Outer Coast Summer Seminar17 December 2017
The next big thing is here, and it’s not self-driving cars or tax reform. It’s the inaugural Outer Coast Summer Seminar.
In exactly 200 days, as Southeast Alaska’s salmon start to fight their way up their natal streams to spawn, 12 high school students from Alaska and around the country will arrive by plane, ferry, and foot in Sitka for our 2018 Summer Seminar.
For four chock-full weeks, students will spend mornings immersed in a fast-paced, college-level discussion-based seminar; afternoons will find them tackling service work from assisting resource management agencies to restoring salmon habitat to beating back brush and other maintenance work on the local trail system; and in the evenings, they will study, host guest speakers, and experience the joys and hair-ripping frustrations of self-governance.
Sounds like a dream, right? But for a dozen curious, adventurous students, it will be real.
The 2018 Summer Seminar is a critical step along the path of realizing our vision of Outer Coast as a thriving institution of higher education in Sitka, Alaska.
The mission of Outer Coast is audacious: to prepare its students to make virtuous change in a world that, with every passing, tumultuous day needs it ever more. The 2018 Summer Seminar will allow us to test, refine, and further explore how to do this best.
Please invest in the launch of the Summer Seminar. Your contribution, matched by larger gifts, will help us raise the $80,000 we need to secure student housing and classrooms, pay faculty and program staff, provide financial aid to all students who need it, and take this important step to opening the college.
(Our generous partners at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization under their parent organization, Alaska Arts Southeast, are our fiscal sponsors (EIN: 23-7240278). All contributions made by check are tax deductible.)
Aurora Joins the Team10 October 2017
Hello from Sitka!
We’re excited to report on a summer of progress for Outer Coast, and a few milestones on the horizon.
Welcoming Aurora Roth to the Outer Coast Team
The first and most exciting news of this update is the addition of Aurora Roth to our Outer Coast team.
In Sitka, Aurora joins Cecilia Dumouchel, who served as a Sitka Winter Fellow last year and now serves as Outer Coast’s first professional staff. Aurora and Cecilia constitute our dedicated capacity for the Outer Coast project (although we’re looking to grow the team in coming months — more on that later).
Aurora brings a wonderful blend of positivism, focus, and dedication to go along with a rich Alaska background. Growing up in Fairbanks, and later moving to Girdwood, Alaska, Aurora competed as an alpine skier and continues to be involved in the skiing and avalanche education communities in Alaska.
She attended Carleton College and last year earned a MS in Geophysics at the University of Alaska — Fairbanks, focusing on glaciology. Most recently, Aurora has supported science research in Greenland and Antarctica. Aurora has been deeply involved with Inspiring Girls Expeditions, which offers tuition-free wilderness expeditions for young women to explore science and art.
We are so excited to welcome Aurora to the Outer Coast team and to the comparatively balmy, southeastern realm of Alaska!
Aurora on a recent kayaking trip in Southeast Alaska.
Visiting the Valley29 June 2017
I’m Bryden Sweeney-Taylor, one of the Core Team members at Outer Coast. I was a student at Deep Springs from 1998 to 2000 and graduated from Harvard with a degree in Folklore and Mythology. Over the last dozen years, I’ve worked in non-profit education ventures, and I’m currently CEO of College Access and Success at America Achieves.
I first learned about Outer Coast in the spring of 2015 while I was teaching at Deep Springs and Will Hunt, Outer Coast Winter Fellow and Core Team member, was finishing up his second year at Deep Springs. I met Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins later that summer, and my involvement in the project expanded throughout the 2015-2016 academic year. In the fall of 2016, I became a Core Team member.
A Trip to Deep Springs
Deep Springs College has been one of the inspirations for our work on Outer Coast from the get-go. So earlier this spring, fellow Core Team member Sara Feinberg and I rendezvoused with Mollie Kabler and Marya Pillifant, who serve on the Sitka Fine Arts Camp (SFAC) Board of Directors, for a visit to Deep Springs Valley in Eastern California.
SFAC is the owner of the Sheldon Jackson Campus, the prospective home of Outer Coast, and the Board was eager to get a better sense of what Deep Springs is all about as part of their due diligence process to understand how Outer Coast could be integrated into the existing programs at Sheldon Jackson.
