Coveted Class: Politics of Crime and Justice

Kimberly Bergendahl, assistant professor in residence of political science at the Brooklyn Correctional Institution, onJuly 31, 2018. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)
Kimberly Bergendahl wants students to see how the law works in real life, so she introduced community-based service programs to her curriculum, including the opportunity to tutor inmates at a correctional institution. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

Kimberly Bergendahl’s interest in justice and the law started when she was just 7 years old. Her father’s struggle with alcohol was rocky at times and the Tiverton, Rhode Island, police came to her home more than once. After her parents divorced, Bergendahl, still in her preteens, discovered her voice, arguing frequently with a crusty landlord when she believed he was failing to uphold his side of the bargain in keeping her mother’s subsidized four-room apartment properly maintained.

It is exactly that experience that assistant professor Bergendahl believes makes her a better instructor when it comes to teaching “The Politics of Crime and Justice” (POL 3827).

“I’ve seen the law from the good end and I’ve seen it from the bad end,” says Bergendahl. “I want my students to see me as a person who has had real world experiences and not just someone who comes in professing to know everything or who is looking to present one particular point of view. My students know that I don’t use the class as a soapbox to promote a specific agenda.”

Read the full story: magazine.uconn.edu