Fall 2013 Honors Colloquia

In order to graduate on time, remember to keep your Honors Distribution choices on file in the Honors Office. See honors distribution to download the forms.


Explore topics such as:

America in the Middle East, 1776-Today
Boots & Petticoats
Patronage in Renaissance Florence
Imagination vs Accuracy: Historical Films and the Creative Process 
Contemporary Short Story and the Gothic Tradition
From Pride to Lust. 
Jazz History-Through the eyes of a jazz artist
Practical Communication for All Majors
The Symphony Orchestra; a lifelong companion
Fixing our Schools


America in the Middle East, 1776-Today
Dr. Harvey Rosenthal, [70111] 1870:250-001, T TH 11:00-11:50 AM, HC 083

Today, the United States is extensively and profoundly involved in the Middle East. The war in Iraq, the terrorist threat, and the quest for dependable sources of fuel permeate the media and direct the national agenda. A source of religious inspiration for millions of Americans, the Middle East has also become a source of American fears. Through the three themes of power, faith and fantasy, we will try to explain America’s role in this region. By explaining these themes and reconstructing the history of America’s relationship with the Middle East we can facilitate a deeper understanding of this part of America’s past. Today, this understanding is a must for Americans.

Boots and Petticoats: Women Explorers of the 19th and 20th Centuries

[73226] 1870:250-005 
T TH 2:15-3:05 p.m., Honors Complex 083
 Dr. Harvey Rosenthal

Before feminists, there were "independent women." In this course we will read of those unusual ladies who defied the stereotypical role of women and set their own agendas. Through these pioneers we can provoke and challenge our own images of the past and present: of gender roles, sexism, social and physical gender differences and the cultural defining processes. Plus, we can, following these brave gals, have some marvelous adventures.

Patronage in Renaissance Florence
Cheryl Anne Morris,
[77134] 1870:250-015, M W 9:55-10:45am PM, HC 092 or
[70112]1870:250-005, M W 11:00-11:50 PM, HC 082, or
[75997]1870:250-007, M W 12:05-12:55 PM, HC 082

This colloquium will focus on Florence in the 14th to the beginning of the 16th century. Rather than a survey of Florentine Renaissance history, the course will examine a selection of artists and their works, the economy, and the roles of the patriciate and the church in patronage of the arts. Cultural changes in these years and the attitudes and values that shaped them resulted in changes in social and political institutions. We will study the significant role of these institutions and individuals as patrons and creators in the most important treasures of Florentine Renaissance art.

This is a course for nonspecialists, one that takes a look at the connection between the art of Florence and the varied political and cultural aspects that surrounded the creation of them.


Imagination vs. Accuracy: Historical Films and the Creative Process
Sarah Akers, [70113]1870:250-003, MW 12:05-12:55PM, HC 082

This course will examine films based on historical subjects. Students will learn about the process of turning an actual historical person or event into what is essentially a work of fiction. Students will exhaustively research a topic, then use their own creativity to turn that research into a story treatment for a hypothetical movie. Along the way, we will examine examples of actual films, and discuss profitability, ambience, realism, and other factors. 


Contemporary Short Story and the Gothic Tradition
James Kagafas, [75327]1870:250-004, W F 12:05-12:55 PM, HC 083

This Humanities Honors Colloquium explores the relevance of 18th Century Gothic in 20th Century literature with an emphasis on the short story. Particular attention is paid to the American Southern Gothic of Faulkner, Oates, McCullers, Capote and others. Students will explore other avenues of the Gothic tradition, including Gothic art, architecture, music, and contemporary film. Requirements include reading assignments and analyses of short stories, and a student project to be presented to the class at the end of the semester.


From Pride to Lust
Dr. Schlemmer [75134]1870:250-011, M W 8:50-9:40 AM HC 083

All delightful things in our lives, these motivations get out of hand when pride becomes arrogance and conceit, anger becomes rage, or envy turns into bitterness. This course is not theological, but an ethical and psychological examination of what happens when these seven go wrong. The court format is mostly discussion with just a bit of lecture and video. Three, three-page papers are required, with a clear rubric and lots of help. 

Text: The Seven Deadly Sins Sampler, Great Books Foundation, August 2007.


Jazz History-Through the eyes of a jazz artist
J. Augustine, [75206]1870:250-014, M 3:20-5:15 PM, HC 083

Jazz was by far, the most significant musical form to emerge during the 20th century. There are qualities that separate the performance from inspired to mundane - a transformation that involves an arrangement of music which then transcends to creative improvisation. These elements will be examined in detail in order to elevate the listeners' ability to comprehend this great art. This premise creates an environment for in-depth discussion regarding the rhythm, harmony and stylistic variations of all facets of jazz music.


