We take a little different approach to education at Wayfinding Academy. Actually, make that a VERY different approach.

Our two-year college program is designed to help you find your way, stretch your mind, grow your skills, and live your life on purpose.

There are six key elements that make up the Wayfinding Academy Program.

1) Core Curriculum

The core curriculum consists of nine core courses designed to cultivate good humans.

Students take one or two core classes each term with their cohort, serving as the foundation of the program. Our courses are discussion-based, including the exploration of select texts and films curated by the faculty, experiential activities, and guest speakers.

2) Labs

The core curriculum is complemented by short workshops called Labs. Labs bring together students and members of the community and are designed to explore a specific topic or skillset in more detail.

Labs are taught by experts in a variety of fields, with each year’s offerings hand-picked according to student interests.  

Check out our current Lab offerings and learn more about previously offered Labs:

Upcoming Labs

Term 2 (January 6 - March 27, 2020)

  • Hip Hop and Spoken Word, Resistance Culture Confronts Fascism with Mic Crenshaw

  • Integrating Dance into Everyday Life with Hannah Martin

  • Get your Money Together with Lilian Karabaic

  • Immigration & Migration with Mira Mohsini

Term 3 (April 27 - July 17, 2020)

  • Planning Makes Perfect: The Skills and Principles of Project Planning with Sam Hediger

  • Venture Planning with Michelle Jones

  • Crime & Punishment with Tiffany Vann Sprecher

  • Gender, Sexuality & Disability with Aviva Schultz

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3) Wayfinding Guides

We believe that forming strong relationships with students is the best way to help them grow and increase their own sense of agency. That’s where our Guide Program comes in.

Every Wayfinding student is paired with a Guide who meets with them for 45 minutes every week (at least) to truly get to know them and provide support in everything from securing internships to exploring life’s big questions.

4) Internships & Self-Directed Projects

Students gain real-world experience by doing two internships during their time at Wayfinding Academy. In their internships, students weave classroom and applied learning together with their own interests.

Through direct observation, reflection and evaluation, students gain an understanding of how organizations serve their communities, and learn how they can contribute to exciting work being done throughout Portland.

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5) Living Portfolio

Public speaking, small business start-up, fundraising, documentary film-making, event planning, teaching, writing, community organizing  -- these are just a few of the skills our students have developed and displayed through a diverse range of portfolio projects.

A few student examples are detailed below:

Dylan completed and presented a project on the mechanics and potential of Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors, in order to better understand whether they can play a major part of securing a sustainable energy future.

Elizabeth created a 10-minute documentary on the origins of plastic, based on deep research into the history behind its widespread use and how it wreaks havoc on ecosystems.

Tucker wrote a prose, poetry and storybook titled, “Growing Pains.”

TJ hosted and curated an art show and fundraiser for the class Understanding Ourselves and Others. Proceeds went to Marrow, a local youth-centered community space with a focus on education, the arts and activism

6) Learn & Explore Trips

Learn and Explore trips are opportunities for Wayfinding Academy students and supporters to engage in a multi-day experience that includes learning and stretching opportunities.

Learn and Explore trips take place during the three months that our students are on break from classes -- April, August, and December. We also offer mini Learn and Explore trips that take place throughout the year.

Upcoming Trips

Sample Two Year Program

At the end of the Wayfinding college experience, all the pieces come together to look something like the sample curriculum (see image).

This will not be the same for every Wayfinding student because of each individual’s ability to highly customize the curriculum around their interests. This is a representation of a real student’s transcript to give you an idea of what the 2-year experience can look like.

(click the image to enlarge)

Want to start a conversation? Ready to apply?

Choose the button below that best fits your next steps:

You can also call (503) 482-9038 or email matchmaking@wayfindingacademy.org

Know a student who would thrive here? Email us with your recommendation.

Located in beautiful Portland, Oregon in the historic St. John’s neighborhood.
Join cohort 1 alumni, Austin, for a video tour of our campus.

Student FAQs

You might have some questions. Click on any of the links below to learn more:

This is Wayfinding (digital booklet)

Check out our This is Wayfinding booklet (PDF) for info on the program, our alumni, how Wayfinding works, and more (click the link below to get to the PDF version of the booklet)!