Metamorphosis Inside and Out: Transformative Learning at Portland State University

  • Vicki Reitenauer Portland State University
  • Katherine Elaine Draper-Beard Portland State University
  • Noah Schultz Portland State University
Keywords: community-based learning, community engagement, general education, prison education, service learning

Abstract

In this article, the authors (a faculty member and two former students) describe the trajectory that Portland State University has taken over its history to institutionalize transformative learning opportunities within its comprehensive general education program, University Studies. Following a description of the institutional changes that resulted in the community-based, experientially focused courses at the heart of University Studies, the authors explore one particular community partnership involving both a state agency and the national Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program, dedicated to offering transformative experiences in which incarcerated and non-incarcerated students learn together inside correctional facilities. Finally, each author shares a reflective essay about the personal transformation experienced through these Inside-Out courses and the implications of these changes on their lives.

Author Biographies

Vicki Reitenauer, Portland State University

Vicki L. Reitenauer serves on the faculty of the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies department and the University Studies program at Portland State University, specializing in developing and teaching both discipline-specific and general-education courses, including community-based learning experiences; building and sustaining community partnerships; facilitating relational faculty support processes; and co-creating faculty-led assessment practices. She has co-authored numerous works on these topics, including Learning through Serving: A Student Guidebook for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement across Academic Disciplines and Cultural Communities (Stylus, second edition, 2013).

Katherine Elaine Draper-Beard, Portland State University

Katherine Elaine Draper-Beard is an undergraduate student at Portland State University majoring in Liberal Studies. She is a fervent reader, a novice gardener, and an overprotective pet owner. She has participated in the Inside-Out program with Portland State both as a student and a teaching assistant at Columbia River Correctional Institution in northeast Portland. She spends her free time indulging in CandyCrush, assisting documentary film production, and being of maximum service to adolescents in her community who struggle with addiction.

Noah Schultz, Portland State University

Noah Schultz is a social innovator, public speaker, and poet/author who is passionate about bringing services to underprivileged youth. In 2009 he was sentenced to serve 7.5 years under Oregon’s Measure 11. He dedicated this time to personal transformation and education. While incarcerated, he attended his first Inside-Out class through Portland State University and went on to graduate as a double major from Oregon State University. He now works in Portland, Oregon, following his passion to implement change within the juvenile justice system.

References

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The Inside-Out Center. (n.d.). Problem statement. Retrieved from http://www.insideoutcenter.org/about-problem-statement.html.

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University Studies. (n.d.). Metamorphosis: Creating positive futures--Inside Out at MYCF. Portland State University. Retrieved from http://capstone.unst.pdx.edu/courses/metamorphosis-creating-positive-futures-inside-out-at-mycf.

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Published
2018-08-15