THEI Hosts Kickoff Meeting for Tennessee Arts and Humanities Initiative

On March 7th, 2024, THEI hosted a kickoff meeting at Maggiano's in Nashville, TN, marking the exciting commencement of the Tennessee Arts and Humanities Initiative (TAHI). This event brought together a diverse array of attendees, including key stakeholders, staff from various education partners, representatives from the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC), and THEI staff, all eager to embark on this groundbreaking initiative. The meeting was an important milestone, setting the stage for a transformative journey in the realm of Higher Education in Prison (HEP) in Tennessee.

The kickoff meeting served as a platform to introduce TAHI's ambitious objectives and outline the strategic roadmap for its implementation. With a focus on expanding educational opportunities and fostering intellectual growth among justice-impacted individuals, TAHI represents a significant step forward in reshaping the educational landscape within carceral facilities.

TAHI Objectives

TAHI represents a bold step forward in reshaping the educational landscape within carceral facilities. The initiative's primary objectives include:

  • Establishing a pioneering partnership with Trevecca Nazarene University to introduce a Bachelor of Arts in History program within TDOC facilities. This program is designed to enhance critical thinking, research skills, and historical perspectives among incarcerated individuals.
  • Expanding THEI's existing partnership with Belmont University to offer a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies with specialized emphases in Music, Social Justice, Creative Entertainment, and Creative Writing. This program aims to provide a comprehensive educational experience tailored to the unique needs and interests of justice-impacted individuals.
  • Launching the TAHI Annual Inside Out Lecture Seminar, a groundbreaking initiative that will bring renowned historians and artists to TDOC facilities to engage with students. This initiative aims to broaden students' perspectives, foster critical thinking, and inspire intellectual curiosity.

TAHI Timeline

TAHI Year I: Planning

The initial phase of TAHI, spanning from April 2024 to October 2024, will focus on laying the groundwork for the initiative's successful implementation. This includes seeking necessary approvals from TDOC, finalizing degree maps and curriculum details with partner institutions, and planning for the inaugural Inside Out Lecture.

TAHI Year II: Implementation

Starting in January 2025, Cohort I of TAHI students will enroll, and courses will begin. Monthly TAHI meetings will be held to proactively plan for improvement, leading up to the inaugural Inside Out Lecture in September 2025. The implementation phase will involve the actual delivery of courses, student support services, and ongoing evaluation to assess the effectiveness of TAHI programs in achieving their objectives.

The impact of TAHI extends far beyond the confines of traditional educational programs. By providing justice-impacted individuals with access to comprehensive arts and humanities programs, TAHI aims to foster personal growth, intellectual development, and a sense of empowerment among its participants. In Nashville, known as "music city" and where THEI is headquartered, there are abundant opportunities in the music and arts industry. These types of degrees offered by TAHI are not just beneficial but necessary for our students to prepare for these opportunities.

Through TAHI, THEI is committed to challenging stereotypes, advocating for equal educational opportunities, and empowering justice-impacted individuals to achieve their full potential. Stay tuned for more updates on TAHI and how you can support this transformative initiative!