Innovative Teaching Gets Boost At Harvard

Ann McClure's picture

Chances are, if you’re paying tens of thousands of dollars to send your kids to Harvard University, you don’t want them to wind up in prison while they’re enrolled.

Unless they’re in Kaia Stern’s class, in which case, going to prison is a requirement.

In 2008, Stern and another Harvard sociologist approached Boston University’s longstanding prison outreach program with a bracing idea: What if, instead of just delivering classroom lectures about incarceration, Harvard taught a class on the topic inside the medium-security state prison in Norfolk? And what if the Harvard juniors in the class enrolled alongside students in the BU program (who are actually incarcerated)?

The prison and the state Department of Correction said yes, and now, Harvard affirms that verdict: The program won a grant this week to expand, part of a nearly $2 million bonanza for innovative teaching ideas that will benefit 47 projects university-wide.

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