campus wide alert



Fall 2014

HON 1200 Honors FYS - An Apple a Day:  Cultural Representations of Medicine
Dr. Margy Stahr (English)
TR 12:00-1:15pm
"Medicine" and/or medical professionals have long been present in novels, on television and in films, and been the subject of non-fiction, news and human interest reporting. “An Apple a Day” draws on many areas of study and asks students to read and think critically about the way “medicine” is portrayed in many genres. The abundance of attention to "medicine" raises serious questions for patients, physicians, and those aspiring to work in medical, or medically related, fields. For example:  What responsibilities do physicians have not only as practitioners and scientists, but as teachers? How do front-page articles on weekly news-magazines affect the public's perception of danger when new diseases break out, or when medicines that were once thought safe come under public attack? What expectations of medical professions do popular television shows and movies raise in our minds? Can (or should) the United States provide all its citizens with "affordable" health insurance? These are some of the questions that we will focus on in our semester-long study of non-fiction, fiction, poetry, drama, television and film that deal with questions related to medicine in America.


HON 1200 Honors FYS - Challenging Ideas            
Dr. Seth Holtzman (Religion and Philosophy)
TR 12:00-1:15pm 
Oscar Wilde, a great 19th-century Irish playwright said, “Discontent is the first step in the progress of a man or a nation.”    A college education should focus on growing your understanding of your world and yourself, not primarily on preparing you for a job.  Growing your understanding requires that you confront ideas—especially new ideas and uncomfortable ideas.   Higher education requires that you become discontent and that you progress.   So, our seminar will be about challenging ideas.  We mean “challenging ideas” in two senses:  ideas will challenge us, and we will challenge ideas.  Through challenging ideas, we will learn an intellectual orientation that is essential to higher education.

Our seminar is multidisciplinary; we will consider challenging ideas from art, science, religion, psychology, history, education, music, and other disciplines.  Why is some art deliberately empty?  How can disloyalty be patriotic?  Why do religions sometimes emphasize inconsistent beliefs?  How can an eyewitness be unreliable?  Why does science sometimes describe a paradoxical world?  How can leadership sometimes require solitude?   How can a person be simultaneously aware and not aware of something?  When is democracy unfair?  How can believing something false be better than believing something true?  If questions such as these excite your curiosity, and if you are willing to become truly uncomfortable, then this seminar is for you.

HON 1200 Honors FYS - The End of the World
Dr. Buster Smith (Sociology)
TR 12:00-1:15pm
In this course we will examine the end of societies, both real and imagined.  By studying the breakdown of civilization we will acquire an appreciation for those elements of social life that we tend to take for granted.  What happens when mass media is no longer available?  How do people react if police stop preventing crime?  Where does one turn for solutions when dramatic upheaval occurs? 

We will attempt to answer these questions and others by looking at historical situations where human cultures have collapsed.  In addition, we will study groups that have thought the end of the world was near and study their reactions.  Finally, we will watch movies and read speculative fiction that tries to examine what might happen in these circumstances.  By examining varied sources it will be possible to discover what elements of society are the most essential, how people interact in difficult times, and where media accounts differ from reality.

HON 2501 Ethnomathematics:  A Globalization of Math Ideas
Dr. Sharon Sullivan (Mathematics)
MW 2:00-3:15pm
Quantitative & Non-Western Perspective
This course will present concepts in mathematics with a cultural twist. Mathematically, we will look at three main areas:

  1. number systems with case studies,
  2. logic, games and puzzles,
  3. Geometry.

For number systems, we will be looking at Mayan and Egyptian cultures but also East Africa and Southwestern Nigeria to name a few. We will play and analyze a variety of games such as the Native American game of Dish and the Maori game Mu Torere. Test your logic with Japanese riddles and the Warlpiri kinship structure. We will spend time analyzing geometric patterns in African art and textiles. We will see how we can “discover” the Pythagorean Theorem through African decorative designs. We will be looking at many nonwestern societies but the focus will be in Africa.  Please note, students may not receive credit for both HON 2501 Ethnomathematics and MATH 1105 Cultural Math.


HON 2501 Outbreak:  The History and Future of Infectious Disease
Dr. Steve Coggin (Biology)
TR 9:30-10:45am
Natural Science/Scientific
Plague. Influenza.  Small pox. Malaria. AIDS.  These and other diseases have exploded throughout history striking fear in the human population.  This Honors course for Scientific general education credit will examine some of humankind’s greatest killers.  Students in the course will study agents that cause infectious disease like viruses, bacteria and parasites.  They will examine how the disease agent causes damage and death to the host.  Students will learn how infectious diseases are spread, how they can be treated and prevented.  The course will also explore the ethical ramifications of epidemic and pandemic diseases such as how to allocate scarce medical resources, the use of vaccines and quarantine. 

