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Spring 2016 Honors Courses

Honors Introductory Seminars

HONR 1300, Media and Democracy (BAI)
Section 001, CRN 13217, 3 credits
Dr. Cathy Bullock, Tuesday/Thursday, 3:00-4:15, TECH 107

Access to political news and other information—commonly provided by mass media—has long been considered vital for a self-governing populace. This course will grapple with how our conceptions of mass communication and mass media have evolved over time to include new technologies (from newspapers to social media) and new approaches (from the muckraking of the early 1900s to the participatory journalism of today). We will focus on the American historical, political, and economic experience, acknowledging that it has been shaped and continues to be shaped by events and factors outside our country. This idea of outside forces making a difference, from the European political and economic influence of the colonial period through the globalization of today, will be an important part of our class conversations. Our approach will be collaborative, emphasizing discussion and small-group assignments involving research, writing, and class presentation components. Assignment topics will include the recurring idea of partisanship; the ties among government, economic institutions, and big media; and the use of new media by professional journalists or citizens acting as political or economic watchdogs.

HONR 1330 Honors Creative Arts (BCA)
Section 001, CRN TBA, 3 credits
Nancy Hills, Monday/Wednesday/Friday, 1:30-2:20 , Family Life 307

This course has been developed with the understanding that an educated person must be exposed to the arts on many levels, becoming knowledgeable about great artistic achievements of the past. This exposure prepares individuals to develop their own standards for evaluating the role of the arts in the contemporary world and in their everyday lives. Understanding that art touches on all the aspects of the human condition, we will examine three major historical periods: Classical Antiquity, the Renaissance, and the 18th century Neo-Classical Revival. We will discuss the principles and elements of design, learning to use that language to analyze the architecture, statuary, paintings, theatre, and clothing of each period. We will learn how architecture establishes an environment for a society, clothing personifies that society, and painting, statuary, and theatre then reflect the social, political, emotional, religious, economic experience of their times. We will also attend live theatre and music performances, with the goal of understanding the timeless power of art to effect social change and to express aesthetic ideas.

HONR 1350 Why Bad Things Happen to Good Animals (BLS)
Section 002, CRN 13461, 3 credits
Dr. Robert Schmidt, Tuesday/Thursday, 1:30-2:45 pm, LLCA 110

This course will use science-based case histories to explore how human beings relate to non-human vertebrates — as food, research subjects, companions, recreation, pests, and essential components of biodiversity. Ethical considerations obviously will run throughout these explorations, but a big part of the course will focus on how science can provide guidance in developing our laws, regulations, and policies regarding vertebrates and their use. Students will learn to think critically about these human/non-human relationships and to communicate clearly their ideas about this complicated scientific and social subject.

HONR 1360 Complexity and the Arts (BPS)
Section 001, CRN 13462, 3 credits
Dr. David Peak, Monday/Wednesday/Friday, 11:30-12:20 am, SER 122

This course explores the interplay between physical and biological systems and the arts. As with any human endeavor, art emerges from a social milieu that includes the creator’s and the observer’s education, belief system, cultural immersion, political perspective, and so on. What a work of art “means” to the artist and what it “means” to the observer clearly depend to a considerable extent on social factors. But aesthetic response is also very much a biophysical phenomenon—shaped by how sense organs detect energy and by how information is processed in the central nervous system and the brain. The biophysical mechanisms associated with aesthetic response result from eons of evolution occurring on an ordinary planet orbiting an ordinary star in an otherwise vast, cold, dark universe. This course will show students that a full appreciation of the role of art and music in human culture requires at least some recognition of the irreducible influence of the physical universe on the realm of aesthetics. In “Complexity and the Arts,” we will explore the physics and physiology of sound and light. We will consider the relationship between observation and reality. And we will look at how the tools of complexity science can be applied to making new art(s) and, perhaps, to how they can help us understand why we “dig rock and roll music.”

Honors Think Tank: Sustainability of Agriculture, Food, Water and Land in Cache Valley 

The Think Tank consists of three cross-listed depth courses, each of which approaches the central Think Tank topic from a different disciplinary angle.  Students may enroll in one section and will earn General Education depth credit in that area. However, the three sections are scheduled meet at the same time, sometimes together and sometimes separately, and all students will have work across disciplines on this topic of local concern.  Students earn three Honors Practical Application points by completing a Think Tank section, and all three sections have a community service learning component.  Below are descriptions of each section: 

HONR 3010 Depth Life/Physical Science
Section 001, CRN TBA, 3 credits
Dr. Ryan Dupont, Tuesday/Thursday, 1:30-2:45 pm, HPER 114

This course will explore issues related to agriculture, food, water, and land through the lens of science. By reading scientific literature, performing experiments, and analyzing data, students will learn to think critically about the choices that American businesses, farmers, and politicians make about food, water, and land. Students will also consider the impact of individual food and diet decisions on our water/energy/environmental footprint, and of the role these decisions play in our national and global future. Students will work in teams to evaluate a specific food system in Cache Valley and will recommend ways to move toward long-term sustainability through a final project.

