Unity College, which in May announced a plan to make it easy for students to pivot easily back and forth between on-campus courses and online, hybrid or remote learning, went a good bit further Monday, announcing it will have all of its students mix virtual learning and ground-based experiences "in the physical environment relevant to individual courses." Unity officials said the environmentally focused institution in Maine would look to sell assets that could include its main campus. (Note: This paragraph was updated from an earlier version to clarify the college's plan.)
“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,” said Melik Peter Khoury, Unity's president. “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.”
The Bangor Daily News reported Monday that the college had laid off 33 employees and furloughed another 20, about 30 percent of its staff. Khoury said that a significant drop-off in enrollment had forced the move to fully virtual learning and the layoffs. "While no one likes to see friends and colleagues lose their jobs, like so many colleges, we have been pushed to evolve faster than anyone could have anticipated or else face the sad reality of going out of business altogether," he wrote.