Outer Coast Summer Seminar: Overview

The Outer Coast Summer Seminar offers a diverse cohort of Alaskan and Lower 48 high school students (current sophomores and juniors) a transformative academic and service based experience that is founded on the belief that students can and should participate in community governance.

Program Overview

For more details on the Summer Seminar, please see the Program Overview. The Program Overview and website will be updated as Summer Seminar faculty and course descriptions are announced.

Program Dates

Saturday, June 29th - Saturday, August 3rd, 2019


Current high school sophomores and juniors are eligible to apply. We hope to bring together high-potential students who are invested in community. We place a special emphasis on recruiting students from underserved backgrounds.


The Summer Seminar is hosted on the Mt. Edgecumbe High School and Sitka Fine Arts Camp campuses in Sitka, Alaska. Students live in community with their peers alongside Residential Teaching Assistants.


The historic Sheldon Jackson campus. Photo Credit: Berett Wilber

Educational Model

Over the course of five weeks, students immerse themselves in two fast-paced, college-level academic courses; participate in a meaningful, work-based service program; and explore the powers and responsibilities of self-governance. Both inside and outside the classroom, Summer Seminar students will learn how to identify, analyze, and respond to the challenges that face the world today.


Imagining Otherwise: Utopia and Apocalypse in a Changing World

Sol Neely

Sol Neely, Associate Professor of English and Philosophy, University of Alaska Southeast

Many of the world’s problems today are the result of a collapsed political imagination, which occasions a fundamental inability to imagine society otherwise than what we’ve inherited. This course will ask students to identify contemporary social problems in their genealogical contexts and boldly imagine projects of social transformation that address these issues.

The Most Important Question

Jenell Paris

Jenell Paris, Professor of Anthropology, Messiah College

This course relies on the inquiry method of anthropological study to guide students toward asking important questions and seeking answers. Students will reflect on the social construction of knowledge and societal priorities by reading works that explore nature, indigeneity, and self-reflection in several cultural traditions.

Tlingit Language & Indigenous Studies

X'unei Lance Twitchell

X‘unei Lance Twitchell, Associate Professor of Alaska Native Languages, University of Alaska Southeast

This seminar teaches students the Tlingit language and also introduces a number of critical concepts in the field of Indigenous Studies. The daily activities of the class will be divided between language learning and use, and the exploration of topics in Indigenous Studies in a place-based and safe learning environment.

X'unei in class
Students clapping in game
Team with buckets

Weekday Schedule

On Monday through Friday, students participate in classes in the mornings, do service in the community in the afternoons, and finish off the day with community programing and unstructured time in the evenings. On Wednesday mornings and Friday evenings, students self-govern during their student body meetings.

Time Activity
7-8a Breakfast
8:00-8:30a Unstructured
8:30-10:00a Class A
  Class B
10-10:30a Unstructured
10:30-12p Class C
12-1p Lunch
1-4p Service in Community
4-5:30p Unstructured
5:30-6:30p Dinner
6:30-8:00p Community Programming
8:00p on Unstructured/study space open

Schedule is subject to change.