Academic Disability Specialist

Job Summary

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is looking for an Academic Disability Specialist to join its Disability Support Services Office. RISD is committed to providing equal opportunity for all students. The Office of Disability Support Services assists RISD students who have cognitive (learning), psychological, and physical disabilities.

With an understanding of current and pending state and local disability legislation (ADA and Section 504), the Academic Disability Specialist provides advocacy and assistance for a diverse community of matriculating and continuing education students who have cognitive, physical, and psychological challenges. This position stays abreast of current and pending disability laws and serves as a resource for others in the RISD community on the same. The Academic Disability Specialist designs, recommends, and delivers time management programs and education. The person in this position evaluates these programs and education and modifies them as appropriate. Researching, recommending, and implementing (after approval) new technology and program innovations are also part of this position. It also communicates and educates students, faculty, and staff on these innovations, and evaluates appropriateness for use at RISD. Successful candidates will have a demonstrated commitment to promoting diversity, inclusion, and multicultural competence in services and the work environment.

As an employer, RISD offers a supportive, collegial, and inclusive work environment and a competitive benefits package.

Essential Functions

ADA Compliance and Advising

  • With an in-depth understanding of ADA and Section 504 legislation and compliance, review, evaluate, approve, and implement academic accommodations for matriculating, precollege, and Continuing Education Students with Disabilities. Advise matriculating students and parents / guardians on postsecondary application of ADA and Section 504.
  • With an understanding of student needs and structural access issues on campus, act as a liaison between Disability Services and Facilities in order to understand current and future campus planning projects and make recommendations for effective, budget-conscious solutions.
  • Stay abreast of current and pending disability laws and best practices and serve as a resource for others in the RISD community. Engage and leverage professional networks to ensure continued learning in disability field.

Programming and Training

  • Assess programs and offerings, recommend modifications to current programs, and creation of new programs to ensure desired impact, and implement as approved. Create and implement regular time management programming for all RISD students, as well as provide time management coaching appointments for Students with Disabilities.
  • Train students, staff, and faculty on new and existing assistive technology features and functions. Search, identify and evaluate new and existing assistive technology for use at RISD and make recommendations of purchases and/or other utilization arrangements.
  • Select, train, supervise, and evaluate student workers and interns (specifically, note-takers, test proctors, personal assistants, etc.).
  • Coordinate testing accommodations for all RISD students.


  • Monitor and update a variety of disability processes and educational content on all relevant websites, ensuring accuracy. Ensure appropriate resources are accessible and available. Create and distribute digital and print informational materials, as approved, for incoming, precollege and Continuing Education students and families.
  • Represent Disability Support Services (DSS) at college functions as appropriate.
  • Represent Disability Support Services (DSS) as a member of the Medical Accommodations Committee, CARE Network, and all other committees as necessary.

Additional Functions:

  • Represent the Director and/or serve as a point of contact in Director’s absence.
  • Perform other related duties as assigned.


  • Bachelor’s degree required, or equivalent combination of education and experience. Master’s degree preferred in the fields of Higher Education, Social Work, Counseling, Psychology, or Education, Rehabilitation Services, or related field
  • Two or more years prior experience working with students with disabilities and determining appropriate and reasonable accommodations required, preferably in a higher education setting.
  • Proficiency in ADA and Section 504 laws; ability to interpret language and make related recommendations
  • Demonstrated experience interpreting and analyzing Neuropsychological Evaluations and implementing related reasonable accommodations based on the content of the evaluation
  • Demonstrated success in creating and delivering educational programs, which enhance the student experience, elicit engagement and increase learnings
  • Knowledge of assistive technology is required
  • Ability to mentor and guide student workers and interns
  • Ability to create and leverage networks and resources
  • Requires strong communication, organization, interpersonal, and computer skills
  • Ability to work and communicate inclusively and effectively within a broadly diverse community



Work Schedule

35 hours/week; 12 months/year

Employment Status

Full-Time Regular; Exempt



Documents Needed to Apply

Resume (required)

Cover Letter (required)

Incomplete applications will not be considered. Please upload all required documents.

The successful candidate will be required to meet our pre-employment background screening requirements.

For certain positions, RISD is currently supporting remote work arrangements due to the pandemic. When work resumes in person, employees are expected to perform work on campus.

RISD recognizes diversity and inclusivity as fundamental to its learning community and integral to an art and design education. We welcome candidates whose experience has prepared them to contribute to our commitment to diversity and excellence. RISD is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetics, or any other protected characteristic as established by law.

For internal use only - Job Family:

Student Affairs

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