The DWC Program (Development of Western Civilization) was established at Providence College in 1971 and has served since then as the core of the college Curriculum. There have been some adjustments in the syllabus, chiefly to account for the intervening years of the 20th Century, but the program is now substantially what it was then. The aims are twofold: (1) to enable students to understand how the present has emerged from the ideas and culture of the past, overcoming cultural amnesia; and (2) to transcend the insularity of the traditional curriculum so that students can see the connections between and among disciplines and move towards an understanding of their civilization as a whole.
DWC is a four-semester sequence with a total of 20 credits required of all freshmen and sophomores. At any given moment 1800 students are enrolled, divided among eight "teams." Each team -- there are four for each class - consists of four faculty, ... drawn from history, philosophy, theology, and literature. The course is interdisciplinary as well as team-taught, for faculty attend each other's lectures and follow a central syllabus. So while each instructor guides the students through his particular discipline, he does so by playing off of, and showing connections with, the lectures of his colleagues. Ideas are stressed and their context is richly given. A week consists of four lectures and one seminar. In the seminar the instructor takes one fourth of the class (roughly 25-30 students) and further integrates the material in the context of the student's own questions. The Fine Arts are covered either by a team member with a special interest or, occasionally, by an outside specialist.
Authors read include Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Plato, Aristotle, Virgil, Augustine, Aquinas, Dante, Chaucer and so forth, down to Eliot, Achebe, Solzhenitsyn, and Flannery O'Connor.