Darden PREP (Prison Reentry Education Program)

Resilience Education

Darden PREP (Prison Reentry Education Program) - Resilience Education - MBA Student Organizations & Clubs

Darden PREP (Prison Reentry Education Program)

Elevate Your Darden Experience and Career

Darden residential MBA students have a unique opportunity to make a meaningful impact by volunteering to teach business courses at select correctional facilities in the state of Virginia. By sharing their expertise and knowledge, they can empower incarcerated individuals with valuable skills and knowledge that may open doors to new opportunities upon their release. Opting for a business school that integrates student-led teaching initiatives within correctional environments can significantly enhance the value of your educational experience. Such an approach provides you, the student, with a unique opportunity to develop your leadership, communication, and teaching skills. By choosing a business school that encourages involvement in prison education, you are choosing an enriched learning journey that not only empowers incarcerated individuals but also transforms you into a well-rounded, socially conscious professional prepared to make a positive impact in the global business landscape.

I truly believe that every MBA student should have the opportunity to participate as an instructor for Resilience Education. This program gives future business leaders the opportunity to engage with a population that is often kept out of sight and out of mind. The depth of rigor and consistent engagement that my students brought to class motivated me to become a better teacher and leader.

Wade Clement
(MBA '23)

Program Details

This initiative creates a twofold effect: it positively influences the career prospects of incarcerated learners and transforms volunteer MBA students into future business leaders with a fundamentally altered perspective on individuals with prior incarceration experiences and their integration into employment processes. 

  • How We Teach

    Aligned with all Darden courses, MBA student instructors employ the case method to teach Darden PREP courses, thereby involving incarcerated individuals in active learning through the presentation of real-life scenarios for analysis and discussion. This approach nurtures critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and empathy within the distinctive context of correctional facilities.

  • Who Teaches

    MBA student instructors work in self-managed teaching teams, cultivating invaluable skills in leadership, teamwork, and adaptability essential for their professional journey ahead.

  • Who We Teach

    We educate driven individuals who are currently incarcerated. Our learners undergo a comprehensive application and interview procedure, with eligibility criteria including maintaining a positive facility record and possessing a high school diploma or GED. 

  • What We Teach

    Entrepreneurship (year-long course): This course is 3 undergraduate credits offered through UVA's School of Continuing and Professional Studies and equips incarcerated learners with the knowledge required to evaluate and integrate an entrepreneurial mindset into diverse career trajectories. This course includes case studies on concepts such as - managing distribution channels, financing a business, overcoming leadership challenges, and more! 

    Foundations in Business (semester-long): This course is 1.5 undergraduate credits offered through UVA's School of Continuing and Professional Studies and focuses on next-level entrepreneurial thinking and leadership skills. Incarcerated learners will learn about a range of topics from cash flow to negotiations, interviewing skills to marketing techniques, and more.

    Financial Capability (semester-long): This course is 1.5 undergraduate credits offered through UVA's School of Continuing and Professional Studies. Financial literacy is key to financial well-being. Incarcerated learners will learn key financial terms, concepts, and tools to make sound financial decisions for themselves, their family and/or their future venture. 

    By the conclusion of every semester, our incarcerated learners must complete a final assignment and examination that will demonstrate their acquired knowledge. Apart from preparing the course materials and delivering instruction, MBA instructors play a significant role in evaluating and grading these final deliverables. Depending on the requirements and needs of the program, supplementary responsibilities might also be assigned.

  • Where and When We Teach

    MBA student instructors conduct classes across three correctional facilities in Virginia - Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women, Buckingham Correctional Center, and Dillwyn Correctional Center. Classes inside our three facilities are currently scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday evenings, running from 5:30 to 7:30, and align with the University of Virginia’s Academic Calendar.

Credits for MBA Student Instructors 

MBA student instructors teaching for Darden PREP will be awarded 1.5 credit hours for their efforts. 

How to Apply

We encourage incoming second-year MBAs who are interested in the program to attend the program Interest and Information session, usually conducted during Q4. Details about this session will be posted several weeks prior. If you are unable to attend, please contact the Program Coordinator (contact details below) to request additional information.

The application period for the Darden MBA Class of 2025 is expected to commence in April 2024 (subject to possible changes).

Contact Us

If you have questions about the program or need more information, please contact the Darden PREP Coordinator, Annah Nieman.

MBA instructor teaching at Dillwyn Correctional Facility.
Dr. Tierney Fairchild speaking at Darden PREP graduation.

Thank you for caring enough to teach us these valuable skills. What you’re doing is breaking generational cycles of poverty by offering us these courses. I appreciate you.

Buckingham Foundations in Business Learner

Resilience Education at Darden

Resilience Education, a non-profit co-founded by Greg B. Fairchild, Isidore Horween Research Professor of Business Administration, Associate Dean for Washington, D.C., Area Initiatives and Academic Director of Public Policy and Entrepreneurship and Dean and CEO of UVA | Northern Virginia and Tierney Fairchild (MBA ’93) in 2013, pioneered their initiative at Darden by bringing business education to incarcerated learners, solidifying Darden’s position as a leader among business schools adopting this practice. Initially launched with a modest group of four MBA students, Darden PREP has evolved into a model program with an average of 50 MBAs applying each year, and growing. Its success has spurred collaborations between Resilience Education and other top business schools across the United States such as Columbia Business School and Wharton School of Business, reflecting Darden's enduring influence in shaping innovative opportunities for MBA students.

Resilience Education & Darden PREP Milestones

  • 2011 - Piloted Entrepreneurship curriculum at Dillwyn Correctional Center with 4 MBA instructors and 17 incarcerated learners.
  • 2012 - The program expanded to Fluvanna Correctional Center with 10 MBA instructors
  • 2013 - Resilience Education was formed and Dr. Tierney Fairchild was appointed the Executive Director, along with two additional courses were added: Foundations in Business and Financial Capability.
  • 2018 - MBA interest increased exponentially, resulting in a 625% increase of MBA instructors from 2011-2018. By the end of 2018, there was a 738% increase in incarcerated learner graduates since the program first piloted in 2011. The Virginia Department of Corrections reported a 3-year recidivism rate of 7% for Darden PREP graduates in 2018.
  • 2019 - Darden PREP expanded to its third facility, Buckingham Correctional Center.
  • 2022 - The MBAs and incarcerated learners entered into their first normal academic year after Covid-19. The incarcerated learners started receiving course credit through the University of Virginia’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies, with our largest group of MBA instructors (48) and incarcerated graduates (93). Additionally, in 2022, the Resilient Professional Community (RPC) was launched with a signature mentoring program and employer partners, in which several of our alumni Darden PREP instructors mentor and teach on the online platform.

The Darden/Resilience Education course has given me more than just knowledge. With this course, I had the opportunity to engage in the case studies. So I gained more than knowledge from this course, I gained experience.

Former Darden PREP Incarcerated Learner

Other Opportunities with Resilience Education

Resilient Professional Community 

Many Darden MBAs continue to work with Resilience Education by participating as allies on the Resilient Professional Community, a digital platform for formerly incarcerated individuals looking to take the next step in their careers. Darden MBAs have served as mentors, hosted career exploration Q & As, and much more. 

Reach out to [email protected] if you're interested in learning more!