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Spring 2018 Honors Courses

HONR 1320: Why Poetry Matters: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Modern World Poetry (BHU)
Section 001, CRN 14490, 3 credits
Dr. David Richter (TR 12:00-1:15 in HH 126) 

Students will learn that poetry matters because it shows us how language shapes and defines human experiences within our own and other cultures. Whether or not you already appreciate poetry, this course will teach you how to read and appreciate the work of writers from places, cultures, and traditions around the world. We will discuss many "big questions" about the human condition: How do language and identity shape one another? What does it mean to be an insider or outsider in a particular community? How does poetry express a sense of the past, an appreciation for nature, an engagement with politics, or feelings of love or loss? You will consider these issues in the 19th and 20th-century poetry that we study, but you will also make connections between the poetry and your own personal experiences. Each class session will feature lively discussions of course readings as we learn how to analyze and talk about poetry. You will not only become a skilled reader of poetry, but you will also develop invaluable writing and speaking skills that will help you in any field of study or future vocation. The class is designed to let students put the lessons they learn from the poetry into practice in a variety of unique and non-traditional learning activities, including composing their own creative writing, participating in a community service-learning project, and leaving the classroom to engage meaningfully with nature.

HONR 1330: Creativity and Compassion: Social Engagment in the Arts (BCA)
Section 001, CRN 11473, 3 credits
Professor Dennise Gackstetter (T 1:30-4:20 in LLCA 110)

In this class, we will explore how inspired and motivated individuals can do incredible and creative things to help transform the lives of others. Students will learn about people who have changed the world through a variety of socially engaged art forms and events. As we study their motivations and inspirations, we will discover how these artists harnessed their strengths for the common good. Students will also develop their own abilities to envision and propose creative ways of shaping the world. During each class, we will learn a mindful meditation or creative thinking technique that each of us will then practice throughout the week. These techniques will strengthen your ability to encounter and address challenges in life. Each student will have the opportunity to research and present findings on an artist or group of artists. These presentations will be unique to each student, depending on how the artist and research inspires that student. Students will also work collaboratively with small groups of peers to envision and propose an artwork, performance, or event that addresses an issue of social importance to the group. There are few limits or restrictions on this project: your collective inspiration will lead the way. The class will share its proposals for life-changing art at a public event for students, faculty, and community members—a chance to turn your ideas about art and social change into a reality!

HONR 1350: Media Messages in Health and Nutrition (BLS)
Section 001, CRN 12622, 3 credits
Professor Rebecca Charlton (TR 10:30-11:45 in EBB 209)

Media messages about nutrition surround us. Social media posts promise miracle foods, websites promise miracle diets, and science seems to back every claim—or does it? How do you find the right messages among all of the wrong ones? What makes some posts so popular and others so forgettable? In this class, we will work together to dissect ideas relevant to nutrition messaging, scientific thinking, and popular nutrition culture. In this student-led, flipped classroom, you will get to scour campus and the Internet for nutrition “selling points” and then use deduction and scientific reasoning to determine the truth behind those messages. Guest lecturers from various scientific disciplines will help us to understand the range of science behind food messages. Students will then act as scientists themselves, researching, developing, and testing their own science-based nutrition messages. As you collect and evaluate data, you will not only learn the skills required of all undergraduate science scholars, but also prepare yourselves well for the undergraduate research that all honors students perform in their future majors. 

HONR 3010 and HONR 3020: Science Communication in an Alt World (DSC or DHA)
Section 001, CRN 12952 (HONR 3010, DSC) 12953 (HONR 3020, DHA), 3 credits
Professor Katie Potter and Dr. Jennifer Peeples (TR 9:00-10:15 in LLCA 110) 

In 1986, philosopher Harry G. Frankfurt had little idea that his essay’s opening remark—“One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit”—would be so prescient to 2017. Examples of the growing confusion between fact, opinion, and complete fabrication are rampant in public discourse. At the same time, the scientific journals where most research is published are becoming less accessible to the general public due to the high cost of subscriptions and their often jargon-heavy language. Through readings, interviews, experiments, and data analysis, we will examine historical and present-day examples of evidence being accepted or disputed in the face of corporate, political, or theological opposition. This course will give students the tools to think skeptically—to recognize fraudulent or fallacious information, and to generate, understand, and communicate factual information. As a final project, you’ll use these tools to reach diverse audiences in your community, teach scientific literacy, and (hopefully) effect positive change.


