Victoria M. Bryan

Higher Education in Prison:
What's Next for Chattanooga's Incarcerated Population

This TEDx presentation focuses on the Nashville-based Tennessee Higher Education Initiative's efforts to expand into Chattanooga and the surrounding rural area with the goal of offering for-credit college education to our community's incarcerated individuals. Intended as the start of truthful conversations across the Chattanooga area about mass incarceration and about the United States' prison system, Victoria's presentation argues that if we are to be a truly progressive and innovative city, we need support for all of our residents—free or otherwise—and that educational opportunities are paramount in those efforts.

About Victoria

Victoria M. Bryan is a tenure-track English faculty member at Cleveland State Community College and a doctoral candidate in American literature at the University of Mississippi. She has taught English for six years in universities and community colleges. For the past 14 months, she has been involved with the Tennessee Higher Education Initiative, a Nashville-based nonprofit that provides for-credit opportunities for college education to incarcerated learners. During that time, she has been teaching composition and literature courses and advocating for the implementation of higher education programs in prisons in Tennessee.

Her current research, writing, and conference presentations focus on critical prison study, a field interested in interrogating the role of the prison in the United States and the violence that its policies do to the minds and bodies of those touched by the prison industrial complex. Her teaching philosophy in the prison classroom and in the free world classroom emphasizes critical pedagogy, a social movement focused on empowering individuals through education. Her goals within the Tennessee Higher Education Initiative include expanding programing into Chattanooga and the surrounding rural areas.

Victoria M. Bryan

Cleveland State Community College