Unity College is one of only 20 higher education institutions in the country selected to partner with Google to offer students a two-course sequence where they will develop coding and machine learning skills, which employers are becoming increasingly interested in when hiring.

“Innovation is one of the keys to keeping our curriculum fresh and up to date, and it also gives students an opportunity to maybe try something new,” said Unity College President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury. “As we look into what gives our degree added value, partnerships certainly come to mind, and that’s something we’re always open to. We’re honored to have been chosen by Google, which is one of the most prominent organizations we’ve worked with to date. However, we are always open to new collaborations and partnership opportunities with businesses, organizations, and leaders throughout Maine, the United States, and beyond.”

Students are currently signing up for the first course in the sequence that will take place in the fall, titled Foundations of Python Programming. The second course, How to Think Like a Data Scientist, will be held the following spring.

“There are many students who graduate from Unity College knowing exactly what they want to get out of a career, and they stay in that field until retirement. There are many, though, who will want to change careers at some point,” said Dr. Erika Latty, Unity College Chief Academic Officer. “This program will give students the foundational computer skills that will play a pivotal role in the future of the job market. Our students will be able to take those foundational skills  and build upon them no matter where they go.”

As part of the partnership, Google will bring Dr. Tom Whittaker, Visiting Instructor of Physical Science at Unity College, to New York to familiarize him on how to best deliver the material to students.

“It’s another language to learn,” said Dr. Whittaker. “While I’m quite confident that Google’s training in New York will prepare me to deliver this course, I don’t doubt that there is a strong possibility that there is someone in the class who is fluent in the basics, as coding has become integrated in many school systems or is a hobby for some students growing up.”

The introductory courses will provide students hands-on knowledge of programming languages and the ability to work with data to drive well-informed decisions. Detailed course descriptions are available on our website. Students who successfully complete the course sequence will also have an opportunity to apply for a tuition-free machine learning intensive program offered in the summer.

“This collaboration with Google ties in nicely to what we do here at Unity College,” added Dr. Khoury. “We strive to ensure our students have not only a first-class education in sustainability science, but also the skills that are critical to succeed in the next phase of their lives. It’s a great fit, and I can’t wait to see our students immersed in this program.”