MLK Day: Breakout Sessions

  Various Locations Across Campus

The MLK Day Breakouts will provide participants with a deeper understanding of topics surrounding our MLK Day Theme in a less formal, more interactive setting.

Incarceration and the Family
Dr. Julia Wilson
Location: McGlothlin-Street 102

Many of us have heard the familiar saying, “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.” And many of us may agree with its sentiments. Yet it’s not only prisoners who “do the time” but their families and communities as well. According to Child Trends, almost seven percent (or five million) American children have had a parent who was imprisoned at one time; two percent currently have an incarcerated parent. What price do these children pay for their parent’s imprisonment? What happens to the partners of the prisoners? Their parents? Their siblings? In this session, Dr. Julia Wilson will lead an interactive discussion on the toll mass incarceration takes on children, families, and communities.

Dr. Wilson, who joined the faculty of Emory & Henry in 2005, earned her B.S. in mathematics at the University of Mississippi and her M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Virginia. She teaches a wide variety of courses, including sociology of the family; race, class, gender, and sexuality; methods of social research; and social theory. Her most recent work examines the intersection between gender, work and family life.

Dr. Wilson’s most recent publication is “The Mommy Track vs. Having It All: The Reality of the Modern Workplace” in You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby: Women, Politics, and Popular Culture, edited by Lilly Goren (University of Kentucky Press, 2009). Her work also has been published in Sociology of Education, Michigan Journal of Gender and the Law, and Family Relations, and she is a frequent presenter at both the American Sociological Association and the Southern Sociological Society. She is currently collaborating with Dr. Celeste Gaia (Psychology) on “Who Cares? The Tension Between Motherhood and Paid Work Among Rural Employed Women,” a qualitative project designed to study the strategies rural women use to cope with the competing demands of work and family life. Her dissertation examined the role that religion plays in shaping gender negotiation in the early years of marriage; she anticipates publication of much of that work within the next year.

She actively engages students in undergraduate research and, each spring, takes students to the Southern Sociological Society Annual Meeting to present the results of their own work. Students in Dr. Wilson’s classes also serve and learn from the local community in projects that range from compiling oral histories of local Hispanic immigrants to providing volunteer support for a local non-profit agency dedicated to helping children who have been abused. Dr. Wilson is an active scholar in her own right; Her other research interests include feminist theory, family policy, and the sociology of religion. Prior to becoming a sociologist, Dr. Wilson worked as a health care policy analyst for the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and as a secondary mathematics instructor.


How Hiring Ex-cons: Tapping into the Resources
Greg Arnold
Location: Wiley Auditorium

Greg Arnold will present information on a variety of resources that are available to felons who are preparing to return to society, especially those offered by the VA CARES program within the Virginia prison system including employment and job training, educational availability, financial assistance, food and clothing assistance, and housing options.

Mr. Arnold holds a Bachelor's degree in Human Services/Psychology from Old Dominion University. He is a Case Manager/Employment Specialist for the VA CARES program, where he facilitates the “Just Hire One” program at the Bland Correctional Facility. He has also worked with Highlands Community Services “Project Dads” program.

His current position involves working within the prison setting to deliver training that will facilitate the transition of inmates into society. He assists ex-convicts in securing resources and overcoming barriers as they are released from prison. He conducts on-site pre-release educational workshops with prisoners within the Virginia State Corrections Department using the State approved workshop as provided by Virginia CARES. He determines initial needs of ex-prisoners, making referrals to other agencies for needs such as medical, legal, vocational rehabilitation, and substance abuse services. He counsels clients on career planning, job seeking skills, family expectations, reintegration and other topics that may prove to be barriers to a successful re-entry and restoration of their civil rights.


Campus Within Walls: College Education in Prison
Dr. Anne Hayes
Board of Visitors Lounge

Approximately 13,000 people were released from Virginia prisons last year. How can higher education help to prepare these men and women to successfully reenter our communities? Southside Virginia Community College's Campus Within Walls provides students at Lunenburg Correctional Center with the opportunity to attain an associate’s degree in General Education or an Information Systems Technology certificate while incarcerated. Presentation participants will watch a clip from a video interview of incarcerated students and will discuss key topics including: prison as a “constraining” and “freeing” learning context and college education and recidivism.

