Freedom and Virtue

Liberty Bell

Most of us would agree that freedom is something precious and worth fighting for.  This is why men and women today continue to volunteer to serve in our nation’s Armed Forces, fight for human rights in non-governmental organizations (NGOs) throughout the globe, and dedicate themselves to a life of public service—in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors.  Yet freedom, by itself, seems incomplete as a goal for human life.  A serious person doesn’t merely want to be free; he or she wants to make the best use of freedom to live a good and worthwhile life.  As Socrates reminds us, “the unexamined life is not worth living.”   What does this mean?  And how can we examine our lives appropriately in light of the inherent tensions between the drive for freedom and the desire for virtue?  Is freedom the most important thing in life?  Or should it be pursued alongside a life of excellence or virtue?   We want to be lovers of both freedom and virtue—but how can we be faithful to both?

Students in the Freedom and Virtue Learning Community will study the relationship between these two fundamental human goods.  Through intensive, active reading of some of the greatest ancient and modern texts, students will discuss the meaning of freedom and virtue, and will examine the questions and choices with which they present us as citizens and human beings. 

Students in the Freedom and Virtue Learning Community will:

  • Participate in a specially designated section of Augustine and Culture Seminar (called ACS) built around the complex theme of freedom and virtue.
  • Live together in a first-year residence hall.
  • Join the Freedom and Virtue faculty in events on and off campus designed to foster friendship and community.  In the past, students have traveled with faculty to a variety of cultural and artistic venues, such as: The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City), The Lincoln Memorial and the Spy Museum (Washington, DC), and The Kimmel Center (Philadelphia) to explore underlying themes in the course.
  • Think seriously about the art of citizenship while practicing it as a member of a Villanova Learning Community through:
    • Frequent peer-to-peer dialogue with housemates.
    • Regular interaction with faculty and students - whether viewing movies or eating meals together.
    • Ongoing attention to the development of writing, analytical thinking, and public speaking skills in the classroom.


Freedom and Virtue

Students in the Freedom and Virtue Learning Community live together in a first-year residence hall.  The Learning Community is connected to your ACS class and does not include any additional credit hours. 

Thoughts on the Program

"I think that living with students in the same course helped the overall success of my first year because it enabled us to talk about similar topics."
---Students who had participated in the program, formerly named "Pursuit of Excellence," shared their thoughts on the program...

Learning Community

Past Learning Community student observations about their first year at Villanova.