FROM: Dr. Melik Peter Khoury
DATE: May 13, 2019
SUBJECT: May 2019 Board Meeting Update
Unity College Colleagues,
As many of you are aware, we had our May Board Meeting on Friday with special presentations from faculty, staff, and students.
The day began with an overview of the progress made on our goals for the year including the ongoing evaluation of the progress on the redevelopment of the Founders Hall south space to include a laboratory space, a one stop shop for student services and a new student lounge space; and setting up the Portland property for the August Board Meeting.
Following approval of the consent agenda, the board completed one of the most exciting events of the year — the approval of Graduate degrees for Distance Education, and Undergraduate degrees for the Flagship class of 2019! We then provided an update on Sky Lodge including a viable projection for that SEBU to meet its revenue goals within the next three years.
Next, the board took a few moments to recognize the contributions of three amazing board members who are terming out this June: Sally Jeffords, John Newlin, and Bruce Nickerson. Each has contributed to the success of the board and of Unity college in their own unique way. From Sally Jefford’s vision for change to John Newlin’s leadership of the board policy to Bruce Nickerson’s focus on entrepreneurship, each has left an indelible mark on Unity College.
Following these recognitions, the board received an update on the state of higher education and the strategic challenges that face Unity College currently as well as an overview of future challenges for the entire higher education sector. I believe that Unity College has the opportunity to serve new audiences, to employ new modalities, and to meet these challenges head on. The board was presented with a series of questions to prepare them for a more extensive discussion of these issues during our summer retreat as we prepare to buildout the Objectives and Initiatives next year; while insuring that structures are put in place to support our current SEBUs.
We then transitioned to my favorite part of the meeting, showcasing our students and employees. This year was special, we had both a DE and Flagship experiences! The board received a presentation from Logan Parker, a Distance Education Master’s degree student who majored in Natural Resource Management and did an amazing study of the Nightjar bird population in Maine. Over the course of 30 minutes, Logan led the board through his amazing research and its impact on the long term study of these important nocturnal species. Logan’s research and project can be found at https://www.mainenightjar.com/. Following lunch, the board participated in an active learning experience that mirrors the types of expeditions that students in the fall 2019 TERRAIN will experience. With the assistance of the TERRAIN planning team, Unity Flagship Faculty & Staff led through a trans-disciplinary experience that incorporated the humanities, science, inquiry-based techniques, and active learning to demonstrate the kind of curricular design at the core of this project. Despite the cold rain, board members warmly received this experience as they walked in the shoes of our faculty, staff and students. We will continue our campus-wide discussion of TERRAIN during our professional development sessions next week.
Next, the board received an update from CSO deHart on the progress made on the development and review of value statements by over 100 faculty and staff, and to review the design for the strategic plan framework. This framework will allow Unity to become more nimble, to meet the needs of new audiences, and to develop SEBU’s that further Unity College’s mission of promoting sustainability across the globe. Following Chief deHart’s overview, the board unanimously adopted the revised framework and supporting documents. As we continue to develop new SEBU’s and identify new audiences, we will employ the framework to guide our work, and shape our decisions.
In one of the final information topics of the day, I shared our current thinking about the redesign of the leadership structure for Unity College. In conjunction with work from the leadership team, I summarized progress on the Enterprise Buildout from Strategic Investment III which I will also be sharing with the College.
During the last whole-group session of the day CBO Silva provided an overview of the projected 18-19 year and & the 19-20 preliminary budgets. Our recent success with DE, combined with the sustained performance of the Flagship that has bucked the trend among small private colleges has resulted in a Unity College that is poised for success on multiple fronts in the future. During professional development this week, we will review this financial report in more detail.
As you can see, it was truly an intensive day! Followed by an amazing commencement on Saturday, not to mention a busy summer ahead full of planning, strategy, and rejuvenation. I want to thank the board for their guidance and support and to all of you for your dedication and tireless effort in support of America’s Environmental College.
Dr. Melik Peter Khoury
“Skill can be taught; loyalty can be garnered, confidence can be instilled; but attitude & integrity are inherent! So teach skill, garner loyalty; instill confidence; but never compromise on attitude & integrity.”
“Integrity, by its very existence, rekindles the belief that as a people we can live above the level of moral squalor. We need that belief; as a cynical community is a corrupt community.” John Gardner