The following is excepted from Desert of My Real Life, blog of Cathie LeBlanc: What Makes the PSU Cluster Initiative Unique?
LeBlanc made this post after reflecting on her podcast interview for PSU’s Colloquy.
“I was interviewed on Monday about the cluster initiative for a new podcast focused on higher education in general and Plymouth State University in particular. I think the interview went well but there was one question that kind of caught me by surprise. I think my answer was ok but in thinking about it afterward, I wish I had added some things.
Ian Halter, the interviewer, asked me whether clusters are being initiated at other universities and, if yes, how does PSU’s initiative relate to those? My answer was that yes, there are other universities who are using a cluster idea to create opportunities for interdisciplinary work on difficult problems… I said that other cluster initiatives do not imagine the restructuring of the entire institution. Instead, they focus on groups of people coming together to work on particular wicked problems….
…This is very different than PSU’s initiative in that we are changing the entire structure of the University so that everyone on campus will somehow support and engage with at least one cluster. As I said, this is an ok answer but I think it doesn’t quite highlight the major difference in what we’re doing compared to other institutions.
The focus of the cluster initiatives at other institutions begins with the faculty and their research interests… The cluster initiative at PSU starts with a focus on students.PresidentBirx wrote a series of blog entries as we were beginning to envision what the cluster initiative is all about. According to the President, the major impetus for reorganizing the University around clusters is to improve the student educational experience. Our goal is for students to be able to integrate knowledge and to understand how what they have learned can impact the world. We want students to “own” their educational experience and be fully engaged in seeking and taking advantage of every opportunity. In other words, the cluster initiative is really about becoming more student-centered in everything we do…”
Want to read more? The post in its entirety can be found here.