Dr. Jennifer Wesely is a professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice within the College of Arts and Sciences. At the undergraduate level, she teaches Criminal Law and Procedure, Family Violence, and Women and Crime. At the graduate level, she teaches courses related to research methods and justice issues. During Summer A 2019, Wesely taught "The Role of Canines in Inmate Rehabilitation."
Her research has traditionally focused on marginalized populations of women, including sex workers, homeless women and women ex-offenders. She has several ongoing research projects including work that involves focus groups with locally incarcerated men who participate in the TAILS program (Teaching Animals and Inmates Life Skills). TAILS participants are paired with rescue dogs, who live with them and learn obedience training before graduating. TAILS now is being integrated into a few juvenile facilities, and Wesely next plans to conduct research with the participating youth.
Get to Know Dr. Jennifer Wesely
What’s one thing in your field of study that people might not know?
Criminal Justice is interdisciplinary and can be focused on social justice.
What’s the most rewarding academic experience you’ve had at UNF in or out of the classroom?
One of my most rewarding academic experiences has been my Summer A Transformational Learning Opportunity (TLO) course "The Role of Canines in Inmate Rehabilitation." This included work with the "Canines with Careers" program at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, and the TAILS (Teaching Animals and Inmates Life Skills) program locally in Jacksonville. Seeing students' transformations as they were exposed to new areas of the country and new ways of thinking about rehabilitation through talking with inmates was very rewarding.
Describe your teaching style. Do you like to integrate tech, or are you more comfortable with a lecture-style classroom?
My teaching style is to engage in classroom discussions. I like to facilitate conversation about class topics and guide students in thinking critically about the topic.
Do you have a favorite spot on campus?
The nature trails. They make you feel miles away!
What do you like most about Jacksonville? Where else have you lived?
I grew up in a Chicago suburb, went to undergrad in Boston and graduate school in Arizona. One summer I lived and worked on a dude ranch in Wyoming. Growing up in the landlocked Midwest, it’s a novelty to live in a city by the ocean. That never gets old (except during hurricanes).
What advice would you give a student who is about to graduate?
You are only limited by what you can envision for yourself.