Center for Teaching and Learning

Advances in Higher Education Research Seminar

This seminar series highlights original research in college-level learning and instruction. Multidisciplinary in scope, each seminar addresses the broad themes of our work as instructors, including the cognitive processes by which students learn, and the classroom context in which they do so.

All seminars are free and open to the public. Presentations will be followed by a Q&A session and opportunities for discussion.

Upcoming seminars

Gillian Harkins, associate professor of English and adjunct associate professor of Gender, Women and Sexuality StudiesBeyond Bars: Higher Education and Carceral Space

Speaker: Gillian Harkins

Tuesday, May 28 (2:30 to 3:20 p.m.) Odegaard 220

Although people think of universities and prisons as separate institutions, in fact they are highly interconnected. The UW holds contracts to purchase materials from prison labor, UW faculty engage in research projects focused on prisons, and state funding for incarceration impacts financial support for our university. Yet people who are currently and were formerly incarcerated often face the greatest barriers to entry at UW.

The term “school-to-prison pipeline” describes how disparities in access to quality education and targeting for disciplinary and police detention lead to a disproportionate number of non-white, non-heterosexual, and economically-disadvantaged youth ending up in prison, rather than higher education. However, a more accurate term is “school-to-prison nexus,” in which the pathways to prison or to college are not separate, but actually intertwined in the institutions we inhabit (Meiners 2007). In this talk, Prof. Gillian Harkins reports on her and her colleagues’ efforts to create sustainable pathways to higher education for this underserved population, by leveraging existing connections between universities and prisons.

Gillian Harkins is an associate professor of English and adjunct associate professor of Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies at the UW.  She specializes in cultural studies of the novel and contemporary sexual politics as well as the intersection between education justice and prison abolition. She currently works with three regional higher education in prison programs in the Puget Sound Area.

RSVP for the May 28 seminar

Join the Zoom meeting

You can also attend the seminar online:

  1. Go to:
  2. When you join the meeting:
    • You will be placed in the Zoom “waiting room” until the session starts.
    • Your audio and video feeds will be turned off.
      Please leave them off to reserve your bandwidth, to keep the screen clear for for all viewers, and to prevent stray sounds.
    • You can submit questions via the chat window.
      We will monitor the chat feed for any questions that arise and read them out to Professor Robertson.

Please note: The Zoom meeting is limited to 100 participants. 

Questions about the series?

Would you like to suggest a speaker? Use our online form.