Cluster One: Skills for the 21st Century

Cluster One is the cornerstone of General Education: The Human Community at JMU and to subsequent study in the major and professional programs. This cluster emphasizes competencies in the areas of oral and written communication, critical thinking, and information literacy. The broadly stated goals for Cluster One are:

Competence in these goals is fundamental to general education and to subsequent study in major and professional programs. Therefore, all students are required to complete all Cluster One requirements during their first academic year at JMU. The specific learning goals for each area of Cluster One are included in this section.

Cluster One Structure
Cluster One consists of nine credits. All students MUST complete one course in each of three groupings of courses representing the main content disciplines of the cluster: Critical Thinking, Human Communication and Writing. Courses may be taken in any order. In addition to the three courses, students are required to demonstrate competency in information literacy by completing two high stakes exams: the technology test (Tech Level I) and the Information Seeking Skills Test (ISST).

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Cluster One Requirements
All students must complete Cluster One requirements during their first academic year at JMU. If this requirement cannot be met due to extenuating circumstances, a deferral form must be submitted to the Office of University Studies by March 2, 2012.

Information Literacy
Cluster One requires completion of the two information literacy tests during the first year. Information literacy is the ability to locate, evaluate and use information effectively to accomplish a purpose. Cluster One students must demonstrate competency by successfully completing:

Critical Thinking
Cluster One requires the completion of one of five courses offered in critical thinking. Students study various techniques and approaches to critical thinking such as analyzing and evaluating information, arguments, premises, and concepts and their relationships as well as fostering problem solving abilities. Depending upon the course, the content focuses on the function of language, basic business principles, issues in recent history, mediated communication, informal logical reasoning or problem solving in science and technology.

Choose one of the following:

GBUS 160. Business Decision Making in a Modern Society
GHIST 150. Critical Issues in Recent Global History
GISAT 160. Problem Solving Approaches in Science and Technology
GMAD 150. Mediated Communication: Issues and Skills
GPHIL 120. Critical Thinking
GPHIL 150. Ethical Reasoning
Students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree may not use either GPHIL 120 or GPHIL 150 to fulfill the B.A. philosophy course requirement.

Human Communication
Cluster One requires completion of one of three courses offered in oral communication. Students are introduced to the study of human communication as a process. Emphasis is on examining the role of self-concept, perception, culture, verbal and nonverbal dimensions in the communication process, using power and managing conflict, and applying critical listening. Depending upon the course, the content focuses on an overview of the principles and practices of interpersonal, small group, and public communication, or constructing informative and persuasive speeches with an emphasis on individual public speaking contexts, or constructing informative and persuasive group presentations.

Choose one of the following:

GCOM 121. Fundamental Human Communication: Presentations
GCOM 122. Fundamental Human Communication: Individual Presentations
GCOM 123. Fundamental Human Communication: Group Presentations

Students who have received credit for one GCOM class are not eligible to receive credit for a second GCOM class. Students who have received credit for GCOM 121 are not eligible to receive credit for
GCOM 122 or GCOM 123. Students who have received credit for GCOM 122 are not eligible to receive credit for GCOM 121 or GCOM 123. Students who have received credit for GCOM 123 are not eligible to receive credit for GCOM 121 or GCOM 122.

Writing
Cluster One requires completion of the writing course GWRTC 103. The emphasis is on the process of constructing a focused, logical, coherent, well-supported thesis or point of view. Students employ research and formal documentation to produce writing stylistically appropriate to its audience, purpose and occasion. Students edit their writing for clarity and control of conventions, and they are prepared to use reading and writing in their personal, academic and civic lives.

Complete the following:
GWRTC 103. Critical Reading and Writing

GWRTC Placement and Exemptions
Students may receive credit or exemptions for GWRTC 103 under the following conditions:

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Cluster One Learning Objectives
After completing Cluster One: Skills for the 21st Century, students should be able to use reading, writing and oral communication, critical thinking, and information literacy skills for inquiring, learning, thinking and communicating in their personal, academic and civic lives.

Information Literacy
After completing both information literacy tests and course work in critical thinking, human communication, and writing, students should be able to:

Critical Thinking
After completing course work in critical thinking, students should be able to:

Human Communication
After completing course work in communication, students should be able to:

Writing
After completing course work in writing, students should be able to:

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