Forming men and women of resilient faith and Christian character has long been the focus at Trinity International University. And this has been true of traditional degree programs on campus as well as unique settings in our communities. TIU’s program at Waupun Correctional Facility - which recently graduated its second class - is one such example, and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School alumnus Dr. Craig Long (PhD, ‘13) is leading that effort.
“The gospel-centered relationships at TEDS laid a foundation for the diversity of the program at Waupun Correctional Institution,” Long says. These relationships have been the successful foundation of helping those in TIU’s community access Trinity's education. Students at Waupun Correctional Facility are men serving sentences between 7 years and life.Formally established in 2017, TIU's bachelor program at Waupun is a collaboration between the university, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, and the Wisconsin Inmate Education Association. “The Waupun Extension Site was the culmination of several years of work among [these] partners. Having heard of biblical studies programs in other correctional systems, a group of concerned Christians formed the WIEA to develop a biblical studies program within the Wisconsin Department of Corrections,” Long explains.
Long serves as Trinity’s associate dean at the Waupun Correctional extension site. His ministry draws on the broadly evangelical education he received at TEDS. “The pan-evangelical nature of TEDS prepared me by helping me understand the perspectives of many Christian traditions within a shared commitment to the gospel. My closest relationships at TEDS did not come from my tradition. Their faith was, however, genuine and an encouragement to recognize the breadth of God's work among his people.”
Looking ahead, Trinity is dedicated to the continued formation of these men as students and ministry leaders. “I hope that we train a group of students who are well-prepared to impact their communities--their incarcerated community, their communities of origin, and the communities to which they will return if released--with the gospel,” says Long. “I hope that these skills enable them to engage the problems faced by their communities with gospel and emotional sensitivity.”