Jamie Markham

Faculty Lunches with the Dean (No. 32) (Jamie Markham)

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This is the next installment of posts from the last round of Faculty Lunches with the Dean.  The idea for these lunches with faculty grew out of the strategic foresight process.

One of the recommendations was to “[e]ncourage more communication and collaboration among faculty in order to help them be successful.”  According to the implementation report, “[o]ne goal of the lunches is to help faculty learn more about the work of their colleagues, which may lead to an identification of mutual interests and greater collaboration.”  The main reason I blog about the lunches is so that everyone can learn about the work that is going on at the School.

Jamie Markham shared some of his work at the most recent lunch, and it is very interesting, clever, and effective.  It is a graphic novel that explains and illustrates what happens when someone goes to prison.  According to the introduction, “[t]his short book explains how a felony prison sentence is served in North Carolina.  I hope those who read it will gain a better sense of where and how an inmate serves his or her time.”

The book describes in plain language for family members, inmates, crime victims, and others what happens when a person enters prison.  The book describes the orientation and classification process for newly-admitted inmates that occurs at a diagnostic facility.  It goes on to describe where in the prison system an inmate will serve his or her sentence.  The book also shows how participation in types of work or programs allows inmates to earn credits that reduce the length of their sentences.  My understanding is that the book is being produced by inmates working in the prison printing operation, which earns them nine days of credit per month toward reducing their sentence.  It also includes a wonderful section explaining how long an inmate will be in prison and how long he or she will be under post-release supervision.

Jamie makes an important point in the introduction that “[p]resenting the information in illustrated form is by no means intended to make light of a very serious subject.  It is, rather, offered as an accessible way to fill gaps in knowledge and to address common misperceptions about the way sentences are served.”  The book is serious and respectful—and it does not come across in any way as demeaning to the inmates.  He also has used the book in teaching sessions with court officials and it has been well received.Jamie collaborated with two people in producing the book.  One was Shane Tharrington, classification manager for the Division of Adult Correction, and Jason Whitley, creative lead for instructional innovation at the Eshelman School of Pharmacy.  Whitley illustrated the book and his drawings are wonderful—including the one of Jamie.  Jamie is planning two more graphic novels—one about probation and another about being in a county jail.


This graphic novel is just the latest example of Jamie developing creative ways to share information that are accessible without sacrificing complexity.  He always looks for new avenues that will be engaging and helpful.  Congratulations to Jamie for this latest innovation.

Jamie Markham

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