The Cluster requirement is one of the elements in our general education program and must be completed by all students entering Muhlenberg Fall 2013 through Spring 2017, typically during the sophomore year. Successfully completing the cluster will demonstrate that students have achieved Muhlenberg’s learning goal of building a broad disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge base.
1. Cluster courses support the development of integrative learning.
- The challenges facing us are increasingly complex and will become more so in our information rich environment. In order to navigate these complexities and work toward just solutions, students need the ability to integrate knowledge from more than one perspective or discipline in order to understand and solve real-world problems.
- Cluster courses include integrated learning assignments - assignments incorporating two or more disciplines as a way to develop complex and interdisciplinary thinking.
2. Interdisciplinary thinking and learning is a necessary skill for today’s graduates as they pursue careers in multiple fields.
- Increasingly, employers cite the ability to think creatively across different disciplines as essential to success in the modern job market.
- Clustering provides opportunities for students to learn and use concepts, research methods, and theories of two related academic disciplines to inquire into common questions, problems, and themes posed by faculty with complementary expertise.
First-Year Seminars (FYS)
First-Year Seminars are small, discussion-oriented courses required of all first-year students and normally limited to an enrollment of 15. Taught by faculty from across the curriculum, First-Year Seminars promote critical thinking, reading, and writing skills. Seminars vary in their subjects. Some examine a topic from an interdisciplinary perspective, others focus on particular issues or questions within a discipline, but all emphasize thinking critically about the values and assumptions underlying various approaches to knowledge.
First-Year Seminars are writing-intensive (W). Evaluation is based on students’ writing rather than on examinations. The seminars teach participants how to formulate a thesis and how to collect, evaluate, and cite evidence that supports and qualifies the thesis. Students also learn how to revise their work, rethinking their ideas with the help of the instructor’s comments on preliminary drafts. Every First-Year Seminar has an embedded Writing Assistant who is a trained writing tutor.
Special Topic Courses (X80)
Departments may offer at their discretion special topic courses not listed in this catalog. While they may be offered at different levels, all special topic courses will be numbered in the x80’s. Descriptions may be found on CapStone Online or in the Office of the Registrar.
No more than a total of 4 course units may be earned through any type of individualized instruction to meet the 32 course unit degree requirement except as required by special programs. No internship, practicum, arranged, or independent study/research course may be used to satisfy a general academic requirement. Internships do not count toward the three course pass/fail limit.
Students may enroll only one internship or practicum during a semester and only one independent study/research course may be taken concurrently with an internship or practicum. Students participating in special programs, such as the Washington Semester or study abroad, are exempt from semester based enrollment limits on internships, practica, or independent study/research courses. The approval of the appropriate department chair, the academic advisor, and a faculty sponsor are required for all individual instruction.
Internships (960) and Practica (965)
An internship is work experience undertaken for the purpose of applying knowledge from the classroom to a practical work environment and actively reflecting on that activity. Internships and practica are limited to full-time, degree-seeking students who have completed at least 16 course units in good academic standing or part-time students enrolled through the Wescoe School of Muhlenberg College.
Internships and practica must be registered prior to the end of the third week of classes in the semester in which the work occurs. For the summer semester, internships and practica must be registered no later than the date noted in the summer academic calendar. Internships taken during the summer for a Muhlenberg course unit will be subject to the tuition cost of one course unit. The deadline for submitting final grades for such courses is that semester’s deadline for the final grades. Credit for internships and practica cannot be awarded retroactively.
Each internship or practicum is to be designed in consultation with a faculty sponsor and an on-site supervisor. Ordinarily, no more than one course unit is awarded for each internship or practicum, and at least 9-12 hours of work per week (Fall/Spring) or 126-168 hours per semester (Fall/Spring/Summer) are required for each course unit earned.
Such courses will include an academic project to be defined by and submitted to the faculty sponsor for evaluation. This academic project may be written or presented, at the discretion of the faculty sponsor. The internship or practicum on-site supervisor will submit a written evaluation of the student’s work which the faculty sponsor will take into consideration when assigning a grade. Internships will be graded pass/fail. Practica are assigned letter grades, A through F.
For all internships and practica, the faculty sponsor must explicitly detail his or her expectations for the student as early as possible in planning the experience. This learning contract describes the goals and what work will be done for each internship or practica. The faculty sponsor normally evaluates a student’s work in an individualized instruction course according to standards at least as high as those used to evaluate work in traditional courses.
An internship manual with guidelines and sample learning contracts is available through the Office of the Dean of Academic Life.
Independent Study/Research (970)
An independent study/research course can vary by academic department or discipline. It may be a student-inspired and student-initiated project or a faculty-directed research project. Independent study/research courses normally do not cover the same material as or material similar to that covered in regularly offered courses.
Independent study/research courses must be registered by the add/drop deadline of the semester in which the work occurs. Credit for independent study/research courses cannot be awarded retroactively.
Each independent study/research course is to be designed in consultation with a faculty sponsor. Typically, no more than one course unit is awarded for each course, and no fewer than 9-12 hours of work per week (Fall/Spring) or 126-168 hours per semester (Fall/Spring/Summer) are required for each course unit earned.
For all such courses, a learning contract will describe the goals of the independent study/research and specify what work will be done by the student. Independent study/research courses are assigned letter grades, A through F. For student-inspired and student-initiated independent study/research courses, the student must submit a proposal to the faculty sponsor before registering for the course.
Course Units (Equivalence)
Muhlenberg College uses a course system (units) intended to emphasize the mastery of subject matter in contrast to the credit system that measures achievement in terms of time spent in class. A course as a unit of instruction may include a combination of lecture, discussion, recitation, computer work, group projects, and laboratory work and may vary in the number of scheduled classroom and laboratory meetings. Courses scheduled for 150 minutes of classroom instruction each week also include additional instructional activities (e.g., supplemental workshops, attendance at campus lectures and performances, service learning, field work). The course is the entire learning experience, not merely the time spent in the classroom. Such an approach delegates to students greater responsibility for their own education and encourages active learning.
Each course unit is of equal value and should be considered the equivalent of 4 semester hours for conversion purposes. A full-time degree candidate is typically enrolled for 4 course units during a semester.
Each course listed in this catalog should be assumed to be 1 course unit unless an alternate value is given.