The Clusters offer a unique, year-long teaching experience.  In the Fall and Winter quarters, students attend lecture twice a week taught by teams of distinguished faculty that attack their “Big Idea” from various angles.  Students also attend a small discussion section once a week taught by senior Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs)  giving them the opportunity to delve into topics from lecture, explore connections across the course, do labs related to course material, and/or work on their writing.  Cluster TAs receive special training in writing pedagogy and building community among our first-year students.  In the Spring quarter, every member of the teaching team, both faculty and GSIs, teach a small seminar (with a maximum of 20 students) on a variety of topics that relate to the broader theme of the course.  Spring seminars meet once a week for 3 hours, and allow students to continue their writing instruction and explore a topic in depth.  The seminars are often the highlight of the course for both students and instructors.

Throughout the year we work with our partners across campus to give students both academic and non-academic support: 

Office of Residential Life

Most of our Clusters are taught in the residence halls and our partners in the Office of Residential Life provide space for teaching and community building events like movie nights and dining experiences with the students.  In addition, we pair Living Learning Communities with appropriate Clusters so that students can have an educational experience that extends from the classroom to their home.

Writing Programs

Each Cluster has a consultant from Writing Programs who works to train TAs and to help design and revise the writing assignments for the Clusters. 

UCLA Libraries

Our partners in Powell Library provide a Library Liaison for each Cluster to help teach research skills.  In addition, each Cluster has a Peer Research & Writing Specialist (PR&WS).  This unique position is hired by the library and is a former Cluster student who comes back to help with writing and research, and act as peer mentors to the Cluster students.  The PR&WS are often cited as one of students’ most valuable part of the course and their addition to the community building efforts are appreciated by the teaching team and students alike.