Prison Course

During the initial year of his term, Gaudino Scholar Magnus Bernhardsson devoted considerable time to working with Associate Professor Christian Thorne of the English Department to develop a new course entitled “Happiness,” which was offered in the Spring of 2013.  The class met once per week in the Berkshire County Jail, was open to all students, and consisted of nine Williams students, selected from 105 applicants, and nine inmates of the Jail.

Professor Thorne and two students from the class, Alexis and Anh, appeared at the Gaudino Board’s April meeting to discuss their experiences.  Professor Thorne noted that one of the reasons for holding the classes inside the county jail was to expose both students and inmates to views on the various aspects of “happiness” that they otherwise would not hear. Yet the students observed that the classes also revealed similarities between them and the inmates that had not occurred to either group, such as the desire of both to “get out” and “get on with life.”

Professor Keith McPartland taught the course in the Fall of 2014, with the title “The Good life in Greek and Roman Ethics”. Read more about the course in the catalog.