Learning Behavior Specialist

Job Type

Full Time


Minimum: $70,000
Details: Starting salary is $70,000.



Start Date


Application Deadline



PO Box 492
San Quentin
United States


Organizational Overview

The mission of the Prison University Project is to provide excellent higher education to people at San Quentin State Prison; to support increased access to higher education for incarcerated people; and to stimulate public awareness about higher education access and criminal justice.

The Prison University Project provides 20 college courses in the humanities, social sciences, math, and science, as well as intensive college preparatory courses in math and English, to over 350 people at San Quentin. Students have the opportunity to complete a general education Associate of Arts degree, as well as to fulfill the coursework necessary for transfer to any California State University or University of California campus.

Position Overview

A core premise of the Prison University Project's mission is that education should be accessible to all; and it is therefore the job of educators to provide education in a manner accessible to students with diverse learning styles. We also believe that all students benefit not just from learning, but from learning about learning, so that they can engage actively in their own education and advocate for their own learning, without running into frustration and self-doubt.

As part of the Prison University Project’s commitment to supporting students across a broad range of academic, emotional, and psychological challenges, we are now seeking a Learning Behavior Specialist to join our team. The goal of this position is to boost our capacity to recognize learning differences and other barriers to success that our students may face; to devise effective strategies for supporting students and instructors in overcoming these barriers; and to increase awareness about the field of learning differences throughout the program, as well as among other practitioners in the field of higher education in prison.

This is a new position, currently funded for three years, with the strong possibility of renewal. It is a full-time position (40 hours/week, non-exempt) under the supervision of the Academic Program Director. The ability to work some evenings and weekends is required.

Responsibilities and Duties

  • Design, implement, and manage a comprehensive system of support services for students with learning disabilities, psychological obstacles to learning (particularly related to trauma), neurological impairments, and other challenges.
  • Create robust systems for individualized assessment, tutoring and support, as well as student tracking and advising
  • Assist instructors to better adapt their pedagogy and course design to the needs of students with learning disabilities
  • Design and provide trainings for instructors and tutors on techniques and strategies to support student learning
  • Provide workshops for students on metacognition generally and specifically on differences in how individuals learn and acquire knowledge
  • Integrate lessons learned into the organization’s external programming, and specifically into the training and technical assistance provided to other higher education in prison practitioners in California and across the U.S.
  • Contribute to the Prison University Project’s goal of setting a national standard for educating people in prison
  • Assist coordinators in developing rubrics and implementing assessment processes that determine college readiness for our college prep students with learning differences
  • Work with coordinators to create templates and guidelines for more accessible syllabi and course materials for ongoing use
  • Work with coordinators to conduct in-class student and teacher observations to ensure consistent tracking, provide teacher feedback, gain understanding of our student population
  • Create and manage individual education plans (IEPs) with a focus on student participation in planning and progress-tracking
  • Escort volunteers in and out of the prison two to three times a week

Further Background

The students in the College Program bring with them a wide array of life experiences, and are eager to learn and enthusiastic about the opportunity to enroll in college. Most bring resilience, tenacity, and adaptability to the classroom, and are highly intellectually capable. 

However, common themes also include poverty, homelessness, physical and psychological abuse, and extreme levels of stress, often starting at a very early age. One-third of our students report that they either have been diagnosed with a learning disability or suspect that they have one, due to experiences such as mixing-up letters and/or numbers, or severe memory problems. Many students have faced physical challenges, such as head injuries or vision problems, as well as psychological and emotional problems related to trauma and abuse at home, at school, or in the community. Students with these types of problems and difficult personal histories present unique challenges to in-prison educators.

The Prison University Project maintains a rigorous commitment to inclusivity for anyone at San Quentin who wishes to work towards a college degree, regardless of their academic history or qualifications at the time they begin the College Program, as long as they hold a high school diploma or GED. 

With the benefit of the expertise of a Learning Behavior Specialist, the Prison University Project will integrate stronger technical knowledge and use the most up-to-date techniques to assist students with a wide range of challenges.



Competitive health, dental, and vision benefits provided. Vacation and holiday pay. Employees may also participate in a retirement plan.

Level of Language Proficiency


Professional Level

None specified

Minimum Education Required

Master's degree

How To Apply


We will receive applications on a rolling basis until the position has been filled. The position has a preferred start date of September 17, 2018. Please submit a cover letter and CV to jobs@prisonuniversityproject.org.

In keeping with our beliefs and goals, the Prison University Project strongly encourages applications from all qualified individuals including people of color, persons with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and gender nonconforming individuals. No employee or applicant will face discrimination/ harassment based on: race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, age, gender, marital/ domestic partner status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability status, or veteran status.