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By Matt Hayes
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  • Department of Global Development
  • Global Development

Rob Scott, a leader in politically engaged education in New York state who has led efforts to establish local and national coalitions for higher education in prison, has joined Cornell’s Department of Global Development as an adjunct assistant professor.

Scott, executive director of the Cornell Prison Education Program (CPEP), focuses his efforts on generating opportunities for people in New York state prisons to attend college. The program now operates in four prisons Upstate — Auburn Correctional Facility, Cayuga Correctional Facility (in Moravia, New York), Five Points Correctional Facility (in Romulus, New York) and Elmira Correctional Facility — and has expanded to serve more than 200 students each year.

 “I’m excited to join the Department of Global Development. The department’s emphasis on reducing inequality and improving peoples’ lives has an obvious resonance with my work bringing higher education into prisons,” Scott said. “I see the department’s education minor as a vehicle for connecting our undergraduate prison volunteers with formal study of critical pedagogy and the struggle for justice in schools.”

Scott says his teaching focuses on the social and cultural foundations of education and the intersection of schools with the struggle for justice and democracy. At Cornell he has taught courses on a range of topics, from educational theory and education policy to sustainability and horticulture. In 2016 he earned the “Champions of Change” prize from the White House for his work with students impacted by the criminal justice system. He is affiliated with Cornell’s Education Minor in CALS’ Department of Global Development and the Minor in Crime, Prisons, Education and Justice in the College of Art & Sciences. Previously he was an adjunct assistant professor of horticulture.

For decades Cornell has a been a national leader in prison education. In 1999, the university approved college courses taught in prisons to be given for credit without charging tuition or fees. Since Scott joined the program in 2013, it has granted more than 100 college degrees.

This story first appeared in the Cornell Chronicle.

Rob Scott

Since 2013, Rob Scott has served as Executive Director of the Cornell Prison Education Program. Under his leadership, the program has expanded to operate in four prisons, serving over 200 incarcerated students each year, and granting over 100 college degrees during Scott's time at Cornell. His teaching focuses on the social and cultural foundations of education and pedagogy in its intersection with the struggle for justice and democracy. He received a Masters degree in Environmental Science in 2006 and a PhD in Educational Policy Studies in 2011 from the University of Illinois .

Faculty profile

Rob Scott

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