Instructional Program Specialist

Applications for this position are now closed. Thank you for your interest!

Position: Instructional Program Specialist


The Instructional Program Specialist provides support to the Program Department by working collaboratively with in- and out-of-school and community-based programs to play an instrumental role in supporting dynamic and engaging arts experiences for our participants.

Department: Program Department, School-Based Programs Team
Status:  Full-time Salaried Exempt, 40 hours per week with occasional evenings/weekends as needed
Salary: Mid-Career Level Position – Salary Range: Upper 30s
Benefits: Urban Gateways provides group health insurance with choices between HMO and PPO, Dental insurance, Life insurance, Long-term Disability, optional employee paid Vision, an employee contributed medical Flexible Savings Account (FSA) option, and an employee contributed 401K retirement plan.  Urban Gateways also has an Unlimited Paid-Time-Off (PTO) policy.


70% of Time: Instructional Programs (approximately 28 hours a week)
  • Manages all aspects of teaching artist-led programming with Urban Gateways (artist residencies, workshops, professional development, etc.)
  • Fosters authentic partnerships with schools and organizations that are founded on listening, shared values and goals
  • Works closely with the Performance Programs Specialist to create Instructional Programs that center around Urban Gateways Touring Performances
  • Works with partners (schools and community-based organizations) from the inquiry phase through program completion
  • Creates quotes, budgets, program design in response to partners’ interests and needs
  • Maintain programs from facilitating planning meetings, monitoring budgets, adjusting schedules, working with artists to order supplies, solving challenges, and seeking additional creative opportunities to support the partner’s needs.
  • Conducts regular site visits and program observations in order to support program and artist development; conducts assessment and provides feedback to artists when appropriate
  • Informs the professional development plans for teaching artists, which may include developing and/or facilitating sessions
  • Work with Urban Gateways Finance staff to ensure all appropriate paperwork is completed
  • Work with Program, Administration, Operations, and Development staff to track accurate program data and provide insight into the work

20% of Time: Specialized Focus 
(approximately 8 hours a week)

This portion of the role allows for each individual to work on additional projects that support the Urban Gateways mission and values, while also encouraging staff to build upon their expertise and/or interests.

This may include:

  • Artist Engagement and Professional Development
  • Youth Voice Initiatives
  • Program Evaluation and Assessment
  • Video Content Production and Support
  • Special Projects

10% of Time: Other Organization and/or Field Advancement Efforts
 (approximately 4 hours a week)

Dedicated to advancing organizational or external efforts within the Chicago communities and/or arts education field.

This may include:

  • Leading or serving on an internal working group, committee, or task force.
  • Participating in external networks, partnerships, committees, learning spaces, or other efforts within the field of arts and culture.


  • Dedication to addressing inequity across all areas in which Urban Gateways operates, from internal structures affecting staff, participants, and artists, to the city and systems in which we function
    • The individual in this role is expected to fully participate in Urban Gateways’ racial equity efforts which may include racial caucusing, full staff projects and meetings, and ongoing work to examine where our work and partnerships may enforce oppressive structures or systems
  • Skilled in communicating with all people in a clear and supportive manner
  • Demonstrates a creative approach to both new opportunities and problem solving
  • Strong understanding of working within schools and school systems
  • Familiarity or expertise in one or more artistic discipline; knowledge of the Chicago-area artists communities and networks
  • Possesses the ability to think both creatively and critically, often both at the same time
  • Administrative chops: ability to create, understand, and translate complex schedules, budgets, and program designs into real programs
  • Comfort with virtual platforms such as Google Meet, Zoom, and also video editing programs (Premiere and/or iMovie)


Preferred Qualifications:
  • Experience or knowledge of working with artists in educational settings, either as an artist or an administrator
  • Salesforce and Google Suite experience is a plus



Interested candidates should send a cover letter and resume to with Instructional Program Specialist in the subject line. For best consideration, please apply by August 25, 2021.  Interviews will take place over the following 2 to 3 weeks with the goal to have someone start no later than October 1st.  We will make every effort to accommodate candidates’ schedules and needs in all parts of the hiring process.


The Urban Gateways staff is currently fully remote until further notice. The ideal candidate will reside in the Chicago area for program observations and other site visits as needed and in accordance with current COVID-19 safety protocols.

About Urban Gateways

Urban Gateways is celebrating 60 years as a catalyst for creative youth voices in our city through multiple initiatives built with a broad network of local and national partnerships.  Our mission is to: Engage young people in arts experiences to inspire creativity and impact social change.

The team at Urban Gateways works to overcome social and economic barriers for youth to access Chicago’s artistic and cultural vitality, fostering a more creative and artistically responsive society. Urban Gateways was founded in 1961 to connect youth to the city’s many arts and culture institutions as a vital tool for personal growth and expanded opportunities. Through a range of initiatives, young people acquire and refine artistic skills, demonstrate their talents, engage in critical thinking, explore new possibilities, and contribute to the civic discourse of our community. Urban Gateways works across the metro area and in nearly every Chicago ward, with concentrated efforts in South and West side communities. The organization conducts Arts Education, Creative Youth Development, and Civic Engagement initiatives that reach over 90,000 youth across 250 locations annually.

Urban Gateways offers an inclusive environment that celebrates collaboration and thinking differently to solve the challenges before us. Our goal is to be a diverse workforce that is representative at all job levels of the population we serve. Urban Gateways is deeply committed to the principles of equity, diversity, and inclusivity.  Individuals from groups whose voices are not traditionally represented in arts education spaces are particularly encouraged to apply.