Covering New Ground
Below are the most frequently asked questions about TERRAIN at Unity College.
What is the TERRAIN advantage?
Students earn on average 15 credits on an academic skills-based expedition instead of five individual classes. Students engage in a fully integrated academic and co-curricular problem-based, solution-focused experience. Unity College first- and second-year students differ from traditional first-year students because they acquire these skills through their expeditions rather than in classroom-based instruction.
Unity College 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?” Throughout TERRAIN, students will learn skills to address real-world problems and quickly apply them in practical situations.
Who participates in TERRAIN?
All first- and second-year students at Unity College. TERRAIN is how Unity College delivers the curriculum of the first two years.
How soon can a student start studying their major?
As soon as students are at Unity College, they are studying their major. We have designed expeditions to encompass major-specific areas of study.
What exactly will I be getting credits for?
TERRAIN is the way your learning is delivered, so you will be getting the same amount of credits as you would in a traditional classroom setting. For example, if your first term you are learning Biology, Math, English, and Physics, you would be learning and getting credits for these subjects, but in a more integrated experiential manner.
If a student wants to participate in Varsity Athletics, will they be missing games or meets?
Advisors work with students to help create a schedule to accommodate sports and other activities.
What is an Expeditionary Learning Community?
Students will live 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 kinds of expeditions are we talking about?
Expeditions are eight weeks long. Within any expedition, students will participate in day-long excursions and multi-day trips to various locations. Each expedition falls within a topic focus or “lens.” Some examples are:
- Commerce and Enterprise Lens – “Eating Sustainably” – This expedition will explore what it means to have a “sustainable diet,” considering many aspects of local, regional, and global food systems from food production, to the processing and distribution of foods, through to food consumption and waste. Students will take part in a 3-day tour of northern New England to visit a variety of businesses and groups working to increase the sustainability of local and regional food systems.
- Human Experience Lens – “Living in Harmony with Nature” – We explore what it means to be in harmony with nature, taking us to various locations around Maine to experience “sustainable living.” Students will travel to western Maine to work with a school program to help deliver programming as they explore their relationship and responsibility to the natural world.
- Natural Resource Policy & Lens – “Wildlife Trafficking” – This expedition is designed to help us understand and answer the key questions associated with wildlife trafficking. Students will travel throughout Maine to focus on illegal fishing and the persistent problem of elver poaching.
- Natural Sciences Lens – “(Un)Natural Disasters” – Throughout this experience, we will be exploring natural disasters from the perspectives of the natural sciences, creative arts, social sciences, and humanities. Students will travel to New Orleans for an immersive experience into the events, aftermath, and social, psychological, and physical repercussions of Hurricane Katrina.
Can commuter students participate?
Yes! Students who are commuting also participate in TERRAIN curriculum, including those found in the Expeditionary Learning Community. Commuter students will also join the group in all off-campus expeditions.
What if a student needs ADA accommodations or academic support?
Students have access to the services of the Collaborative Learning Center even during their time away from the Flagship campus. This includes academic advising, support, accommodations, tutoring, and mentoring.
If a student has questions, who do they talk to about specifics?
Students should contact their Admissions Counselor with any questions.
How much travel is involved?
During the eight-week expedition, day trips are planned (three) and one longer trip of between two to four days.
If I take a term or two off, can I jump back into the next term or will I miss something?
Because the terms are modular and not sequential for the first two years at Unity College, you can take any combination of these terms at any time.