- Faculty & Staff
Students in the Honors Program are required to take at least FOUR honors seminars to complete the program. All seminars fulfill general education courses within specific categories. To complete the general education program, courses in all categories must be met.
Spring 2017 Honors Courses
Diversity in American Theatre (HONR 224: Arts)
Dean Ralph Blasting
This course addresses issues of diversity in American society as they have been represented in the American theatre. We will read play scripts and articles related to diversity, and explore how those scripts can be brought to the stage to effectively present their ideas to an audience. Through class presentations, discussion, and writing projects we will examine the various means through which American theatre addresses issues of race and ethnicity, sexual identity and expression, class, religion, and politics. This course is designed for students with no theatre experience as well as those already acquainted with the stage. Attendance at theater performances on campus will be required.
Philosophy Of Religion (HONR 225, sec 1 Humanities)
Dr. Dale Tuggy
This course will introduce students to some central issues in Western and Eastern philosophy of religion, focusing on recent work. Topics will include: how to understand the concepts of religion, atheism, agnosticism, polydeism, and theism; various conceptions of ultimate reality; arguments for the existence of God; arguments for atheism; the assessment of claims that miracles have occurred; the evidential value of religious experiences; arguments that religious language is meaningless, or that all religious claims are unverifiable; alleged divine attributes and arguments that some of these are incoherent; various conceptions of life after death (e.g. Nirvana, heaven, resurrection); philosophical theories about religious diversity, in particular theories on which many or all religious are in some way of equal value (theories of “religious pluralism”).
I will use a multi-authored book called Reason and Religious Belief (2012), as well as numerous pdf readings distributed by means of the OnCourse class website.
Words, Knowledge, Power (HONR 225, sec 2 Humanities)
Dr. Natalie Gerber
Whatever discipline or enterprise we engage in, we do so primarily by means of words. This Honors seminar offers students an introduction to the history, structure, and politics embedded in the words that comprise the English language, their use or disuse, and shifts in meaning over time. We'll take up etymology (word origins), morphology (word formation), semantic shift (changes in meaning), and lexicography (dictionary making and its significant changes in the 21st century), and the impact of external history--i.e., the experiences of a language's speakers--upon the nature of words. Our journeys will take us from ancient Greece and Rome, through 5th-century "England," world wars, and trade agreements to 21st-century international collaborative enterprises like CERN. Our final unit will focus on the fragile state of many of the world's indigenous languages and the ethical issues implicit in the triumph of a global language or an international language for an academic discipline. We'll conclude our investigations with a collaborative research unit in which student teams utilize primary and secondary resources we've explored to investigate the nature, history, and politics embedded in the language of their discipline and to create a digital project of their design sharing their knowledge.
The Comic (HONR 226: Social Science)
President Virginia Horvath
This course explores the ideas of laughter, comedy, and humor as a physical response, a psychological and cultural construct, and a literary and dramatic form. Why do we laugh? How does laughter affect our bodies and our relationships with others? What is it that makes something funny to an individual and to groups of people? What do we mean by a “sense of humor” and how is one’s sense of humor linked to identity? How do different fields of study approach the issue of the comic?
To answer these questions, we will read together some theories of the comic and research from the fields of physiology, psychology, philosophy, sociology, theology, and literature. We will also read and view many, many examples from literature, film, stand-up, television, visual arts, and popular culture to illustrate and challenge these theories as we encounter them. You will also have opportunities to work on a presentation about the humor of a particular group in American society, to write paper that examines a selected work of literature/film/television/visual art in light of the theories discussed in class, and to perform in or help produce a short comic play.
The Science of Wicked Problems (HONR 227: Natural Science)
Dr. Mike Jabot
In October of 2015, the United Nations approved a series of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The intent of these goals is to target those areas that need to be addressed to help assure a more equitable future for all citizens worldwide. This seminar will address specific SDGs around the science of sustainable development. The content of this seminar will investigate the current state of the world around the SDGs chosen as well as investigating the changes that need to be taken to address these societal challenges.
