LEARNING AT PARAMI
Parami University offers liberal arts and sciences education that encompasses skills in critical thinking, creativity, articulate communication, and complex problem-solving. The liberal arts and sciences education philosophy is core to our undergraduate degree programs. Parami University aims to provide underserved students in Southeast Asia with quality education and an opportunity to learn with faculty from worldwide. At Parami, we take a student-centered approach to learning that represents both a mindset and a culture that incorporates teaching and instruction methods to give students more autonomy in learning. Discussions are the primary mode of learning at Parami University. The classes are fully-synchronous and delivered using advanced education technologies with world-class faculty.
Parami University believes that liberal education prepares an individual to best hone 21st-century skills, such as critical thinking, creativity, effective communication, and complex problem-solving. Liberal arts and sciences education, also known as liberal education, focuses on well-rounded, interdisciplinary learning, encompassing humanities, arts, social sciences, and natural sciences. It allows learners to gain knowledge and experiences in one selected field of study and other disciplines to inform a holistic way of thinking.
The report The Future of Jobs published by the World Economic Forum estimated that more than two-thirds of the jobs that exist now will disappear in a decade or so. In such a dynamic work environment with constant changes, a particular skill set in one specific area of technical, professional, or vocational expertise could become outdated rapidly. Information is readily available at one's fingertips in the technological age. The importance of analyzing information, extracting value from it, and applying it to necessary needs has never been greater.
As Alvin Toffler said,
'The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.'
We believe that learning, unlearning, and relearning—skills that liberal education is most apt to provide—will be essential in the development of our students. The liberal arts and sciences education philosophy is the cornerstone of our undergraduate degree programs.
The liberal arts curriculum is best known for its emphasis on a well-rounded education so that individuals are informed by diverse perspectives and interdisciplinary thinking in all aspects of their lives regardless of a specific major or profession pursued. Following the liberal arts curriculum, Parami students are required to take courses across various disciplines in the first two years, before they declare and focus on their major studies in the last two academic years.
The first two years where the students take courses across multiple disciplines and subjects is referred to as General Education. General Education in the first two academic years encompasses the following at Parami University.
Seminar Series is required for all first year and second year students. Students read and discuss classic and modern texts to grasp the foundations of critical thought and what it means to be human, as well as to learn to communicate their ideas clearly and effectively. The seminar courses will be designed to deliver the following skills, promoted by Susanne Weil, such as 1) writing an effective essay, at times, under time pressure; 2) critical reading and thinking skills; 3) revising habitually; 4) sustaining an argument in depth with examples; and 5) presenting an argument logically. The common curriculum will feature courses in which students will learn Eastern and Western philosophies, ethics, cultures, and literatures in addition to current and impending social, environmental, scientific, and technological issues of this century at the regional and global level. One important feature across all seminars is the inclusion of themes relevant to the Global South and developing countries. It is best to think of these four sequence seminar courses as a one long course across two years.
Distribution Requirements across ten areas
Rather than offering a fixed schedule of courses, the US liberal arts education is characterized by elective course offerings that allow students to explore multiple disciplines and develop interests. Although students have a lot of flexibility in choosing the courses that pique their interests, the program defines ten disciplinary areas that the students have to take courses in for holistic development. These are referred to as distribution requirements, and by the end of the four-year program, all students will have taken courses in the following areas:
Diversity of Ideas
Students are exposed to diverse cultural perspectives, ideas, concepts, beliefs and values through the introduction of ideas from different societies. For example: Parami Seminar Series.
Courses in this area are designed for students to become scientifically minded, and to be able to see how STEM has an impact on daily lives. Students may engage in accessible scientific experiments to improve their scientific literacy. For example: Kitchen Chemistry.
Looking beyond one's society to be connected at a global level, courses in this area aims to enable students to have a global awareness of cultural, societal, linguistic, and anthropological aspects of other communities. For example: Musical Practices in Southeast Asia.
By taking courses in this area, students will have the opportunity for artistic development and appreciation. Students will be encouraged to look at and interpret the form and content of works of visual art, film, literature, music, and understand the interaction between the arts and the human social, political, and historical contexts in which it emerges. For example: Community-based Filmmaking as Art and Research.
Quantitative reasoning allows individuals to use numbers as the means to understand the world. Courses in this area equip students with a foundational competency to apply quantitative skills and reasoning in real-world scenarios. For example: Introduction to Statistics.
This area gives introduction to some foundational values as practiced in the modern world. The objective is to equip students with an understanding how various modern values are practiced and how aspirational values can become lived practice. For example: Ethical Leadership.
Diversity & Inclusion
Courses in this area dive into different aspects of human societies such as citizenship status, class, color, ethnicity, gender, geography, nationality, religion, race, sexual orientation, and more. Students will be encouraged to engage critically with issues of difference, diversity, inequality, and inclusivity. For example: Equality and Equity.
Courses in this area look at humans as social beings, and how they form communities, societies, and institutions. Students will have a chance to examine the socio-cultural, institutional, historical and political contexts within development processes, and understand how social analysis can contribute to more sustainable and equitable development outcomes. For example: Introduction to Human Rights.
