UNITY, Maine — Unity College announced Monday its board of trustees has decided to permanently transition the school to a hybrid learning model.
The board also authorized the college’s leadership team the option to retain a real estate firm to explore the sale of any assets, including the main campus at 90 Quaker Hill Road.
Unity says it has elected to invest in its remote-learning opportunities and increase its focus on providing education to students in the physical environment relevant to individual courses.
In lieu of a main campus, the college plans to leverage locations across Maine, including Unity College Sky Lodge in rural Jackman, the rocky coast of Acadia National Park and individual cities like Portland, to provide hands-on learning opportunities for students in a real-world environment.
According to the college, its hybrid learning model will give students more control over their education. The school believes this will occur because of a nonstandard calendar, shorter terms, differentiated tuition, and multi-modality curriculum that doesn't rely on maintaining a physical campus.
“Hybrid Learning retools how we envision education, aligns with the needs of the professional world, and prepares students for their next chapter – whether that is a first job or graduate school – all while giving students control over their educational pace and path,” Unity College President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury said. “This transition is also a major stride toward Unity College’s mission to provide a more diverse, just, equitable, and sustainable education.”
In addition to hybrid learning, Unity will continue to offer distance education, which provides immersive technologies, challenging field assignments and real-world learning for online bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees or non-degree credits.
“While the financial impact of COVID-19 certainly expedited our plans, this transition to a fully hybrid model is not simply a reaction to the pandemic,” Dr. Khoury said. “It is a critical next step in helping Unity College thrive and better serve our students in the 21st century, while happening to create a model that is relatively pandemic-proof.”
“Unity College has a rich history in community-based learning and offering courses in a variety of geographic locations to engage our students in immersive learning opportunities,” Unity Chief Learning Officer Dr. Erika Latty, said. “We can offer courses in community colleges, high schools, at any of our owned or leased spaces, and all over the world in places like Costa Rica to study ecology or Alaska to study climate change.”