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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.