What is Paideia?
The philosophy of Paideia is that because life is interconnected and interdependent, education must be integrated and interdisciplinary. It is an integrative educational model that supports students as they explore the complexity of real life problems – integrating multiple viewpoints and perspectives from engaging in rich, varied experiences. Paideia is not simply understanding based on “the sum of parts,” rather it encourages students and faculty to explore beyond disciplinary boundaries toward new, unique interdisciplinary understandings of complex issues. Interdisciplinary teaching and learning offers a way to understand disciplines better: to see their assumptions, to critique their histories and investments, and identify points of connection.
Paideia is based on the belief that education must be intentional, that it centers on guided understanding of substantive issues or problems central to the human condition and posed as interdisciplinary, thematic questions. Paideia begins by approaching a problem from three different disciplines, then from an interdisciplinary perspective in a team taught seminar. This framing of the questions promotes flexibility, open mindedness and creativity in thinking and problem solving. Intercultural study and civic engagement further broaden and strengthen student and faculty ways of understanding – analyzing and solving - real life problems.
Courses across the disciplines are organized as Paideia Clusters around thematic questions, and each cluster has at least eight to ten courses associated with it. The Paideia Cluster courses help to make students more explicitly aware of the disciplinary considerations of the thematic questions. The Paideia Seminar creates the interdisciplinary space in which students and faculty collaborate together in exploring the thematic questions. Paideia moves students and faculty understanding beyond the disciplines and enhances the connections between in and out of the classroom learning experiences as they seek creative solutions to complex real world problems.
How do I apply?
Following their First-Year Seminar,* all students will indicate their cluster preference and will be placed into a cluster. Students will take three interconnected courses over the subsequent semesters, culminating with the Paideia seminar in their junior or senior year.
*Students who enter Southwestern with 60 or more credits of transfer work will count Advanced-Entry Seminar as one of their cluster courses.
Americas: North by South
The Anthropocene - Questions for the “Age of Human”
Interested? Want More Info?
Contact Sherry Adrian (firstname.lastname@example.org) .