FALL 2014


  • You may sign up for only one Honors seminar per semester.
  • You will not be charged extra tuition for HON 100 if it takes you over 16 hours.

HON 100


40—“Big Questions”    M   3:00-4:15 

Dr. Robert Fuller, Religious Studies & Philosophy

This seminar will feature class discussion and inquiry into some of humanity’s most enduring questions: Where did the universe come from? What is human nature? What is the meaning of life? What happens when we die? What makes an action moral? How should educated people approach debates about the existence and/or attributes of God? The seminar will meet approximately eight or nine weeks. The reading for each week will provide an overview of one of the big questions. Class discussion will center on how a university education best helps us approach these questions. How can we engage in evidence-based reasoning (as opposed to sheer wishful thinking)? What constitutes “evidence” for these big questions? 


41—“Mozart:  Portrait of Genius”    TH  3:00-4:15

Dr. Kyle Dzapo, Music Dept.

This seminar will introduce the extraordinary achievements of one of Western music’s greatest artists. Each of the eight class sessions will include discussion of significant events in a particular period of Mozart’s life and an introduction to one of the major compositions written during that time. Peter Gay’s Mozart will serve as our text. Students of all majors are encouraged to participate; no prior musical training is necessary.  


42—“International Perspectives”  W  12:00-12:50

Professor William Toel, Business Administration

Open to all students who want to explore opportunities across the world  (and define themselves, their potentials in the process).  Especially relevant to Business and International Studies students. This seminar explores the complexities of doing business across many cultures. The seminar will begin with an historical perspective, bringing it into clear understanding of the current international financial/credit crisis, and anticipate the future changes necessary that will be relevant for students today. One aspect will be the freedom demanded by rapid globalization coming into increasing conflict with both nationalism and a wide variety of regulations and standards. The seminar uses a variety of examples to demonstrate the contradictions that business people will increasingly face over the next twenty years. This seminar is applicable to all Honors students with an insatiable curiosity about how the world works: No finance prerequisites.


43—“Media In Dystopian Fiction”   W 1-1:50

Dr. Sara Netzley, Communication Dept.

From 1984 to The Hunger Games, from WALL-E to Brave New World, nobody’s happy in a dystopia. But they do make for excellent fiction. These stories generally feature repressive governments, deep economic disparity, environmental disasters, religious persecution, invasive technology, dehumanization of citizens, casual violence, and a marked lack of a free and independent media, which helps keep the people oppressed and the corrupt leaders in power. This seminar will look at examples from key dystopian books, movies and television shows to explore the ways in which various forms of mass media are abused and manipulated and how this affects the people in those societies. It will also examine how similar types of media treatment have crept into our own society. 


44—“Understanding Comics”   TU  1:30-2:45  

Dr. Seth Katz, English Dept.

Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art is “a 215-page comic book about comics that explains the inner workings of the medium and examines many aspects of visual communication” ( The book will change the way you think about comics and cartoons, visual representation, perception, even thought. We will read and study McCloud’s book, looking at a variety of examples of ‘comics’ along the way. Students will be required to bring in examples for presentation and discussion. There will be a 5-7 page final paper in which students will apply McCloud’s ideas, theories and examples to an extended analysis of a cartoon, comic strip or comic book of their choice.

Required texts: McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. NY: William Morrow Paperbacks, 1994. ISBN-10: 006097625X; ISBN-13: 978-0060976255.


45—“Gender and Sexuality in World Film ”   TH  7:00-10:00

Dr. John Williams,  History Dept.

This seminar combines film appreciation with a thematic approach to the ways in which the movies have represented women, gender, and sexuality in the 21st century. From France to Iran, from Norway to Argentina, from Uganda to the US, filmmakers have privileged these subjects, creating provocative portraits of social relations and private lives. The seminar will last for the entire semester and will privilege films made by women and gay men. Possible titles include The Day I Became A Woman (Iran, 2000); Monsoon Wedding (India, 2002); Whale Rider (New Zealand, 2003); Innocence (France, 2004); Shut Up and Sing (US, 2006); After the Wedding (Denmark, 2006); XXY (Argentina, 2007); Pray the Devil Back to Hell (US/Liberia 2008); Milk (US, 2008); Afghan Star (UK/Afghanistan, 2009); Winter’s Bone (US, 2010); The Loving Story (US, 2011); Weekend (UK, 2011); Turn Me On, Dammit! (Norway, 2011); Fill the Void (Israel, 2012); Call Me Kuchu (US/Uganda, 2012). Please note: a couple of these films, while not pornographic, include graphic depictions of sexual behavior (both hetero- and homosexual).


