Southwestern University

Walking the Walk

My dear friends & colleagues,

Ours is a history of firsts. We were the first institution of higher education in Texas, home to the first Rhodes Scholar in Texas, and the first in the nation to honor alumni with a homecoming celebration. This tradition of firsts continues as we create new and dynamic educational experiences for today’s young hearts and minds, built on a foundation of strength from our past.


Inquiry-based learning
brought to life

The concept of inquiry-based learning is something we’ve all experienced. As a child we would ask questions in order to better understand and make sense of our world. It is human nature to wonder, and in doing so we are constantly thinking in order to make meaning.

With traditional teaching methods, a professor passes information from a textbook to the student in a step-by-step process. Success is measured by the student’s ability to recite this information back with an emphasis on producing one correct answer. As a consequence, much of that information is never retained.

Inquiry-based learning is more dynamic and actively engages students in their own learning. It starts with a question, puzzle, or scenario, and in doing so captures a student’s natural curiosity.

Working together, students learn not just from a lecture, but through their own collective investigation, often creating new answers, as well as new questions, and new knowledge along the way.

At Southwestern, we are designing and implementing an intellectual experience that greatly enhances a student’s ability to understand, interpret and evaluate ideas and information, and our interconnected curriculum affords students an expanded perspective from which to explore.

Paideia Portrait

LAST YEAR’S KING CREATIVITY WINNER KELSEY BAKER ’16, IN COLLABORATION WITH COMPUTER SCIENCE MAJOR CHRISTINE HARBOUR ’16, EXPLORED THE BOUNDARIES WHERE MATHEMATICS CONNECTS WITH ART IN HER ENORMOUS PIECE (SEEN HERE IN BACKGROUND) ENTITLED “1/4 BLOOM.”

LAST YEAR’S KING CREATIVITY WINNER KELSEY BAKER ’16, IN COLLABORATION WITH COMPUTER SCIENCE MAJOR CHRISTINE HARBOUR ’16, EXPLORED THE BOUNDARIES WHERE MATHEMATICS CONNECTS WITH ART IN HER ENORMOUS PIECE (SEEN HERE IN BACKGROUND) ENTITLED “1/4 BLOOM.”

This intellectual engagement includes both in-classroom and out-of-classroom learning with high-impact experiences such as internships, community-based learning, study abroad, and undergraduate research. These research opportunities extend well beyond the sciences to include the arts, humanities and social sciences. Learning through discovery continues for students who conduct research with faculty mentors in SCOPE (Summer Collaborative Opportunities and Experiences), our Inquiry Initiative’s summer research program. Southwestern University undergraduate students are not only conducting original research, but often have the opportunity to publish and present their work, as well.

Finally, through Paideia, we open up pathways to conceptual thinking as students and faculty explore connections between two or more seemingly divergent subjects. This process stimulates innovative, original thinking, and creative expression. Suddenly, a student’s deep knowledge of their chosen discipline, such as biology, business, or music, is greatly expanded and enhanced. Their ability to think conceptually through a variety of new perspectives allows their mind to venture into regions of thought or creative expression it could not otherwise go.

96%
OF SOUTHWESTERN SENIORS REPORT PARTICIPATING IN TWO OR MORE HIGH-IMPACT INTELLECTUAL EXPERIENCES.

A Commitment in Stone

Phase 1

IN THE PHASE I WING OF THE SOUTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY SCIENCE CENTER YOU’LL FIND STATE-OF-THE-ART LABORATORIES AND EQUIPMENT, SUCH AS OUR NUCLEAR MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING INSTRUMENT AND CELL CULTURE LAB.

Phase 2

PHASE II WILL TRIPLE THE CENTER’S SIZE, HOUSING A MATHEMATICS AND COMPUTER SCIENCE LABORATORY, KINESIOLOGY RESEARCH LABORATORY, PRE-MEDICAL LEADERSHIP CENTER, AND MORE.

98%
complete or plan to complete a capstone project before they graduate.

This commitment to inquiry-based, interconnected learning goes well beyond our curriculum. Nowhere is this fact more evident than in our new Science Center, which was designed and built with shared research spaces and collaborative learning studios where students can meet in small groups or one-on-one with faculty and staff. The classrooms themselves have been designed for small-group interaction, offering a modern way to bring the joy of inquiry-based learning and active student discovery to life.

Science of the 21st century is multidisciplinary, and as such, there are no siloed departments. This approach helps to build bridges between the science disciplines and gives our students experience working in a truly interdisciplinary environment.

Diversity is a Critical Element

At Southwestern, you’ll find a diverse community, as well as a true commitment to creating an inclusive environment that is equally welcoming to all. More than a third of Southwestern students come from underrepresented groups, but to us, diversity is more than just numbers.

We believe that diversity is an integral part of our enriched learning environment, and is an indispensable element of our Inquiry Initiative. Diversity expands our worldliness, enhances social development, increases our knowledge base, challenges us to engage with different ideas and perspectives, and better prepares Southwestern students for living in a global society.

Inquiry-based learning has been proven to support underrepresented student populations better, with better outcomes.

Inquiry-based career services

Even within Career Services, students are actively involved in their own dynamic journey of discovery. The professionals who make up our team attribute their national recognition and, more importantly, their students' success, to a boutique model of service, which favors a one-on-one, student-led process over large, generic workshops.

The award-winning staff of Southwestern’s Office of Career Services serves students and alumni year-round. The team is ranked Number 4 nationwide and Number 1 in Texas for bestcareer services by The Princeton Review. The office was also named the number one college career services in the U.S. by BestColleges.com. These rankings follow a long list of many other prestigious awards the office has earned over the past decade.

Through inquiry-based learning and inquiry-based career services, it’s no wonder Southwestern graduates are highly sought after by graduate programs and top employers alike.

64%
of Southwestern students complete at least one internship.
Launched this year, our new mentor program pairs alumni and students in active conversations to help identify career and life paths, as well as offer networking opportunities.

Walk with us

Learning matters here
Southwestern offers 36 majors and seven pre-professional programs resulting in Bachelor’s Degrees of Arts, Science, Science in Education, Music or Fine Arts.
Changing Lives
Southwestern has been included in every edition of Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges since 1996.
In Good Company
Kiplinger includes Southwestern in its 2016 list of the 100 top values in liberal arts colleges.
Rigorous Academics
Southwestern was included in The Princeton Review’s 2016 edition of The Best 380 Colleges, which chooses schools “primarily for their outstanding academics.”
It’s Our Core Purpose
Washington Monthly ranks Southwestern among the top 50 national liberal arts colleges based on contributions to the public good.
Making Connections
The foundation of the Southwestern curriculum, Paideia, which intentionally connects ideas and themes across the disciplines, provides opportunities for students to help design upper-level interdisciplinary seminars.

We wish to share our journey in the hope that other institutions will learn from both our trailblazing success as well as our inevitable missteps along the way. Please join us in the months and years to come as we continue to Think, Create, and Connect our way to a more modern and meaningful definition of higher education for the future.

Walk with us.