Jessie Harper

Jessie Harper, MSOD, MSEd, EdD

  • Director of Inclusion Education and the Social Justice Scholars Program
  • Lecturer, MSW Program
  • Lecturer, DSW Program
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Penn GSE
  • Dr. Harper earned her MS from University of Pennsylvania’s School of Arts and Sciences in 2006 and an MSEd from University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education (GSE) in 2010. In May 2011, she received her Doctorate from University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. Dr. Harper is currently the Director of Inclusion Education and the Social Justice Scholars Program.

    Before coming to SP2, Dr. Harper was the Assistant Dean of Faculty Affairs and Diversity in Penn GSE, and inaugural Co-Director of HEARD (Hub for Equity, Anti-Oppression, Research, and Development). Dr. Harper teaches American Racism and Understanding Social Change in the School of Social Policy and Practice. In addition to teaching in SP2, Dr. Harper developed and teaches a course in Penn GSE entitled Examining the School to Prison Pipeline: Implications of History, Policy, and Race, draws from contemporary scholarship in literature, sociology, criminal justice, education, history, and law. This course seeks to: (1) examine the historical context and policies that have contributed to the school-to-prison pipeline, (2) analyze the workings of contemporary racism and its relationship to education and corrections policies, and (3) explore interventions for an alternate approach.
    Dr. Harper has worked as a part-time Instructor at Project H.O.M.E., an agency in North Philadelphia that offers general education classes and workforce development training to Philadelphia residents. As Adult Education Instructor, she taught Language Arts, Writing, Pre-GED courses, and other job preparatory subjects to adult students.

    Dr. Harper’s research interests include ex-offender reentry, especially the challenges faced by former prisoners as they reenter the workforce. Her doctoral dissertation explored how those most closely involved in assisting former prisoners to reenter the workforce conceptualize the challenges they face after a period of prisonization—the negative socio-psychological effects of the prison experience. She presented the results of her research to the Criminal Business Committee, a group of Federal Judges who oversee the reentry effort in Philadelphia. She has also presented her research to the Reentry Team at the Federal Probation Department.




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