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Youth-Nex Funded Study Featured on Katie Couric Show

Couric featured the Youth-Nex seed-funded project that studies the effects on U.Va. students of teaching Russian literature to incarcerated youth.

"While Russian literature may not be everyone's cup up tea, an innovative program at the University of Virginia 'my alma mater' is taking these works to places they rarely see, Couric said. The course is called, "Books Behind Bars" and it's introducing young men behind bars to the works of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky."

The show featured two segments (watch here):

Innovative Program Teaches Russian Literature To Young Inmates

How “Books Behind Bars” Changed One Young Inmate’s Life

About the Study:

Pilot Study of Community-Based Model of Teaching Literature to University Students and High-Risk Youth

The humanities have been slow to respond to growing skepticism in recent decades about their value in post-secondary education. “Books Behind Bars: Life, Literature, and Community Leadership” is an innovative, 12-month-old, format of humanities education that places undergraduates from U.Va. to work through literature training with incarcerated juvenile delinquents. Because of its unique format and approach, Books Behind Bars is challenging literature students at U.Va. to learn and grow in ways that are unusual for most literature courses, and it is thought to support positive development of the college students in a number of areas:
(1) Students gain a deeper more holistic understanding of literary texts.
(2) Students recognize that their acquisition of knowledge and skills has practical, “real-world” application.
(3) Students have a greater perception that the literature and learning activities are relevant to their own lives.
(4) Students are more engaged in the class and are therefore more motivated to do well in their studies.
(5) Students have a heightened sense of civic responsibility and as a result of this class are more likely to choose
courses and careers that have a community service component.
(6) Students feel a closer connection to their peers and to the residents at the partner sites, leading, in turn, to greater appreciation of the value of human connectedness in their other professional and personal relationships.

Other Selected Media:

The Washington Post: "Crime and Punishment: Juvenile Offenders Study Russian Literature"

Richmond Times Dispatch: "From Russia, (and U.Va.), With Books"

The Daily Progress: "UVA Professor, in New Book, Encourages Giving 'War and Peace' a Chance"

With Good Reason: Listen to "Behind Bars"

YN Blog: "At Maximum Security Facility – Residents Relay Impact"

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