By Medha Raman
With growing interest in the LSJ major, the department introduced several new faculty members last year, one of which was full-time lecturer, Ann Frost.
Professor Frost works with both the LSJ and Sociology Departments, focusing on issues within the criminal justice system. Her research focuses on racial disparities and the use of racial language in the War on Drugs.
“It intrigues me how unfair and unjust the criminal justice system is,” Frost said. “There are lot of really great things about it, but there are also a lot of problems. Those problems impact the people who are already most vulnerable.”
Frost’s background provides her with useful insight and a unique perspective on these issues. She graduated from UW Law School and worked as a public defender for 15 years. As a lifelong enthusiast of education, she returned to school to pursue her PhD in Political Science. She taught at UW Tacoma for 2 years before accepting a position with the LSJ Department in Seattle.
Over the course of her time here, she has taught LSJ classes such as Punishment: Theory and Practice and Miscarriages of Justice and is currently teaching Law and Society under the Sociology Department. In the Winter, she will be teaching Crime, Politics & Justice.
Turning her past experience toward academia has allowed her to take action against the problems she was seeing every day during her time as a lawyer.
“I loved my job as a public defender, but it also raised issues that you can’t really address from that career,” Frost said. “It’s more just reading about, researching, and teaching about the issues that I was seeing happening in the criminal justice system.”
As a professor, Frost loves being on campus with students, hearing their insights, ideas, and opinions. She compares her job to being in a book club, reading new things together and then sitting around to discuss them.
“The one thing I want to take away from this job is that insight from students, expanding the way that I see things and the way that I think about them,” Frost said.
Frost not only contributes her success to the contributions of students, but also to the continued support of the LSJ Department. Even as a graduate student at UW, the LSJ department gave her the opportunity to create her own classes and then to develop and teach the classes in the way that she wanted to. When teaching at UW Tacoma, the department still asked her to teach her classes in Seattle, supporting her throughout her time there.
She eventually accepted a full-time position with the department and is now thrilled to be working with such supportive and passionate individuals.
“It’s really great to be here all the time and around people who are interested in the things that I’m interested in, including me in what they’re doing, and making me part of the whole program,” Frost said. “It really does feel like the perfect place for me to be with my interests and my useful work here.”