Paideia 1a
Fall 2007

 

We will weave together intentionally the strands of Paideia: academics, intercultural, collaborative, and civic engagement. The Paideia Program seeks to assist the Paideia Scholars in their search for a life that is connected, thoughtful, and authentic. Our seminar and tutorial sessions are designed to assist each seminar member in the pursuit of such a life.

The following shared values, methods, and procedures continue to clarify our approach to learning in this seminar:

Therefore, this seminar will require all of us to “stretch” beyond our established frames of reference, limits of understanding, and levels of comfort. The end result will be the integration of diverse learning experiences and progress toward the realization of our respective personal goals with regard to our educations.

Attendance Policy. Attendance in your Paideia Seminar and at your Paideia one-on-one appointments is required. Because attendance and participation are such integral parts of this program, students who miss either a seminar session or a one-on-one meeting with their Paideia Professor due to an unexcused absence will receive a lower class participation grade (see below). In addition, they will be placed on probation with the three-year Paideia Program. Any additional unexcused absences during the duration of the Paideia Program will typically result in your termination from the Program. All probationary cases will be reviewed by the group of ten Paideia Professors.

Grading.

The class is offered on a P/D/F basis:

70%-100% = P
60%-69% = D
<60% = F

Reflective essays will be graded according to the following scale:

Semester Grade. The semester grade will be calculated as follows:

Class/Program participation 50% of final grade
Assignments: 50% of final grade

Honor Code. The Honor Code applies to the Padeia Program. Students will be expected to complete their work as defined by the course. At times, students must work alone, at other times with other students and professors.

Accommodations. Southwestern University will make reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities. To arrange accommodations students should contact the Academic Services Coordinator within the Office of Academic Services (Cullen Building, 3rd floo). Students seeking accommodations should notify the Academic Services Coordinator at least two weeks before services are needed. It is the student’s responsibility to discuss any necessary accommodations with the appropriate faculty member.

 

 

Session #1 (Aug. 28)
Session 1
Introduction:

* goals
*service ("civic engagement")
*extracurriculars
*intercultural

 

Session #2 (Sept. 4)
Please post a response (tab under your name) to the following essay:

PAIDEIA

Paideia: ancient Greek word referring to the sum total of one's educational experience.

Homer in the Odyssey tells us that Penelope wove a fantastic cloth. This tapestry, woven in Greece, was made with precious dyes from the Levant and had pictures of griffins from Mesopotamia and palmettes from north Africa. This description in the Odyssey provides an analogy with Southwestern. The faculty and students are a tapestry woven together for the purpose of teaching and learning. Each one of us is a thread in a differing hue, either a culture, set of ideas, background, or thought process. Together we make a whole cloth, a tapestry bright with many colors and patterned with different figures.

Let us define the ancient view of the liberal arts. Many years ago, the Greeks debated the concept of what we call the liberal arts. To them, learning was philo-sophia, love of wisdom. Facts were considered as part of a whole and were not separated as is our custom. Biology (the knowledge of life) was part of natural philosophy. Euclidian geometry was studied as another part of philosophy. The ancients had what is now called a multi-disciplinary educational approach.

Some of our most beautiful art, most thoughtful poetry, and valuable societal ideals come to us from ancient Greece. On the other hand, there is a dichotomy that some practices of the ancient Greeks were abhorrent, such as slavery, elitism, and marginalization of women; this dichotomy is worth studying for its valuable lessons. The achievements of this complex society are extraordinary, including in the areas of medicine, biology, physics, geography, history, theater, warfare-so much so that their short span on the human stage can be described honestly as a watershed period in history. Because of Greece's place between east and west, much of the Greek experience is syncretistic. The art of the Parthenon comes ultimately from Africa, Socrates' philosophy finds its roots in Asia, and nearly all Greek ritual/religious practices come from the eastern Mediterranean and what we call the "fertile crescent."

Today we continue the connection with ancient Greece. Arab scholars kept alive the philosophy, science, plays, and mathematics of the ancients, Renaissance thinkers discovered the ancient world, eighteenth century American constitutional delegates were inspired by it, and twentieth century artists reinterpreted it. It can be said-in no sense prejudicially-that the ancient Greeks have affected our thinking.

So what can these people tell us about the liberal arts that is at all useful and relevant? First is that knowledge is a whole and that the holistic or multi-disciplinary approach is extremely valuable. Secondly, that any knowledge base must incorporate all disciplines. Finally, that knowledge is syncretistic and that its base must come from many cultures and areas of the world.

The ideal, then, is to have a knowledge base that is a useful blend of learning from many different areas. How can we strive for this kind of learning experience? Paideia attempts to amplify and clarify what we already do at Southwestern, that is, to embrace learning and knowledge holistically.

