After in-person instruction at Unity College in Unity was cut short during the 2020 Spring semester due to coronavirus, the school has now rolled out a new program that blends online and in-person instruction to offer students more flexibility with their education.

“I’ve heard a lot of peers within our industry talk about returning to normal come this fall or next spring,” Dr. Melik Peter Khoury, president of Unity College, said in a prepared statement. “But COVID-19 has made many of us question what ‘normal’ will look like when the dust settles, and those questioning the future include faculty, staff, and most certainly students.”

Under the new Unity College: Hybrid Learning program, which was announced last Friday, students now have the option to complete their degree through a mix of online, remote, onsite and on-campus courses.  

With the new program, there is no set entry date and students are able to apply year round for eight five-week terms. 

The 2020-2021 dates for the program’s five-week terms are Aug. 24 to Sept. 27; Oct. 5 to Nov. 8; Nov. 16 to Dec. 20; Jan. 11 to Feb. 14; Feb. 22 to March 28; April 5 to May 9; May 10 to May 30; and June 7 to July 11.

According to a news release from the college, tuition is differentiated based on whether it’s in-person or online with face-to-face courses $550 per credit hour and online courses $470 per credit hour. 

Unity College announced a new program Friday that enables students to take courses in certain disciplines either in-person or online beginning in the 2020-2021 academic year. Photo provided by Unity College

“We are designing each course for both online and face-to-face, and we’ll offer both options,” Khoury said. “Like two separate tracks that can be mixed and matched along the way.”

According to Khoury, the pandemic has sparked an interest in Unity students for more flexibility with their academic experience.

“While many students remain interested in the college’s traditional four-year residential programs or its exclusively online curriculum, the pandemic has inspired many students to look for a more fluid college experience, one that combines multiple modalities, schedules and pedagogies,” Khoury said.

Unity College has been able to launch this program thanks to its investment in online education with the launch of its Distance Learning Program in 2016.

For the fall semester, the majors eligible for the program include conservation law enforcement, captive wildlife care, wildlife and fisheries biology, environmental science, and environmental studies.

More programs are expected to be launched over the summer, according to the news release.

“With Unity College: Hybrid Learning, we’re going to emphasize skills and abilities that will really prepare students for their chosen careers, which makes these degree programs ideal for our launch,” Dr. Erika Latty, Unity College’s Chief Learning Officer, said in a prepared statement.

“While Unity College: Hybrid Learning is its own distinct model for learning, students who enter into it can expect the same high quality education that our Flagship and Distance Education students experience, delivered by subject matter experts who are leaders in their fields.”

Dean of Students Ray Phinney said during a phone call Monday that the new program is a continuation of the online services the college had been providing during the coronavirus pandemic.

“When this began, all of our student activities went to an online format which means we did a lot of different things with platforms like YouTube and Zoom and those things will continue with the new hybrid program,” Phinney said. “This program has the benefit of an online program with the regular face-to-face offering … it guarantees students to continue their education, puts their education into their own hands.” 

Phinney said he isn’t sure of the exact number of students who are expected to use the hybrid learning program.

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.