Learning at the Wayfinding Academy


When do classes start?

For this year's cohort (2017), the experience begins August 28th with a week long orientation full of adventure, exploration, learning, and community building; core classes will begin the following week.

What can I expect during the breaks between core classes?

The Wayfinding Academy is a two-year program on a quarter system with 12 week terms followed by a month-long break to allow students opportunities for intentional travel, internships or other activities that complement their experience.

Wayfinding Academy will be offering Learn + Explore trips that last 2-3 weeks each during the month-long breaks in December, April, and August that students and community members can sign up to attend. In addition, we will host our annual Wayfinder Weekend gathering during one of the month-long breaks to bring past, present, and future Wayfinders together to learn, teach, explore, and serve together.

What is the main focus of the core curriculum and who can I expect to learn from?

Our core curriculum includes nine classes intentionally designed to help graduates discern and address the needs of the communities they find themselves members of, both now and as they move through their lives. Short descriptions of our core classes and other components of the curriculum can be found here. Whether in a classroom, a lab or an experience in the community, you will be taught by faculty and staff who are Wayfinders themselves. You will participate in meaningful experiences that will impact your individual journey along with receiving feedback to help you grow and develop in the community. You can read more about our full-time and part-time faculty here.

In addition to the core curriculum, what other learning experiences will I have?

You will develop your own individualized portfolio of experiences with help and guidance from an appointed advocate and other mentors along the way. In addition to the nine core courses you will take with the members of your cohort to provide a common foundation for the Wayfinding experience, each student will chose a series of Labs to take. Labs bring together students and community members in workshops and seminars designed to meet the interests of the current cohort. They will be taught by guest instructors who are experts in their field and be held in various places throughout Portland.

Is the Wayfinding Academy accredited?

This is a fascinating question and the short answer is “We will be”. The full answer is that it is a long process with two major steps that will take several years to complete.

  • We are approved by Oregon's Higher Education Coordinating Commission Office of Degree Authorization, whose mission is “to assist Oregon students and their families in attaining a postsecondary education and to enhance the value, integrity, and diversity of Oregon's college programs.”
  • The next step is regional accreditation with the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. In order to apply for candidacy, the Wayfinding Academy must be operating its programs and have its first cohort of students enrolled and at the completion of their first year of the program. We will apply for pre-candidacy with NWCCU as soon as we are eligible We understand the process to full accreditation will take 2-3 years.

A bit about WHY: Accreditation is not necessary in order to provide a life changing and empowering education, which is our primary goal, but because life is already full of obstacles, we strive never to put unnecessary obstacles in the way of the student. We have chosen to pursue accreditation to minimize two significant barriers.

  1. Regional accreditation will allow our students to be eligible for federal financial aid to pay for school.

  2. Regional accreditation will make it easier for students to have their Wayfinding experience recognized by four-year universities should they discover that is their best next-step.


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