Jennifer Lackey

Curriculum Innovation Award, 2020

From Northwestern Now, February 4, 2020

Inspiring students to examine mass incarceration in the U.S.

Curriculum innovation awards will also tackle the ethics of technology

February 04, 2020 | By Mohamed Abdelfattah

Jennifer Lackey, Stephen Tarzia and Sarah Van Wart have been named the 2020 recipients of The Alumnae of Northwestern University’s Award for Curriculum Innovation for helping create courses for undergraduate students to investigate mass incarceration in the U.S. as well as to incorporate ethics into the study of computer science.

Lackey, the Wayne and Elizabeth Jones professor of philosophy in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, will design a course that brings together undergraduates and incarcerated students currently in the Northwestern Prison Education Program (NPEP) to study the causes and consequences of incarceration in the United States. Students will be able to investigate the racial and socioeconomic roots of the criminal justice system, taking into account the punitive nature of the system and how much room there is for educational or vocational programs. 

Students will travel weekly to Stateville Correctional Center near Joliet to attend classes with NPEP students, exploring theories of punishment and gaining a valuable firsthand perspective on the issue.

Lackey is the founder and director of NPEP, the only degree-granting program in the state to provide a liberal arts curriculum to incarcerated students. NPEP is a collaboration between Northwestern’s School of Professional Studies and Oakton Community College.