Clusters are learning community courses that are designed to strengthen freshman intellectual skills and introduce them to interdisciplinary approaches to the study of complex and timely topics. The following institutions, offices and programs provide a wide array of support services to help cluster faculty achieve these aims:

Powell College Library The UCLA Library provides each cluster instructional team with its own Library Liaison. Library Liaisons consult with faculty and GSI’s (Graduate Student Instructors) to develop methods, materials, and engagement options that best meet the curricular goals and student research needs for each section. Liaisons are currently engaging with students and collaborating with instructors in a variety of ways, including:

  • consulting on instructional activity design and assessment
  • leading library instruction sessions
  • attending and participating in lectures and discussion sessions
  • meeting with students one-on-one to assist with research and writing projects
  • developing and teaching spring seminar courses
  • engaging students with library collections through the use of cultural heritage materials and digital technologies

Writing Programs provides consultation services to faculty teams on their writing assignments, as well as 11 hours of prescribed training for cluster graduate student instructors that is aimed at helping them better improve and strengthen the writing skills of their students.

The Office of Instructional Development provides a wide range of grants and services to the cluster program. These include:

  • A number of instructional improvement grants from 1999 to the present that provide faculty release time, GSR salaries, and course materials budgets for the development of new cluster courses. These grants also support the efforts of faculty in continuing cluster courses to improve instruction through the development of innovative web-based resources.
  • OID educational technology service units that provide cluster faculty and GSIs with instructional media equipment(video tapes, laserdiscs, DVDs, and films), technical assistance, and training in the use of various kinds of media systems for course lectures, assignments, and lab experiments.
  • Mini-grants for cluster faculty and GSIs that enable them to purchase films, audiotapes, and videotape programs for their classes, defray the costs of student field trips, and provide honoraria for distinguished experts visiting the clusters.

The Center for Community Learning collaborates with clusters to provide freshman students with experiential and service learning projects in which they can apply the knowledge and theory they learn in their lectures and discussion sections in a variety of settings outside the university. Two clusters, Frontiers in Human Aging and Work, Labor and Social Justice in the U.S. have successfully collaborated with the Center to develop, implement and assess service learning experiences that placed their students in a variety of Los Angeles based non-profit organizations serving older adults and dealing with issues of homelessness, affordable housing, welfare reform, and labor issues.

The Office of Residential Life provides the clusters with a large state-of-the-art instructional lecture hall in DeNeve Plaza Commons building. This space is a multi-media auditorium with smaller adjacent meeting rooms that can accommodate the instructional and social needs of the clusters. To facilitate faculty access to the auditorium, cluster faculty receive permits for specially designated parking spaces adjacent to DeNeve.