FALL 2018
HONR 3020 and HONR 3030: Before Bears Ears: Public Lands, Utah, and You (DHA or DSS)

Dr. Kerin Holt and Dr. Judson Finley 

We all live in the west—a region uniquely shaped by public lands. In Utah, over 70% of the state is public land, and over the past five years, there has been increasing debate over how best to define, manage, and use our public lands. You may find these debates complicated and combative, involving varied perspectives, experiences, and motives that can be tough to negotiate. This course offers students an opportunity to understand better and to engage more fully in the public land debates through a case study of Dinosaur National Monument. Dinosaur National Monument has a rich history, acting not only as a repository of a vast dinosaur fossil record, but also as home to diverse Native American cultures, subject of various explorations and adventurous river rafting expeditions, source of lucrative oil, gas, and mineral developments, and site for visual art, literature, and storytelling. Less well known is the role Dinosaur National Monument played in shaping the modern environmental movement during the 1950s. This interdisciplinary Think Tank course brings together varied approaches—anthropology, archeology, history, literature, environmental studies, political science, and cultural studies—to explore the ways that the monument has been used, developed, and protected throughout its history. As part of the course, we will take a four-day field trip to Dinosaur National Monument, where we will engage in fieldwork and service activities to apply directly to this national monument the ideas and skills we learn in class. Through a hands-on, multi-disciplinary approach, students will leave the course with a solid grasp of the important issues facing public lands in the west and confidence in their ability to contribute to these debates as we move into the future.

HONR 3020 and HONR 3030: The Politics and Aesthetics of Space (DHA or DSS)

Dr. Marissa Vineault and Dr. Jessica Lucero 

Questions about space—geographical, political, cultural, and/or social—are central to our contemporary world. How we occupy and think about space shapes how we engage with local, regional, national, and global communities. Space can foster or hamper individual potential across a variety of identities (e.g., gender, sexual, racial, ethnic, ability, and class), and it can also advance or hinder social, economic, and environmental justice causes. In this course, we will explore how contemporary social concerns (from 1960 on) have both catalyzed collective, community-based action and inspired aesthetic visualization and intervention by artists. Students will study how space has been used to marginalize groups of people, and, conversely, how marginalized communities can take back space through collective efforts and political processes. You will learn to assess how artists build communities, create voices, and claim space through visual culture. Together, we will create a responsive learning environment that values diversity and difference and connects students’ own lived experiences to a larger understanding of structural and socio-political conditions that oppress and liberate communities. Students will engage in community-based, interactive projects, such as Inside Out and PhotoVoice, as well as ‘zine making and a capstone “pop-up exhibit,” in order to develop an understanding of the critical connections between the visual arts and community organizing. The aim of the class is to help you understand the role of art and visual culture in community growth and development so that you can engage with, develop, and organize your own community spaces now and in the future.

BIOL 1625 (H): Biology II Laboratory
Section 001, CRN 13307, 1 credit
Professor Lauren Lucas (M 11:30-2:15 in BRN 120)

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.

ENGL 2010 (H): Intermediate Writing
Section 018, CRN 11130, 3 credits
Professor Rachel Quistberg (TR 9:00-10:15 in ENGR 304)

Section 024, CRN 12294, 3 credits
Professor Shanan Ballam  (MWF 10:30-11:20 in FL 115)

This course 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 class 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 emerge from a syllabus of topical and provocative readings, and students 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.

MATH 2210 (H): Multivariable Calculus (QI)
Section 006, CRN 10169, 3 credits
Dr. Larry Cannon (MTWF 10:30-11:20 in ENLAB 248)

This course offers students the opportunity to work together in building understanding of calculus. Students will collaborate 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 create new team assignments, giving students a chance to work with many of their peers. 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.

ENGR 3080 (H): Technical Communication for Engineers (CI)
Section 003, CRN 12925, 3 credits
Professor Melissa Scheaffer (TR 9:00-10:15 in ENGR 401)

The goal of this course is to prepare students with the individual and collaborative technical writing, presentation, and research skills necessary to be effective technical communicators in academic and professional environments. 

*Prerequisites: English 2010 and admission to the Professional Program in the College of Engineering. Knowledge of basic English grammar/language mechanics and computer skills (Word, PowerPoint).