Heather J. Erwin currently serves as a TA Consultant with AIR. Dr. Erwin previously directed the University of Iowa’s Liberal Arts Beyond Bars (UI LABB) college in prison program and served as a senior advisor to the Executive Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Additionally, Dr. Erwin co-founded the University of Iowa’s Transform(ED) Justice Collaboratory, which focuses on working with community partners to identify and meet the needs of students who are impacted by the criminal legal system, some of whom participated in college in prison programs and are pursuing the completion of their degree on college campuses. Dr. Erwin initiated the establishment of the Big Ten Consortium for Higher Education in Prison (Big Ten CHEP), which serves as a supportive network for faculty and staff at Big Ten Institutions as well as a repository for collaborative ideas in support of success for students returning to college campuses. Dr. Erwin serves on advisory boards for Inside Out Reentry Community, the Iowa Justice Action Network, Hope Street Scholars, Iowa CURE, and Ithaka S+R.
As a senior program associate for the Vera Institute of Justice, Dr. Erwin provided training and technical assistance to colleges and universities in Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin participating in the Department of Education’s Second Chance Pell Experimental Sites Initiative. She also served as a senior advisor to the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) where she worked on research examining issues of equity and access to education for marginalized populations, especially for those students impacted by the criminal legal system. Dr. Erwin is qualified as a reviewer for Bureau of Justice Assistance Second Chance Act program proposals and has participated in numerous national convenings considering issues of access to high quality higher education and the mitigation of the collateral consequences of incarceration through reentry support.