GUIDELINES

THE MISSION OF COLLEGE GUILD IS TO STIMULATE IN PRISONERS AN INTEREST IN LIFELONG LEARNING BY PROVIDING A SELECTION OF FREE NON-TRADITIONAL CORRESPONDENCE COURSES

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

1. Any prisoner in the United States is eligible for College Guild’s free services.

2. College Guild’s readers, Board of Directors and Advisors are volunteers.

3. College Guild’s only ideology is respect for the dignity and potential of all individuals.

4. Courses are a venue for teacher/student relationships, not personal friendships.

5. College Guild protects the anonymity of volunteers and students.

6. College Guild strives to provide quality, professional services to all students

 

GUIDELINES FOR VOLUNTEERS

WELCOME! Many thanks for your interest in College Guild and willingness to donate your time.  Students’ work is reviewed and critiqued by volunteer “readers”, and the organization operates under the leadership of a volunteer Board of Directors. These guidelines are designed to help volunteers fulfill the mission of College Guild in an effective, professional, and safe manner.

PURPOSE: Rather than academic credit, our goal is to encourage thought, creativity, self-esteem, objectivity, and even a sense of humor. The courses are designed to be engaging, challenging, and interactive. Research has shown that when prisoners are given educational opportunities, they are less likely to return to prison – the College Guild motto reflects this fact and our belief that Respect Reduces Recidivism

PROFESSIONALISM/BOUNDARIES: Although College Guild is a volunteer organization, we strive to be professional in terms of tho quality of courses, timely response to students, and the boundaries we set on relationships with students.  It can be an important part of the  learning process to have College Guild volunteers demonstrate appropriate interpersonal boundaries. We want our students to learn how to engage in mutually respectful relationships.

In your work with College Guild you are supporting and encouraging the student in his/her quest for knowledge. You can be friendly, but not a friend or penpal. The only mail between College Guild volunteers and students is that directly related to the courses.  All mail goes through the office, and only first names are used. (You may use a false first name if you wish.)

Do not give out any personal information about yourself or any other person involved with College Guild.  Student responses are confidential.  Do not copy or share their answers to course assignments which may contain personal history or feelings which are directed solely to the reader.  We seek to create for students a safe place for free expression.

 

GUIDELINES FOR READERS

Before you begin your work with College Guild, you will be required to participate in a brief orientation – within a group, individually, or by phone. You may be asked to give the name and phone number of a reference we may contact.

1. Readers will receive a copy of a student’s completed Unit and will go to College Guild’s website to locate the appropriate unit material.  Readers will then write comments for the student, elaborating on certain answers, summarizing strengths and weaknesses, and offering encouragement. Some readers prefer to put all their comments in a letter.  You are not teaching a subject as much as responding to the student’s answers.  Instead of “correcting” answers, you can explain why they are good, original, or appeal to you.  Include rhetorical questions, constructive criticism, or suggestions for different ways to approach a question, but with at least an equal amount of positive feedback. The Unit with your feedback is returned to the student along with the next Unit in the course. We will do our best to give you successive Units from the same student.

2. Do not promote or discuss your own political or religious beliefs, or share your personal history, (e.g. “When I was a teacher / lived in Hawaii / took piano lessons…..”) . You are responding to students’ thoughts, stories, etc. rather than having a dialog.

3. Assume that every student has access to only paper and pencil. Assume that they do not have books available or the ability to request certain titles. Avoid comments about their release, as many of our students are “lifers”.

4. Prejudicial statements against any group (race, religion, sexual orientation) are unacceptable.  However, they are a good chance for a lesson on stereotyping, such as how inaccurate it is to say, “All prisoners are bad.” Excessively graphic sex or violence is not appropriate.  Simply write, “Not appropriate for College Guild” next to such answers, and add a note to alert the office.

5. Request a Unit to read only if you are able to comment and return it WITHIN ONE WEEK. College Guild may be a volunteer organization, but it is still important to maintain professionalism and return Units promptly out of respect for our students. Let the office know your own time limits, and please give advanced notice of upcoming vacations, periods when you will be unavailable, or when a Unit cannot be returned on time.

 

If you are interested in becoming a College Guild volunteer, please complete and send to us a VOLUNTEER AGREEMENT .  The Agreement must be signed and returned before you begin your work with College Guild.  Upon its receipt, you will be contacted.