Each year PNAP offers 13-15 non-credit college-level courses in subjects ranging from printmaking and criminology to poetry and women’s studies. Faculty are independent artists and Chicago university professors. A committee identifies new faculty and courses based on student interest and a desire to offer classes in a wide range of subjects taught by faculty that are representative of our student population. Our commitment to non-credit classes has been supported and articulated by our students in prison, as access to general education and art has been a critical gateway to higher education. Along with classes, PNAP hosts guest lectures where speakers discuss their work as writers, artists, and activists together with a group of incarcerated men in the Stateville auditorium. 

Current Courses

Correspondence on Current Biology Topics

Faculty: Beth Reinke and Aaron Schirmer, Northeastern Illinois University

This course is designed for students interested in understanding current topics in the field of Biology. The content will vary based on instructor and student interest, but will focus on the appropriate biological background, experimental techniques, and the impact of these topics on health, society, and the environment. In addition, scientific reasoning and effective means of communicating biology to different audiences will also be discussed. Through the course materials, assignments, and regular correspondence, students will develop an appreciation for the living world around them, an understanding of experimental techniques in the natural sciences, and effective ways of communicating scientific information. 

Tracing the History of Japanese-American Incarceration During World War II

Faculty: Fred Sasaki, Poetry Foundation, and Cean Gamalinda, Prison + Neighborhood Arts/Education Project

This class will present a general introduction to the history of Japanese-American incarceration during World War II. We will explore its context through the lens of poetry, art, and personal history to develop an understanding of its impact, as well as to discuss the ways that impact has lingered as a relevant thread of modern-day immigrant detention and the case for reparations.

Contemporary Feminist Engagements

Faculty: Beth Richie, University of Illinois Chicago, Erica Meiners, Northeastern Illinois University, and Anna Martine Whitehead, School of the Art Institute of Chicago – and guests

This co-taught course will explore current intersectional feminist work in overlapping anti-violence, arts, and criminal-legal realms. The course will be organized in three intersecting modules and involve students engaging directly with materials and resources derived from local and national feminist projects that are building safer and stronger communities. Modules will bring into class materials from contemporary feminist engagements (and, pending COVID-19 requirements, in-person guest speakers), for example from projects to support criminalized survivors of violence through organizations such as Love & Protect and Black & Pink. Students will be expected not only to critique and analyze course materials, which will include readings from current campaigns, in-progress artworks, and other projects, but also to produce original feminist work for public audiences.

Two Centuries of Black Poetry: A Generative and Analytical Poetry Course

Faculty: Tara Betts, Poetry Foundation

This course serves as an immersion in discussing and writing poetry. Although I will encourage you to work on some poems, you will also read and discuss the poems in Kevin Young’s African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song. By examining this text, we’ll consider the ongoing tradition of Black poetics and deepen our understanding of craft. You will be expected to submit 3-5 poems and a short biography (1 paragraph) for a student chapbook at the end of the semester, and students will be encouraged to write one short essay (3-5 pages) about a poem from Kevin Young’s anthology.

Drawing: Observation and Invention

Faculty: Claire Pentecost, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

This class is designed to engage writers and artists to think about how to create a community space in a Chicago neighborhood. What such a space might look and feel like is wide ranging. So we want to return to you–the artists and writers whose work will be on the walls and on the bookshelves–to ask what should this space look like, feel like, what should happen in it? 

Through reading and writing, this class will explore what community spaces can do. What is possible to grow in safe, liberatory, and intentional space? The class will read about historical community organizations and spaces they created as well as respond to writing prompts that describe spaces. There is a possibility that the spaces you describe could be built into 3d models by sculpture or architecture students and displayed in the new PNAP storefront, when and where it happens!

UWW Study Hall

Faculty: Jason LaFountain, Prison + Neighborhood Arts/Education Project

UWW Study Hall provides a space for current degree students to get together once a week outside of class, for support from the PNAP Higher Education Coordinator. There will be time for filling out degree paperwork, discussion of courses, workshopping writing, tutoring (e.g. math), planning for future semesters, etc. The Study Hall is also a space for UWW graduates to mentor the current students.

Math Tutorial

Faculty: Nick Moreno, Math Instructor

In order to graduate with an undergraduate degree, UWW students are required to pass either a college-level math class or a related exam. This tutorial helps our students prepare to fulfill this requirement. 

