2022 NCHEP: What's Next? Higher Education in Prison and Its Future(s)

Call for Submissions for the 12th Annual National Conference on Higher Education in Prison - Submission Portal Closed on May 23, 2022.

The 2022 NCHEP Planning Team is pleased to announce the Call for Submissions for the 12th National Conference on Higher Education in Prison, which will be held as a virtual event (October 11-14, 2022).


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2022 NCHEP Call for Submissions

The 12th NCHEP theme, decided in collaboration with the community, is What’s Next? Higher Education in Prison and Its Future(s). With this question, the 12th NCHEP welcomes submissions that critically envision the future(s) of the field, aware that a leap towards what is yet to come cannot be imagined without a reckoning of how the past has affected the present. The global pandemic has endangered and further isolated the lives of those who are currently incarcerated, also redefining the role of technology and surveillance in the carceral classroom. Social and racial oppression continue to plague the texture of North American life. International conflict reminds us of the existence and deadly ramifications of imperialist power. The effects of environmental disaster cannot be further ignored. 

Among these struggles, the simple question What’s Next? takes into account the many perspectives, hopes, and agendas that exist within the growing field of higher education in prison. Alongside the ideas that this theme promises to produce, we might collectively ask: Is prison abolition the goal to achieve? And if yes, how is higher education in prison advancing this mission? As Pell has been reinstated, how is the field focusing on defining “quality education” in the carceral setting, on the creation and growth of programs, and on guiding reentry efforts? Also: How can we ensure that the voices of formerly incarcerated students will be placed in, and adequately trained for, leadership positions? Are programs committed to support their students after release in their pursuit of housing, employment, and on-campus education? 

Different interests currently shape the field and provide context for its debates: while some of them seem irreconcilable, they do account for the various approaches to teaching and learning, to theory and practice, and  to political analysis in the field. We envision the 2022 NCHEP as a space for collective reflection, dialogue, and action – one that does not  not shy away from the conversations and efforts necessary to build a better future for currently and formerly incarcerated students and their access to higher education.

Those who are currently incarcerated will be able to participate in the 12th NCHEP via a virtual connection which can be arranged for any of the presentation types. Additionally, they will be able to send a pre-recorded presentation, or appoint a delegate who will read their work.

Currently incarcerated scholars can submit through the Submission Portal (open: April 14, 2022/closing: May 23) including with the support of a delegate, or via mail to the following address: Alliance for Higher Education in Prison, Attn: NCHEP Submission, 1801 N. Broadway, Room 417, Denver, CO 80202

Submission Process Timeline

  • Call for Submissions Announced: April 14, 2022
  • Submission Portal Opens: April 14, 2022 (9amPT/12pmET)
  • Submission Deadline: May 23, 2022 (9pmPT/12amET)
  • Submission Review Process: begins: May 24, 2022
  • Accept/Decline Letters Sent: by July 29, 2022

Review Process and Guidelines

All submissions will be reviewed by an Alliance team member to ensure that all requirements are met and proposals not meeting the requirements will be returned to the submitter for updates. All complete submissions will be reviewed by at least two volunteer reviewers from the higher education in prison community. Reviewers will engage in an open-review process, which means that reviewers will know the identity of the submitter(s) and submitter(s) will know the identity of the reviewers. The decision to engage an open-review process is part of an effort to bring more transparency and equity to this submission process. The full review process and Review Rubric can be reviewed here.

Presentation Formats and Submission Guidelines

Individual Paper

Format Details

Individual submitters will present their formal paper in a panel designed by the NCHEP Planning Team. They will be available for questions by the attendees, moderated by the panel’s moderator (who will be assigned by the conference organizers to each session). 

Length: 60 minutes, on Zoom.

Participants: Individual submitters will be paired with two other presenters and a moderator to form a panel.  


During Individual Papers Sessions, submitters will have the opportunity to present an individual paper followed by a discussion with attendees. These sessions are formed by the conference organizers out of individually-submitted papers. Additionally, the organizers will assign to each session a moderator who keeps time and facilitates the structure of the discussion. During the 12th NCHEP, these sessions will feature a maximum of three presenters, each of whom will be given 10-15 minutes to illustrate their research. Presenters can use PowerPoint slideshows during the session. 

Submission Requirements: 

  1. Name and contact information of the presenter; 
  2. Title of the paper; and
  3. Overview of the paper’s theme (500 words max.): please detail the main argument of your work, together with the methods and materials you will use in order to engage the audience. 

Open Conversations

Format Details

Discussants of a pre-formed Open Conversation will be allotted five minutes to present their opinions on the selected topic (not aided by any visuals or PowerPoint presentations), followed by five minutes to offer their questions to the attendees. 

Length: 60 minutes, on Zoom.

Participants: Three discussants and one moderator (four total participants).  


The National Conference will accept pre-formed Open Conversations on significant subjects related to higher education in prison. If you wish to submit an Open Conversation together with your colleagues, please specify the title of your proposal, the names and contact information of the three discussants, and indicate who will act as your moderator (in addition to the three discussants). Open Conversation participants will not present a formal academic paper: instead, they should be ready to share their informed opinions and knowledge on the topic selected, and to nourish further exchanges with the other discussants and the audience through a series of thought-provoking questions. For the submission of a discussion of a project or paper on a topic not listed below, please review the Panel Discussion and/or Individual Paper submission guidelines. 

The National Conference is offering the following Open Conversation themes (each submission should select one of the topics below): 

  • Abolitionist Teaching and Antiracist Pedagogy; 
  • COVID-19: Lessons and Challenges; 
  • Pre-entry and Reentry;
  • Prison Abolition; 
  • Technology and Surveillance in the Carceral Classroom; 
  • Trauma-informed Pedagogy; or
  • White Supremacy and Higher Education. 

Submission Requirements: 

  1. Names and contact information of the Open Conversation participants (three discussants and one moderator); 
  2. Selected topic;
  3. Title of the Open Conversation discussion; 
  4. 200-word overview illustrating the way the Open Conversation will approach the topic; and
  5. Five questions that will circulate among the discussants and the audience.  

Panel Discussion

Format Details

Participants of a pre-formed Panel Discussion will present their formal paper, project, or work-in-progress and will be available for questions by the attendees, facilitated by the predetermined panel’s moderator. 

Length: 60 minutes, on Zoom.

Participants: No more than three presenters and one moderator.  


The annual National Conference on Higher Education in Prison offers participants the opportunity to submit a pre-formed Panel Discussion, where no more than three participants will be able to read their formal papers of 10-15 minutes (2000-2500 words) or present a project as set by the moderator, followed by Q&A. The presenters’ papers or projects should revolve around a common issue (ideally resonant with the conference’s theme and its implications), and the submission must include a moderator who will introduce the presenters, facilitate discussion, and ask questions. Presenters can use PowerPoint slideshows during the Panel Discussion. For the submission of an Individual Paper (to be paired on a panel by the NCHEP Planning Team), please review the Individual Paper Submission guidelines. 

Submission Requirements: 

  1. Name and contact information of the presenters (up to three) and the moderator; 
  2. Title of the Panel Discussion; and
  3. Overview of the Panel’s theme (500 words max.). Please detail the titles of each paper or project(s), and the methods and materials you will use in order to engage the audience. 
The Submission Portal Closed on May 23, 2022


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