2020 National Conference on Higher Education in Prison

2020 National Conference on Higher Education in Prison

The 2020 NCHEP scheduled for November 12–15, 2020 in Denver, Colorado is postponed.

visit the NChep archiveread the full message
about postponing

The 2020 NCHEP in Denver is postponed.

The Alliance is committed to providing a space where people can discuss relevant issues, share resources and support one another during this difficult time. Yet, given the health risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic and the uncertainty around the safety of traveling and gathering in large groups, we concluded that we have no choice but to postpone the event until a date when it is safe to gather in large groups. The Alliance staff and 10th Annual NCHEP Planning Committee will restart our planning efforts as soon as we can confidently determine a new date for the event. Read the full announcement here.

To stay updated about NCHEP 2020, check in with us here or on Facebook @NCHEP2020 and Twitter @NCHEP2020.

We will continue to add information to this page as it becomes available.

timeline for the 2020 conference:

  • April, 2020: Conference Theme and Call for Proposals Announced
  • May, 2020: Proposals for Presentations Due
  • June, 2020: Proposals for Presentations Due (submitters who are currently incarcerated)
  • June, 2020: 10th Annual NCHEP is Postponed
  • August, 2020: Notification of Acceptances/Rejections of Proposals
  • Fall 2020: Virtual Events (TBD) 

2020 NCHEP Overview

FAQ: NCHEP Postponment

Q: What does it mean that the National Conference on Higher Education in Prison is postponed and not cancelled? 

A: The Alliance staff and 10th Annual NCHEP Planning Committee will restart our planning efforts as soon as we determine we can confidently select a new date for the event. We are actively monitoring the national and State of Colorado’s response to COVID-19 and will follow official guidelines around large events and travel.

Q: How will I know when the conference will be rescheduled? 

A: Right now we have not set a date for the 10th Annual NCHEP. As soon as we do, we will make an announcement on the Alliance's website, through our newsletter and via our social media channels. We will make the announcement well in advance, so that participants have adequate time to make travel arrangements and apply for financial support. If you have additional questions, you can email nchep@higheredinprison.org.

Q: Will other activities be hosted in place of the November 2020 conference? 

A: We are committed to ensuring the 10th Annual NCHEP is hosted in-person. However, the Alliance staff and 2020 NCHEP Planning Committee are working to determine what type of virtual activities we might be able to host in the Fall. But, virtual activities will not replace the in-person conference and the virtual events will not be considered a "national conference". 

Q: I've submitted a proposal, what will happen to it? 

A: All submissions will be reviewed by external reviewers selected by the 2020 NCHEP Planning Committee. Feedback on all submissions will be sent no later than August 3, 2020, as to whether or not they have been accepted to present at the conference. All accepted submissions will be invited to participate in the event when it takes place as an in-person conference. 

Q: Has the timeline for submission reviews changed? 

A: Yes, the timeline for returning submission reviews has been pushed back to August 3, 2020, which allows reviewers the ability to consider submissions from all participants (currently incarcerated and non-currently incarcerated participants) at the same time. 

Q: Is June 30, 2020 still the submission deadline for currently incarcerated participants? 

A: Yes, this is still the deadline. All submissions will be reviewed by the external reviewers selected by the 2020 NCHEP Planning Committee. The Alliance will notify all submitters no later than August 3, 2020, as to whether or not they have been accepted to present at the conference. All accepted submissions will be invited to participate at the in-person conference (10th annual NCHEP) when it takes place. 

Q: What types of virtual events will take place in the Fall? 

A: The Alliance is committed to hosting the National Conference on Higher Education in Prison in-person, when it is safe to do so. There will not be a virtual conference hosted in the Fall. The Alliance staff and board and smaller task force of participants from the 2020 NCHEP planning committee are collaborating on ideas for events/sessions to host in the Fall. To help determine the types of virtual events hosted in the Fall, please take this brief survey

Q: How do I become a sponsor of the 10th Annual NCHEP or make a donation to help the Alliance at this time?

A: The Alliance for Higher Education in Prison is working to advance quality in the field of higher education in prison in order to ensure that students receive the social, emotional and academic support systems that they need to thrive. Now more than ever, students need access to dependable information from people they trust. And educators are showing up, finding new ways to connect with students, continuing to deliver educational programming and advocating for students’ health and safety.  

Help the Alliance strengthen the network of higher education in prison programs in order to meet the changing needs of students. 

