Paideia is a signature Luther College program that will ground you at the start of your academic journey, and prepare you to launch into the world. You'll learn to think critically about the questions and choices that matter while connecting with your Luther community.

Create lasting relationships with classmates and faculty through Paideia readings and discussions. Hone your writing and research skills to prepare for your future career. Your Paideia courses will prepare you to ethically engage with your peers and the world.

Paideia allows students from different disciplines and majors to come together and learn things about reading, communicating, writing —anything any first-year student needs to know to succeed in college.

Kaitlyn Buls '19

What Is Paideia?

“Paideia” (pronounced pie-DAY-uh) is a classical Greek term that means “education.” In Greco-Roman society, students studied a wide range of subjects that helped them become well-rounded citizens. We continue this tradition in Luther College’s Paideia program. We want our students to be able to think deeply to solve problems in a free society.

Paideia includes three courses. In your first year, you will complete Paideia 111 and 112: Enduring Questions. When you are a junior or a senior, you will take Paideia 450: Ethical Choices. This class can be taken on campus or during a study away program.

Paideia courses are interdisciplinary, meaning you will study works from across disciplines — from English to politics to mathematics — in order to learn to draw on a range of perspectives.

What Are the Benefits of the Paideia Program at Luther College?

One highlight of Paideia is the shared academic experience. All first-year Paideia courses follow a common syllabus. So while your Luther College classmates may have different majors, you’ll be reading and discussing the same material. You’ll be able to start discussions with your roommates or share your perspectives with new friends in the dining hall. With Paideia, you’ll be part of a community that’s learning and growing together.

In addition, your readings and class discussions will help you think critically and ethically. You’ll discover voices and perspectives that will expand your worldview. By merging these stories with your own, you’ll form new conclusions and strengthen your convictions.

The Paideia courses will also improve your writing and research skills. You’ll learn to craft persuasive, clear, and coherent essays. You’ll also practice analyzing sources and examining data. You’ll use these skills to succeed in your classes at Luther and in your future career.

Paideia helps set Luther apart from other colleges because it becomes a way to make relationships, especially for the first years, who go through it together. It’s a way for them to relate to others.

Allison Meier '17

Paideia Summer Reading

Your Luther College education starts in the summer. In mid-June, Luther College will mail you a copy of the Paideia summer reading book that you will read along with your fellow classmates. Learn about the book current first-year students have read, and check out previous selections.

a Luther student holding a binder while standing at a microphone in a lecture hall

Paideia Resources at Luther College

If you need writing help for your Paideia courses, visit the Nancy K. Barry Writing Center. Our tutors will help you develop your writing voice and build good writing habits. They can even help you brainstorm ideas and structure your essay.

Visit the Writing Center

As a Luther student, you’ll be able to attend our annual lecture series that encourages intellectual discussions across disciplinary lines. See the previous presentations.

Learn about the Text and Issues Lecture Series

Check out our interdisciplinary journal that’s part of the Paideia program. Read contributions from Luther College faculty, students, and invited guests.

Read the Agora Journal

Find more specific information about Paideia courses, including course descriptions.

Explore the Paideia Curriculum