Rebecca Sullivan (program director)
"Paideia" (pronounced pie-DAY-uh) is a classical Greek term meaning "education." Paideia was a wide-ranging education that helped students become intellectually well-rounded citizens who could contribute ideas and solve problems in a free society. Paideia was essentially a liberal arts education. Developed in 1977, Paideia is a signature Luther program. Its endurance testifies to the intellectual transformation afforded thousands of Luther students. This foundation grounds students for success in education and life.
The Paideia curriculum includes three interdisciplinary courses: a common two-semester sequence for first-year students (Paideia 111 and 112), and a series of one-semester courses for juniors and seniors (Paideia 450).
Paideia 111/112: Enduring Questions are two first-year sequential semester courses taught by faculty from every academic division. Students in these courses study works drawn from across the disciplines. The course provides a base of skills you will use throughout your college experience. Enduring Questions is a course that every Luther student takes. This common element is vital. Throughout the year all Luther first-year students read the same works (though the class assignments related to the works may vary). The best class discussions extend into residence halls and cafeteria tables. Enduring Questions sections allow face-to-face learning, with no more than 19 students per section. Each work in Enduring Questions begins with a large-format lecture in which a faculty member provides an overview. In addition, the author of the summer reading text often visits Luther and speaks at convocation.
In Paideia 450 juniors and seniors face ethical challenges and learn to make educated choices. In this one-semester course, often in an area key to their major or intended profession, students use the critical reading, thinking, and writing skills developed in Enduring Questions to explore an ethical issue.
All of these courses model the ideals of the liberal arts because:
• the most important questions draw on a range of perspectives for their answers
• the best answers draw not only on facts but on the wisdom of a well-developed sensibility
• education develops your potential, not just for a job, but for an active social, political, and inner life