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Tennessee Higher Education Initiative

Academic Coordinator

Tennessee Higher Education Initiative


Job Summary

Tennessee Higher Education Initiative (THEI) seeks a full-time Academic Coordinator. 

THEI’s Academic Coordinator executes administrative policies and procedures for the program and assists in program development, faculty and student support.

The position will be split between the prison facilities that house THEI programs and working at our Nashville based office. Under the direction of the THEI Director of Academic Programs, the Academic Coordinator will work closely with the THEI Programs Team, the administration and staff at our partner prisons,  and the points of contact at our partner colleges to facilitate the operation and administration of the THEI college program. The Academic Coordinator will assist with all aspects of the administration and logistics of the program on the ground. The Academic Coordinator will also meet weekly with students.
The ideal candidate can start by August 1, 2022. Priority will be given to applicants who demonstrate a strong commitment to providing educational opportunities to at-risk populations and understand the mission of THEI to be located within a larger social-justice movement. Further, we seek applicants who have experience working in secondary education and/or working in a prison environment; flexibility with work hours including the ability to work nights and weekends; excellent organizational and time management skills; and a strong commitment to breaking cycles of poverty and incarceration.  Familiarity with the TDOC practices and/or knowledge of the public higher education system in Tennessee are a benefit. Finally, the ideal candidate must have a reliable car, can drive to TDOC prisons across Tennessee, be comfortable working in a prison and collaborating with incarcerated individuals.  We encourage folks who have been impacted by the criminal-justice system to consider applying. 

Please note this position is primarily based in Middle Tennessee. The Coordinator will split time inside two prison facilities across the state facilitating the higher education in prison programs and reporting to our Nashville office

This role will require two work days inside  Riverbend Maximum Security Institution,  a maximum security men’s TDOC facility located in the middle region of the state in Nashville, Tennessee, and splitting two work days inside Deborah Johnson Rehabilitation Center working with a female population in Nashville, TN.

Job Responsibilities

Key Responsibilities (organized by stakeholder group):

  • Stakeholder Group #1: Students
    • Build relationships and rapport with all THEI students 
    • Meet with students on a regular basis; advocate on behalf of students
    • Provide academic advising: help students map degree plans
    • Facilitate College Prep program and oversee annual admissions process
    • Ensure students have access to educational materials necessary to succeed in their courses, as well as ensure professors have the technology and materials needed to successfully teach their courses
    • Manage student records and instructional materials 
    • Log contact notes timely utilizing Salesforce and Google Drive
    • Ensure all education information and data are maintained correctly in electronic and paper files
    • Partner with the community to create and facilitate student success & academic workshops geared towards the student interest
    • Lead and manage student council groups
  • Stakeholder Group #2: Prison Sites 
    • Build and maintain rapport with prison administration and staff
    • Oversee on-site implementation of college programs at assigned prison sites 
    • Identify new volunteer partners, oversee & manage  volunteer relationships with prison facilities, including scheduling all faculty orientations and training sessions
    • Ability to swiftly problem solve given the unpredictability of prison culture 
  • Stakeholder Group #3: College Partners
    • Serve as liaison between faculty members and students through weekly communication
    • Process all administrative paperwork such as student rostering, roster changes, course adds and withdrawals
    • Collaborate with college partners to host annual graduation ceremonies inside TDOC facilities 
    • Facilitate Faculty Training and post evaluation collection for all partner instructors prior to the start of each semester


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in a related field, e.g Education, Counseling Psychology, Program Administration, social services
  • Direct experience working with TDOC/ correctional setting
  • Flexibility to meet student needs and organizational changes
  • Ability to work effectively, both independently and as part of a team
  • Ability to work well with diverse individuals and groups, balance needs, and employ objectivity
  • Be comfortable taking appropriate initiative
  • Ability to multi-task and problem solve

Required Qualifications: 

  • Associate degree 
  • Minimum of  1 year experience as a teacher, trainer, advisor, prison educator, or similar role 
  • Proficiency in Google Suite, particularly Google Calendar, Sheets, Docs, and Slides.
  • The ability to organize and manage data
  • Exceptional administrative, as well as superb written and verbal communication skills.
  • Valid driver’s license and the ability to travel to and from prison on a regular basis
  • Flexible schedule including the ability to work in the evenings and some Saturdays 
  • Must be eligible to be a badged TDOC contractor
  • Timeliness around email correspondence
  • Investment in relationship-building and passion for creating partnerships with diverse populations
  • Energy for creative problem solving and thoughtfulness and critical understanding about the social and historical context of THEI’s work.
  • Commitment to self-care, social justice, and equity
  • Emotional intelligence with ability to maintain healthy boundaries maintaining professionalism with incarcerated student population and follow guidelines received from the Tennessee Department of Corrections

Additional Information


The position is a full-time exempt position. The starting salary is $45,000 per year, plus full employer paid medical/dental/vision insurance, and generous paid leave and holidays.

How to Apply

The review of applications will begin immediately.

Interested applicants should submit cover letter and resume to with “Academic Coordinator Position” in the subject line. 


  • Date Posted: May 10, 2022
  • Type: Full-Time
  • Job Function: Programs and Service Delivery
  • Service Area: Education
  • Start Date: 08/01/2022
  • Salary Range: 45,000
  • Working Hours: 40 hrs/wk