From: Dr. Erika Latty and Dr. Sarah Cunningham
To: The Unity College Community

Dear Unity,

While everything gets very busy on campus in April and leading up to commencement, we continue to work on the First Two Years project and engage the campus in considering what we want Unity graduates to learn and be able to do.  Serendipitously, the Council of Independent Colleges has just released a comprehensive report from the Securing America’s Future initiative that summarizes innovative changes at hundreds of colleges in our sector who are experimenting with responses to the challenges facing higher education today.  There’s lots of material to explore, but the section on Curricular Reform is most relevant to our current work and provides some examples of other colleges making changes similar to the ones we are exploring for F2Y.

Jennifer Cartier, our new Director of Curricular Innovation, has been meeting with program faculty as well as our key academic leadership committees to generate revised learning outcomes at the program and college-wide level. She’s excited to continue that work and will be reaching out to all of our program chairs and faculty to meet with them so that we can build out their program outcomes and incorporate their perspective on college-wide learning goals.  This week she is attending a Learning and the Brain conference all about current research on educational neuroscience that can guide our design.  At the same time, Student Success is exploring national frameworks for traditionally “co-curricular” outcomes in the areas of leadership, professional skills, and literacy that we can incorporate into our structure to ensure that our integrative F2Y curriculum is still transferable to the outside world.

The research arm of the project is also progressing.  Dr. Mahurin has begun conversations with eight organizations whose perspectives can help us build the best possible program.  Over the next week, we’ll be refining questions to ask in external market research that Stamats will conduct for us with high school and community college students to help us judge the best approaches to attract students looking for something different who have not (or not yet) found Unity College.

As always, these updates are intended to keep our community informed and ensure that everyone interested in participating has the chance to jump in at the right time!  If you want to join the conversation simply let us know.