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.

The Promise and Problems of College in America
Americans have long agreed that a college education is key to a good future. But a growing number of critics argue that college is overrated, too expensive, too exclusive, and teaches the wrong things. What really is the purpose of college? Is it worth the cost, and why is it so expensive? Who should go, and how do we make access fair? And what should students learn there? In this seminar, we will explore histories, documentaries, debates, data, manifestos, and personal stories. In the process, students will develop essential skills as readers, writers, thinkers, researchers, and participants in public conversations.