Practical communication for all majors
[77150] 1870:250-016
MW 11:00-11:50 a.m.Smilek Honors Complex 092

This course will teach students that regardless of their major or intended career that Communication has an important place. The course will teach students how to properly communicate in several different contexts, all of which will directly relate to their everyday lives and potential careers. Students will complete a variety of projects where they will put into practice the specific skills that are being taught in the classroom.


The Symphony Orchestra, a lifelong companion

[75998] 1870:250-017 
W 2:00-3:40 p.m. G. Bordo 

Listening to, understanding and integrating orchestral music into your life--  Discussions and insights into great compositions from history and today.


Fixing Our Schools: A personal, literary, and social journey into the future.
76430 1870:250-019
M W4:25-5:15 p.m., Honors Complex 082
H. Foster

The course begins with a view of the personal, social, emotional, and political relationship between the citizens of this country and their schools as viewed through student experiences and a variety of media including film, the Web, and print. This will be followed by encountering ideas and projects that point towards the future of the public and non public school system in America. This section of the course will include active experiences in model programs that point to the future.

Finally, in groups and think tank sessions, students will develop a blueprint for schools of the future, where all students are educated in a meaningful and productive way.

As a result of this course, student -will understand what schools do right and where and how schools fail; -will develop ideas on how to fix schools for their children and neighbors; -will develop critical thinking and problem solving skills as well as reading, writing, and speaking skills.

The course includes a poetry workshop and an end of course reflection and celebration.


Social Sciences

Social Movements: Game Changers: Major Decisions of the 20th Century
Dr. Stanley Akers,
[70114] 1870:360-001, T TH 11:00-11:50 AM, HC 82 or
[70115] 1870:360-003, T TH 8:50-9:40 AM HC 082

This course will examine some of the most influential issues and turning point of the past century, and how the decisions made then still resonate in current conditions. Topics covered will include Prohibition, war, the role of the U.S. in world affairs, women's suffrage and civil rights.


Somebody Should Do Something: Human Rights and Today’s World

[75999] 1870:360-002,MW 9:55-10:45 AM, HC 083

We want justice and fairness in the world, especially the basic justice and fairness described as human rights.   When we read about a system that permits or even encourages one person to actually own another person as property, or a 7-year-old girl to be married to a 55-year-old man to pay her father’s debt, or a writer to be jailed or tortured or killed for criticizing the government, or people sent to a concentration camp just because of their ethnicity, we say, “Somebody should DO something!”

Increasingly in human history, people have done something.  One major event was the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the U.N. in 1948.  Since then, the UDHR has influenced laws and constitutions in an increasing number of countries of the world.    This course examines the philosophies behind the UDHR, how human rights have generally progressed in the past century, how the most serious – Crimes Against Humanity – are addressed, and how civic/political rights and economic/social/cultural rights influence our lives.

Videos and web sources will be used extensively, and students’ ability to search the Internet and otherwise follow current news and analysis is crucial.  No text purchase is required.


The Electronic Town Hall: Media and Public Discourse
[70116] Dr. Stanley Akers, 1870:360-004, T TH 12:05-12:55 PM, HC 082

This course will explore how modern social media affect the public perception of events, lifestyles, and entertainment. Comparison will be made between historical and traditional form of information dissemination and today's use of Twitter and Facebook, among others.


Culture of Hope, Culture of Fear: The Post-War Years and the American Experience
Sarah M. Akers, [74389]1870:360-005, M W 3:20-4:10 PM, HC 083
or [74833]1870:360-008, M W 2:15-3:05 PM, HC 083

This course will examine the period between the end of World War II and the assassination of John F. Kennedy. These years, usually seen nostalgically as calm, prosperous and idyllic, actually contain the foundations of issues and problems that still resound today. Students will learn about prominent personalities of the time, examine its mass media, and conduct interviews with average people who lived through the era. 


Jazz as a means of Social Communication
Joseph Augustine
[75328]1870:360-007,TH 3:20-5:15 PM, HC 083

Jazz music became the first of popular music forms to gain academic legitimacy. This genre is one of the most interesting forms of popular American music displaying substantial technical innovations. The changes in the social environment due to this exciting art are very positive. The jazz experience by its nature, creates a forum for social interaction and cultural nurturing. This nurturing process will prepare us for a lifetime of musical development and a respect for music - the "universal language". With this in mind, we will discuss in exciting detail the synergy of this cerebral high art and the value of social relationships


France in the time of Impressionism
Cherie Morris
[75018]1870:360-009,M W 8:50-9:40 AM, HC 082

After the French and Industrial revolutions, French society had changed. No longer were people tied to the classes or guilds that once defined their lives. What now arose was the Bohemia that was part of the middle class consciousness. This new personal freedom was at times supported by society and at other times feared for the instability it created. The contributions of key historical figures from Baudelaire to Zola had a political, as well as social impact on bourgeois life in Paris. It is against this background that Realism and Impressionism took root.
In this colloquium we will study the men and women whose new vision of the world breathed life into the Paris of the later nineteenth century.

