Integrating Wellness, Service, Citizenship Through Dialogue
Through the intellectual and financial support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the SNF Paideia Program serves as a hub for civic dialogue in undergraduate education at Penn. In collaboration with other Penn programs and organizations, SNF Paideia provides opportunities for students to develop the knowledge, skills, ethical frameworks, and experiences necessary to be informed, engaged, and effective community members and leaders. We encourage the free exchange of ideas, civil and robust discussion of divergent views, and the integration of individual and community wellness, service, and citizenship through SNF Paideia designated courses, a fellows program, and campus events.
Courses for the Holistic Student
SNF Paideia designated courses, designed and taught by faculty from all of Penn’s twelve Schools, integrate students’ personal, professional, and civic development. Open to all Penn undergraduates, these courses consider dialogue, wellness, service and citizenship from different disciplinary perspectives with one or more of the following foci:
Examine theories or practices of deliberative democracy, civil dialogue, conflict and cooperation, and related topics.
Explore ethical approaches to engaged citizenship and community leadership.
Engage with diverse social, cultural, economic, and political perspectives.
Investigate the relationship between individual and community wellness.
Can We Talk?
Lia Howard, Chris Satullo, and Harris Sokoloff
In this course, students learn how to hold difficult conversations productively, through the theory and practice of civil dialogue. Students explore political science & cognitive psychology insights for dealing with the current polarization. The course offers hands-on experience in framing issues, convening diverse groups and guiding dialogues.
PSYC 005/OIDD 005
Grit Lab is rooted in cutting-edge scientific knowledge about fostering passion and perseverance, empowering students to achieve their personal long-term goals and to help others achieve their own. Through their final capstone project students apply key principles of grit to a real-world scenario.
Kenneth Robert Lum
This course examines representations of the Chinese and Asian body from the Limehouse district in East London to the arrival of Chinese contract laborers to the Americas in the 19th century and the localization of the Chinese throughout the Americas within Chinatown precincts. Students also explore representational imaginings of the Chinese body in mainstream culture.
ANCH 353/CLST 353
Rhetoric and the Community
Rhetoric and the Community is designed to improve the quality of students' speaking abilities. Through debates, impromptu speeches, and various other types of oral reports, students will develop their skills as speakers. This class will particularly help those planning careers in advocacy, public service, teaching, and other areas where confident, thoughtful, and articulate communication are important.
This seminar explores research and practice related to the civic engagement mission of the SNF Paideia program. The goal of the course is to equip students with the knowledge, skills, experiences, and ethical frameworks for healthy, sustainable and robust civic leadership at Penn and in their local, national, and global communities. Open only to SNF Paideia Fellows during the fall of their sophomore year.
This class examines the biological roots of intergroup conflict between religious, ethnic and political groups, and takes a critical view of the ways in which psychology and communication have been employed to help foment or transcend conflict. Theories of intergroup psychology, specific biases that drive conflict, as well as interventions to decrease intergroup conflict will be covered.
What Our Students Are Saying
“I have really enjoyed my experiences in both of my Paideia courses. They have widened my perspective regarding civil dialogue, created a sense of community, and provided some clarity in terms of my personal career goals.” ~ Naomi Fink, C’23
Fellowships to Deepen the Experience
Beginning sophomore year, SNF Paideia Fellowships provide the opportunity for select groups of Penn undergraduates to more fully integrate wellness, service, citizenship, and dialogue through a structured combination of academic courses, co-curricular events, and hands-on leadership experiences.
Encourage and support students’ ability to integrate their public roles as community members into their academic, personal, and professional lives in healthy, sustainable, and fulfilling ways.
Provide and highlight curricular and co-curricular opportunities for students to acquire the tools necessary for effectively contributing to the local, national and global communities of which they are a part.
Create and support opportunities for students to practice robust and respectful civil dialogue with others across a wide range of political, social, and cultural differences.
Structure of the Program
Participate in a sophomore year and junior year seminar designed to build skills and community among the Fellows.
Take (3) Paideia designated courses focusing on relevant aspects of dialogue across differences, public service, and personal and social wellness.
Complete a Senior Capstone project that integrates a Fellow’s major with civic dialogue, service, and/or wellness.
Silfen Forum: Civil Discourse in Uncivil TimesLearn More
The Power of the Open Mind: How Viewpoint Diversity Makes You Smarter and StrongerLearn More
A Conversation with Dr. Jonathan Haidt
Momentum 2020: The Power of Penn Women ConferenceLearn More
Experiential Session on Individual and Community Wellness
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We love to collaborate
In addition to courses, fellowships, and events, SNF Paideia serves as the home for several co-sponsored initiatives related to civic dialogue and engagement on cutting edge issues, including:
The Red & Blue Exchange
Funded by the Gamba family, RBX is a core initiative of the SNF Paideia Program. RBX promotes the robust expression of divergent views and provides a forum for the civil discourse critical to a healthy democratic society. Through a speaker series and student forums, RBX pursues transformative dialogue and the discovery of common ground.
Public Interest Technology University Network
The Public Interest Technology University Network, of which Penn is a member, is a partnership that fosters collaboration between universities and colleges committed to building the nascent field of public interest technology and growing a new generation of civic-minded technologists.
SNF Paideia collaborates and coordinates with the many other campus organizations and programs devoted to wellness, service, citizenship and dialogue, with the goal of integrating students’ personal, professional, and civic education and development. Some of these partners include:
Grateful for the support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF)
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) is one of the world’s leading private, international philanthropic organizations, making grants to nonprofit organizations in the areas of arts and culture, education, health and sports, and social welfare. SNF funds organizations and projects worldwide that aim to achieve a broad, lasting, and positive impact for greater society, and exhibit strong leadership and sound management.