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

Hello Unity Community!

We are excited to be moving forward with some new phases of the First Two Years program this last week.  We have submitted a year-end report to the Davis Educational Foundation explaining how we have used the funds they provided last year, and they have sent along the expected funding for this coming year.  The grant will primarily be used for planning and training time as we develop our curriculum and create implementation plans for operational changes to our catalog.  Our Director of Curricular Innovation continues to work with faculty on articulating learning outcomes and preparing for assessment work during professional development at the end of the semester.  That will be our next visit from Dr. Mahurin, who will join us for a set of workshops delivered by Linda Suskie, an author and expert on assessment and accreditation.

We are also launching some research efforts that will build on the work of the “Deep Dive” or strategic branding initiative that concluded last year.  Stamats, who investigated the academic interests of potential students and did some market research for us during that effort, is building a two-part set of surveys to preview some of our innovative strategies with potential audiences.  While we are also using feedback from our current students, we recognize that the First Two Years program might be attractive to students who do not currently choose to attend Unity.  Therefore, we’ll reach out to both high school prospects and transfer students currently at community colleges with questions about the program.  Starting with an online bulletin board/chat room, Stamats will process responses to some open-ended questions and use them to design a more focused web survey that is sent to an even bigger audience.  The results of this work will allow us to adjust our strategies as necessary and develop language to recruit into a unique program starting next year.

We’ll continue to include invitations to participate at the end of each of these updates, but we’ve heard from some of you, and this Monday Senior Staff will consider the charge of a First Two Years Project Team for Phase 1 of implementation.  We won’t be able to include everyone who has expressed interest, but there will be further iterations with changing membership as we tackle different aspects of the program and build on the work done to date.  If you have any questions about the process, send them our way