Best Practices

Cluster Components

  • Three to four seminar courses offered in different departments. (Students enroll in two of these seminars)
  • One half-credit interdisciplinary discussion course (IDC)
  • Extra-curricular/out-of-class activities
  • All courses in a cluster should connect in a way that provides students with different disciplinary approaches to the topic. Faculty should collaborate on these connections.
  • The IDC should integrate ideas from all courses and disciplines in the cluster.

Residential Life Component 

FOCUS cluster participants are housed together by cluster in the East Campus residential halls.

Library Component

Course clusters partner with librarians to tailor library instruction in support of cluster learning objectives and to engage students in the processes of inquiry using the library’s resources.

Faculty Expectations

  • The faculty of each cluster consists of those teaching each seminar course and the interdisciplinary discussion course coordinator.
  • Faculty teaching Focus Program courses are primarily regular-rank (and preferably senior) faculty.
  • Faculty teaching Focus Program courses are active scholars in their fields.
  • Courses taught in the Focus Program are considered part of the faculty member’s regular teaching obligations.
  • All Focus Program faculty participate actively in their cluster’s IDC and attend faculty meetings to assess progress within the cluster.
  • The Focus Program faculty plan and participate in the extra-curricular and out-of-class activities and attend FOCUS events throughout the academic year.
  • All cluster directors participate actively in the Focus Program by attending monthly advisory meetings with program staff.