Highlights from the TERRAIN Implementation Team: April 22-26, 2019
What is the Team Up To?
As you know, Saturday, April 20th was Accepted Student Day at Unity College. Roughly 70 students, along with members of their families, visited the campus to learn more about the College and to participate in learning experiences throughout the day. Members of FIT (Erica, Brian H., Brian D., Josh, and myself) staffed a TERRAIN information table and were able to discuss the program with many students and family members. Several students chose to sign up for TERRAIN during this event. President Khoury also gave a presentation about TERRAIN that generated a lot of enthusiasm and great questions. Overall, the response to TERRAIN at Saturday’s event was extremely positive. Brian Hull and his staff have been speaking with interested students (in follow up telephone calls throughout the week). He reports that about half of the students who have expressed interest in participating in TERRAIN intend to major in conservation law enforcement. The remainder of the interested students span a variety of intended majors and also include students who are not yet decided. This is an early indication that TERRAIN may have broad appeal to students. In the next few weeks, Admissions will be working closely with the Registrar to confirm students’ interest and complete their registration for TERRAIN for fall 2019.
Given the enthusiastic response to TERRAIN on Saturday, the team spent Monday’s FIT meeting weighing the pros and cons of offering more than one expedition for fall 2019 (in the event that enrollment exceeds the cap for our planned Wilderness in Maine expedition). We noted that offering an expedition with a similar theme (wilderness and place), but a different lens (e.g. Human Experience) would be informative and allow for productive collaboration across instructional teams. It would also help us to identify and develop strategies for responding to logistical challenges associated with running multiple expeditions simultaneously. On the other hand, curricular development and staffing needs for a second expedition would mean devoting additional resources to this work.
We have received a proposal from the Center for Problem-Based Learning (at Worcester Polytechnic Institute) to facilitate a one-day workshop on PBL during our June curriculum design institute. We hope to have a final agreement with the CPBL in the next few weeks.
How is the Campus Community Engaging in the Work?
During the Strategic Academic Leadership Team meeting on Monday (April 22nd), we discussed anticipated needs for professional development and curriculum design associated with transitioning from our current curriculum to the adoption of TERRAIN and a quarter system. We will continue this discussion at the final SALT meeting of the semester (May 13th).
We continue our work on developing degree major pathways and have had the opportunity to meet with a few more colleagues to support this work. Again, we appeal to faculty members to schedule meetings with us to map out potential pathways for students in your programs.
On Thursday, April 25th, we spent the 11 o’clock hour with faculty brainstorming specific topics and contexts for Year 1 expeditions. Many great ideas came from this discussion. Thank you! We were also able to receive some feedback from faculty on various issues associated with the Scope & Sequence draft we shared last week. The team is continuing to solicit feedback – please send us your comments, questions, or ideas or come talk with us – and are working to address concerns in the next draft.
Finally, many members of the Unity community – staff, faculty, and students – participated in a sample TERRAIN learning experience on Wednesday, April 24th. The experience was multi-faceted, facilitated by several of our colleagues (Randy Colvin, Josh Kercsmar, Kayla Higgins, Ray Phinney). One of the student participants noted that TERRAIN was “like Unity on steroids” and a staff member shared that, “I thought this was a great way to show (and not just tell) a mini day in the life of a TERRAIN student. There is only so much you can grasp by hearing about the possibilities of mingling poetry and telemetry. However, once you’ve experienced it, it makes sense in a really beautiful but purposeful way. Also, I found the whole exercise of comparing and contrasting linear vs non-linear tools powerful. I reflected on it and thought it was a great way to show how folks with different learning styles will thrive in TERRAIN.” Many thanks to those of you who joined us for this lesson. We will build on your feedback as we refine this experience to enable us to communicate about TERRAIN to a variety of audiences.
Jennifer L. Cartier, Ph.D.
Director of Curricular Innovation
Professor of Education
Unity, Maine 04998
Office: Unity House, Room 2
TERRAIN Office: Constable Hall