Dr. Anne Hayes joined Southside Virginia Community College in January 2013 as the Dean of Institutional Effectiveness and Coordinator of the Campus Within Walls program. Before her work at SVCC, Dr. Hayes was a doctoral fellow at the University of Virginia and graduated with her Ph.D. in Education in 2012. Her dissertation, a narrative ethnography about incarcerated college students, focused on the effects of postsecondary education and mentoring/learning communities in prison. She has been working in Virginia prisons over 7 years. Dr. Hayes also holds a B.A. in Religion and Environmental Studies from Emory University and a M.A. from University of Colorado at Boulder in Religious Studies, and she has taught with Southside Virginia Community College, the University of Colorado, and the University of Virginia. Dr. Hayes is a native of Halifax County, Virginia.


Prisoner of Patient: Incarceration of the Mentally Ill
Dr. Chris Qualls
Hermesian Room

It is estimated that at least half of all incarcerated individuals in the United States have a mental illness. This session will discuss various reasons behind this high rate of imprisonment of mentally ill persons and ways to address this serious problem.

R. Christopher Qualls, Ph.D. is a Professor of Psychology at Emory & Henry College (Virginia) and serves as the institution’s Pre-Health Director. He is also a Consulting Psychologist for Mount Rogers Community Services Board, a regional mental health agency. His M.S. and Ph.D. are in Clinical Psychology from the University of Memphis. He completed his predoctoral internship at the Medical College of Georgia and his post-doctorate residency at the Southwest Virginia Child Development Clinic. Dr. Qualls also received a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Abilene Christian University and a Bachelor’s degree from David Lipscomb College. Dr. Qualls’ current research involves investigating the relationship among childhood disciplinary practices, attachments in childhood, and academic dishonesty among college students.


The Nation of Islam in American Prison Life
Dr. Adam Wells
Memorial Chapel Sanctuary

The Nation of Islam plays a complex role in black prison populations. It offers both a religious focus, which helps inmates cope with the stresses of prison life, and protection against the effects of systemic racism. This session will examine the origin of the Nation of Islam and its continuing presence in American prisons.

Dr. Wells is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Emory & Henry College. He received his PhD from the University of Virginia in Comparative Scripture, Interpretation and Practice. His work focuses on philosophical traditions in Christianity, Judaism and Islam.


History Matters: Disproportionate Minority Contact in the Criminal Justice System
Nicolle Parsons-Pollard, Ph.D.
McGlothlin-Street 302

This presentation focuses on disproportionate minority contact in the criminal justice system in the United States while exploring the influence of history. In particular, the presentation will focus on recent acts of violence involving police and minorities to illustrate the disparate impact on communities of color through the lenses of unconscious bias and white privilege.

Nicolle Parsons-Pollard is an associate professor in the criminal justice program at Virginia State University (VSU) and Assistant Vice Provost for Academic Operations. Dr. Parsons-Pollard is also a graduate of the 2014-2015 American Council on Education (ACE) Fellows Program. Currently, her research interests include disproportionate minority contact (DMC) and program evaluation. She is the co-organizer of the only conference in Virginia on DMC and published an edited volume Disproportionate Minority Contact Current Issues and Policies and a number of other scholarly articles. She also continues her work with a host of local agencies and evaluates numerous juvenile and adult programs as well as provides training on evidence-based practices for city and state employees including law enforcement.


Biased Based Policing and the Community
Corey Burchett
McGlothlin Center for the Arts Black Box Theatre

The issue of biased based policing has created a severe controversy between law enforcement and the communities in which they serve. Officer Burchett will assist participants in understanding the concept and factors contributing to biased based policing and discuss whether biased based policing is a perception or reality.

Officer Corey L. Burchett graduated from Emory & Henry College in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in both Psychology and Sociology. He went on to obtain a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from Augusta State University in 2012 and has been employed with the Roanoke City Police Department since 2013. Officer Burchett resides in Salem, VA with his wife, Jenny (also and E & H alumni), and their son, Luke..


Lyceum Credit