Paideia should be within in the true Greek sense of the symposium: that, through an exchange of ideas, true intellectual questions can be considered. Let the symposium begin!

P. Haskell

In class, be prepared to discuss:

* Extracurriculars / accountability
* Service: how does one conceive of researching, discussing, choosing a group service project?

 

Session #3 (Sept. 11)
Each Paideia Scholar will compose a one page letter that begins “Dear Paideia Group, My hopes and dreams for the Paideia Program at Southwestern and for our group are.... Therefore, I think that we should...."

 

Session #4 (Sept. 18)
Please read and react with a short essay to the following article from Newsweek. Post your reflection under your personal tab below.

By Sarah Kliff
Newsweek
Sept. 10, 2007 issue - One week into his premed classes at Washington University in St. Louis, Ryan Jacobson was rethinking his plan to become a doctor. His biology and chemistry classes were large, competitive and impersonal—not how he wanted to spend the next four years. "Sitting in a chemistry class, I knew it wasn't the right place for me," he says. Jacobson found the history department, with its focus on faculty interaction and discussion, a better fit. But he had no intention of leaving his medical aspirations behind. So Jacobson majored in history while also taking the science and math courses required for medical school. When he graduated last spring, he won the departmental prize for undergraduate thesis for his work on the history of race relations in Tulsa, Okla. He started medical school at the University of Illinois last month. "Historians are supposed to integrate information with the big picture," he says, "which will hopefully be useful as a physician."

Even as breakthroughs in science and advances in technology make the practice of medicine increasingly complex, medical educators are looking beyond biology and chemistry majors in the search for more well-rounded students who can be molded into caring and analytic doctors. "More humanities students have been applying in recent years, and medical schools like them," says Gwen Garrison, vice president for medical-school services and studies at the Association of American Medical Colleges. "The schools are looking for a kind of compassion and potential doctoring ability.This makes many social-science and humanities students particularly well qualified."

The number of science majors applying to medical school has been steady for the past decade—about 65 percent of applicants major in biology or another physical science. What's changing is who gets in. When Gail Morrison, who runs admissions at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, sorts through the school's 6,500 yearly applicants, she is not looking for students who spent their undergrad years hunched over biology and physics textbooks. "It doesn't make you a better doctor to know how fast a mass falls from a tree," she says. Approximately 40 percent of the students that Penn accepts to its medical school now come from nonscience backgrounds. That number has been rising steadily over the past 20 years. "They've got to be happy and have a life outside of medicine," says Morrison, "otherwise they'll get overwhelmed. We need whole people."

In 1999, a national survey of first-year medical students found that 58 percent took a social-science class for personal interest. In last year's entering class, the number was more than 70 percent. Humanities students also fare better on the MCAT, the standardized test for medical-school admissions. Among the 2006 applicants to medical school, humanities majors outscored biology majors in all categories.

Michael Sciola, who's been advising premed students at Wesleyan University for the past 13 years, has seen liberal-arts majors become more attractive to medical schools. And he's not surprised that those who stray from science are finding success. "Medical schools have really been looking for that scholar-physician in the past few years," he says. "We're living in an increasingly complex world, and the liberal arts give you the skills to understand that better."

The Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York has a program designed to attract nonscience majors. Each year, Mount Sinai accepts about 30 college sophomores from around the country through its humanities and medicine program. The students do not have to take the MCAT, but they are required to pursue a humanities major as undergrads before starting at Mount Sinai. "The students who come in with a humanities background see patients more as a whole patient," says Miki Rifkin, the program's director. She says that these students often outperform their peers, with higher rates of competitive residency placements.

Andrea Schwartz, a third-year medical student in the Mount Sinai program, attended Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary and has a dual degree in history and Bible studies. "Having such a varied experience has given me the opportunity to appreciate different angles," says Schwartz, who is interested in geriatrics. "The intense text study I did as an undergrad helps me when I'm taking patients' histories. It taught me to be a better listener." That sort of training may be just what the doctor ordered.

 

Session #5 (Sept. 25)
Please read, and write a response paper to,

Our Compassless Colleges

Do agree/disagree with Berkowitz's various points? What relates to the situation at SU?

Please post your response under your individual tab below.

 

Session #12 (Nov. 6)
Post some thoughts here regarding the blogs on andrewmayo.googlepages.com

Respond to Amanda's flags: "Just be thinking about how we perceive other people and situations in different countries after world events, along with how other countries perceive us (Americans), especially when we are in a different country."

 

Session #13 (Nov. 15)
[Talitha] "Read (Don't hate me!) the attached excerpt and post (again, don't hate me!) your response or thoughts on segue. Also, please think about our own civic engagement project. Happy Reading!!!"

