Learning at the Wayfinding Academy




When do classes start?

We start a new cohort at the end of August and at the beginning of January. Our Fall term started on Monday, August 27, 2018. Our Winter term will begin on Monday, January 7, 2019. Our Summer term will begin on Monday, April 29, 2019.

What does the class schedule look like each week?

Wayfinding Academy operates under a quarter system with each term consisting of 12 weeks. Here are our 2018-2019 term Start and End Dates:
Fall Term: Monday, August 27, 2018 - Friday, November 16, 2018
Winter Term: Monday, Jan 7, 2019 - Friday, March 29, 2019
Summer Term: Monday, April 29, 2019 - Friday, July 19, 2019

Core classes are typically held during the day Mondays through Thursdays. Sometimes course schedules can be customized based on the faculty and students' schedules.

What can I expect during the breaks between Terms?

Wayfinding Academy is a 2-year program with three terms each year. In between the terms, we intentionally built in long breaks to allow students opportunities for intentional travel, internships, work, or other activities that complement their experience. Our Winter break is 7 weeks, our Spring break is 4 weeks, and our Summer break is 5 weeks.

Wayfinding Academy offers Learn + Explore trips during the breaks that last up to 2-3 weeks each during the breaks. Students and community members can sign up to attend these trips. Many students choose to attend these trips with us, but many others choose to spend the break working and saving money.

What is the main focus of the core curriculum?

Our core curriculum includes 9 classes intentionally designed to help 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 collection 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 at least 2 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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