46—“Challenge To the City”    MW  3:00-3:50 

Dr. Phil Jones, History Dept.

The text for this seminar consists of one book - Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream by Andres Duany. Each class session will be a discussion of one of the chapters. The book is a critique of modern suburban life and America's destruction of its cities. Almost every page contains provoking and stimulating points about the nature of American society, how it has diverged from its roots, how it differs from European society, and how it is unsustainable. He ranges from discussions of bad taste in suburbia to what a satisfactory social environment should be. During the discussions, I will introduce commentary on the subjects he addresses by other social and architectural critics, such as Witold Rybczynski, Kunstler, and others. 


47—“Pandemic Virus Infections”  TU  1:30-2:30 

Dr. Ted Fleming, Biology Dept.    

Virus infections that spread worldwide (pandemics) are of major significance to humanity. This course will present the biology of two important, well-studied viruses, the influenza virus and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and will consider their impact with regard to human health, economic prosperity, and politics. The seminar will consist of a lecture-discussion format. Each student will be required to present 2 oral reports and write a topic paper on an aspect of the topic.      


48—“Selected Readings from the Scientific Revolution”  TU  3:00-3:50

Dr. Randy Kidd, History Dept.

This course acquaints students with brief selections from some of the most influential scientific works in history. Students of all majors are encouraged to enroll; no prior knowledge in science or history is assumed. The course is designed to help non-science majors appreciate some of the works that affect all of us, and to add richness and depth for those majoring in the sciences. For physics, we shall consider, in turn, notions about matter, motion, force and charge as found in short excerpts (usually under 20 pages) from Descartes, Galileo, Newton and Einstein. Students will also read brief excerpts from William Harvey and Richard Lower pertaining to the discovery that the heart is a ‘mere muscle’ instead of the source of our passions and seat of our soul. No textbooks required; primary-source packets will be distributed.   


49—“Global Climate Change: Is International Agreement Possible?” M  3:00-4:15 

Dr. Jeanie Bukowski, International Studies Dept.

This course will address the current state of international negotiations to reach an agreement within the context of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to replace the Kyoto Protocol (which expired in 2012). In order to understand the difficulty of reaching agreement on this important issue, we will examine the following: 1) the scientific evidence on global climate change, particularly as presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); 2) the national interests of states in the international system regarding climate change; 3) how conflicting national interests, as well as the “collective goods problem,” are manifested in international negotiations. We will end the course with a simulation of the current climate change negotiations in which students play the role of country leaders.


Spring 2014

HON 101

40 – Thoreau’s Walden     TH 1:30-2:45 (Jan. 23, 30, then every-other-week) Dr. Kevin Swafford
In this seminar we will read closely Henry David Thoreau’s masterpiece, Walden (1854).  Though it is subtitled, Life in the Woods, the book is not simply an autobiographical account of Thoreau’s two-year sojourn away from “civilized life” on the shores of Walden Pond. Rather, it is one of the great philosophical/narrative explorations of the possibility of “living deliberately.” In the book, Thoreau examines the virtues of simplicity, the spiritual and intellectual significance of Nature, the moral responsibilities of individual self-reliance and social cooperation, and the limitations of materialism and “civilization.” It is a book that will engage you like few others. For the course you will be expected to read the entirety of Walden, to keep a reader response journal (minimum 300 words a week), and to write an essay (5-8 pages in length) that analyzes and discusses a central issue of the work. Welcome!

41 – The Great Romantics     TH 3:00 – 4:15 (8 weeks) Dr. Kyle Dzapo
This course will introduce students to the most engaging and brilliant music of the Romantic era, music of Brahms, Wagner, Verdi, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Strauss, Paganini, and Rachmaninoff. In each class session we will delve into masterpieces by one or two composers, relate the musicians’ compositions to the time and place in which they lived, and create aural guides to help us appreciate and enjoy the content and genius of the compositions. Students will be asked to read chapters from Harold Schonberg’s The Lives of the Great Composers, to write two short papers about Romantic works they have gotten to know, and to complete two related assignments. All students are welcome; no prior musical training is necessary.  

42  Neurotherapy and Neurofeedback     TU 11:00-12:00  (12 weeks) Dr. Lori Russell-Chapin
This course will introduce students to the fundamental processes and techniques of neurotherapy and neurofeedback. Students will be able to define neurofeedback (NFB), a type of biofeedback for the brain using EEG and computerized technologies. Basic understanding of NFB’s underlying principles of operant conditioning will be discussed. NFB assists in optimizing brain wave regulation thus identifying causes of brain dysregulation. NFB efficacy research will be offered for differing mental health symptoms. Students will have the opportunity to participate in demonstrations of NFB and other neurotherapy techniques.                                   

