Indiana University of Pennsylvania will receive $1.1 million in federal funding for its Correctional Education Clearinghouse and Educational Program.

“IUP's Correctional Education Clearinghouse and Educational Program will develop a comprehensive teaching standard and graduate degree to assist our correctional instructors teaching in our nation's prison system,” Congressman John P. Murtha said. “I'm proud to support their efforts, and I'm proud of the faculty, staff, and students at IUP.”

The goal of the project is to reduce recidivism, increase employability of inmates upon release, and strengthen the capabilities of the teachers who teach in our nation's prison systems, IUP criminology professor Dr. Daniel Lee said.

The program is an interdisciplinary one, codirected by Lee; Dr. George Bieger, professor of professional studies in education; and Dr. Claire Dandeneau, professor of counselor education.

Researchers will collect data on types of educational programs offered in prisons, and develop and implement a customized educational program at IUP at the graduate level designed specifically for correctional educators.

“This project, in particular, is a great example of our faculty's innovation and outreach capabilities,” Dr. Tony Atwater, president of IUP, said.

“In an age in which increasing numbers of Americans are incarcerated, it is important to find creative ways for rehabilitating these individuals to become productive citizens. This research will provide a significant resource for preparing correctional educators and a database that will capture the developing pedagogy for correctional instruction for universities throughout the United States. I am extremely pleased that this project has been funded, and proud of the role of our education and criminology professors in launching this effort,” Atwater said.

“By employing a diverse faculty base with expertise in a variety of disciplines, including criminology, adult and community education, psychology, counseling, and special education, we are able to ensure a strong best-practice based curriculum,” Bieger said.

During the first two years of the project, after the data collection is completed, work will focus on curriculum development, including web-based instructional modules for both teaching and assessment.

The project codirectors hope to begin offering coursework in the program at IUP in Fall 2011.

“By providing correctional educators with advanced education and customized training that is based on demonstrated best practices determined by evaluating the data that we collect, the quality of the academic experience for incarcerated students increases significantly, assisting our correctional educators in their efforts to break the cycle of recidivism,” Dandeneau said.