The University of Iowa

“American Dream” Theme Semester class brings together UI undergraduates and Oakdale prison students

MAY 18, 2018


UI Liberal Arts Beyond Bars Program

Next fall marks the first time University of Iowa undergraduates will head over to the Iowa Medical and Classification Center (IMCC) Oakdale Correctional Facility to join college-in prison students to learn side-by-side. The course, One Community, One Book, taught by Kathrina Litchfield, focuses on the book Reading with Patrick: A Student, a Teacher, and a Life-Changing Friendship. The course theme "Redesigning the American Dream" is one of the many courses offered through the 2018-19 Theme Semester Redesigning the American Dream. The One Community, One Book class will also be co-taught by the book’s author, Michelle Kuo. This is the first University of Iowa offering to be taught in a classroom located inside the IMCC Oakdale Correctional Facility.

“We're very grateful and proud of the work our UI professors and teaching assistants have voluntarily given to our college-in-prison program. Frequently I am asked if there are opportunities for undergraduates to get involved, as well. I am pleased to tell you that this fall I will be offering my annual 1-credit-hour course on UICHR's One Community, One Book on-site at IMCC Oakdale. Half of our students will be UI LABB students, and half of them coming in from the UI campus. We will be examining the theme of "Redesigning the American Dream" through reading the 2018 OCOB selection Reading with Patrick: A Student, a Teacher, and a Life-Changing Friendship and several other texts. OCOB author Michelle Kuo will not only be visiting our campus for a community lecture in early November, she will partner with me in teaching the last two weeks of the course inside the prison,” said Kathrina Litchfield, Programs Coordinator, University of Iowa Center for Human Rights and Director, UI Liberal Arts Beyond Bars.

Registration for the UI fall 2018 semester has begun. The course helps to fulfill requirements for the Certificate in Human Rights, but is also open to all majors. Interested students should contact Kathrina Litchfield via email:

The course number is HRTS:3905:0001 Topics in Human Rights. Class meetings are September 20-November 1, Thursdays, 5-7 pm.  ICON course description:

This 7-week course will engage in a close reading of the 2018 One Community, One Book selection Reading with Patrick: A Teacher, a Student, and a Life-Changing Friendship, in company with the author, Michelle Kuo. Through this narrative and other readings, we will focus on a theme of “Redesigning the American Dream.” Attendance at the One Community, One Book public lecture (in addition to regular classroom attendance) is mandatory.

Attention: This course will be taught on-site at the IMCC Oakdale Correctional Facility. UI campus student enrollment is limited to 12, plus 12 UI LABB students from the facility. Students must contact the instructor before their enrollment will be processed. Students are responsible for their own transportation to and from the facility (7.7 miles each way).

Students must contact the instructor Kathrina Litchfield for permission to enroll in the course.

Press Releases