Southeast Arkansas College recognizes first graduate through the SEARK Prison Education Program


Southeast Arkansas College is proud to recognize its first graduate through the SEARK Prison Education Program. On Thursday, May 16,  Broderick Collier was awarded his Associate of General Studies degree during the Arkansas Department of Corrections annual graduation ceremony at the Ouachita River Unit in Malvern.

SEARK’s Prison Education Program began in the fall of 2022 with 25 students. It is expected to enroll close to 150 students by fall of 2024.  The program was approved as a Second Chance Experimental Site by the US Department of Education to use federal Pell grant funds to pay the tuition and fees for students who are incarcerated at the Cummins, Varner, and Delta Regional Units within the Arkansas Division of Corrections.  Incarcerated students take college classes to earn an Associate of General Studies degree.

Collier was introduced by Mike Leach, Director of the Prison Education Program, and his diploma was presented by Michelle Pullman, SEARK math professor. Collier graduated with highest honors and celebrated with seven SEARK faculty members in attendance.

Dr. Stacy Pfluger, Interim President of Southeast Arkansas College, emphasized the importance of celebrating this milestone for the graduate, stating, “Commencement signifies years of hard work and resilience, with education paving the way for growth and new opportunities. As Mr. Collier embarks on the next chapter of his journey, the SEARK community takes great pride in his accomplishments and the example set for his fellow classmates in the program.”

“Mr. Collier is the prison education program’s first graduate, completing his degree with highest honors distinction. Many of his peers are not far behind him, expecting to graduate in the fall or next spring,” said Leach. “It is a rewarding experience to serve such a unique and dedicated group of students and be a part of SEARK College’s mission to provide quality postsecondary training to any and all interested individuals from the surrounding community.”

For additional questions regarding SEARK’s Prison Education Program contact Mike Leach at [email protected]. For media inquiries, please contact: Emily Pyland at [email protected].