Past two months of progress; contributing to the future

01 June 2016

Musicals are complex creative products. You need a librettist, a director, a choreographer, a composer, a producer. A diverse team with disparate expertise working together to make the whole production sparkle.

The same is true of Outer Coast, especially as we look back on the last two-plus months of progress. It’s a team effort. A medley of amazing people across Alaska, the U.S., and the world, working together to make real a new institution of higher learning that scintillates with creative, intellectual, and entrepreneurial energy.


Photo credit: the inimitable Berett Wilber

We want to showcase our own choreographers, lyricists, producers, etc., along with a sampling of their wonderful creations.

Academic Vision: Our core team, with incoming help from Laura Nelson, has been hard at work crafting an academic vision for Outer Coast.

We’re committed to “disciplinary agnosticism,” in which all disciplines are equally valued and celebrated. But we’re working to explore unique community partnerships and student opportunities in three areas:

  • research in the natural sciences;
  • entrepreneurship; and
  • languages, especially Alaska Native language learning.

Accreditation: If Outer Coast were the new kid at the dance populated by colleges and universities, the two chaperones would be the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education (ACPE) and Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). These are our principal regulators. They are charged with protecting the student consumer and preventing diploma mills from cropping up in Alaska.

Our conversations continue with both ACPE and NWCCU, with Will in the lead. In fact, Will is prepping paperwork for the first step in the ACPE regulatory process (an application for what is called “Initial Authorization”).

Admissions and Recruitment: Stephanie, Will, Abdramane, Zach, Solomon, and David — together, our admissions and recruitment committee — are charging ahead, making connections with guidance counselors at high schools and educational programs around Alaska, United States, and the world.

Development: The project benefited from $10,000 of contributions, some in kind, in 2015 to fund its progress. The return on that investment has been monumental.

Led by Jonathan, with incoming help from Terrell Carter, we’re kicking off a larger “friends and family” round to fund and continue to accelerate the progress of Outer Coast through spring 2017.

We’re already $6,000 positive on the friends and family round.

Want to be a friend of the project? Kith and kin of Outer Coast is inclusive!

We will send an email on this subject incoming in a few days, but here’s a sneak peek if you’d like to be a part of bringing Outer Coast into reality.

Simultaneous to the friends and family round, we’re talking with several foundations and interested major donors as we lay a long-term financial foundation.

Legal: Our team is starting to talk with attorneys, both in Alaska and Lower 48 on a pro bono basis, on the subjects of contracts, accreditation, nonprofit incorporation.

The Team Grows, Evolves!


Laura Nelson (arriving June 29) and Terrell Carter (arrived in Sitka three days ago having been in and out of Sitka these last four years) will join us in Sitka for the summer.

Cecilia Dumouchel and Harry Choee will move to Sitka in late August as a part of the Sitka Winter Fellows program to work on the Outer Coast project.


Background: mountains of Baranof Island, with Sitka in the distance. Foreground: Will Hunt, having just ascended Mount Edgecumbe volcano in sandals (seriously!), contemplating the world. Photo credit: Javier Botero.

We also want to wish the industrious, indefatigably positive, and unfailingly thoughtful Will Hunt the very best as he wraps up his tenure in Sitka. Will took a gap year after finishing his two years at Deep Springs College to work on this project when Outer Coast was little more than a whimsical idea. Will will return to the world of higher ed to finish his undergraduate studies at Yale — and will continue to participate remotely with the core Outer Coast team.

Thanks for joining us on this journey,

Jonathan, Javier, Stephanie, Will, Cecilia, Harry, Laura, and Terrell 0

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