The Challenge:

The “return on investment” of college is the fundamental issue facing higher education. Most research indicates that job preparedness, training, and retraining for the accelerated pace of change in the job marketplace is the essential challenge facing workers today and graduates entering the workforce. The “Value Gap” over whether the benefits of a college degree justifies the cost has ignited a huge debate with higher education being criticized for promoting a “factory model,” where students are rewarded for generating credits, rather than being evaluated on their competencies and preparedness.

The TERRAIN Solution:

TERRAIN’s Year 2 Practicums provide students with early professional experience as they explore potential careers in environmental fields while developing important skills. The 20 hour/week mentorship they receive provides clear examples of effective solutions to environmental or sustainability challenges, including diverse cultural learning by studying at different locations, providing lasting connections to regions across the United States. This aspect of TERRAIN at Unity College addresses a clear desire for job preparation and provides a focus for more goal-oriented students.

Using TERRAIN’s Digital Portfolio Platform, students compile achievements of Flagship Learning Outcomes and Professional Practice Learning Outcomes, comprising a set of evidence-based results demonstrating each student’s competency. This design is tangible, measurable, outward-facing and geared toward delivering educational value.

Example: Digital Portfolio and a skills-based short course.