What is a Mosaic?

The American and Global Mosaics are intensive, interdisciplinary, semester-long research programs designed around ethnographic fieldwork and immersion in domestic and global communities. Their objective is to encourage students to think reflexively about the diverse world in which they live as they engage in collaborative work with local, transnational, and international communities. The Mosaics provide opportunities for students to meaningfully apply what they are learning in the classroom, both theoretically and methodologically, to the world beyond – and to bring their experiences in the world back into the classroom. The Mosaics challenge students to ask significant and relevant questions of the people and communities with which they are working; to actively listen to what others say about their lives and realities; to reflect on their own lives, worlds, and perspectives; to design research that addresses the needs and interests of their partner communities; and finally to present what they have discovered in thoughtful, effective, and ethical ways to multiple audiences. Students learn not only how to design and conduct research but also how to produce their findings and analyses in various forms: written research papers and reports; conference presentations, video documentaries, audio podcasts, and multi-media websites.

The design of a specific Mosaic program is driven by pedagogical and research concerns, and faculty interest and availability. A number of different models have emerged, from a full semester of coursework taken by students with 2-3 faculty from different disciplines- to cluster courses-to a one credit course that integrates a winterim research trip. Examples of various models are outlined below. For more detailed information see the Community Studies website: