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What Students Say
“The LIFE Program has been a blessing for the inside and outside students alike. I have learned so much from these women, and I look forward to coming to class each week.”
Lipscomb Initiative for Education
The LIFE (Lipscomb Initiative for Education) Program provides Lipscomb University students an academic and service-learning experience like few others. Up to 30 students each semester enroll in a liberal arts course held on-site at the Tennessee Prison for Women (TPFW) and study alongside 30 inmates of the prison. The mix of students and specifically designed coursework provides academic and character-building benefits for both students at the prison and students from campus.
America’s criminal justice system tends to dehumanize the incarcerated. Mainstream society, for example, seldom sees the inmates, and thus develops certain perceptions. Many of these presumptions are false. When we all get in a room together, we see the humanity of one another. The campus students begin to realize we aren’t all that different, and the women at the prison are eager for human contact and interesting conversation. As together we reframe our concepts of community, we are all enlightened and challenged.
The LIFE Program is unique in that every student in the classroom is a Lipscomb student. ”Outside” students are working on bachelors degrees, while “inside” students are working toward 18 hours of liberal arts credit that can be transferred to most universities.
LIFE students at TPFW develop better self-confidence, expanded life experience and good study habits. In fact, two paroled TPFW students have pursued bachelor’s degree at Lipscomb University.