Cluster One: Skills for the 21st Century

Cluster One is the cornerstone of General Education: The Human Community at JMU. Through course work in three areas and a required information literacy test, this cluster requires students to demonstrate:

Competence in these areas is fundamental to subsequent study in major and professional programs. Therefore, all students are required to complete Cluster One requirements during their first academic year at JMU.

Cluster One Structure
Cluster One consists of nine credits and a competency test. All students must earn credit for one course in each of three areas representing the primary content of the cluster: Critical Thinking, Human Communication and Writing. In addition to the three courses, students are required to demonstrate competency in information literacy by passing the Information Seeking Skills Test (ISST).

Enrollment in Cluster One courses is restricted to students in their first academic year at JMU. Cluster One areas and courses are not repeatable without permission. To secure permission to take a Cluster One course after the first year, students must submit a "Cluster One Request Form" available on the General Education website under "Forms." Permission to enroll is given based on course availability and need.

Cluster One Requirements
Cluster One skills in writing, communication and critical thinking are essential to academic success and, for that reason, should be taken during a student's first year at JMU. While Cluster One courses must be completed in the first year, the courses may be taken in any order.

Critical Thinking
In this area, students study various techniques and approaches to critical thinking such as analyzing and evaluating information, arguments, premises and concepts. Critical thinking fosters inquiry and 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. Cluster One offers six classes that meet this requirement.

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.

Students who have received credit for one critical thinking class are not eligible to receive credit for a second critical thinking class without permission.

Human Communication
In this area, 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. Cluster One requires completion of one of three courses offered in oral communication.

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.

Writing
This area of Cluster One emphasizes the process of constructing focused, logical, coherent and well-supported documents. Students employ research to produce writing stylistically appropriate to its audience, purpose and occasion. Students are introduced to a variety of writing genres. Students are required to edit their writing for clarity and control of conventions.

Complete the following:
GWRTC 103. Critical Reading and Writing

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GWRTC Credit and Waiver
Students may receive credit or waiver for GWRTC 103 under the following conditions:

Information Literacy
Information literacy is the ability to locate, evaluate and use information effectively to accomplish a purpose. Cluster One requires completion of the Information-Seeking Skills Test (ISST). All entering students must pass the ISST by the deadline announced by the university.

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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, oral communication, critical thinking and information literacy skills for inquiring, learning, thinking and communicating in their personal, academic and civic lives.

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:

Information Literacy
After completing the ISST, JMU's information literacy test, and course work in critical thinking, human communication and writing, students should be able to:

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