Advanced Entry Seminar


Office of the Dean of the Faculty



Office of the Dean of the Faculty

The Advanced-Entry Seminar (AES) at Southwestern University helps you practice an education that arcs over your SU experience and across the curriculum. That education connects the questions and perspectives you encounter as well as the skills you develop to each other and to the world. Taken during your first semester as a four-credit graded course, AES is a concurrent rather than preliminary experience. It focuses on topics that help you think about what you are learning in your other classes as well as your whole education. It is your first exposure to Paideia—Southwestern’s distinctive interdisciplinary approach to integrating curricular and co-curricular experiences.

As you read the AES summaries, you will discover that the topics are engaging and sometimes even edgy. But don’t be fooled. Seminars are real courses designed to introduce intellectual skills common to the liberal arts: formulating cogent questions, forging connections between methods of inquiry, recognizing and challenging assumptions, seeking out and listening to multiple perspectives, and rethinking the role of reading, writing, and discussion in inquiry and student-centered learning.

Questions related to your Advanced-Entry Seminar assignment should be directed to 512.863.1567.

Seminar Summaries

Altruism, Adventure and Activism: Teachers as Heroes

In social media of the past two decades, there are many stories that describe teachers as heroes - teachers who have served their communities in significant ways.  Teachers have put themselves between their students and danger, sought adventure like traveling into space, and engaged in activism to ensure educational opportunity.  This seminar will examine events of the 20th and 21st centuries where teachers have engaged in compassionate, altruistic, political, and sometimes subversive actions to educate their students during times of crisis. In times of natural disasters and those of human design, teachers have made a heroic difference.

How We Get Our News Now

At this particular moment in America, we increasingly hear about “competing narratives,” “alternative realities,” and news—“fake” and otherwise. This seminar will dive into a few of the many voices and media that define the conversations. We will read, listen to, watch, discuss, research, and write about a wide range of contributors with a collective eye on listening and contributing thoughtfully and generously.

The Transportive Experience of Wearing a Mask

Masks come in many forms, and worn for a variety of reasons. Some cultures use them for religious or ritual practices, while others may use them for protection, entertainment, and disguise. Broadly defined, a mask is simply the covering of the face. We wear and use masks every day. Facial makeup, tattoos, scarification and prosthetic pieces applied to the face are all forms of a mask. Does the wearing of a mask help identify who we are, or do they hide who we are? This seminar will explore the cultural, sociological, and historical connections of the mask.