Justice, Politics, and Culture Think Tank

Faculty: Alice Kim, Durrell Washington, and Noelle Petrowski, University of Chicago

Past Courses

2020-21 Academic Year

Justice, Politics, and Culture Think Tank
Faculty: Alice Kim, Durrell Washington, and Noelle Petrowski

Math Tutorial
Faculty: Desmond Taylor

Making Space: Emancipatory Design
Faculty: Anna Martine Whitehead, Andres Hernandez, and Amanda Williams

Art: Justice Murals
Faculty: Anna Martine Whitehead, Sarah Ross, Damon Locks, and Aaron Hughes

Towards a People’s Bill of Rights: Rethinking Criminal Justice
Faculty: Clinton Nichols

Introduction to Latinx Studies
Faculty: Christina Gómez

A Beloved Community: Healing, Justice, and the Urgency of Mindfulness
Faculty: Johari Jabir

James Baldwin and Black Political Thought
Faculty: Martha Biondi

Race, Class, and Gender Dimensions of Criminalization and Justice
Faculty: Julian Thompson

Research for Justice
Faculty: Lisa Yun Lee and Adam Bush

Poetry: The Lyric Essay
Faculty: Audrey Petty

Writing Our Lives: The Art of Memoir and Personal Essay
Faculty: William Ayers

Violence in Society
Faculty: Beth Richie

Introduction to Visual Criminology
Faculty: Luke Fidler and Jason LaFountain

Economy, Society, and Public Policy
Faculty: Damon Jones

2019-20 Academic Year

African Americans and the Civil War
Faculty: Johari Jabir

Envisioning Criminal Justice Reforms
Faculty: Clinton Nichols

Art: Anthems
Faculty: Sarah Ross, Anna Martine Whitehead, Aaron Hughes, and Damon Locks

Writing Poetry
Faculty: Tara Betts 

Writing the Brief Biography and Short Learning Statements
Faculty: Tara Betts

Critical Ethnic Studies and Contemporary Art Practice
Faculty: Patricia Nguyen and Casey Goonan

At Home in the World: Telling Our Stories of Public Housing
Faculty: Lisa Yun Lee and Ben Auste

Critical Writing and Research
Faculty: Tim Barnett, Martha Biondi, Erica Meiners, and Beth Richie

Draw What You See/Draw What You Dream
Faculty: Aaron Hughes

Our Dances, Our Freedom
Faculty: Anna Martine Whitehead

2018-19 Academic Year 

Introduction to Writing
Faculty: Simone Waller

Digging Deeper: Poetry Informed by Contingent Citizenship and Being Human
Faculty: Tara Betts

Emancipation and Abolition in Historical Perspective
Faculty: Kai Parker

Afrofuturism: Science Fiction as Social Commentary and Alternative Visions of Tomorrow
Faculty: Clinton Nichols

UWW Capstone Experience Course
Faculty: Timothy Barnett and Erica Meiners

Race and Politics
Faculty: Cathy Cohen

Make Your Mark & Fly Your Flag
Faculty: Aaron Hughes

From Civil Rights to #Black Lives Matter: Politics, Society and Protest Since the 1960s
Faculty: Martha Biondi

Movement / Movement: Dance and Liberation
Faculty: Anna Martine Whitehead

Poetry About My Rights: Writing Poems Informed by Contingent Citizenship
Faculty: Tara Betts 

Art and Empire in the Ancient World
Faculty: Luke Fidler

The Social Value of Latinas/os/xs
Faculty: Michael De Anda Muñiz

Manifesta for the Future
Faculty: Claire Pentecost

2017-18 Academic Year

Introduction to Environmental Justice
Faculty: Antonio Reyes López

Writing Workshop: Creating Character
Faculty: Tess Landon

Printmaking: Developing a Collaborative Portfolio
Faculty: William Estrada

Art and Animation
Faculty: Damon Locks and Sarah Ross

Mapping the Self in Community
Faculty: Jill Petty, Audrey Petty, and Miriam Petty

American Public Schools
Faculty: Eve Ewing and David Stovall

Justice and Politics in Shakespeare’s Plays
Faculty: Wendy Wall

Black Women in History, Politics, and The Law
Faculty: Beth Richie, Barbara Ransby, and Cathy Cohen

Critical Education: Power, Knowledge, and Change
Faculty: Tim Barnett and Erica Meiners

