New UVA Program Offers Course Credit to Incarcerated Individuals in Resilience Education Courses
By Dave Hendrick
For the first time, a program that uses business education to help prepare incarcerated learners to re-enter society will award college credits through the University of Virginia.
Through a new agreement between UVA and the Virginia Department of Corrections, incarcerated students taking courses in a range of business topics through Resilience Education, a 501c3 educational organization, can earn course credit from the UVA School of Continuing and Professional Studies.
The new agreement is the latest sign of growth and impact for Resilience Education, co-founded by University of Virginia Darden School of Business Professor Greg Fairchild, who launched the Darden Prison Entrepreneurship Initiative in 2011 with a certificate course in entrepreneurship at the Dillwyn Correctional Center. The program has since added additional programs at Dillwyn, the Buckingham Correctional Center and the Fluvanna Women’s Correctional Center. Course offerings have increased to include “Entrepreneurship,” “Foundations in Business” and “Financial Capability.” All case study materials are taught by Darden students and faculty leads, using the same Socratic business case method used in the Darden classroom. Upon completion of courses, incarcerated students earn a Darden certificate, and, now, UVA credit for the coursework.
In the 2022–23 academic year, 47 Darden MBA students are teaching in the program. In total, more than 300 Darden MBA students have been involved as instructors and more than 750 Darden certificates have been awarded to incarcerated students since the program’s founding.
“Resilience Education started with the idea that incarcerated individuals could grow and thrive if presented with useful and engaging educational opportunities,” said Tierney Fairchild (MBA ’94, GSAS ‘96), co-founder and executive director of Resilience Education. “We’re thrilled with the continued progress and development of the college course credit offerings through UVA. We believe these initiatives directly contribute to job success rates after release from incarceration.”
Resilience Education provides a complete, end-to-end solution and digital platform for leading graduate business and law schools interested in creating a positive impact on incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals in their communities. In addition to the continued growth of the Resilience program at UVA, Resilience partnered with Columbia Business School to launch the ReEntry Acceleration Program for a similar program in New York state. Additional rollouts of the Resilience program are underway. With more than 200 graduates of the program now released from prison, Resilience is building an enduring professional support network among the post-release community and Darden MBAs and employer partners, strengthening personal connections and building new pathways to meaningful jobs and careers.
“The Department of Corrections’ Correctional Education Unit appreciates the partnership with Resilience Education as we share the same values of improving workforce opportunities for our students,” said Rodney Berry, superintendent of education for the Virginia Department of Corrections. “We are committed to continuing this collaboration because we understand that workforce development coupled with a quality education will improve overall public safety in the Commonwealth.”
The UVA credits now awarded by the School of Continuing and Professional Studies for the program are designed to be transferable to other educational institutions, which decide whether to accept them.
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
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