 

Excerpt from:
Educating Citizens: Preparing America's Undergraduates for Lives of Moral and Civic Responsibility (2003) by Anne Colby

EDUCATING CITIZENS
IN A PLURALISTIC SOCIETY

This book takes up the question of what kinds of influence undergraduate education can have on students' development as ethical, committed, and engaged human beings and citizens. The undergraduate years are just one part of a lifelong developmental process, but especially if efforts are intentionally designed with these developmental outcomes in mind, colleges can establish some groundwork that students can later build on, shape the intellectual frameworks and habits of mind they bring to their adult experiences, change the way they understand the responsibilities that are central to their sense of self, and teach them to offer and demand evidence and justification for their moral and political positions and to develop wiser judgment in approaching situations and questions that represent potential turning points in their lives.

In a loose sense, undergraduate education at its best can resemble the preparations explorers make when preparing for expeditions into uncharted territories. Meriwether Lewis, for example, prior to his exploration of the North American continent with William Clark, collected a wide array of tools and learned how to use many that were new to him (chronometers, sextants, and other scientific instruments; medical equipment; and so on). With the help of some extraordinary teachers and mentors, including Thomas Jefferson, Albert Gallatin, Benjamin Rush, and others, he mastered knowledge that he would need (in geography, botany, natural history, astronomy, commerce, and American Indian culture) and learned scientific techniques that would allow him to use his explorations to expand the boundaries of that knowledge. Before assembling a team, he thought hard about what kind of men he needed and how he could maintain a cohesive corps. Lewis also collected the best existing maps, however incomplete they were, and out of his experience with those maps and integration of the disparate bodies of knowledge he had studied, his plans took shape (Ambrose, 1996). These preparations shifted somewhat the course of Lewis's journey and the route adjustments he would make in response to unexpected barriers and events. When he finished the preparations and set out, his direction was perhaps only slightly different than it would have been with less groundwork, but over many months of travel the slight initial shift in trajectory and the continuing, responsive alterations no doubt led to a route distinctly different from the one he would have taken without such extensive preparations. Moreover, the viability and scientific productivity of the expedition was critically dependent on what he had learned during the preparation phase.

Similarly, students may leave college with the trajectories of their lives shifted only slightly but with ways of approaching and responding to their subsequent experiences that magnify the shift over time, until much later it becomes clear that the gap between where they are and where they would have been without those influences is dramatic. The undergraduate experience has the potential to be this kind of preexpedition for millions of Americans, and we believe colleges will be most effective in this preparation if their efforts are self-conscious and intentional, not simply dependent on the fortuitous impact of the kind that Clark Foreman had on Virginia Durr.

College is the last stage of formal education for most Americans and the last formal education outside their field of specialization for those who pursue further study. Although informal education can continue throughout life - at work and through engagement with the media, the arts, and books - to a great extent experiences in college determine how inclined individuals will be to pursue this kind of ongoing learning and what intellectual and personal capacities they will bring to those engagements.

The Need for Undergraduate Moral and Civic Education

Although acknowledging the exceptional vitality of U.S. higher education, Ernest Boyer's report (1987) on the college experience also points to a number of things that diminish the quality of undergraduate education, preventing colleges from serving their students as well as they might.

One issue that stands out in Boyer's investigation is the question of what the goals and purposes of higher education should be. Boyer's calls for greater attention to the moral and civic purposes of college have been widely quoted in the intervening fifteen years. In a chapter titled "From Competence to Commitment," he said:

Throughout our study we were impressed that what today's college is teaching most successfully is competence - competence in meeting schedules, in gathering information, in responding well on tests, in mastering the details of a special field. . . . But technical skill, of whatever kind, leaves open essential questions: Education for what purpose? Competence to what end? At a time in life when values should be shaped and personal priorities sharply probed, what a tragedy it would be if the most deeply felt issues, the most haunting questions, the most creative moments were pushed to the fringes of our institutional life. What a monumental mistake it would be if students, during the undergraduate years, remained trapped within the organizational grooves and narrow routines to which the academic world sometimes seems excessively devoted [p. 283].

Through large-scale surveys of faculty and students and extended site visits at twenty-nine colleges and universities, Boyer and his colleagues concluded that by and large undergraduate education is not meeting the challenge of going beyond competence to commitment. The research team encountered a picture that seems quite at odds with our opening portrait of Virginia Durr's experience at a small, liberal arts college for women in the 1920s. The report points to conflicting priorities and competing interests, confusion about mission and goals, disciplinary fragmentation, a narrow vocationalism, a great separation between academic and social life on campus, and a disturbing gap between the college and the larger world. These trends and several others impede the efforts of faculty and administrative leaders who see the importance of higher education's civic mission and want to make the undergraduate years a pivotal time for moral and civic development.

