By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley) – Cal State San Bernardino professor of education Carolyn Eggleston has been recognized by the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society as its National Scholar for 2014-2016, officials announced this month.
The award recognizes excellence in scholarly work throughout a period of time. Eggleston will be recognized at the biennial convention in St. Louis in August, when she will receive a $1,000 honorarium and a lifetime membership in the honor society.
“I must say I am most honored by this award,” said Eggleston. “It was unexpected and very meaningful. My first reaction was that there must be some mistake!”
Eggleston, who is also the director of CSUSB’s Center for the Study of Correctional Education since 2010, was nominated by her colleagues not only for her dedication to educating future teachers, but also for her passion for social justice and equality, and her commitment to opening a center for parolees to help them transition back into society and the work force.
According to the letter Eggleston received, most impressive to the selection committee was her innovative work with the parolees in the California correctional system, as well as the publications and presentations that have been generated from that work.
Eggleston has served at CSUSB since 1991 as faculty in the special education credential and master’s program, and has held many leadership positions, including associate dean of the College of Education, where she actively planned the construction of a new, high-tech building to house the college. In addition, she has served on many university committees and advisory councils.
After many years of planning and advocacy, Eggleston is credited with creating a breakthrough program, the Cal State San Bernardino Re-entry Initiative, an innovative partnership between the university and the California Department of Corrections.
Despite opposition from those in the community who firmly believed that ex-inmates were not deserving of assistance and could even be deemed dangerous to assist, Eggleston successfully persisted with her vision for an educational correctional center, one of her colleagues said.
The program transforms the post-incarceration experience of former inmates from a daily check-in routine to an environment that supports learning and growth. Here, the parolees are called “students” and may earn a “citizen” or “mentor” status in the program.
“Besides offering educational and personal growth opportunities, this enlightened approach includes the potential for the student ‘mentors’ to earn a necktie from the mayor of San Bernardino,” wrote Laurie Smith, CSUSB professor of social work, in her nomination letter of Eggleston. “For many, this is the first time they have ever felt valued.”
The San Bernardino center is now in its fourth year, continues to flourish and has expanded to two other locations, one in Victorville and one in Moreno Valley.
In San Bernardino County, the recidivism rate of parolees (those who return to incarceration because of repeated criminal activity) is estimated at 70 percent. For those who participate in the program at the CSRI centers, the recidivism rate is 17 percent.
Eggleston earned a Ph.D. in education, urban services, from Virginia Commonwealth University.
For more information about Cal State San Bernardino’s Re-entry Initiative, contact the Center for the Study of Correctional Education at (909) 327-2981.