Goal 1 : Academics

Offer the nation’s best sustainability and science-oriented liberal arts academic program


Building a Beacon Strategic Plan 2014-2018 Archive

  • Goal 1: Academics 81% 81%

The sustainability science approach is rare among institutions of higher education, and that presents an opportunity for Unity College. The professionals who pay close attention to this niche already recognize Unity College as a pioneer in development of sustainability science curricula.

The challenge facing Unity is to broaden its reputation beyond that niche. The College needs to develop, deliver, and promote a liberal arts sustainability science curriculum that is recognized nationally as the best of its kind. The curriculum needs to embrace the liberal arts as essential to a prosocial foundation, and it needs to send clear messages that a sustainability science approach is vital for the development of successful responses to current and future environmental challenges.

National recognition can take many forms. Acknowledgment by important national organizations, for example—including NCSE and AASHE—can do much to elevate the stature of the College. Awards from those organizations, references made to Unity College in keynotes and plenary lectures, and other honors can carry significant weight, and they also can result in valuable press coverage.

Ultimately, recognition stems from offering a top-quality educational program. The success of Unity College graduates in the workforce and in graduate schools will demonstrate the effectiveness of the Unity curriculum. A strong curriculum will also attract students from throughout the nation, extending the College’s reach and helping it improve from “traditional” to “selective” in the ACT rankings.

As many prospective students and their families will attest, the quality of a college relies on the quality of its faculty. Many Unity College faculty members have achieved national prominence in their fields, and many others are well on their way. Unity faculty members frequently present papers at national research and pedagogical conferences, and many are considered thought leaders in the areas of sustainability science, environmental science, and the transdisciplinary delivery of curricula.

This goal is ambitious, but success in this area can be measured through clear metrics. Ensuring that 90 percent of the full-time professoriate has terminal degrees, for example, provides an indication of the strength of the program. Having Unity College faculty members consulted frequently on environmental and sustainability issues of national importance provides strong indication of the value of our programming. A strong curricular focus on excellent teaching and the liberal arts foundation can serve as another criterion of success. And faculty members and students holding leadership positions in professional and academic societies can add to the overall picture.



G1: Objective 1: Develop a nationally recognized liberal arts curriculum focused on sustainability science.


G1: Objective 2: Develop a nationally recognized faculty.


G1: Objective 3: Develop a mission driven Undergraduate Online and Graduate Programs.

G1: Objective 1: Develop a nationally recognized liberal arts curriculum focused on sustainability science


  • G1: OB1: INITIATIVE 001: Develop plan to integrate curricular, co-curricular, and residential components of first two years of Unity College experience into a transformative and developmentally differentiated living and learning experience through Sustainability Science 88% 88%
  • SP2020 G1: OB1: INITIATIVE 002: Implement transformative and developmentally differentiated living and learning experience through Sustainability Science 17% 17%
  • SP2020 G1: OB1: INITIATIVE 003: Update programs and upper-level curriculum in light of comprehensive branding initative and renewal of foundational level changes to curriculum, co-curriculum, and residential experience; include enrollment distribution goals 17% 17%
  • G1: OB1: INITIATIVE 004: Establish integrated suite of learning enhancement programs that support student success and Sustainability Science education 50% 50%
  • G1: OB1: INITIATIVE 005: Establish comprehensive certificate program in support of Sustainability Science 74% 74%
  • G1: OB1: INITIATIVE 006: Engage faculty in the comprehensive college marketing and positioning study 100% 100%
  • G1: OB1: INITIATIVE 007: Integrate McKay Farm and Research Station with undergraduate curriculum, research opportunities, community needs, and revenue generation; all within a framework of cost neutrality 87% 87%

G1: OBJECTIVE 2: Develop a nationally recognized faculty


  • G1: OB2: INITIATIVE 001: Establish a definition of “nationally recognized faculty” as Unity College becomes a nationally known college 100% 100%
  • G1: OB2: Initiative 2: Develop a plan for nationally competitive salaries and benefits to attract and retain top faculty members 100% 100%
  • G1: OB2: Initiative 3: Develop a comprehensive faculty composition plan (research/teaching/outreach/service) 58% 58%
  • G1: OB2: Initiative 4: Ensure clear, transparent, supportive, and rigorous evaluation procedures to help faculty improve teaching, outreach, service and research 75% 75%
  • G1: OB2: Initiative 5: Align faculty hiring with course-coverage needs and long-term College goals 32% 32%

G1: OBJECTIVE 3: Develop a Mission Driven Online Undergraduate Program and Graduate Program


  • G1:O3: Initiative 1: Launch and maintain a successful undergraduate distance education program 74% 74%
  • G1:O3: Initiative 2: Launch and maintain a successful graduate distance education program 99% 99%