Two national organizations have issued endorsements of Unity College: one for its innovative learning opportunities; the other as one of the nation’s 32 “greenest” campuses.

Unity College earned a national Colleges of Distinction designation in 2014–15 by “expanding innovative opportunities to earn college credit by participating in service learning, learning communities, internships, and other new educational paradigms,” according to the group Colleges of Distinction.

Meanwhile, The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education recognized Unity College for achieving “the greatest level of success with green initiatives on-campus and within in its surrounding community.”

AASHE uses the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, a voluntary system that allows colleges and universities to track sustainability efforts. The top 50 U.S. colleges and universities earned the highest STARS ratings for launching effective initiatives to reduce on-campus waste and energy consumption, promote alternative transportation, provide funding to student and faculty-led green proposals, and take other measures to benefit the environment.

“Unity has a long-standing reputation as one of the most comprehensive environmental colleges in the U.S.,” the rating says.  “The institution’s focus on sustainable science and focus on practical solutions to modern ecological issues has become a strong voice in the battle to neutralize climate change. … The college offers 16 environmentally-focused majors, all of which rely on hands-on service learning and a strong sustainability science core. Exciting majors, such as Captive Wildlife Care and Education and Environmental Writing and Media Studies, offer up an unparalleled education in environmental citizenry.”

Tyson Schritter, executive editor for Colleges of Distinction, said “students increasingly demand access to hands-on learning, and we congratulate Unity College for leading the way in the development of new methodologies that prepare students for the future.”

To earn the Colleges of Distinction honor, “schools must demonstrate results across the Four Distinctions: Engaged Students, Great Teaching, Vibrant Community, and Successful Outcomes. High school counselors and educators make nominations and each school is evaluated on key indicators including student engagement, student empowerment, and curricular innovation,” Schritter said. The annual process to select the nation’s Colleges of Distinction also includes a review of each institution’s freshman experience, as well as its general education program, strategic plan, and alumni success and satisfaction measures.

“The national recognition for innovative learning and sustainability show the Unity College philosophy is gaining ground with observers in the field of higher education as well as with high school college guidance counselors and prospective students,” said Dr. Melik Peter Khoury, executive vice president and chief academic officer. “We will continue along the path of high-value, high-touch education that values the student experience and sustainable practices.”

About Colleges of Distinction

Since 1999, the Colleges of Distinction website and e-guidebook have recognized and honored schools throughout the U.S. for excellence in undergraduate-focused higher education.

About The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) was established in 2005 to help coordinate and strengthen campus sustainability efforts at regional and national levels, and to serve as the first North American professional association for those interested in advancing campus sustainability.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015