A local partnership between Augustana College and the East Moline Corrections Center gives incarcerated individuals the opportunity to earn their Bachelors degree in communications.
Out of dozens of applicants, ten motivated individuals were chosen to participate in the program’s first cohort. The group takes courses on subjects like history, religion, literature, and more — their coursework, however, looks nearly identical to that of traditional-Augustana College students on-campus. The program provides the students with the East Moline Corrections Center with the same professors, material, and work as those at the Rock Island – main campus.
The students selected for the program endured a lengthy application and interview process — those selected represent those who the program advisers felt were exceptionally dedicated to the program’s vision.
“I can’t fix my past, but I can always fix my future.” says Sentoro Dunn, an individual in custody at the East Moline Corrections Center. He adds, “I believe in feeding the brain — learning as much as you can — when an opportunity like this comes along I take advantage.” Dunn is studying for his communications major.
While the academics remain similar to that of their traditional Augustana student counterparts, the experience is entirely different. A spokesperson with the East Moline Corrections Center explains, “They have to be able to do it in this environment — and they were all in.”
“These students really understand the value of education they’re really grateful for this opportunity you can feel in the classroom their gratitude and willingness to make good on the opportunity.” one of the cohort’s professors describes.
A key element of the program represents the intent to prepare these students in custody for when they re-enter the public sphere. “This is not a stop for them — life continues after this — we want to give them every opportunity they can get to be successful.” another spokesperson says