by Therese Horvat
Special to The Leaven
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — If you have a master’s degree or an MBA, an interest in teaching, and the desire to help people change their lives, has Donnelly College got a deal for you.
The small Catholic college in Kansas City, Kansas, has current openings for adjunct instructor positions in its satellite program at the Lansing Correctional Facility (LCF).
Immediate needs include instructors to teach introduction to business, business law, business IT and mathematics courses.
John Hewitt started out teaching in the associate degree of applied science in business program at LCF and now directs it.
“This is an opportunity for business professionals,” he said, “to share their knowledge and skills with these inmates who are hoping to complete two-year degrees before re-entering the community.”
Hewitt describes these adult learners as diligent and highly motivated. They are anticipating release from prison and are focused on increasing their employability. Their ultimate goal upon re-entry is to secure jobs that will allow them to care for their families and themselves.
The Rand Corporation and other studies report that education in correctional facilities improves inmates’ chances of not returning to prison, he said. Statistics from the Donnelly program bear this out. Following their release from prison, only 2% of inmate participants in the associate degree program at LCF have been reconvicted of a crime and returned to prison.
Adjunct professors teaching in the Donnelly LCF program contribute to these positive outcomes. They share their hands-on experience and real- world skills in the applied science in business program, said Lisa Stoothoff, chief operating officer/dean of Donnelly, who has worked closely with the correctional facility for the past five years.
“We are trying to grow our group of dedicated adjuncts at our Lansing satellite facility,” Stoothoff said.
The correctional facility environment is challenging due to required compliance with Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC) rules and regulations. However, both Hewitt and Stoothoff agree that instructors find teaching at LCF rewarding and the students very inquisitive and impressive.
Hewitt has 40 potential students lined up for courses at LCF this fall. Donnelly offers eight to 10 courses each semester at this site. Inmates come from the maximum/medium-security facility for late afternoon sessions and from the minimum-security facility during the evening. Students generally take two to three courses per semester.
The adjunct instructor positions are part time and are compensated. Qualifications for these positions include a master’s degree in a credentialed area of teaching (such as business administration) or a master’s degree plus 18 credits in a related subject area.
Applicants must also pass the KDOC/KBI background check. Adjunct instructors complete training required by Donnelly and KDOC. They receive support from Hewitt in areas including syllabi development and management of the online learning platform used for attendance, grades, assignments, quizzes and other administrative functions.
To apply for an adjunct instructor position in the Donnelly satellite program at the Lansing Correctional Facility, go online to: www.donnelly.edu/staff/careers.
A total of 371 inmates have taken courses at LCF since Donnelly began offering the program in 2001; 28 Lansing students have earned associate degrees.
Stoothoff says the associate degree offering is well aligned with the college’s mission to serve those who might not otherwise be served. It allows Donnelly and its adjunct instructors to be actively involved in the corporate work of mercy of visiting prisoners.
And most importantly, it gives those inmates a potential new lease on life.