HON 2901 Sounds of Silence:  Music as Voice for the Oppressed
Dr. Julie Chamberlain (Music) and Dr. Maria Vandergriff-Avery (Sociology)
TR 1:30-2:45pm
Fine Arts/Creative/Historical & Social
From folk songs to the blues to riot grrrl punk to rap, many artists have championed the rights of the oppressed through their music, representing the countless voices of silenced populations. For example, music and the civil-rights movement of the sixties became virtually synonymous, as African American artists, from Odetta to James Brown, celebrated black consciousness and/or called for social change through their music. Ultimately, music has been used as a powerful conduit to educate people about the issues of race, gender, poverty, and social injustice and to inspire people to work for equality. 

Through this course, students will examine structured inequality and oppression and how music communicates feelings, events and issues often ignored or spoken about in quiet whispers. More specifically, we will explore how popular music has given voice to those who have been historically silenced and has served as an engine of social change and as a reflection of various social movements.  Musical examples will be inclusive of various styles and genres, including artists such as Billie Holiday, Bob Dylan, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Marley, Bruce Springsteen, U2, Pink, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, and Michael Jackson.  Students will enhance their understanding of course content through a fall break trip to Chicago, a city rich in the historical, social, cultural and musical subjects and issues studied in the class.

Spring 2015

HON 2501 Joining the Choir Invisible: On Death and Dying
Dr. Janice Fuller (English) and Dr. Erin Wood (Psychology)
TR 12:00-1:15pm
Humanities/Interpretive/Historical & Social
This course examines how humans define death and try to comprehend it.  It will explore the controversies surrounding choosing death, and cultural variations in the rituals, practices, and artistic responses to death and dying.  Students will be asked to engage with a variety of texts and media that sample the ways people engage with these processes, before, during, and post-death, for themselves and for those around them.  Experiential components of the course will invite students to investigate how their own and other communities respond in a practical sense to this common human experience.  Ultimately students will present a review of their own perspective on dying and death, sharing the new ways they’ve learned to respond to this inevitable life event. 

HON 2501 Our Big Fat Greek Heritage
Dr. Norris Feeney (Politics) and Dr. Seth Holtzman (Philosophy)
MWF 1:00-1:50pm
Have you ever wondered why the history and ideas of ancient Greece are still considered relevant?  Are they still relevant?  In this course, you will learn why the same questions asked and answered 2500 years ago are still asked and answered today.  Not only are these questions still asked, the diverse answers given by the ancient Greeks are reflected in our modern political life.   We will examine ideas of political philosophy in their historical context of ancient Greece, and it applies these ideas to modern political systems.  

Consider, for example, how important the idea of democracy is for the shape of our political institutions, our political behavior, and the objectives of our foreign policy.  Our understanding of democracy has been shaped significantly by works from ancient Greece, which were an important part of our Founding Fathers’ intellectual background.  We still find the enduring influence of the diversity in ancient Greek thought on policy debates, perspectives on the purpose of government, our duties as citizens, and even our own experiences of politics.   

How did ancient Greeks think about human nature, political authority, and different systems of government?  We should understand how the environment of ancient Greek produced and shaped their ideas.  Similarly, our modern environment produces and shapes our ideas, including our interpretation of ancient Greek thought.  Students will explore course content more in-depth during a spring break to Greece.

HON 3501 Frankenfoods!
Dr. Sue Calcagni (Environmental Science) and Dr. Eric Hake (Economics)
TR 9:30-10:35am
Natural Science/Scientific/Social and Behavioral Science/Historical & Social
Fish genes in strawberries and tomatoes?  Bacterial genes in corn and potatoes?  Goats that produce spider silk in their milk?   Rice that makes its own pharmaceuticals?   No doubt about it – much has changed about how we put food on the table since the advent of agriculture more than 10,000 years ago.  The very idea of a farm and farming has been transformed. Now we have companies that span the globe, controlling every aspect of their industry - all the way from the technologies used to create new crop varieties to the processing, packaging, distribution, and marketing of fully prepared meals.  These “Factory farms” and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) feature prominently in US agriculture, but we rarely know the source of our food, much less understand the technology and resource use behind producing it.  Yet, each of us literally consumes some of this technology every day!  What does all of this change mean for our access to food, the cost of food, the quality of the food, our health, and sustainability?  What drives these changes – economics or ecology?  Profit or practicality?  Should we have the right to choose through labeling?  Is there validity to concerns about modern agriculture and the increasing call to return to locally-produced and organic foods?  Using multiple media types, we will critically explore the intersection of science and society in this course on modern agriculture and reexamine our connection to food.