An Interview with President Khoury
Maine Magazine’s podcast Love Maine Radio featured an interview with President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury in mid-March. Host Lisa Belisle asked some hard-hitting questions about Unity and the state of higher education as a whole. Below are some excerpts from the transcript.
Lisa Belisle: Unity is a very unique place. It’s a very unique college. You have really quite the diversity of things that you offer students for such a small place.
Melik Peter Khoury: We are America’s Environmental College. Our entire curriculum is based on the very concept of sustainability science, which means that everything we do is designed to be relevant in the green economy. We understand that no matter what you’re going to do in life, there is nothing, no job that you are going to take, no career that you are going to have, that does not interact with our natural resources. Our job is to make sure that these students grow up to be — I love saying this — global citizens. And that’s our mission in life.
Lisa Belisle: Have you noticed over the time that you’ve been in higher education that families are expecting more, that their children will come out and be able to get a job and have this investment that they’ve made in their children’s education pay off?
Melik Peter Khoury: With the changing demographics in the United States, the very value of what it means to go to college is changing. One of the things I think that Unity College has been able to do over the last ten years is show a family that you don’t have to choose between a career and being a well-rounded student. The way we teach students really gives them a sense of what they’re going to be doing, and families really respond to that because they’re not just sending their students to Unity College so ‘whatever happens after that happens,’ but really with a focus on, “What is my daughter, my son, going to do after they graduate?” We’re highly experiential. We’re highly immersive. We really believe that our students need to not just learn from a textbook with the hard sciences, but apply that within the field.
Lisa Belisle: You’ve talked about developing Maine as Education Land. What does that mean?
Melik Peter Khoury: As an individual who is a first generation American and living in Vacation Land, it’s really interesting to me that Maine has three climate zones. Our natural resources are abundant. From the coast, to the northern Maine woods, to the urban lifestyle of Portland, we have such a beautiful landscape. So why isn’t Maine the center of natural resource education across the world? If you look at what we have to offer as a state, I don’t think any state should be able to compete with us. We are resource-rich, Mainers are hard-working, and we have wonderful colleges here. In my mind, as much as I love Maine being Vacation Land, I think that if Maine could become Education Land, we would jump start another economy.
To hear the whole interview go to unity.edu/lovemaine