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 summary, you will discover that the topic is 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.

Fall 2021 Seminar Summaries

Robots in Fact and Fiction
We live in a technological world and technological changes can have social, artistic, economic and political implications. This seminar uses the subject of robotics to explore some of the changes that have happened in the last few years and will attempt to examine some of the changes that are projected to occur by the time the students taking this seminar have graduated from Southwestern.

Masking: Festivals, Cultural Tribalism, and Identity
Masks come in many forms and are worn for a variety of reasons. Some cultures use them for religious or ritual practices, while others may use them for protection, entertainment, or disguise. Broadly defined, a mask is a concealment of identity. We wear and use masks every day. While we often connect masks with masquerade, performance and events like Halloween, facial makeup, personal protective equipment, 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.

Who Are We … Who Am I?
Our body is always with us and is part of the story of who we are. Touring our “structures” and our “engines” - anatomy and physiology - along with evolutionary biology, we’ll uncover why we are designed the way we are. What is our protection system for viruses and hostile agents? Our design works well for our planet but what about living in extraterrestrial spaces? We’ll also explore connections of our bodies and the arts - the association of gender - skin and race - body image - spirituality and other topics. Weaving these topics together aid in illuminating the who of communities and the who of you.