Mollie and Marya came down all the way from Alaska — Sitka and Anchorage, respectively — to Las Vegas before heading north to Deep Springs. We arrived on a glorious Sunday afternoon that marked the start of the last week of Deep Springs’ spring term. Our first adventure had us heading south from the Main Circle of campus on a dusty dirt road, past the Dairy, Fields 5, 6, 7, and 8, the Metal Dump and the Dead Animal Dump, to the shores of Deep Springs Lake to catch a glimpse of the endemic Deep Springs Black Toad. We saw more than a few!
Sara Feinberg, Mollie Kabler, and Bryden Sweeney-Taylor among the toads at Deep Springs Lake.
6,112 Hours...03 May 2017
We’re hard at work, and we wanted to let you know.
First, marshaling our powers of arithmetic and educated estimation, and through a system of time accounting implemented last year, we have ballparked that our core team has invested approximately…
… 6,112 hours towards moving Outer Coast to reality.
We’re proud of this number. And of course, every hour has been matched by you and other friends and supporters with additional time, financial generosity, expertise, introductions, and encouragement. Thank you, all. We think it speaks to the magnitude of our commitment and the ambition of this idea.
These inputs are creating progress.
Terrell and Cecilia getting ready to board the M/V Malaspina (at 2:14 a.m.) to head back to Sitka from Juneau. They were in Juneau to work with Jonathan in person and meet up with key Outer Coast collaborators.
Sitka Winter Fellows – Outer Coast Position12 March 2017
The Outer Coast team has been hard at work planning for the next program year. We have begun to map out a more robust staffing plan and organizational structure and are currently seeking someone who is eager to innovate on the cutting edge of higher education to join the team as a Sitka Winter Fellow beginning this fall.
If you are interested in this position or know someone who would be a great fit, please pass along the position description found here. We are asking applicants to submit a resume and statement of purpose by March 24, 2017. If there are any questions regarding the application, please direct them to Cecilia at email@example.com.
Uber Eckholm and the Year Ahead20 January 2017
Happy New Year!
The Outer Coast team has enjoyed a productive couple of months. The core team gathered in New York City for a three day Uber Eckholm — we refer to our bi-monthly core team meetings as Eckholms, in reference to a cluster of islands in the Sitka Sound. At the Uber Eckholm, we had the opportunity to all be in the same room at 246 Greene Street, New York University, for a three-day-long convening.
The principal team at work in NYC.
Past two months of progress; contributing to the future01 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.
Building blocks for a college31 March 2016
When we embarked on this project of creating a college, the process was almost more mysterious than the goal we were working towards. There’s no handbook on creating a college. Figuring out how to do it has been half the adventure, and we’re excited to share some of that progress with you.
As we’ve marched forward we’ve identified discrete Lego blocks needed to build a college. There are many, but the most important are (in alphabetical order, because they’re all important):
- building a budget
- campus (for us: Sheldon Jackson Campus and partnership with Sitka Fine Arts Camp)
- curriculum, academics, and pedagogy
- recruitment, admissions, and building relationships with our future students
Outer Coast peers into the New Year, and looks back on recent past29 December 2015
Good evening from beautiful Sitka, Alaska!
(Photo by the estimable photographic talent, Berett Wilber.)
Outer Coast in the news
In the last month, Inside Higher Ed, the Sitka Sentinel, and the state paper-of-record Alaska Dispatch News have covered Outer Coast. Stray mentions are cropping up in parts of the blogosphere. We’re tickled every time a Google Alert sprouts in our inbox.
Blueprint for a college19 November 2015
Last week, on November 11 and 12, more than a dozen creative, entrepreneurial, idealistic minds from across the country gathered in the Del Shirley room of Allen Hall, the heart of Sitka’s Sheldon Jackson Campus.
Will, Javier, and Jonathan presented the foundational documents for Outer Coast they had prepared over the preceding two months: a detailed draft budget and what we are calling a “college blueprint” — a comprehensive blend of student handbook and operations plan.
Our band of inspired collaborators interrogated every sentence of these documents, further invigorating the vision of the school and strengthening and deepening the detail of our plans.
We are excited to share this college blueprint in the coming weeks. We are also excited to share a shot of last week’s gathering, taken by the inimitable James Poulson:
Outer Coast in Sitka, Alaska23 October 2015
We are creating an institution of higher learning in Sitka, Alaska.
“We” is an inclusive pronoun. The principal collaborators are Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, Will Hunt, and Javier Botero. We’ve been working on the project for a little more than a year.