Introduction to Criminology
Faculty: Clinton Nichols

A Survey of Black Writers
Faculty: Tara Betts

Writing: Education from the Public to the Personal
Faculty: Tess Landon

Political Theory: The Meaning and Limits of Rights
Faculty: Lucy Cane

Philosophy: Freedom and Its Limits
Faculty: David Egan

Philosophy: Philosophy of Punishment
Faculty: Jessica Bird

2016-17 Academic Year

American Art: A People’s History
Faculty: Luke Fidler and Jason LaFountain

Introduction to Latina/o Studies
Faculty: Michael De Anda Muñiz

Staging Time: Real Stories, Real Theater
Faculty: David Feiner and Benjamin Serrano

African American Studies 101
Faculty: Kai Parker

Passing Time: (In)significant Moments
Faculty: Andres Hernandez

Literature: The Journey
Faculty: Audrey Petty

History: From Civil Rights to Black Lives Matter
Faculty: Martha Biondi

Art: From Drawing the Personal to Printing the Public
Faculty: Aaron Hughes

Writing: Writing Through a Wall
Faculty: Alice Kim

Performance: Dance and Movement-Building
Faculty: Anna Martine Whitehead

2015-16 Academic Year

Literature: Detective Fiction
Faculty: Tim Barnett

Abstracting Nature
Faculty: William Estrada

Political Science: The Meaning and Limits of Rights
Faculty: Anna Terweil and Lucy Cane

The Artistic Imagination
Faculty: Jason LaFountain

Art: Drawing on Community
Faculty: Marvin Tate

Religion and the Black Freedom Struggle
Faculty: Kai Parker

Black Women and the Justice System
Faculty: Beth Richie

Words Free: An Exploration of Poetry & Poetics
Faculty: Lasana Kazembe

African American History, 1619-1900
Faculty: Kai Parker

Freedom Dreams
Faculty: Alice Kim

Core Writing Skills
Faculty: Nancy Traver

Art and Science Fiction: Documenting the Future
Faculty: Damon Locks

2014-15 Academic Year

Reading and Writing Our Lives
Faculty: Tim Barnett

Political Theory: Theory and Event
Faculty: Lucy Cane

The Art and Craft of Memoir: Object Lessons
Faculty: Audrey Petty

Black Women and the Criminal Justice System
Faculty: Beth Richie

Introduction to Latino and Latin American Studies
Faculty: Christina Gómez

Portraiture and Installation
Faculty: Sarah Ross

Writing Workshop
Faculty: Amy Partridge and Erica Meiners

Poetry Series: Writing and a Healing
Faculty: Marvin Tate

Animals: Myth and Reality
Faculty: Claire Pentecost

The Artist in Representation
Faculty: Damon Locks

Introduction to Political Theory in the American Context
Faculty: Lucy Cane and Anna Terwiel

African American History, 1865-Present
Faculty: Darryl Heller

2013-14 Academic Year

Personal Narratives in History
Faculty: Amy Partridge

Art & Advocacy, History & Practice
Faculty: Tess Landon

Art: (Re)creation / Time
Faculty: Damon Locks, Sarah Ross, and Fereshteh Toosi

The Fiction and Prose of Richard Wright
Faculty: Natasha Barnes

Social Change Histories
Faculty: Erica Meiners and Jill Petty

Poetry: Dear Reader
Faculty: Fred Sasaki, Lindsay Garbutt, Ydalmi Noriega, Ashley Sheehan, James Sitar, Mairead Case, and Nuria Sheehan

Humanities: Social Change Histories
Faculty: Ben Almassi and Nick Smaligo

Drawing from Observation
Faculty: Ryan Griffis

Expository Writing Basics
Faculty: Jill Petty

Poor People’s Movements in the 2000s, 1960s & 1930s
Faculty: Amy Partridge

2012-13 Academic Year 

Gendered Perspectives
Faculty: Erica Meiners

Unexpected Art, Unexpected Artists
Faculty: Tess Landon

Mural and Painting Workshop
Faculty: Gabriel Villa

The Letter
Faculty: Claire Pentecost

Creative Writing: Political Poetry
Faculty: Daniela Olszewska

Creative Writing: Coming of Age
Faculty: Jill Petty

Faculty: Anthony Madrid, Nadya Pittendrigh, Fred Sasaki, and Tess Landon

Visual Stories
Faculty: Sarah Ross