TERRAIN at Unity College

A program for first-year students

Be the first to experience TERRAIN. You are invited to participate in a program for first-year students at Unity College called TERRAIN. The program is highly immersive and will be offered for the first time in fall 2019. This is an opportunity for students to be a part of something new and help define the future of TERRAIN.

What is TERRAIN?

A traditional college degree can only go so far, as employers are now seeking candidates who have critical thinking and collaboration skills that go well beyond the classroom. In response to that, Unity College has developed TERRAIN, a program designed to get students thinking and building their professional skills on their very first day at Unity College.

Living Learning Community

  • TERRAIN students will participate in a living learning community that will present them with opportunities to continue learning outside the classroom.
  • With guest speakers, tutoring sessions, and fun leadership activities brought to the residence halls to help build skills.

Immersive Learning Expeditions

  • Learning happens everywhere on our campus and beyond. Students participating in TERRAIN will embark on the immersive learning expedition: Wilderness and Place in Maine.
  • The expedition integrates some classroom work with field experiences. Excursionsfrom one to four dayswill be steeped in real-world scenarios that frequently involve students working alongside faculty and community members to solve real-life issues within the community.

Digital Portfolio

  • To provide students with a tool to track academic and co-curricular work, they will develop a digital portfolio, which is invaluable for showing future employers the set of skills you have mastered.
  • This digital portfolio keeps track of coursework, certifications, and endorsements while students make progress toward their academic area of study.
  • The digital portfolio belongs to the student to develop and use throughout their academic career and beyond.

Ready to sign up?


What is the benefit of doing TERRAIN and how is this different from a traditional first-year college experience?

  • Students enrolled in TERRAIN will earn 16 credits on an academic skills-based expedition instead of five individual classes.
  • Students will be engaged in a fully integrated academic and co-curricular problem-based, solution-focused experience.
  • TERRAIN students differ from traditional first-year students because they will acquire these skills through their expeditions rather than in classroom-based instruction.
  • TERRAIN students practice the skills they are learning. This teaching method enables them to retain information more readily and helps to answer the question, “How can I use this in real life?” TERRAIN students learn skills to address real-world problems.

Why should students sign up?

TERRAIN is active and engaging! While all Unity students experience hands-on learning in many classes, TERRAIN students have the opportunity to participate in off-campus expeditions at our Sky Lodge facility. Students will work on research projects in their first semester at Unity and have contact with professionals in the field. They will be part of a close-knit living learning community that studies, travels, and plays together. Here is what TERRAIN looks like:

  • Week 1 – Sky Lodge: Introduce problem-solving strategies, explore Sky Lodge community, practice land navigation skills, team-building, preliminary inventory for wildlife and habitat survey
  • Weeks 2 to 11 – Unity Campus: Coursework, fieldwork and data collection across different habitats, wildlife programming in living learning community, meet and work with field professionals, scientific and research writing
  • Week 12 – Sky Lodge: Return to Sky Lodge, use wildlife techniques to quantify populations, work with field biologists, introduce wildlife management policies
  • Weeks 13 to 16 – Unity Campus: Population modeling coursework, scientific and research writing, communicate research to wider audiences

Who is eligible to participate in TERRAIN?

Students must be deposited first-year students to register for TERRAIN at Unity College.

What kind of classes will TERRAIN offer?

Through the learning expeditions, students will earn credits aligned with the natural sciences, natural resource policy and law, and commerce and enterprise.

How soon can a student start studying their major?

As soon as students are engaged in TERRAIN, they are studying their major. We have designed expeditions to encompass major-specific areas of study.

What is a Living Learning Community?

Students in the program will be living together in a residential community with opportunities to continue their learning outside of the classroom. Guest speakers, tutoring sessions, and fun leadership activities take place in the community and students can build upon their skills without ever having to put their shoes on.

What is Sky Lodge and what will students be doing there?

Sky Lodge is our newest facility in Moose River, Maine. It is a historic lodge that is a gateway to the North Maine Woods. As part of the expedition, TERRAIN students will stay at Sky Lodge twice while engaged in “Wilderness and Place in Maine.”

Can a commuter student participate?

Yes! Students who are commuting can also participate in all of the TERRAIN curriculum and activities, including those found in the living learning community. Be aware that participants are expected to accompany the group in week-long expeditions off-campus.

What if a student needs ADA accommodations or academic support?

Students in TERRAIN will have access to the services of the Collaborative Learning Center even during their time away from campus. This includes academic advising, support, accommodations, tutoring, and mentoring.

What is an example of a day in the life of a TERRAIN student?

Sample schedule at Sky Lodge:

Unity College Sky Lodge

Sample schedule on-campus:

Unity College Sample Schedule

Will this impact my financial aid package?

No, your financial aid package stays the same. TERRAIN students will also have access to work-study opportunities.

What if a student has transfer credits?

We evaluate all students’ transfer requests in the same manner, whether the student is participating in TERRAIN or not.

What will happen in the Spring semester? Do students stay in their Living Learning Community?

In the Spring 2020 semester, TERRAIN students will be able to live in their Living Learning Community placement and transition into a typical academic on-campus schedule.

Will students be able to participate in athletics, work-study, participate in campus life, clubs, etc?

Yes! TERRAIN students will have the opportunity to enjoy all that Unity College life has to offer.

If a student has questions, who do they talk to about specifics?

Students should contact their Admissions Counselor if they have any questions about TERRAIN. Our Admissions Counselors will be happy to answer any and all questions. Also, please join us on May 8, at 7:00 p.m. EST for a webinar about TERRAIN at Unity College.

What about Nova?

Nova is a transformational experience for students. While it is optional for TERRAIN students, we encourage students to sign up and experience the adventure! To sign up for Nova, visit your student portal and click on Nova.

How much travel is involved?

TERRAIN Students travel off-campus for week-long trips occurring twice during the semester and several day trips. It is important that students bring clothing that is appropriate for the outdoors and the winter. TERRAIN students will be given a checklist of what to bring before they arrive on campus.