Call for Prison Lecture Volunteers and/or Lecture Series Coordinator

donaldsonFor the past 24 years, UAB has sponsored a monthly lecture series at Donaldson Correctional Facility in northwest Jefferson Country. Donaldson is a maximum security men's prison with no work program and virtually no classes above the GED level. As a result, the men there have almost no intellectual stimulation. And while Donaldson has a high illiteracy rate, many of the inmates are very bright and surprisingly well-read. In fact, UAB lecturers over the years have consistently remarked on what a bright, inquisitive, and well-informed audience they find at the prison, and they typically find lecturing at Donaldson to be a fascinating experience.

We are seeking UAB faculty and staff volunteers to act in one of two capacities, depending on interest and availability:
  1. Those who would be interested in giving a talk at Donaldson next year. These talks do not have to be on anything obviously related to prison life. In fact, one of the benefits of this series is that it allows the inmates to 'escape' from prison for a couple of hours and think about something different from their daily lives. We have had talks on Expressionist art, medieval pilgrimage, nicotine addiction, advances in robotics, Antarctic biology, rap music lyrics, Sufi poetry, Native American culture, and brain chemistry, to name a few recent topics. Pretty much any subject of intellectual interest that would appeal to a general audience would be well-suited to this series. The lectures are held at the prison on the first and third Tuesday of each month, Sept-May, from 6-8 pm.
  2. One or two persons who would be interested in taking over as coordinator for the lecture series. The job primarily entails soliciting volunteers from across campus and setting up the year’s roster of talks each Spring.

Alison ChapmanDr. Alison Chapman If you would be interested in participating either as a lecturer or as the lecture series coordinator, please send an email to Prof. Alison Chapman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Prof. Chapman has been coordinating the lecture series for the past six years and for several years ran her own volunteer monthly literature class at Donaldson. She can answer further questions about the prison and the inmates and will send detailed instructions to each participating lecturer.

Thanks for your help and your interest. You can read more about the lecture series in UAB Magazine.