New Clusters

Cluster Application Guidelines

The Focus Program (FOCUS) at Duke University accepts applications for new clusters each fall semester. The following guidelines apply to all cluster proposals.

E-mail submissions are preferred and should be sent to Edna Andrews.

All proposals will be reviewed in November and notifications of acceptance will be emailed in December. 

Contact the Focus Program well in advance of submitting a proposal. New clusters generally require one to two years of planning prior to an initial offering; it is important that the Focus Program work closely with faculty and departments to insure the successful launch of a new cluster. Sample proposals and budget requests are available upon request.

The application should include the following items:

  1. Title of Cluster and Brief Description: Overall cluster description for the Focus Program web site, including common educational goals for the cluster; a minimum of three departments must be represented in the cluster.  
  2. Course List: List of all courses, including proposed course numbers, course titles, curriculum code requests, and faculty names and titles.

It is the responsibility of the cluster faculty and their home departments to submit new courses or special topics requests for Curriculum Committee approval. Courses in the cluster will be listed and offered from each faculty’s home department. (Example: Prof. Smith is in the History Dept. and her course will be listed through the History Dept. as History 185FS).  It is the responsibility of the cluster faculty to communicate their intent to teach in the Focus Program with their respective department.

FOCUS courses must be assigned a department specific special topics number with a title of “FOCUS Seminar” and an appropriate special topics title for the DukeHub listing (i.e. English 181FS Special Topics in the FOCUS Program: Freedom & Responsibility). Courses should not be cross-listed and should not have significant prerequisite requirements (i.e. language AP credit).

FOCUS course enrollments should be capped at no more than 18 students per course. The course should be submitted to the Registrar’s Office with a registration code designating it as a FOCUS-Only course, the course number should include a seminar designation and the suffix “FS”.  All FOCUS courses should be submitted for curriculum coding by the department.

Please contact Dean Goodridge’s office regarding approval of special topics courses and curriculum codes:

Shane Goodridge, Academic Dean

The faculty should collaborate on the cluster schedule. When planning your course schedules, please do not overlap the days and times of the course offerings. A Monday/Wednesday (MW) or Tuesday/Thursday (TTH) schedule combination is best. The following information is needed:

  1. Course synopses or syllabi.
  2. Contact information.
  3. Letter(s) of support from respective faculty department chair