Our History

Tennessee Higher Education Initiative (THEI) was founded as a non-profit community organization in 2011 by Nashville native and educator Dr. Julie Doochin. In December of 2011, THEI began a formal partnership with Nashville State Community College (NSCC) and the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC). Through this partnership, 25 students were accepted to the pilot program at Charles Bass Correctional Complex.
In May 2014, in continued partnership with NSCC and TDOC, THEI expanded to Turney Center Correctional Complex (TCIX) in Only, Tennessee. In January 2017, THEI expanded service to the western region of the state in partnership with Dyersburg State Community College (DSCC).
In August 2019, THEI expanded service to the eastern region of the state through partnership with Roane State Community College (RSCC) and Morgan County Correctional Complex (MCCX) in Wartburg, Tennessee. In the same year, THEI received support from the office of Governor Bill Lee to begin the development of a Bachelor’s degree program.

To date, THEI has enrolled almost 300 students across our three active partnership sites and provided re-entry and student support services to over 90 alums who have returned home. 
Do you want more information on how you can get involved and support THEI?
Learn More
"All people are worthy of having access to the transformative and liberative power of education."
Laura Ferguson Mimms,
executive director