New Portland college hopes to transform higher education, starting in St. Johns

Michelle Jones quit her job as a full-time associate professor at Northeast Portland’s Concordia University in 2015 on a leap of faith.

For years, Jones had discussed with friends and colleagues her dream of starting a college from scratch. Instead of following an age-old blueprint for higher education – big lecture classes with students forced to pick a major or career path at an early age – Jones envisioned an alternative school that she believed would put students, and their interests, first.

“What if we start with, ‘Who are you? What do you want to be?'” Jones said recently in an interview. “What do you want to do with your life and what’s the best way to get there?”

Enter the Wayfinding Academy, Oregon’s newest college. Jones’ creation welcomes its first class Aug. 29.
Read the entire article at


About Dr. J. Metzker

I believe in the power of a liberal education to transform individuals and society. I am currently the Executive Director of the Brown Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence. Formerly, I led a community engagement initiative and held a full professorship in chemistry at a public liberal arts university. I am a proud product of The Evergreen State College.
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