Classroom at San Quentin State Prison


Mount Tamalpais College promotes a student-centered, trauma-informed, and culturally-responsive model of teaching. Our volunteer faculty are drawn from some of the Bay Area's most prestigious colleges and universities and are placed as instructors and tutors at San Quentin State Prison each term, three terms a year. Faculty members typically spend eight to ten hours each week planning lessons, providing instruction, and grading assignments, and often co-teach courses with one or two others.

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We promote a student-centered, trauma-informed, and culturally-responsive model of teaching. During the semester, faculty commit eight to ten hours per week to teaching and preparing for their classes at San Quentin.

The number of faculty who provided instruction, tutoring, curriculum design, and student support in 2019.
 Instructors commit 8-10 hours each week, teaching and preparing for classes at San Quentin.
In 2019, Mount Tamalpais College instructors and tutors donated 27,ooo hours of their time.

Nigel Poor

Mount Tamalpais College has taught me to look at a person, and to really see them as they are in front of me at that moment, and to open my heart and mind to that very human experience. I think that is the most beautiful love there is because that is the love of seeing possibility, of seeing pain, of seeing confusion and of seeing hope.”

Susan Hirsch

The program and students are critical demonstrations of what compassion looks like in higher education.”

Sia Henry

Teaching in classrooms and tutoring in study hall, I’ve met published authors, poets, carpenters, entrepreneurs, surfers, fishermen, journalists, actors, musicians, social justice activists, loving sons, committed fathers, first-generation immigrants, indigenous people, bilingual scholars, young boisterous dreamers, and wise pensive elders.”


Mount Tamalpais College faculty members are engaged with the student community beyond their roles in the classrooms. They participate in conferences, act as research assistants, tutor in Study Hall, coach the Ethics Bowl team, and more.

San Quentin's First Academic Conference

Corrections, Rehabilitation, and Reform—21st Century Solutions for 20th Century Problems allowed those most impacted by America's carceral system to contribute to the conversations that shape their own lives and futures.

We Are All Directly Impacted: Mapping Societal Wellness, Institutions, and Self

Exhibit detail, The San Quentin Project at BAMPFA

Jody Lewen Moderates Colloquium on Narratives of Incarceration at BAMPFA

2018 academic conference at San Quentin State Prison

Call for Papers: Academic Conference Spring 2020