  1. Go here to donate and help keep our network strong. 
  2. Become a sponsor of the 10th Annual NCHEP by emailing nchep@higheredinprison.org

Submit a Proposal

The 2020 NCHEP Planning Committee is pleased to announce the Call for Proposals for the 2020 National Conference on Higher Education in Prison (NCHEP). This year’s theme is Amplifying Access, which is on our minds more than ever as we collectively face unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We seek proposals that take up this theme in aspirational, transformational, disruptive and productive ways. “Amplifying Access” expresses a call to action to center issues of accessibility and equity across the field of higher education in prison. Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we especially invite presentations that address any of the many access-related challenges for the higher education in prison community that we already have or will continue to face (e.g., partnerships, transition resourcing or sustaining funding). We also see “Amplifying Access” as a challenge to the field to think in aspirational ways about our work. It is an invitation to embrace the possibilities and challenges presented to our work as it gains popular support, to operate from an abundance rather than a scarcity mindset, and to take the field in directions not yet traveled and through barriers not yet traversed. It is an invitation for growth and innovation.

The Alliance for Higher Education in Prison and the 2020 NCHEP Planning Committee is committed to protecting the health of national conference participants and as such is actively monitoring the national and State of Colorado’s response to COVID-19. At this time, we are moving forward with our planning efforts for this year’s conference. However, if large gatherings are still considered a public health risk in the fall of 2020, we will either postpone the conference or consider an alternative format that would prioritize people’s health and safety. If the conference is postponed, all accepted proposals from the earlier date would remain invited to participate at the later date.

Submission Process Timeline

  • Call for Proposals Announced: April 6, 2020
  • Submission Deadline: May 15, 2020
  • Currently Incarcerated Submission Deadline: June 30, 2020
  • Submission Review Process: May 18 - May 29, 2020 (July 1 - July 15: Currently incarcerated submitters)
  • Accept/Decline Announcements Sent: June 15, 2020 (July 15: Currently incarcerated submitters)


Conference Registration

Registration for the 2020 National Conference on Higher Education in Prison will open on June 15, 2020.

Conference Schedule

The conference schedule will be posted here.

Financial Aid (and Eligibility)

The Alliance for Higher Education in Prison is committed to supporting equal access to the National Conference on Higher Education in Prison (NCHEP) regardless of socioeconomic status. We are pleased to offer one-time financial aid packages to support attendance to the NCHEP.

Anyone is eligible to apply for financial aid, but the Alliance for Higher Education in Prison Advisory Board will prioritize participants who are formerly incarcerated and then conference presenters. Funds are limited and it has been our past experience that it is not possible to fulfill all requests. The 2020 financial aid process will open on June 15, 2020 and closes when funds are depleted or on September 1, 2020. Financial Aid Award notifications will be sent on July 15, August 15 and September 15 (as long as funds remain). Applicants will be notified of awards or declines via email.

There are three types of financial aid available:  
  1. Registration Fee Waiver: A Registration Fee Waiver will cover the cost of registration (including meals provided as part of the conference). With this option, recipients will still pay the cost of travel, accommodations and any other expenses related to conference attendance.
  2. Travel and/or Hotel Accommodations Aid Only: Travel and/or Accommodations Aid will support the cost of travel and/or hotel accommodations. With this option, recipients will pay for all other conference attendance costs, including registration and incidentals. This option is best for participants who are able to cover some attendance costs (travel and/or hotel accommodations).
  3. Full Financial Aid: A Full Financial Aid package will cover all expenses related to attendance at the 2020 NCHEP, including conference registration (including meals), flight, accommodations and all reimbursable incidentals.

Learn more about the financial aid process, including eligible and non-eligible expenses, the reimbursement process and how travel and hotel accommodations are arranged.


Poster Presentation Guidelines

There are three important points to note if you are presenting a poster at this year's conference:

  1. Poster exhibitors are invited to submit your files for printing through our partnership with a local printer in order to have their printing costs covered by the Alliance.
  2. We offer templates to help you with your poster in PDF, MS PowerPoint, and MS Word (follow the link below).
  3. Exhibitors and poster presenters should review the full guidelines in advance of preparing your presentation (follow the link below).

View the full guidelines and print instructions, and access the poster design templates here.

Hotel Information

Denver Marriott Tech Center
4900 S Syracuse St.
Denver, CO 80237

(303) 779-1100


Hotel reservations in the conference block of rooms (and at the conference room rate $159/night) will be available through the conference registration portal (open June 15, 2020).

Transportation Options

Transportation info will be posted here.

