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

During the last several months, we have been collating our community efforts on the First Two Year Initiative, to develop a framework to build out the vision for a novel curriculum that is relevant, accessible, and valuable for our students as they prepare for meaningful careers.  This academic year, a variety of stakeholder groups have provided valuable input during both August 2017 and January 2018 professional development sessions to inform this concept.

Of course this work has considered and built upon insights developed through the Strategic Branding Initiative (also referred to as the Deep Dive) and is framed by outcomes developed by the First Two Year Committee.  The work is further guided by our strategic plan (G1: OB1: INITIATIVE 001) to integrate curricular, co-curricular, and residential components of the first two years of Unity College experience into a transformative and developmentally differentiated living and learning experience through Sustainability Science.

Recently we announced our partnership with Stamats and Dr. Ron Mahurin to advance the discovery, design, and implementation phases of this flagship initiative. Last week we were fortunate to have Dr. Mahurin on campus to engage with some of the key faculty and staff constituencies involved in this process. We also leveraged this opportunity to consider how the first two year initiative dovetails with our definition of innovation at Unity College.  This is an important moment for each of us to consider how to best align our work with this institutional priority.

Our work to date, coupled with secured funding support from the Davis Foundation, has led us to developing the goal of launching the redesigned first two year experience in Fall 2020.  Between now and Fall 2020 there are many conversations to unfold, questions to answer, and accountability to realize.

Thank you to everyone who met with Ron during his visit and provided valuable input and perspectives on the decisions before us.  We had the opportunity to meet with the President, Chiefs, School Deans, First Two Year Committee, Student Support staff, Career Services staff, and members of the Curriculum Assessment and Planning Committee, Strategic Academic Leadership Team, and the Academic Leadership Team.

There will be additional opportunities to meet with Ron later in the semester.  Be assured, that we will all be involved in the steps along the way.  Please don’t hesitate to stop, consider, and ask questions as we make progress towards our ultimate goal of increasing the accessibility of a Unity College education and building a citizenry informed by the principles of Sustainability Science.  Please make room for this initiative in your daily work lives.  When prioritizing projects, consider how they advance our realization of a newly designed first two year experience for our students.