By studying logic and structured arguments, students will have the chance to cultivate the necessary foundation in critical and logical reasoning so that they are able to analyze different real life issues critically and objectively. For example: The Art of Argument.
Understanding the Mind
Courses in this area deal with scientific, cultural, psychological and sociological theories of the human mind, aiming to enable students to understand the complexities and fluidity of the human mind, and to apply this understanding to the challenges of humankind, at a personal, societal and global level. For example: Social Psychology.
After taking general education courses across various disciplines for holistic learning in the first two years, students will be able to choose their specialization and major according to their interests. Parami Undergraduate Degree Program currently offers two major studies: BA in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE), and BA in Statistics and Data Science (SDS). For the full description of these majors and course offerings, please see here.
A senior capstone project that culminates in a written thesis must be submitted in the final year. The students will be required to develop capstone projects that feature engagements with private, public, and inter-governmental institutions. All fourth-year students will be enrolled in sequenced capstone courses throughout their final year with one faculty.
They will learn fundamental research methods in the earlier half of their first capstone course while developing project ideas with the faculty and their peers. They must submit a written capstone project idea proposal, and they will need sign-off approval by their capstone faculty at the end of their first capstone course. The second capstone course will be devoted to actual research and project implementation that results in a written thesis and presentation of their projects to the entire school. The capstone courses will feature a great deal of student-directed research and peer-review, facilitated by the capstone course faculty.
Why Parami Education?
Parami University envisions its liberal arts and sciences education to foster three core characteristics – critical thinking, inspired leadership, and compassionate service so that youth will be empowered to become change-makers in their communities as well as responsible global citizens well-prepared for the critical juncture in global history.
Critical thinking is enhanced via student-centered learning practices such as discussion-based classrooms (as opposed to lectures) to further encourage open inquiries and promote questioning. Each class in the program will have no more than twenty students. Original thoughts, clear logical thinking, and academic excellence are encouraged through paper assignments, with no tolerance for plagiarism. The year-long senior capstone in the fourth year of the BA program challenges students to develop their own reasoned and processed thoughts as well as research and inquiry skills.
Inspired leadership is crucial for the youth to develop a clear vision and the ability to execute one’s vision, and bring about personal as well as societal change. Parami University students will have opportunities to engage with industry-specific leaders and professionals who are making positive impacts in their communities and benefit from university-industry partnerships. Students will also have opportunities to apply for seed funding to create and lead projects in their communities through a competitive application. Moreover, global connections with like-minded youth will be forged through participation in the activities of the University’s partner organizations, such as ‘Student Leadership Conference,’ ‘Get Engaged Conference,’ and ‘Global Fellows’ organized by Open Society University Network.
Compassionate service is a prized characteristic of all students and stakeholders at Parami University. The University believes that civically engaged individuals are necessary for the balanced development of our communities and societies. Students at Parami are required to take a seminar course sequence that raises the issues of morality and ethics in the society, to form the basis for compassionate service outside of the University in their engagements with communities. Students are also required to complete at least one six-week volunteer service component in collaboration with partner organizations in the students’ respective countries. Moreover, global civic engagement opportunities are offered through collaboration with the University’s global partner organizations, such as global civic engagement micro-grants, and global community service coalition.
ONLINE LEARNING AT PARAMI
Parami University believes in the philosophy that genuine learning in a university setting occurs when faculty and students actively engage in-class discussion, activities, and materials. Courses in the undergraduate programs at Parami University will be synchronous that allow teachers and students to engage simultaneously for a set amount of time as prescribed by the credit hour requirements. Parami takes a student-centered approach to learning that creates an engaging learning environment, especially for online learning and gives students more autonomy to work on their skills to succeed and contribute to society. Students are encouraged to consciously and actively engage in the learning process. They take responsibility for their own learning, for example, by vigorously and meaningfully contributing to class activities studying independently outside of contact hours to prepare for or reflect on the class sessions. The pedagogical elements of liberal arts and sciences education at Parami encompass student-centered learning, flipped classroom, active learning, and self-study.
Classroom and Administrative Office Hours
Classes at Parami are synchronous i.e. students will have to attend classes online face-to-face with their instructors in real time. The classroom hours of the University are between 7:00 AM ICT (Indochina Time) and 9:00 PM ICT. The administrative office hours are from 9:00 AM ICT to 5:00 PM ICT. The University observes holidays announced in the Institutional Calendar.
Online Library and Electronic Database
As Parami University offers our bachelor’s degree programs virtually, we have invested heavily in developing a well-resourced electronic library. Parami University has licensed the use of EBSCO Discovery Service as a search engine for academic articles and e-Books. With the support from Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL), a not-for-profit organization that works to improve access to knowledge in developing countries, the University has licenses with several publishers to open up access for students. In addition to these resources, the Parami University is a participating member institution of Research4Life, which has made thousands of prestigious peer-reviewed publications, such as Nature, Science, and others, available for researchers and students in developing countries. All students will be provided remote access to the library resources at here. In addition to research articles and databases, the Parami University community has access to subscription-based resources such as the New York Times and the Economist. Parami University also uses the librarian service of Library and Information Resources Network (LIRN). The LIRN librarian is a professional librarian who has access to all the resources mentioned above and is dedicated to supporting students and faculty with research assistance and effective utilization of the library resources.
