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 does the class schedule look like each week?

Students take part in either 1 or 2 classes each term. The terms when there is only 1 class, students may also participate in an internship of their choosing. Classes meet twice a week for 3 hour sessions. We do our best to arrange class times each term based on student and faculty preference.

What can I expect during the breaks between Terms?

The Wayfinding Academy is a 2-year program with three 12-week terms between which month or longer breaks occur to allow students opportunities for intentional travel, internships, or other activities that complement their experience.

Wayfinding Academy offers up Learn + Explore trips that last up to 2-3 weeks each during the breaks in December, April, and August. Students and community members can sign up to attend these trips. In addition, we 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?

Our core curriculum includes 9 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 throughout 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.

Who teaches courses?

You can read more about our full-time and part-time faculty Here. Core classes and Labs are taught be dedicated experts in their fields.

In addition to the core curriculum, what other things will I be doing?

You will develop your own individualized portfolio of experiences with help from your personal Guide and other mentors along the way. In addition to the 9 core courses you 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 are taught by guest instructors who are experts in their field and held both at Wayfinding Academy and in various places throughout Portland. Additionally students will take part in 2 to 3 internships during the program. We support students in putting together learning opportunities in the field that align with their unique interests and desires.

What are the classes, Labs, and projects students undertake?

That's a great question! You can read more about specific courses, Lab opportunities, and example Portfolio projects Here.

Is the Wayfinding Academy accredited?

This is a fascinating question and the short answer is yes, partially, and “We will be” fully. The long answer is that it is a lengthy 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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