Why Integrated Clusters?

Why do people attend college? For many students, this question can be boiled down into one general answer: To find success in your chosen profession after graduation.

Unfortunately, too many schools do not instruct with a mindset of what employers are looking for and teach only within disciplines. Business students work only with business students, art students only with art students, and so on. However, that is not how the world works. As a working professional you will be asked to work in interdisciplinary teams and with people who have different backgrounds. In short, you need to remember to ask yourself, “Which schools will prepare me for success in an ever-changing world?”

You will want to identify ones that focus on teaching the skills prized by your future employers. Enter Plymouth State University’s (PSU) Integrated Clusters approach, an educational model centered on making graduates highly prepared for the workforce.

Plymouth State has redefined the landscape of higher education by taking 52 majors and 23 departments and organizing them into seven interdisciplinary clusters, which allows easy collaboration across programs of study.

PSU students grow their knowledge in their discipline while developing skills sought by employers. This is accomplished through the Four Tools of Integrated Clusters.

  1. First-Year Seminar—A first-semester class where you collaborate with other students to work on a “wicked problem” in our world and focus on the development of skills such as time-management, critical thinking, and multidisciplinary team work.
  2. Themed General Education Pathway—At many schools Gen Education courses are just something you have to do. PSU believes that it should enhance your learning and be a means to something more, so PSU offers an opportunity to follow a thematic pathway through your Gen Ed requirements.
  3. Open Laboratories—These provide the setting for a major collaborative project between multiple majors and with community partners who have a real-world problem in need of solving.
  4. Integrated Capstone—Tie together what you learned in your major, First-Year Seminar, Gen Ed, and Cluster Project involvement into a final project that fits your passions and showcases the skills you have developed.

With these four tools, PSU will enable you to become a leader in your field. You’ll not only be an expert in your chosen subject matter but will also have transferable skills such as leadership, teamwork, problem-solving ability, and written communication capabilities that will set you up for success in the modern workforce.

Want to learn more? Watch the recording of Plymouth State’s Jason Moran, Dean of Enrollment Management, and Catherine LeBlanc, Professor of Digital Media and Coordinator of General Education, in the second Facebook Live in our “How to Become a Panther” series! Originally hosted on Thursday, February 28, the discussion focus on the four tools of Integrated Clusters and how these tools prepare you to lead in your field. Learn more at facebook.com/PlymouthState

Matthew Wallace, Assistant Director of Enrollment Operations, received his bachelor’s degree in history from Plymouth State University in 2010 and is a current Plymouth State MBA student. In his role as the University’s assistant director of enrollment operations he has had the privilege of organizing, meeting, and/or sharing insights with over 10,000 visiting prospective students. When he’s not helping future students and pursuing his graduate degree he is an avid runner and rock climber. He lives in Meredith, NH, with his girlfriend and their dog and two cats.