The Flying University is a prison-education program at UAS that brings university students inside the prison for mutual and collaborative study. Inaugurated in Fall 2012 by Dr. Sol Neely, the program has staged 15 consecutive semesters, in addition to some summer seminars, of intensive college-level study in philosophy, writing, and literature. The moral premise of the Flying University is simple: Every prisoner has a story, yet none of us are reducible to our histories. When we become invested in the stories of our incarcerated neighbors, we become invested in the histories of our communities and are better enabled for repair and restoration.
Over the course of the years, Flying University has also become a reentry resource for formerly incarcerated students who wish to continue education at the university upon release. We strive to build communities inside the prison and on campus to facilitate this success. Since Spring 2018, with generous community support, we have been able to offer select “inside” students opportunity to earn college credit. Moreover, we’ve seen nearly a dozen individuals enroll in classes at UAS after release—many of whom completed their baccalaureate degrees, two of whom are now completing degrees in the UAS Masters of Public Administration program.
In 2016, 360 North created a documentary about The Flying University, which is available for free streaming.