Completing the Inaugural Hybrid Learning Term
September 23, 2020
Dear Unity College Hybrid Learning Colleagues,
As we near completion on our inaugural Hybrid Learning term, I want to say both congratulations and thank you. The pivot to HybridLearning and five-week terms was a huge challenge and I know it stretched your professional skills, inspired local criticism, but it was inspiring to watch you lean into this new formats. Your faith in the model and Unity College’s mission are providing a level of certainty in these uncertain times that our students and colleagues need now more than ever.
Unity College is more than just a building or space or concept, it is a team. Nothing has proved that more than the building of Hybrid Learning. We talk about changing higher education through changing the way we work – The Enterprise Model and Enterprise Education are the face of this, but it goes deeper. It means we have to work as a team, our collective success depends on our collective efforts.
The traditional rhythm of higher education lends itself to peaks and valleys in work. In the summer or during winter break we are not hosting or supporting students, making it is a laid-back time for staff. One that is traditionally reserved to catch up on projects or take a vacation ourselves. Hybrid Learning at Unity College has a very different rhythm, there are no peaks and valleys in work anymore. We are welcoming students every five weeks now so that means a constant flow of applications, information, communication and student support. This team has done an incredible job taking this transition in stride and working with our students to navigate this new path. It has been a tremendous privilege to watch and you should be very proud of your efforts.
In traditional higher education our professors are trained to be responsible for everything within their classrooms, but that is a mold we are breaking one class at a time, and while it can be hard to let go of some things, it is also freeing. Professors should be able to teach, research, provide feedback to their students and focus on being the subject matter experts they are. In most institutions this is counter-intuitive to how higher education works – here it’s the new normal and I am so excited to watch how this team is embracing it.
Sometimes we don’t realize how stuck we are until we are forced to change. Some of us move to change willingly, others do it with optimistic skepticism, either way we end up in a new spot – learning and teaching new things. We have started this journey with nearly 400 hundred students. They are learning in new ways, we are teaching in new ways, we are working in new ways and together we will change the way higher education works and that will change the world, because as Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Congratulations on successfully completing the Hybrid Learning inaugural term! Thank you for your hard work, dedication and willingness to see the potential in Hybrid Learning. You are making it amazing for our students. I am excited to see where this road leads and proud to have you on the team.
Dr. Melik Peter Khoury
President, Unity College