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New Paideia Sets Sail


New Paideia Sets Sail


By Emma McDaniel

Starting this year, first-years will automatically be enrolled in the Paideia journey, unlike in previous years of Paideia where it had been an alternative path for students.

The Director of Paideia, Sherry Adrian describes the new Paideia as the new Southwestern “educational model for teaching and learning.”

The new Paideia program is revamping the Southwestern credit requirements by adding an intentionally, integrated interdisciplinary learning aspect to them. The current first-years will have six cluster options: Representing Gender, Investigating Identity, Americas: North by South, The Anthropocene, Situating Place, and Global Health. The Paideia program requires each student to take three courses within their courses and, after the completion of those three courses, to take a 4-credit, team-taught seminar.

Each cluster will offer “out of classroom” experiences in order to create a cohort-like community. Some examples of these “out of classroom” experiences are: sponsored film screenings, lunchtime discussions on articles pertaining to a cluster’s theme, and cluster “meet-ups” discussing important thematic elements of the cluster.

There are approximately 80 faculty members participating in the new Paideia out of roughly 120. With this focus on interdisciplinary learning, the New Paideia begins to affect the way in which faculty teach their courses.

“Paideia clusters encourage us to not only teach topics in an interdisciplinary way, but to highlight how different disciplines approach an issue,” cluster coordinator Elaine Craddock said.

The interdisciplinary approach is intended to engage students by asking them to think critically and draw connections between seemingly unrelated topics.

“The new Paideia is envisioned to better prepare students for when they graduate and allow students to stretch and explore the real world problems from an interdisciplinary perspective,” Adrian said.

Faculty see potential for this new approach to the curriculum through an enhancement of the academic experience for students.

“Paideia graduates will be well prepared for their lives after and beyond Southwestern,” professor David Gaines said.