APAEP Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project

FAQs

What kinds of programs does APAEP offer?

We offer pre-college classes, college-level classes, and visual arts programs. We also distribute books to Alabama prison libraries through our Books Behind Bars program.

Who teaches the your classes? Are they volunteers?

Courses are taught by faculty members and graduate students from Auburn University, the University of Alabama, and other Alabama colleges and universities. Our visual arts program instructors also include professional artists. All instructors are compensated for their work and are not volunteers.

What kind of background and experience do your teachers have?

Our teachers are working towards or have attained an advanced degree in their field. We also work with professionals that have extensive teaching experience.

Tutors are not required to have an advanced degree, but should be proficient in the subject they are tutoring.

Does APAEP give classes to its students over the Internet or by video?

No, all of our classes are run on-site and in-person. Alabama does not allow its prisoners to have access to the Internet or to take remote classes.

What kinds of classes do you offer?

APAEP's first classes included poetry, creative writing, and visual arts and has expanded to include humanities (history, philosophy), science (chemistry, biology, physics), engineering, music, design, and more! We welcome teachers from all disciplines. For some examples of previous classes, check out our Pre-College Courses program page.

Classes in the degree program have a more strict curriculum, as the coursework is leading to a B.S. with a focus on Business and Human Development and Family Studies.

Do I choose which class I teach? Can I design my own class?

Our pre-college classes offer teachers the opportunity to work with APAEP staff to develop high quality syllabus and course of your design that will fit the needs of our students. These classes typically follow a college freshman or sophomore-level introductory course with a lecture/discussion format, but we are open to discuss proposals about unconventional teaching programs.

Our degree program has a set curriculum and APAEP students are held to identical standards as every other Auburn University students. As such, the classes they take are the same courses offered on the main AU campus.

Where will I teach?

APAEP conducts classes at correctional facilities around the state. We try to place our teachers in locations that are convenient to their work and home. Most correctional facilities in Alabama are in remote locations and a teacher's commute usually requires a 45-60 minute long drive.

What kind of training will I get?

Everyone who works in a correctional facility with APAEP must participate in a mandatory one-day, 8-hour training session held on the Auburn University campus at the beginning of every semester. Included in this training is an hour of special training required by the ADOC and the federal government for all volunteers working inside of a state prison.

In addition to training, an APAEP staff member will accompany the teacher to at least the first 2-3 class sessions. ADOC officers are always present in APAEP classrooms. Tutors and volunteers are never in a facility without an APAEP staff member.

What is the time commitment?

Typically, classes are taught once a week for 14 weeks and are 2-2.5 hours long, which doesn’t include travel time to the facility.

Who takes your classes?

We have no educational prerequisite to take pre-college classes, and they are open to anyone with a desire to learn, and has approval by the Alabama Department of Corrections to participate.

Students in our degree program have gone through a rigorous application process to be in the program. In addition to the educational requirements set forth by AU and the behavioral requirements required by the ADOC, these students also meet standards to receive federal Pell Grants.

How many students will be in my class?

Class size ranges from 10-20.

Are students graded?

We do not give grades to students in our pre-college classes. Students can earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) from Auburn University if they meet the certain participation requirements.

Students in the degree program earn a grade, which contributes to their overall GPA, just like they would if they were taking the class on campus.