Wayfinder Program

Academics / Global Campus / 49507 Initiative / Wayfinder Program

The Wayfinder Program through Calvin University offers free college courses in art history, philosophy, literature, U.S. history, and critical thinking and writing for adults. This program responds to the desires heard in the focus groups and community conversations we convened through the 49507 Initiative.

Modeled after The Clemente Course in the Humanities®—an award-winning college-level liberal arts program for motivated low-income adults seeking to build better lives—Calvin's Wayfinder program is designed for eager students who bring an enthusiasm for learning and rich life experiences to the classroom. Adult students who are income-eligible and have not yet earned a bachelor's degree are paired with inspiring professors who are experts in the field and have a passion for students, making this program a unique success.

Calvin University, in collaboration with community and institutional partners, will pilot the Wayfinder Program, Michigan's first Clemente Course, starting in summer 2024.

What is the Wayfinder program?

  • 8 completely free, transferable, Calvin University credits taken one course at a time over three semesters:  
    Course number Course Name Semester
    ASC 111 Academic Transitions Summer
    GCS 110 Intro to Humanities 1 Fall
    GCS 111 Intro to Humanities 2 Spring
  • Childcare, transportation, books, technology and dinner during class are provided.
  • 15–25 students participate in each cohort.
  • Eligibility Requirements:
    • Open to ages 18 and up
    • Not yet completed a bachelor's degree
    • Meet income eligibility guidelines
      • You can apply if previous college loans are in default. This program does not use federal financial aid. 
    • Reside in the greater Grand Rapids area
    • GED is not required to enroll

Classes combine timeless humanities texts with timely questions. With obstacles to access and success removed, students thrive in their coursework and often develop a passion for further education.

The Wayfinder application is closed for 2024 and will open again in January 2025.

2024–2025 Program Details

  • Community Partners: LINC UP, Women's Resource Center, and more!
  • Dates: Summer 2024 through Spring 2025 (10 months)
  • Classes: Wednesdays, 5:30–9 p.m.
  • Location: Women's Resource Center, 816 Madison Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49507
  • Dinner provided

Note: The intention behind the Wayfinder program is to activate an interest in and provide access to higher educational opportunities through barrier removal. In order to give the greatest opportunities to the most amount of students, Wayfinder students are not eligible to be concurrently degree-seeking students at Calvin University. We welcome Wayfinder students to apply to Calvin University degree programs upon completion of Wayfinder.

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Abbie Lipsker

Abbie Lipsker

Director of Continuing Studies
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