Pitzer Now: Professor Nigel Boyle on the Inside-Out Program

Professor Nigel Boyle talks about how Pitzer has been able to quickly adapt the way courses will be taught this fall. He discusses the Inside-Out program, Pitzer classes that are taught inside a local prison with a mixture of students: Inside (incarcerated individuals) and Out (Pitzer students). The courses have been adapted for the fall with the first-ever Zoom classes allowed inside a prison.


Pitzer, this semester, is adapting to these difficult circumstances we’re in. And a particularly good example of that is what we’re doing with Inside-Out classes. Now, Inside-Out classes, in fact, double-down on face-to-face education. The whole point is to get an equal number of inside students, people, incarcerated students, and outside students in the same room, looking at the whites of one another’s eyes, doing intensive work. And all the research we’ve done on the outcome of these classes, you know, these are immensely powerful, transformative experiences. How the hell do we do all of this with the College, the College going online? Well, again, necessity becomes the mother of invention. Students were in those Inside-Out classes. We have four Inside-Out classes at CRC this semester, and one at another institution.

All of these classes, students will be online with their instructor, but we have this remarkable breakthrough. For the first time, we’re going to be able to have the inside students in the online class, so we’re equipping a Zoom Room at CRC prison, so that the students in these classes will be assembled in the room there interacting with the students and with the instructor who will be Zooming in. And we’re going to use a lot of the facilities and capabilities that Zoom has to build the sorts of connections and the fact that we’ve been working with the faculty on how to build that community, how to build a connection between the two different sets of students. And again, this is not… this is different from the traditional face-to-face way. But we, the faculty, and the students in those classes will effectively be pioneers. We’re pioneering a new way of doing Inside-Out, this most intimate sort of pedagogy via Zoom and the Internet, and I think great things can come with this.