15:15 PM

Art exhibition highlights UHCL’s 50-year commitment to educating incarcerated students

Written by: Lauren Sawyer
art gallery-UHCL-photo

Since University of Houston- Clear Lake opened its doors nearly 50 years ago, it has demonstrated a commitment to making higher education available to everyone, including those in the criminal justice system. In celebration of the College of Human Sciences and HumanitiesTransforming Lives by Degrees Program,’ the Art Gallery is presenting a retrospective of the history, evolution and important milestones of the university’s involvement with prison reform through education. Associate Professor of Art History Beth Merfish said it has always been among UH-Clear Lake’s primary missions to be involved with prison education reform.

“TLD is at the heart of the work of a public university. That is, to make higher education accessible to all, and to provide transformational educational experiences,” Merfish said. “These exhibitions will allow visitors and members of the university community to engage with the program, and the issues that intersect with it.”

Merfish said UHCL’s faculty and staff have been essential for a successful TLD program for 50 years, and the TLD art exhibition will be a video highlighting that success.

“We have a dedicated faculty and staff who have persevered despite challenges,” she said. “We are fortunate to have the support of  our Dean of the College of Human Sciences and Humanities,  Glenn Sanford, and our university administrators. We also have incredible students.”

Merfish added that UHCL’s vision for expansion into other prisons to educate more incarcerated people is being discussed. 

“We currently offer the only graduate degree available to incarcerated students in Texas. In addition to the Master of Arts in Humanities, we offer the Bachelor of Arts in Humanities and the Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Sciences,” she said.

For more information about UHCL’s TLD initiatives visit, www.uhcl.edu/human-sciences-humanities/centers-initiatives/academics-for-offenders. For more information about upcoming exhibitions in UHCL’s Art Gallery visit, www.uhcl.edu/art-gallery/