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

Hello Unity!

We’ve had another great visit from our F2Y team, and we want to update you on our progress. Things are speeding up a little as we engage more constituencies on campus in the work to come, but we’ll continue to update everyone each week as we move forward. News from the outside world definitely fosters a sense of urgency as higher education continues to grapple with challenges of relevancy. This week we discussed a recent article in the Chronicle about how our public peers in Maine are responding to our state’s particular demographic challenges. These stories can be gloomy, but each of them has examples of institutions making changes that show real promise for reversing the downward trend, and we’re looking forward to Unity College appearing at the top of those lists!

Process Updates

We continued to develop timelines and project plans for F2Y, informed by vigorous meetings with a number of groups on campus, including:

  • Residence life staff talked about co-curricular outcomes and living-learning-working communities that we could create for our students
  • The Collaborative Learning Center is thinking about how to strengthen advising for our students so they can navigate a more flexible, rich learning environment
  • Mahurin conducted 4 focus groups with current students to test some of our early plans and get feedback on powerful experiences they either have or wish they had at Unity College
  • The Academic Leadership Team grappled with the creation of college-wide learning outcomes to guide the curriculum
  • Advancement helped us understand some important timelines and communication elements, and we discussed developing language about F2Y that they can begin sharing externally
  • The Chief Officers discussed important terminology that we are using as we develop F2Y so that we can ensure that we all mean the same things when we work together and communicate to others

Outcomes and Next Steps

  • Our students provided us with constructive feedback on current student experiences and signaled an interest in more opportunities for professional experiences and integrated learning. These initial conversations will inform broader market research conducted with high school and community college students later this year.
  • ALT discussed how to align CWLOs with the college’s sustainability science framework and the disciplinary content of our major degree programs. We’re engaging our standing academic committees in this work by bringing the challenge to the Curriculum Assessment and Planning Committee and the Strategic Academic Leadership Team to continue the progress.
  • Mahurin has begun conducting interviews with innovators in the educational space whose perspectives can help us navigate this process. His initial call with the American Council on Education generated great interest in the F2Y project and the potential for networking with some of their partners across higher education.
  • We are delighted to welcome Jennifer Cartier to the team as our new Director of Curricular Innovation! She’ll be helping shepherd our outcomes work now as well as assist the faculty at every stage of the curriculum development process moving forward.

Dr. Mahurin will be back on campus in May to join us for our professional development days, when Dr. Linda Suskie will deliver an assessment workshop to our faculty and we can make some sustained progress on our goals. Thanks everyone for engaging in this exciting project with us!