Planning Committee

Lisa J. AkheituameDepartment Chair, Alvin Community College 

Lisa earned a Ph.D. in Urban Higher Education from Jackson State University, an MBA from Texas Woman's University and a bachelor’s degree from Malone University. She currently serves as Department Chair at Alvin Community College and assists with the operation of several of the degree programs serviced through a partnership with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Tahirih Anthony (Co-chair), Legislative Director, New York State Senate 

Tahirih primarily works on Criminal Justice reform issues along with other issues that New York State faces. She has had the opportunity to visit both state and local correctional facilities. She is passionate about increasing higher education in prison, ending solitary confinement, re-entry, and children impacted by incarceration.

James BullingtonCoordinator, Prison College Program, Adams State University

Jim has worked around criminal justice issues for over 28 years and currently coordinates the Adams State University Prison College Program. He also evaluated the CYOPP/CYOPT programs for the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) and acted as the college liaison between the CDOC and other colleges involved in the programs.


Kathryn L. Green, Professor of History, Mississippi Valley State University

Kathryn has been working on prison issues for several decades in her capacity as an educator, pro bono legal assistant for some incarcerated citizens in the federal prison system, in historical research on convict labor, and teaching in the College to PrisonPipeline program in Mississippi.

 Matthew Holman (Co-chair), University of Utah Prison Education Project

Matt is a graduate of the University of Utah and researcher with the Utah Prison Education Project. He works full-time as a digital marketer and technologist, while also actively participating in justice reform as a speaker and advocate. Formerly incarcerated, he seeks to make education available to people everywhere.

Tiffany Jones, Senior Director of Higher Education Policy, The Education Trust

Tiffany directs the higher education policy team at The Education Trust, where she promotes legislation to improve access, affordability, and success for low-income students and students of color. She has published for public, policy, and academic audiences her recommendations on how higher education policy and practices impact college success for low-income students and students of color.

Deanna Kabler, North Carolina Field Minister Program, College at Southeastern

Deanna is the Student Success Coordinator for Prison Programs at the College at Southeastern in Wake Forest, NC. She has her MA in Professional Writing and is currently working on her EdD with a focus on higher education in prison. She also teaches Composition for Prison Programs.

Annie Le, Ph.D. Candidate, University of California, Los Angeles

Annie studies Cambodian youth gangs and race in a schooling context. She is involved in various prison education initiatives inside adult and juvenile correctional facilities, both nationally and internationally. Annie received her Master’s in Higher Education from NYU and Bachelor of Arts in Feminist Studies from UC Santa Cruz.

Aris Mangasarian, University of Southern California's Prison Education Project

Aris is an addiction counselor, certified by the Addiction Counselor Certification Board of California, and a candidate for a degree in psychology from the University of Southern California. Aris earned his GED while incarcerated and can personally testify to the value of prison education and continuing education after prison.

Majid Mohammad, Prison to PhD

Majid was able to pursue higher education and ultimately earn an associate degree during his incarceration. Currently, he is working toward his master’s degree in Engineering Physics at the Colorado School of Mines. Since early 2018, he has worked with Prison to PhD., a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the transition oft hose incarcerated into higher education.

Eric Pereira, New Jersey Scholarship and Transformative Education in Prison Consortium (NJ-STEP); Rutgers University, New Brunswick

Eric is an alumnus of Rutgers University, graduated through the Mountainview Program. As part of a community of formerly incarcerated individuals, improving higher education is of the utmost priority.

Maggie Shelledy, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Education Justice Project, Freedom to Learn Illinois

Maggie is an assistant professor of Writing and Language Studies at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Her research on higher education in prison has been published in the journal Enculturation and the collection of Critical Perspectives on Teaching in Prison: Students and Instructors on Pedagogy Behind the Wall (2018). 


Brittany C. Riggins, Student Success Navigator, Jackson College (Corrections Education Program)

Brittany works with college students throughout the state of Michigan to help them earn associate degrees. Her work include serving as a liaison for students between, staff, faculty, and sponsors. She also serves on committees for organizing educational events.

Dameon Stackhouse, The New Jersey Autism Center of Excellence, Rutgers University

Dameon is an alumnus of the Rutgers University, Mountainview Community (MVC) of New Brunswick. He will obtain his master’s in Social Work in May of 2020. He is a youth advocate that believes that when we change the trajectory of our kids’ lives, it changes the trajectory of the community’s life. 


Rachel Zolensky, Director of Student Success and Re-Entry Services, Tennessee Higher Education in Prison Initiative (THEI)

Rachel worked to reduce barriers to employment for people with conviction histories and as a college counselor for first-generation college students, and she organized for racial justice initiatives in Nashville and the broader South before joining the THEI team. She earned her master’s degree in Social Entrepreneurship from the USC MarshallSchool of Business in 2015.