Educational technology plays an essential role in providing a quality student learning experience. To ensure that students receive the best education possible, Parami University uses world-class educational technology that supports an active learning environment. Since Parami University provides quality education, Parami always makes sure to select the technology compatible with teaching practice. Students will receive all course materials and assignments in Parami’s Canvas learning management system (LMS). They will be enrolled in courses that they sign up for before the beginning of each semester. Canvas LMS will allow students to access course content in an organized manner and stay on track throughout their course. Zoom video conferencing is integrated into the LMS, and they will be directed to synchronous Zoom sessions with their faculty. Parami University uses an H5P contents maker to embed interactive content directly into the LMS to ensure that courses are engaging. Parami University uses Padlet virtual bulletin boards to increase peer-to-peer interaction to encourage student collaboration. In addition, Parami introduces the use of Pear Deck so that faculty can do a formative assessment for students in real-time.
ACADEMIC SUPPORT SERVICES
Academic Program Advising
Regular academic program advising is offered to individual students year-round to ensure that
students remain on-track for the graduation pathway, and are able to navigate degree program
requirements. All first year students have to undergo cohort-group advising sessions at the beginning of each academic year to have a clear understanding of program requirements. Monthly small group advising sessions, as well as one-to-one advising sessions on appointments are also offered.
Students also have access to tutors to support them with academic writing and select academic subjects. Students are also encouraged to make use of academic-related workshops such as academic integrity, data visualization, and research fundamentals that are offered from time to time throughout the year by the Academic Tutors.
Faculty Office Hours
Faculty will hold regular office hours for each course offered. Students are encouraged to make
use of the office hours to improve their academic performance, participation, and mastery of
course material. Faculty office hours are clearly indicated in syllabi, and there will be clear
Calendly appointment slots for students to get an appointment with the faculty.
Faculty Advising and Mentoring
Once students are in their fourth year, they are encouraged to schedule meetings with professors to seek discipline-specific advice for their further studies.
Academic and Textbook Resources
As a fully online institution, the University ensures that students have access to textbooks and academic resources online free-of-charge, via various open educational resources and the University’s textbook subscription service.
Parami University has a dedicated research funds coordinator to support the faculty and students of the University to access research and collaboration opportunities. Interested students will be able to work with the faculty, Dean of Academic Affairs, and the research coordinator to identify and implement their research ideas, including for publication purposes. While the University will set aside its own funds to promote student research and projects through yearly grants of Student Project Funds (SPF) and Capstone Project Micro Grants (CPMG), the students will also be able to engage with other partner institutions through the network research grants.
EXTRACURRICULAR SUPPORT SERVICES
Civic Engagement Opportunities
Parami University offers global civic engagement opportunities in collaboration with its affiliated global university network through programs such as ‘Student Leadership Conference’, ‘Get Engaged Conference’, and ‘Student Government Retreat’, ‘Global Fellows,’ ‘Student Led Initiatives’, and ‘Civic Engagement Microgrants’, and ‘Community Science Coalition.’ Students will be able to access available open opportunities throughout the year via the student portal (Orbund).
BA program students are required to undertake at least one six-week volunteer service in the students’ respective countries or regions. Parami University will announce a list of volunteer
organizations that the students may seek placement at. They may request approval from the
University to volunteer at their chosen organization.
Students will have an opportunity to participate in a University-level debate club as well as
‘Global Debate Network’ of Parami’s affiliated global university network. Students are encouraged to create their own student clubs and organizations to develop other student activities.
Events and Workshops
Events are organized throughout the year, including guest speaker events to inspire students to
make positive impacts in their communities. In addition, the Unit of Student Support ServicesRegularly offers programs and workshops that students can participate in to further their extracurricular activities.
FURTHER EDUCATION AND CAREER PREPARATION
Liberal arts and sciences education offers transferable knowledge and skills across a variety of industries, from businesses and corporations to nonprofit organizations and community based organizations to entrepreneurial endeavors. Students have access to career service workshops and activities such as resume workshops, mock interviews, scholarship and career related information sessions, and job fairs organized by the Unit of Student Support Services to prepare them for internships, further study and workforce in their final years. The University is clear of conflicts of interest in that the University does not ‘place’ graduates into certain companies or organizations. It is still the responsibility and choice of students to determine whether they would like to go next.
The University offers one-on-one counseling to the students regarding their concerns, challenges and resource needs. Student Affair Officers communicate closely with each student to ensure that students are able to respond to the academic life challenges effectively. Moreover, the University also plans to offer mental health support services to help students tackle obstacles and challenges of University life in a healthy manner.