43 – Understanding Cancer     W 3:00 – 4:00 Dr. Theodore Fleming
This Honors seminar will explore the origin of cancer. It will examine research, theories, detection, and treatments associated with the disease. Other areas that will be explored include types of cancer, the cost of treatment, and end-of-life care. The seminar will consist of a lecture-discussion format, meetings with specialists in the field, and off-campus trips. Off-campus trips may exceed the time period of the regular class. Each student will be required to present 3 oral reports and write a topic paper on an aspect of cancer.  

44 – Why Nations Fail     M 3:00-4:15 (8 weeks)  Dr. Jannett Highfill
Why are some nations rich and others poor, divided by wealth and poverty, health and sickness, food and famine? Is it culture, the weather, geography? Perhaps ignorance of what the right policies are? These are the questions formulated by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson that we will explore in this class. The primary work of the course will be to read their Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty. All 500 pages of it. After talking it over with your colleagues in class, each person will choose a country to examine, and present their thoughts to their colleagues.  

45 – Rhetoric of Death and Dying     M 3:00 – 4:15 (9 weeks)  Professor Laura Bruns
In this seminar, we will examine communication about death and dying through discussion, guest speakers, documentaries, and field trips. Some themes and issues we will explore include: the cultural diversity and difference in attitudes regarding death; societal messages about death; end-of-life communication stages, grief and bereavement, funeral industry communication; rhetoric and ethics of physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia ("right to die"); and after-life rhetoric (mediums and near-death experiences). Students will be graded through a series of short response papers posted to a Sakai forum. Though controversial in nature, this seminar's goal is to create a better understanding of death in order to enhance one's quality of life

46 – Mindfulness Meditation     W 4:00 – 5:15 (9 weeks)  Dr. Robert Fuller
This seminar will introduce students to what Buddhists call “mindfulness meditation.”  The goal of mindfulness is to live fully in the present moment. Most humans are distracted by stress, by preoccupation with events from their past, or by preoccupation with events they anticipate in the future. Mindfulness aims at removing these distractions and helping us to become fully attentive to the present moment. Students will watch videos that both explain the historical development of these practices and that also provide instruction on mindfulness practices. Weekly class sessions will be devoted to watching these instructional videos and discussing how they might be implemented in daily practice. Students will keep a journal of their own daily mindfulness practices. The seminar will meet approximately nine times over the course of the seminar. The principal requirements are attendance at these meetings, practicing mindfulness exercises for a few minutes at least five times per week, and keeping a journal that documents (and reflects on) these practices. 

47 – Sustainability     T 4-5 (12 weeks)  Dr. Janet Gehring
Sustainable use is economic development and management of natural resources that happens in a way which will meet the needs of current and future generations without damaging the environment, ecosystem functioning, or biodiversity. Sustainable use is necessary if we hope to continue to have the water, food, and other resources necessary to maintain human health and quality of life indefinitely. In this seminar we will read a book published in 2013 by The Worldwatch Institute entitled Is sustainability still possible? The book explores the huge changes that are needed for humans to live sustainably and also the social and cultural impacts that may occur if we do not choose to live sustainability. We will read three chapters per week. You should read and be prepared to discuss Chapters 1-3 on Jan 28.

48 – Exploring the Fourth Dimension     TH 4-5:15 (9 weeks)  Dr. Tony Bedenikovic
The idea of a fourth dimension--of reality beyond what can be seen--has attracted thinkers from various fields throughout history. In this seminar we will study references to the fourth dimension in the work of artists, mathematicians, philosophers, scientists, and others. In general, a different aspect of the fourth dimension will be explored at each meeting. While most studies will include a mathematical perspective, the goal of this seminar is to investigate diverse perspectives. All majors are welcome. To help further convey the nature of this seminar, a list of sample questions follows: Can we learn to visualize the fourth dimension? How is a 4-dimensional universe different from a 3-dimensional universe? Is the fourth dimension just time? How has the fourth dimension been used in the work of visual artists and writers? How has it been used in scientific theories? Does the dimension of the universe really matter? 

49 – A Critical Approach to Evaluating Acting Performance  F 2-2:50 (10 weeks)  Mr. Steve Snyder
We see so many TV shows and movies that we all think we are experts on acting and that it's easier than it really is. Few understand the real work of acting. This seminar will investigate the skills of acting and attempt to codify what good acting is. The result will be informed critical opinions when evaluating the work of actors in TV and film. Work will include some acting exercises in class meetings, some work with scripts, discussion, assigning the viewing of TV and film clips, and writing that intelligently evaluates the acting work.