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TV, Radio, Internet...oh my!
Carrie A. Tomko, [75136]1870:360-010, TH 7:45-9:25 AM, HC 092
or [75137]1870:360-011, TH 9:55-11:35 AM, HC 092

Communication is key in this fast-paced society with TV, radio, and the internet bringing instantaneous news, information, and entertainment. The mass media brings global topics from across the world close to home. What are the current events covered in the news? What content is shared? Beyond content, what underlying messages are generated in mass media messages?

This colloquium will engage students by examining current event coverage in conjunction with communication theories in order to critically analyze what we are seeing and hearing in the media. This course will focus particularly on issues of diversity, gender, and other controversy, and how these dynamics play out in the media. An emphasis will be placed on classroom discussion, welcoming personal opinions on TV, radio, and internet coverage of current events. Watch it! Discuss it! Be a student of the world around us!


Four Generations: What Really Makes Us Strong

Virginia Smerglia, [77367] 1870:360-012, W 6:05-7:45pm, HC 82

Four American generations have developed distinctive cultures in the past eighty years:  The Great/World War II Generation, the Baby Boom Generation, Generation X, and Generation Y/the Millennials.  Historical, economic,  technological, and political events combined to produce the cultures and sub-cultures characteristic of the generations. The values, beliefs, and expectations of individuals’ coming of age within these periods have been significantly impacted.  I propose an overview and discussion of the events which produced these four cultural contexts, including comparison of the generations and a recognition that various social groups differed in their experiences. 

{Note:  One way to do this would be to have students either individually or in groups focus on a single generation, summarize their findings, and share insights with the colloquium in preparation for comparisons.)

Natural Sciences

Dr. Richard Mostardi, Biomedical Engineering
[70117]1870:470-001, [76426] 470-002, [76428]470-003 HC 092
Tuesdays at 12:05-12:55 and as described below

This Natural Sciences Colloquium has a different main speaker each Tuesday. The speakers are drawn both from campus faculty as well as off-campus scientists. The Thursday sessions are discussion-oriented and are held in smaller sessions, either at 12:05, 1:10, or 2:15, as indicated for each of the sections, 001, 002, 003, resp.


Luddites and Early Adopters: A Sociocultural History of Science and Technology
Akers, Sarah [74129]1870:470-004,MW 1:10pm-2:00pm HC 83
Akers, Stanley [75330]1870:470-005, W F 9:55-10:45AM HC 82

This course will deal with the resistance to, or acceptance of scientific and technological developments over the centuries. Areas covered will include Medicine, Engineering, and Communications.


Global Environmental Issues
Dunbar, Michael, [76429]1870:470-801,Tu 6:05-7:45 PM HC 082 or
[76433]1870:470-802,Thurs 6:05-7:45 PM HC 082

The Earth is now home to over 7 billion human beings. During the semester we'll be exploring how our presence on the planet has impacted the natural resources, its environment, and offer a prognosis for the future. Our discussions and debates will examine topics such as how our actions and technology have impacted the Earth's climate, biodiversity, natural resources, and technology, to name a few. 


The Effects of Science on Everyday Life
[75483]1870:470-007 Thurs 2:15-3:55 PM HC 082

Researchers from the University and community present weekly, describing their research and discussing how science affects everyday life.


The Great Pandemics and Plagues of History
James Kagafas
[77361]1870:470-008 WF 11:00-11:50 AM HC 083

The Natural Science Honors Colloquium will explore the great pandemics of history and emphasize the conditions which must be met before a pandemic can occur. Since the first recorded description of the plague that decimated the Athenian troops during the Peloponnesian War to today’s H1N1, mankind has at times lived as prisoners of nature. Through readings, discussions, documentaries, guest speakers, and independent studies, students will explore nature at its most vengeful. More importantly, students will take an active role in how the class is conducted by leading discussions and sharing information through group presentations.

Water on our Planet

[76036] 1870:470-009 
Mondays 2:15-3:55 p.m Honors Complex 092 
I. Sasowsky

This colloquium will include readings and guest lectures on the topics of water occurrence, supply, quality, and problems.