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Hewlett Program in General Education

The Hewlett Program in General Education is an experimental program dedicated to the development of year-long, collaboratively taught, multidisciplinary cluster courses and to the improvement of general education at UCR. Cluster courses are part of the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Program (HASS) and at least two cluster sequences are offered every year. These sequences, designed especially for sophomores (though not limited to them), offer a stimulating and innovative approach to students’ non-major coursework. Students who take all three quarters of a cluster sequence have an opportunity for intellectual growth not normally possible in a typical ten-week course. In addition:

  • Cluster courses challenge students to think about issues from multiple perspectives. Through year-long study of a topic from a variety of points of view, students come to see that intellectual problems often have more than one side to them and more than one solution. Students will be invited to think about the different methodologies of disciplines while also recognizing their shared and/or complementary features.
  • Cluster courses add depth as well as breadth to students’ non-major coursework. In multidisciplinary courses of year-long duration, knowledge and skills can build cumulatively from fall to spring. Students move from introductory assignments to more sophisticated, in-depth assignments in their third quarter. Coursework may include field trips, film and performance series, creative projects, and collaborative research.
  • Cluster courses offer a sense of community. Clustering groups of students together over the course of an entire year gives students the opportunity to develop group rapport. Ideally, students will share more about the goals and aspirations of their education, engage more productivity in collaborative work, and form more lasting intellectual ties with their peers.