The Paideia College Society at DBU

(formerly the Pew College Society)


From the fall 1997 until the spring 2003, Dallas Baptist University received two grants from the Pew Younger Scholars Program at the University of Notre Dame to establish the Pew College Society on the DBU campus. The goal of the Pew program was to challenge intellectually gifted undergraduates to consider pursuing scholarly careers as avenues for Christian service and to help them gain admission to excellent Ph.D. programs at major universities.

At the heart of the DBU Pew Society, whose motto was Pietas et Doctrina (piety and learning), were two senior level courses on Christian scholarship and spirituality. This central academic aspect was reinforced by a variety of extra-curricular activities including study retreats, spring conferences, guest lecturers, and a variety of social events. By God’s grace, a sizable number of students were involved in the Pew Society over this six year period, and many of them are now studying at significant graduate and professional schools around the country.

Unfortunately in the early part of 2003, the Pew Charitable Trusts, which funded this overall endeavor, decided to direct their funds to other projects. As a result, the Pew Younger Scholars Program at Notre Dame, and its associated College Societies, including the one at DBU, came to an end at the conclusion of the Spring 2003 semester. The Paideia College Society (the new PCS!), which is being funded internally by Dallas Baptist University, is the successor to the Pew College Society. It will continue the Pew Society’s overall vision and work, and will add some new dimensions as well.


The rather unfamiliar term “Paideia” (pronounced py-dee-a or py-day-a) comes from the Greek word pais or paidos meaning “child.” It refers literally to the training and education of children. In due course, it was used of the classical Greek system of education, and referred specifically to a complete course of study for the cultivation of intellect and character in order to produce a whole, fully educated citizen. This concept was at the center of the Greek educational genius, and was the secret of the undying influence of Greece upon all later ages. Its Latin equivalent is humanitas (from which we get the humanities), signifying the general learning that is necessary for shaping of complete human beings. Paideia, therefore, was the progenitor of what we now know as classic liberal education.

After the first advent of Jesus Christ, the Church fathers adopted the term paideia, and applied it to the system of education in the Christian faith that combined Biblical revelation and classical learning. Its objective was spiritual and intellectual formation and the achieving of the wisdom of God. Christian paideia stressed the renewal and cultivation of the whole person as God’s image. It sought a true knowledge of all things whose final end was fellowship with and imitation of God.

This life-transforming educational program was carried out under the divine Pedagogue or Teacher, the Logos or Word of God Jesus Christ. Indeed, He was the One who illuminated the whole field of human learning as the Light of the world.

In the context of the Christian faith, therefore, the notion of paideia was cleansed of its pagan associations, renewed in content, elevated in stature, and placed in service of the kingdom of God as the highest educational ideal of the Church. The monastic and cathedral schools carried it forward in the middle ages. Luther, Calvin, and the Puritans promoted it as the central component of their educational vision. The nineteenth century Christian colleges in America were built around this concept as well.

The Paideia College Society at DBU is rooted in this venerable tradition, and takes as its purpose the educating of Christian students into their true nature as the image of God.


The last sentence in the previous section constitutes the mission of the Paideia College Society: educating Christian students into their true nature as the image of God. So educated (or at least put on the road thereto), the PCS challenges students to carry out their various callings in both public and private life with Christ-like knowledge, virtue, and wisdom with a view to the reformation of the Church and the transformation of the culture in which God has placed them providentially.

The desire of PCS is that exposure to this program will assist them in becoming “people of wondrous ability, subsequently fit for everything” as Martin Luther put in his treatise on education. As mentor for this group (along with other DBU faculty), Dr. Naugle as a person, and his work as professor, author, and speaker (both domestically and globally), serves as a model and vision for Paideia Society College student members.


Pietas, Doctrina, Humanitas — piety, learning, humanity. The Paideia College Society is governed by the goal of uniting together in the Paideia scholar the classical Christian ideals of piety and learning, spirituality and scholarship, genuine biblical faith and the life of the mind in order to become fully human under God. As St. Irenaeus proclaimed: “The glory of God is a person fully alive!” This classic vision of Christian humanism stands at the heart of PCS and animates it throughout.

Two classes designed to accomplish this overall goal are a part of the PCS program and are described below under courses and activities.


The PCS is for serious students who embrace the mission of this group. We seek the kinds of students who desire to honor Christ in their studies, who want to learn to love God with their mind, who desire to develop a biblical worldview and apply it comprehensively in learning and life, who recognize the importance of ideas, who want to be in conversation with other students and faculty, and who want to go deeper in their educational adventure as a believing Christian.

Students aspiring to be a part of this Society should contact Dr. Mitchell and also fill out the PCS Profile form.

Courses and Activities

  • PCS 4390 Pietas et Doctrina I: Studies in Christian Scholarship.
    A thorough reading and discussion of primary sources concerning the classical Christian intellectual and educational tradition (i.e., doctrina)
  • PCS 4391 Pietas et Doctrina II: Studies in Christian Spirituality.
    A thorough reading and discussion of primary sources concerning classical Christian spirituality (i.e., pietas)
  • Paideia College Society Study Weekend Retreats
  • Paideia College Society Spring Student Conferences
  • Information and encouragement to participate in a variety of extra-curricular semester long scholarly opportunities such as the following:
  • Paideia College Society provides for student participation in and paper presentations at the Friday Symposium; also attending local lectures, conferences, films, etc.
  • Possible financial assistance for junior memberships in professional societies, for limited subscriptions to significant journals and periodicals, money for travel to graduate schools and for graduate school applications.
  • Miscellaneous social events are planned throughout the academic year, including a Books and Coffee outing in the fall, Cinematic Confabulations in the Spring, and end of semester parties in both fall and spring!

Funds and Sponsor

The DBU Paideia College Society is funded internally by Dallas Baptist University.

It is sponsored by a professor at DBU.