Unity College Achievements (2012-2018)
Increase in Fall Headcount
Increase in Operating Revenues
Increase in Square Footage
Increase in Number of Employees
Unity College Community,
In the face of the national narrative about the fate of small private higher education, I want to re-emphasize my message at professional development in January that Unity College is financially sound, and our mission is globally critical. In order to maintain that solid foundation, we need to keep innovating, keep investing in new and promising practices, and to ensure that we come to work each day with a renewed commitment to provide our students with a valuable education.
As you all know by now, late last month we received the sad news that Green Mountain College will close at the end of the spring semester. Any small private college that closes is a great loss to all of us, however, this announcement especially hurts as Green Mountain College is one of the few schools in this region focused on developing environmental leaders of tomorrow.
This latest closure is part of a much larger narrative of the challenging and ever-evolving landscape of small private schools across the country, but specifically in New England. We were once shocked by one college closing a year, and now we are seeing small private schools close at an alarming rate.
However, as an industry, our historical model is no longer viable. We’ve been stuck on this model that only worked when a small percentage of the world went to college. Since then, technology and demographics have played an important role in altering how we need to approach higher education. I believe that small private colleges can thrive once again, but it involves being proactive and embracing change. As institutions of higher learning, we owe it to our respective missions, alums, communities, and our society as a whole to ask the following questions:
- How can we create systems that engender adaptability in order for us to remain relevant to employers, students, and society?
- How do we ensure that our graduates are both career-ready and well-educated?
- How do we stop seeing each other as competition, but as a critical subset of the education sector?
For the public good and the future of our planet, we must all ask these questions and adapt to the answers quickly if we are to evolve as institutions of higher learning, especially those with environmental and sustainability missions.
Here at Unity College, our recent successes are a result of our willingness to ask and answer the above questions causing us to change the very operating model for prioritizing and making decisions to be more nimble in preparing our students for a sustainable, yet outcome-based global economy. It is not what we teach that is in question, but our responsiveness to our current students of the “who,” the “how,” the “when,” and the “where.” In addition to the “who,” the “how,” the “when,” and the “where,” we must also demonstrate our readiness to adapt to the changing needs of future students who might not currently see the small private higher education sector as relevant, affordable, flexible, accessible, or valuable.
More specifically, our recent adoption of the Enterprise Approach and our guiding principles on innovation were tangible first steps in allowing us to be more nimble and responsive to new audiences through independent, yet integrated Strategic Educational Business Units (SEBU). Two new SEBUs, Unity College: Distance Education and Unity College: Sky Lodge, are testaments to our adaptability in identifying and growing new audiences while ensuring a laser focus on our current audience at the Unity College Flagship SEBU. This is just the beginning, as I am confident that with the soon-to-be adopted iterative Strategic Plan approach, that we at Unity College will continue to break the mold and thrive during these uncertain times.
While other organizations may see closures such as this one as a benefit to them, I’d like to remind everyone that just as in ecological systems, the loss of diversity in our schools is a loss for us all.
Dr. Melik Peter Khoury
President, Unity College
Our Mission Through the framework of sustainability science, Unity College provides a liberal arts education that emphasizes the environment and natural resources. Through experiential and collaborative learning, our graduates emerge as responsible citizens, environmental stewards, and visionary leaders.