Director of Policy & Practice

Why Barbi does this work...

I do this work because, as a HEP student, I have felt the impact of others who began this work before me.  When HEP is done well, it is an avenue for success, autonomy, and community.  I am privileged to be able to participate in the lives of our students in a way that helps to facilitate a wide array of growth and expanding opportunities.  The HEP community is a critical part of my personal story and I couldn’t imagine being on the outside of this circle.


Barbi Brown joined the Tennessee Higher Education Initiative in 2020, currently serving as the Director of Policy and Practice.  In her role, she works with and for directly impacted individuals as we seek to overcome the current systems of mass incarceration and perpetual punishment and to create pathways of equitable access to higher education.  In addition to Barbi’s role with THEI, she is a Justice Policy Fellow with The Education Trust and is also actively involved with The Southern HEP Collective, Tennessee Prison College Coalition, and Unlock Higher Education where she advocates for policy change within the Higher Education in Prison field.  Barbi earned a Bachelor of Professional Studies from Lipscomb University where she remains an actively engaged alumni of Lipscomb’s Initiative for Education (LIFE) program.