Thematic Transdisciplinary Clusters
This document provides a description of the Thematic Transdisciplinary
Clusters component of University studies. In so doing, it differentiates between
common component-level student learning outcomes and course-specific learning
outcomes. The goal is to encourage the development of challenging and varied
Clusters that share learning outcomes that emphasize multiple perspectives,
integrative learning, and creative problem-solving.
PART I: DESCRIPTION AND RATIONALE
Thematic Transdisciplinary Clusters, a trio of related courses, emphasize
integrative learning by allowing students to investigate a common theme through
multiple disciplinary lenses. Clusters prepare students to recognize multiple
competing and complementary viewpoints and to understand that solutions to many
modern problems and issues depend on successful integration of multiple
viewpoints (Huber et al., 2007). By completing any three thematically-related
courses in a Cluster, students will engage in the type of cross-disciplinary
study that will help them learn to seek creative solutions to difficulties they
will encounter when dealing with the complex problems that shape our modern
PART II: COMMON STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES ALIGNED TO UNIVERSITY STUDIES
Each Thematic Transdisciplinary Cluster has cluster-specific Student Learning
Outcomes that align with the UNCW Learning Goals, especially Foundational
Knowledge, Inquiry, and Critical Thinking. All courses in each Cluster must
address all of the Cluster’s Student Learning Outcomes and list these SLOs,
along with course-specific SLOs, in the course syllabus. Proposals for course
inclusion in each Cluster will describe the opportunities which will be provided
for students to learn the outcome (readings, class discussion, and/or
activities, applied projects) and list the specific sources of evidence (exams,
papers, projects, quizzes, etc.) that will be used to determine the level of
PART III: STUDENT COMPLETION REQUIREMENTS
Students are required to complete one Thematic Transdisciplinary Cluster by taking any three courses included under a specific theme.
Students must take at least 3 of the 9 required hours at UNCW. If a transfer student can demonstrate completion of 3-6 hours in the cluster, then a portion of the 9 total required hours can be waived.
Students who complete a minor, a second major, or a University Studies Advisory Committee-approved concentration in their major are exempt from the cluster requirement. Students will declare the cluster theme formally through the Office of the Registrar and will select courses with at least two different departmental prefixes from one of the clusters listed in the Undergraduate Catalogue.