Quinnipiac University College of Arts and Sciences

Student View: Cluster Courses

In Students, Teaching on October 17, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Best Decision I Made as a Freshman

By Wells Griffin ’14

Signing up for the cluster course of History 112 and Anthropology 101 in the fall of 2010 was the best decision I made as a freshman. It allowed me to make connections in a more organic manner. I found myself relating my other studies with each other as well–pulling links together across all my courses. Coming into Quinnipiac as a History major, the cluster course gave me the opportunity to look at history through a different lens. I was able to discover the cultural relevance behind historic events and to develop a deeper understanding of them. Instead of looking at History and Anthropology as two distinct approaches, professors Prasad and Haldane (through their unorthodox cluster course) made the material come alive. They made the content of their courses connect, and demonstrated how it applied to our lives. By showing these links, it expanded my ability to comprehend and value the knowledge.

Along with the educational benefits, the cluster course was a fantastic way to introduce me socially in college. Compared to all of my other classes, none of them allowed me to gain such closeness to my fellow students. Our ability to become so close was not forced, but rather students enhanced their social development and a stronger sense of responsibility through the course. Not only do the students see each other twice a day, but we grew close having a group project together every few weeks; we truly became dependent on one another. Being able to have such a strong support system as a timid freshman helped me make a better transition into college and showed me that I was able to live on my own away from home.

I would recommend the College of Arts and Sciences create other cluster courses, because it challenges the students to take two opposing subjects and find a common ground. Now, as a sophomore, I am still a History major–but also an Anthropology minor. The class gave me the opportunity to help create a better community within my classes. After experiencing such closeness with the cluster course, I now want to re-create the same feeling with my other courses. The class also allowed me to grasp concepts and apply them to other subjects to better my understanding. I believe Dr. Prasad and Professor Haldane’s cluster course should be continued and taken advantage of by other students because although overwhelming in the beginning, the experience changed my learning style for the better—allowing me to flourish as a Quinnipiac student.


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