This seminar will seek to develop the critical reasoning skills of the students by developing an understanding of the importance of and need to act on:
- SDG #6 Clean, accessible water for all is an essential part of the world we want to live in. There is sufficient fresh water on the planet to achieve this. But due to bad economics or poor infrastructure, every year millions of people, most of them children, die from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene.
- SDG# 7 Energy is central to nearly every major challenge and opportunity the world faces today. Sustainable energy offers an opportunity to transform lives, economies and the planet.
- SDG #13 Climate change is now affecting every country on every continent. It is disrupting national economies and affecting lives, costing people, communities and countries dearly today and even more tomorrow through changing weather patterns, rising sea level, and more extreme weather events. The poorest and most vulnerable people are being affected the most.
- SDG #15 Forests cover 30 per cent of the Earth’s surface and in addition to providing food security and shelter, forests are key to combating climate change, protecting biodiversity and the homes of the indigenous population. Deforestation and desertification caused by human activities and climate change pose major challenges to sustainable development and have affected the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in the fight against poverty.
This seminar is interdisciplinary in nature and as such will address the content from a socioscientific lens.
LGBTQ American History and Literature (HONR 228: American History)
Dr. Jeffery Iovannone
This course will take an interdisciplinary approach to the study of LGBTQ American identities, combining historical and literary analysis and methodologies. We will examine major events, developments, themes, and concepts within LGBTQ American history from the nineteenthcentury to the present. Sexual orientation and gender identity will also be examined in relation to other marginalized identity positions and systems of privilege and oppression. Our exploration of LGBTQ American history will center around the following interconnected questions: 1) How does an analysis of the experiences of LGBTQ Americans give insight into broader social, political, and cultural circumstances?; 2) How do conceptions of queer and/or transgender identity change over time in response to evolving notions of Americanness?; 3) How do the ways “ordinary” LGBTQ persons understand their identities differ or conflict with larger sociocultural norms and institutions?; and 4) How do literary representations of LGBTQ identities function to give insight into the oppressions faced by the LGBTQ community at various points in American history?
U.S. & Canadian Partnerships: "Blame Canada" (HONR 229: Western Civilization)
Dr. Ana Marie Klein
This course uses a global lens to interpret and understand U.S. & Canadian relations. Topics explored include the joint and independent exploration of the continent, joint and independent relations with European partners, current trade agreements, and the ideas behind federation and confederation of states. Honors students enrolled in the course will use an inter-disciplinary approach to compare and contrast U.S. and Canadian history, geography, politics, and business. Participants will also enhance their knowledge about Canada. Part of the title is based on a popular television series that focuses on U.S. and Canadian similarities and differences. Hence we will explore in great detail U.S. and Canadian history from the war of 1812 onwards. Participants will also become acquainted with NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) and its commercial implications for both countries.
Modern China (HONR 230: World Cultures)
Dr. Xin Fan
The rise of China at the turn of the twenty-first century is the single most important event in contemporary world history. Within the past four decades, this country was quickly transformed from an impoverished agricultural society torn apart by wars and revolutions into a mighty industrial power in the global economy. What is the secret of China’s success? What is the cost of its rapid social change and development? And what impact does its rise have on a globally-minded citizen in Western society? These are the key issues that we will discuss in this course on China today. Through an interdisciplinary lens, students will design imaginary tours of Chinese cities, decode the myth of its political economy, and debate the role of traditional Chinese culture in this modernized society. We will also pay close attention to American media’s presentation of China, and rethink America’s future role in the globalized international society.
HONR 300, sec 1: Honors Colloquium
Dr. Alex Caviedes
Wednesday 7:00 - 7:50
HONR 300, sec 2: Honors Colloquium (Juniors or Seniors)
Dr. David Kinkela
Monday 6:00 - 6:50
This colloquium will focus on preparing students for life after graduation. Our discussion will revolve around our reading of Jeffery Selingo's most recent book, There is Life After College: What Parents and Students Should Know About Navigating School to Prepare for the Jobs of Tomorrow (2016).