It is a good time to revisit this question of the public purposes of higher education. The need is perhaps even greater now than it was at the time of the Boyer report a decade and a half ago. Global interdependence is ever more striking and insistent. Old social problems persist, and new ones are emerging. The country's increasing racial and ethnic diversity has brought tensions and raised dilemmas as well as enriched its already kaleidoscopic culture. And the complexity of the contemporary social, economic, and political worlds is accelerating at an alarming pace. If today's college graduates are to be positive forces in this world, they need not only to possess knowledge and intellectual capacities but also to see themselves as members of a community, as individuals with a responsibility to contribute to their communities. They must be willing to act for the common good and capable of doing so effectively. If a college education is to support the kind of learning graduates need to be involved and responsible citizens, its goals must go beyond the development of intellectual and technical skills and beginning mastery of a scholarly domain. They should include the competence to act in the world and the judgment to do so wisely. A full account of competence, including occupational competence, must include the abilities to exercise considered judgment, appreciate ends as well as means, and understand the broad implications and consequences of one's actions and choices. Education is not complete until students not only have acquired knowledge but can act on that knowledge in the world.

 

Session #13 (Nov. 20)
Hello! Please take a look at the article I've provided you with and think of the following question as you read:

Is the impact of American culture so great that it consumes the native culture of immigrants coming into the U.S.?

 

‘Are you Hispanic?’

After years of transformation into an Americana, I fell into a culture coma. Then that simple question woke me up.

By Marie Arana

NINE YEARS AGO, on my first day as an editor for The Washington Post, I was in the personnel office, giving a human resources officer a lot of personal information: birth date, nationality, place of birth. Suddenly she looked up at me, her pen in the air. “Born in Peru,” she said. “Does that mean you’re Hispanic?” she asked with a new interest I couldn’t immediately fathom. “Well, yes,” I answered, blinking. “Yes.”
Long ago I had transformed myself into an “American.” Suddenly I was back where I began, but not exactly.
As a sixth-grader, I saw only one Latino face in school—my brother’s. at the time, it didn’t strike me as strange. There was an overwhelmingly gringo culture in my little New Jersey town, and I knew I’d have to work hard to fit in. I’d left Peru with my family when I was 10, and, as far as I was concerned, I’d closed one segment of an American life and entered another.
I became very good at fitting in—so good that by age 12, I was indistinguishable in a crowd: I had pennies in my loafers, the ”Peppermint Twist” on my radio, “Mashed Potato” on the dance floor, and Ringo Starr in my dreams. My father would shake his head and say. ”Ay, Marisi, I don’t recognize you anymore.” And I would know that my metamorphosis was under way.
I went to college, got married, took my husband’s Anglo name. I became an English teacher, read to my children in English only, and worked at publishing house, where no one suspected I could speak Spanish, turn out a ceviche, and cut a hot mambo. I was a New Yorker, an editor improving other people’s English, a red-white-and-blue girl through and through.
“Are you Hispanic?” I don’t know why that question became my galvanizing moment, but it did. It had never occurred to me that I was part of a larger group, a growing force; that my being a Latina could be an advantage to my employer and to my country, and perhaps even make me a small bridge in a large hemisphere. That moment became the impetus for many things: I took back my maiden name; I wrote a book about my cultural duality.
Recently I returned to that little town in New Jersey. I saw that it was full of faces like mine. I heard Spanish in the streets. Salsa blared from construction workers’ radios. A corner market sold Peruvian ají.
It has become a place where any schoolgirl from two Americas would know she fits.

 

Session #14 (Nov. 27)
I'm sorry this is so late guys :( There were some unfortunate circumstances that I won't
go into, but the good news is here's the assignment and it's not a reading! :)

First, take this short quiz:
http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/resources/culture-test-2.html

Next, take a look at the answers. They're listed under "Cross Cultural Quiz 2":
http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/resources/quiz/answers.html

Finally, post your reactions to and thoughts on the quiz on Segue. If you wish, you can
also post some answers to the questions below. No need to come to class with written
responses to these or anything, but think them over a bit so we can discuss them in class:

1. Did this quiz give you any new ideas about what knowledge it's important to have
before going abroad?

2. In general, how aware do you think Americans are of differences in etiquette across
cultures? How about your own personal awareness?

3. Have you ever noticed someone from another country visiting America who seemed rude or
strange because they weren't aware of American etiquette?

4. Have you ever committed a breach of etiquette in another country, or locally among a
group of people from a culture different from yours?

Sorry again about this being a bit late. I hope you enjoy the assignment, see you on
Tuesday! :)