For the past several years, Unity College has been building out its Enterprise Education model, in which three key arms of the College — Distance Education, Hybrid Learning, and Sustainable Ventures — known as Sustainable Education Business Units (SEBUs), seek to discover new audiences and tailor the curriculum or services offered to best meet the needs of those audiences.
Each SEBU is led by a Vice President, and each Function is led by a Chief Officer (CO), both VPs and COs report directly to the President. This is an extension of Unity College’s Leadership in Abundance, an organizational structure based on functionality and driven by data and introduced in 2015. Leadership in abundance gives the senior-level team first-among-equals responsibility in their area of focus.
Message from the President
January 22, 2021
Dear Unity College,
As I begin my ninth year with Unity College, I would like to reflect on where Unity College came from and where it is going. Most importantly, I would like to make note of how we’ve arrived at the place we are today.
Unity College was founded in 1965 as the Unity Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences, with 15 employees and 39 enrolled students. After two years, Unity Institute transitioned its name to Unity College and in 1969 awarded degrees to its first graduating class of 24. Unity College has since shifted its focus to a liberal arts education, rooted in environmental and sustainability science. Today, Unity College has over 185 full-time, benefits-eligible employees and is thrilled to have approximately 1,500 students enrolled, quite a leap from 1965! Some additional important milestones between then and now include:
- 1988 – The Largest Environmental Career Fair: Launched the largest environmental career fair in New England, held annually since then.
- 1991 – White House Solar Panels: Unity College brings solar panels once attached to the White House back to Washington, D.C., to demonstrate the importance of renewable energy.
- 2012 – First to Divest: Unity College becomes the first U.S. college to divest its endowment portfolio of holdings in fossil fuel producers.
- 2016 – Distance Education Launched: Unity College begins offering online and distance education degrees, including its first master’s degree.
- 2020 – Hybrid Learning Launched: Unity College shifts to programs with residential options designed with ultimate flexibility, allowing students the ability to pursue jobs and internships while staying on track to complete their degree on time.
- 2020 – Record Enrollment: Unity College sees its largest enrollment ever: nearly 1,300 total students and welcoming its largest incoming undergraduate class ever.
These are just a few of the incredible moments Unity College has experienced in its relatively short history. When I consider how far Unity College has come since its inception, and particularly the growth experienced over the last five years, I cannot help but see a common thread throughout the College’s history: Strength in adaptation.
Changing the name to Unity College in 1967 and shifting the curriculum to meet the demands of students at that time, demonstrates Unity’s ability to be flexible and adapt to emerging trends and audiences. The rapidly growing need for environmental leaders and stewards continues to drive the advancement of the Unity College mission rooted in environmental and sustainability science. Unity College continues to be a pioneer in making a private college education affordable, accessible, flexible and relevant to students from all walks of life, who are passionate about tackling environmental problems.
Our degrees, whether they are offered in Hybrid Learning or Distance Education, are designed to prepare students with the skills and knowledge they need to move into the jobs that employers across various industries are urgently looking to fill. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for Environmental Scientists and Specialists are expected to grow by more than 8% over the next ten years – much faster than other occupations. This presents us with unique opportunities to partner with organizations who are looking to expand their sustainability footprint.
So as my ninth year here at Unity College commences, I hope to see continued growth in the diversity of our student population as we reach new audiences, further advancement of our mission, and of course, a strong focus on graduating students who will go on to do meaningful work in environmental and sustainability fields. I hope to see students back for in-person courses and to move past COVID-19. I hope to continue demonstrating Unity College’s commitment to the environment by applying what we teach our students to the way we work as an institution. And, I hope we keep thinking outside the box and become a model for success among our peers.
Thank you for taking the time to reflect with me. I hope you are as excited about Unity College’s future as I am.
Dr. Melik Peter Khoury