Middlesex College Professor Alexandra Fields was one of 42 faculty members from over 1200 community colleges in the U.S. to be recognized with the 2023 Dale P. Parnell Distinguished Faculty Award.
The award, named in honor of the former president and CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), recognizes individuals who are making a difference in the classroom.
Fields, a professor of English and co-coordinator of Community-Engaged Learning (formerly known as service learning) at Middlesex College, began a service-learning partnership with the Middlesex County Juvenile Detention Center (JDC) in 2017 to offer college programming to Middlesex JDC residents.
The collaborative partnership with detention center educational staff has since expanded into a comprehensive Center for Justice-Impacted Students (CJIS) that provides college programming at the JDC and at Juvenile Justice Commission Facilities, provides re-entry support for Justice Scholars, and engages in advocacy through the Juvenile Justice Reform Club. The partnership with the JDC affords Middlesex College students an opportunity to engage with JDC residents as they learn how to research, write argumentative research-supported essays, and design collaborative final presentations of their papers.
“I was both surprised and honored to be the recipient of this award,” Fields shared.
“I absolutely love my work as a professor at Middlesex College and as an advocate and ally for justice-impacted college students, so being honored for the work I feel so passionately about is a wonderful honor. I am also incredibly grateful to work at a college where students, colleagues, and administration recognize the importance of second chances and value the work our CJIS does to ensure ALL students can access the benefits of higher education.”
Middlesex College President Mark McCormick lauded Fields’ leadership and support for the College’s CJIS, a resource hub and support center for justice-impacted students as they transition from carceral settings.
“We nominated Dr. Fields for the AACC Award for her work in ensuring that individuals impacted by the justice system, whether currently in juvenile detention or incarcerated and upon reentry, have the opportunity to access a college education with much-needed supports. We are proud of her leadership in this space,” said President McCormick.
For more information about support services for justice-impacted students, please visit middlesexcollege.edu/community-programs/center-for-justice-impacted-students.