HONR 3020 Depth Humanities/Creative Arts
Section 001, CRN 23508, 3 credits
Dr. Joyce Kinkead, Tuesday/Thursday, 1:30-2:45 pm, HPER 110

This course will explore issues related to agriculture, food, water, and land in Cache Valley through the lenses of the humanities and arts. By reading fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and drama, as well as viewing film and visual arts, students will enhance their understanding of the role that agriculture, food, water, and land have played in American life.  Reading selections will cover a wide time span from colonial times to the present. Students will write consistently in response to the readings, and they will also make oral presentations. Additionally, students will curate an exhibition at the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art on campus, design a music at the museum event, and work on a reader’s theatre production of Seedfolks.

HONR 3030 Depth Social Sciences
Section 001, CRN 23509, 3 credits
Dr. Douglas Jackson-Smith, Tuesday/Thursday, 1:30-2:45 pm, HPER 114A

This course will explore issues related to agriculture, food, water, and land in Cache Valley through the lens of the social sciences. Drawing on research in the sociology of food and agriculture, we will investigate the evolution of the US food system, and discuss implications for the wellbeing of farmers, rural communities, and food consumers. The course will ground students in the theoretical and empirical debates in the social sciences about trends in food and agriculture, and thus enable them to approach the study of local food and agricultural systems from a critical perspective. Students will apply social-science knowledge and skills learned in class to critical analyses of various aspects of local food and agricultural systems in Cache County as part of larger team projects coordinated with students in the other two Think Tank sections.

Honors Labs

BIOL 1620(H) Biology Laboratory
Section 511, CRN 10479, 0 credits
Dr. James Pitts, Wednesday 11:30-2:20 pm, BNR 124

This Honors lab section of Biology 1620 provides opportunities for motivated students to read and discuss current papers, propose studies based on these readings, and enjoy access to at least one lab during the semester.  Honors lab creates a rich intellectual environment by pairing a peer group of bright, academically engaged students with the best Biology lab instructors.  Students will perform all the same experiments as standard laboratory sections, but will enjoy an experience enriched by activities designed specifically for the Honors lab.

Honors Writing Courses

ENGL 2010(H), Intermediate Writing for Honors (CL2)*
Section 024, CRN 11348, 3 Credits
Dustin Crawford, Tuesday/Thursday, 9:00-10:15 am, RWST 113
Section 031, CRN 12969, 3 Credits
Susan Andersen, Monday/Wednesday/Friday, 10:30-11:20 am, RWST 114

This class teaches students to develop their own writing styles and voices, to integrate those voices with what others (often authorities) have to say about subjects, and to become stronger readers, writers, and thinkers.  The course focuses on library and Internet research, appropriate documentation of such research, and persuasive writing.  Students will evaluate sources, collaborate with classmates, and participate in peer review of each other’s writing.  Writing assignments will emerge from a syllabus of topical and provocative readings, and students will participate actively in class discussions, think carefully about the reading and writing assignments, and write several papers related to their own research interests.

*Prerequisite: Completion of ENGL 1010 or AP English Composition score of 3 or ACT score of 29.

Honors Math Course

MATH 1220(H) Calculus III 
Section TBA, CRN TBA, 3 credits
Dr. Lawrence Cannon, Time and Location TBA

This course gives students the opportunity to work together to build an understanding of calculus.  Students will work in teams to present the textbook material over two class periods.  On the first day, teams will introduce new concepts, deciding which examples and exercises might best prepare the rest of the class to complete the required homework.  On the second day, the team answers questions from their classmates and works through any problems with the homework.  After each team has taken a two-day presentation turn, we will create new team assignments, giving everyone a chance to work with everyone else.  This format allows students to think independently and critically about mathematical concepts, using their own interests to create real-world applications for calculus.  Honors calculus students don’t just do textbook assignments; they bring them to life.

Honors Economics Course

ECN 2010(H) Introduction to Microeconomics 
Section 001, CRN 13941, 3 credits
Dr. Chris Fawson, Monday/Wednesday/Friday, 7:30-8:20 am, BUS 116

This course is designed to foster a broad-based understanding of the microeconomic principles that undergird purposeful human action. As an honors section, the course is structured to encourage discussion, discovery, critical thinking, and effective communication. Students will learn to appreciate the unique insight that comes from exploring the world of human interaction through an economist’s lens. Our path of discovery will challenge us to examine how value creation processes are frustrated by both intentional design and the unintended consequence of misinformed policy interventions. Finally, we explore the important role of innovation as a sustaining catalyst to the value creation processes embedded in organizational and market structures.