Central College News

Central RED Presents ‘Liberal Arts in Prison Program’

Featured: Central RED Presents ‘Liberal Arts in Prison Program’

March 9, 2020


Central College’s Central RED Society will present “Liberal Arts in Prison Program” with Emily Guenther at 6 p.m. Monday, April 6, in the Dave and Ardie Sutphen Common Room in Graham Annex. Cost is $15, with dinner beginning at 5:30 p.m. A cash bar also will be available.

The Liberal Arts in Prison Program provides liberal arts education to incarcerated men and women in Iowa’s prisons and youth at the state training school for boys. The Liberal Arts in Prison Program started with a single class in spring 2003. Since then, the program has evolved into a full-fledged college program that enrolls cohorts of incarcerated students in a demanding, rich curriculum equivalent to the first year at Grinnell College, and an expansive, multitiered student volunteer program.

The LAPP owes its success to this unique combination of social justice work and liberal arts learning. Guenther will be joined by George Drake, President Emeritus of Grinnell College, who has taught several history classes in the program, and Chad Shearon, a former incarcerated student who earned more than 60 credits from Grinnell while in prison. He is now completing a degree in psychology and neuroscience at Drake University.

Guenther is director of the prison program at Grinnell College. She graduated with a BA in English from Grinnell in 2007 and an MA from the University of Iowa in 2017. A single volunteer-run class by college students went into the Newton Correctional Facility to offer a creative writing course. Guenther ended up volunteering to teach, too, and inmates were given the same course work and rigorous requirements. From that experience, Emily created The Liberal Arts in Prison Program that provides liberal arts education to men and women at nearby prisons and boys at the Central Iowa Detention Center.

Central RED (Ready to Engage and Discover) is a volunteer-driven, lifelong learning and social organization with an abiding partnership with Central College alumni and friends who wish to share knowledge, talents and experiences. Members pay $20 annually to join Central RED.

No affiliation with Central College is required to join Central RED. For more information, visit www.central.edu/red or contact Mary Benedict by email at benedictm@central.edu or phone at 641-628-7641.