Unity College announced Monday the Board of Trustees’ decision to permanently transition the school to a hybrid learning model.

"Unity College: Hybrid Learning" grants students control over their education through a nonstandard calendar, shorter terms, differentiated tuition, and a multi-modality curriculum that does not rely on maintaining a physical campus, according to a press release.

The board also authorized the college’s leadership team to retain a real estate firm to explore the sale of any assets, including the main campus at 90 Quaker Hill Road.

“Hybrid learning retools how we envision education, aligns with the needs of the professional world, and prepares students for their next chapter — whether that is a first job or graduate school — all while giving students control over their educational pace and path,” said Dr. Melik Peter Khoury, Unity College president. “This transition is also a major stride toward Unity College’s mission to provide a more diverse, just, equitable, and sustainable education.”

The hybrid education model allows students to complete their degrees with the flexibility to pursue internships and job opportunities throughout the year, expanding their knowledge and experience in their field of study while building a professional network and resume.

Under the updated model, students from around the globe and of all abilities can continue educational pursuits amid unprecedented events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic that ended many college terms prematurely.

“While the financial impact of COVID-19 certainly expedited our plans, this transition to a fully hybrid model is not simply a reaction to the pandemic,” Khoury said. “It is a critical next step in helping Unity College thrive and better serve our students in the 21st century, while happening to create a model that is relatively pandemic-proof.”

In addition to hybrid learning, Unity College will continue to offer distance education, which provides immersive technologies, challenging field assignments and real-world learning for online bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees or non-degree credits.

“Students can count on the same level of integrity Unity College is known for while benefiting from the model’s enhanced flexibility, accessibility, and affordability,” Khoury said. “Hybrid learning and distance education are built on the premise that everyone deserves the opportunity to earn an education.”

Dr. Erika Latty, chief learning officer, said, “Unity College has a rich history in community-based learning and offering courses in a variety of geographic locations to engage our students in immersive learning opportunities. We can offer courses in community colleges, high schools, at any of our owned or leased spaces, and all over the world in places like Costa Rica to study ecology or Alaska to study climate change.”

The hybrid learning model reduces the college’s dependence on a fixed campus. Unity elected to invest in its successful remote-learning opportunities, increasing its focus on providing education to students in the physical environment relevant to individual courses, according to the press release. Unity College will leverage locations across Maine, including Unity College Sky Lodge in rural Jackman, the rocky coast of Acadia National Park and individual cities like Portland, to provide hands-on learning opportunities in a real-world environment.

"Going from campus-centered to entirely hybrid with no dependence on a fixed campus is the very essence of the type of innovation needed to succeed in today’s economic and educational environment,” Khoury said. “Eliminating a centralized campus allows us to meet Unity students where they are and offer face-to-face and online courses in multiple locations to best fit the learning experience.”

For more information about Unity College, visit unity.edu.