Frequently Asked Questions

The following FAQs were developed in 2016 in response to questions from the PSU community.

Why programs in clusters?
How are clusters different from what we have?
How will clusters interact with each other?

The following FAQs were compiled:

Clusters are not going to raise their own funding. Rather, funding clusters means reducing funding somewhere else. Where will it come from, who will decide which clusters are our favorites, where will we go for support for our courses and from ad hoc and dynamic foci?
I'd love to see models of other schools who found success (intellectual and financial) as a result of organizing every program into clusters, or at least doing something similar. Are there models other folks are encouraged by that I should be looking at to figure out next steps?
Can you (or, truly, anybody) define for me what you think a cluster actually is, what it literally does, and what the material benefits/limitations might be (for students, for faculty, for programs) of being in one cluster and not another?
Are clusters to be driven by curriculum, or just research (or scholarship)?
Are clusters meant to revive PSU from the inside by supporting actual research, or from the outside via PR?
If programs are 'in' clusters, does that mean all students majoring in those programs are also 'in' the cluster that their program is 'in?' If so, does that mean these students get to do something that students who are 'not in' their cluster don't get to do? What would that be? If this is not the case, then what is the point of 'in' (and its implied partner, 'out,' or 'not in?')? (Are students 'in' one cluster 'out' of all other clusters? And what does 'out' look like with respect to curriculum, collaboration, etc.?)
Repeating, for emphasis: what are the consequences (for our students, for our programs, for us) of being ‘outside’ of a cluster?
If programs are ‘in’ clusters, does that mean all faculty teaching courses in those programs are also ‘in’ the cluster that their program(s) are in? If a faculty member teaches courses across multiple programs, are they ‘in’ all the associated clusters? Is being ‘in’ multiple clusters materially distinct from being ‘in’ one cluster or no clusters?
If a course is part of a program, is the course (only) ‘in’ the cluster that program has associated with? What might that mean? For instance, if a course is ‘in’ a cluster that a student is ‘not in,’ does the student get to take the course anyhow? If all students still have access to the courses they presently do, is there another material curricular facet of clustering that I am missing? If a course is part of multiple programs, is that course ‘in’ multiple clusters?
Do faculty belong to clusters primarily by virtue of the classes they teach (because classes <-----> programs)? Do faculty belong to (multiple) clusters for other reasons? Will I get more things if I am in more clusters? Is there ‘double counting’ in clusters?
What is the ‘inside’ of a cluster? Are we putting things inside clusters? Like, courses and people? (Program = curriculum + bodies?) What else?
I fear spending a lot of intellectual work (a limited human resource) on something that still sometimes feels, to me, essentially like repackaging for marketing/external purposes (not opposed to that on principle, but would like to have a better understanding of why we think ‘clusters’ = massive numbers of tuition paying students).
I fear that clustering may contribute to the further erosion of the humanities and liberal arts at PSU.
Why are we moving towards integrated clusters?
Where does the campus currently stand with the integrated clusters initiative?
Where will the money come from to fund the integrated clusters?

How will the clusters work?

What is an Integrated Cluster Guide?

How will Integrated Cluster Guides be selected?

Will there be release time for staff?

Will there be release time for Faculty and Staff Integrated Cluster Guides?

Will there be a stipend if summer work is necessary?

Can faculty participate in more than one cluster?
How do the URSA and Integrated Clusters initiatives relate?
What's the timeline for implementing Integrated Clusters and Open Labs?
How will clusters fit into our already heavy workloads?