall director of the program until plans and roles begin to solidify. “I’m very excited about this [transition],” he remarked.