At Southwestern University, faculty in all disciplines guide students to challenge their assumptions about the world, to become individuals capable of self-reflection and critical analysis, well prepared for a lifetime of learning. SU’s Paideia principle is essential to this endeavor.

Paideia centers on making connections between different ways of knowing and understanding complex issues, between academic coursework and campus life experiences, and between one’s own life and the world around them. Paideia encourages students to explore the complexity of life’s challenges through integrating multiple viewpoints and perspectives, and by engaging in intensive, varied experiences.

All Southwestern students participate in Paideia experiences throughout the curriculum. The First-Year or Advanced-Entry Seminar introduces students to the practice of making connections, with a special focus on incorporating perspectives from multiple disciplines. All other courses explicitly acknowledge the connections between ideas within their own course material; many will point to intersections with other courses. All majors include an opportunity to consider how various skills and ideas connect across the department or program, and culminate in a Capstone experience. 

In Classical Greece, Paideia referred to the education of the ideal citizen. In the same spirit, students who undertake a Southwestern University education become literate, informed and critical persons capable of making the world more humane and just. In accomplishing this goal, students gain in-depth knowledge of a discipline through the rigorous study of a major. Equally important, students acquire a breadth of knowledge across a range of disciplines that allows them to learn from a variety of perspectives—and arrive at deeper understanding throughout their studies.