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April 2, 2021

Unity College to launch professional institute for environmental studies

courtesy / Unity College Unity College this fall will open its Technical Institute for Environmental Professions at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, shown here.

Unity College, an environmental studies college whose campus is in the Waldo County town of the same name, is opening a professional training school this fall in New Gloucester.

The Technical Institute for Environmental Professions will occupy 33,000 of space at Pineland Farms, a 5,000-acre complex of farms, forests and business offices owned by the Portland-based Libra Foundation, the college said in a news release this week.

The institute will supplement Unity’s other educational offerings and offer associate degrees, certificates and continuing professional education. With a mix of in-person and online instruction, the curriculum will focus on subjects including environmental engineering, veterinary technology, the solar industry and other high-growth sectors.  

“The educational landscape is changing. Many students no longer want to spend the time and money it takes to complete a baccalaureate program. We are creating a school and partnerships that will provide a linear path to an environmental-based career,” Unity College President Melik Peter Khoury said in the release.

“This program will not replace our current bachelor’s and master’s programs. It is simply offering more options to increasingly differentiated audiences as our college continues to grow.”

The cost for courses at the institute will be about $250 per credit hour for degree-seeking students.

The Libra Foundation is providing the space as well as startup support to the institute. “We are pleased to work with Unity College and its leadership as they launch a transformative educational model. Locating the Institute at Pineland Farms is an ideal match,” said Erik Hayward, executive vice president of the foundation.

Unity has hired Amardeep Kahlon, a nationally recognized leader in competency-based education and distance learning, as the school’s dean.

“Our students can be confident knowing there is a career waiting for them upon completion and our employer partners will get competent and trained employees. We will be partnering with environmental companies and other industries that are seeking workers skilled in the environmental professions.” Kahlon said.

In the early stages of the pandemic, Unity last year shifted permanently to a hybrid model of in-person and online learning, with a nonstandard calendar, shorter terms and a multimodality curriculum.

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