Siena College started an education program in Spring 2010 at Mt. McGregor Correctional Facility under the guidance of the now-deceased Fr. Matt Conlin, who was a beloved figure in the Siena community. He had also been a chaplain at Mt. McGregor for many years and was committed to bringing meaningful programming to the facility. In conjunction with Dr. Linda Richardson, former Vice President for Academic Affairs, Siena began offering credit-bearing courses at Mt. McGregor in Spring 2010. Several years later, Linda hired Emily Patka, an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, to try to build up program infrastructure and make it more sustainable. She succeeded, and was able to raise money to run the program and merge with Hudson Link, a nonprofit that runs college programs in prisons. After Mt. McGregor closed, the program moved to Greene Correctional Facility, where it continues to operate. The former VISTA position is now a permanent academic coordinator position through Hudson Link.
The program at Greene has several components: College, Pre-College, and Workshops.
Students have the opportunity take credit-bearing courses through Siena College, as non-matriculated students. Courses are in a variety of subject areas. The goal is to structure the curriculum in such a way that it fulfills requirements toward an associate’s degree. A longer-term goal is to offer an associate’s degree at Greene!
This is a structured, two-semester program, designed to prepare those with no prior college experience for college-level work. The semesters for precollege go January-August with a week of two break at the end of May/beginning of June. Then next new cohort begins in September and continues until May. Students will take three academic courses: Language Arts, Writing, and Math. Curricula are flexible, with the understanding that the end goal is college readiness in these subject areas. Students must successfully complete the pre-college program unless they have prior college experience.