Spring 2014 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.


America in the Middle East, 1776-Today 
Dr. Harvey Rosenthal, 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.

Patronage in Renaissance Florence
 Cheryl Anne Morris, 1870:250-006 M W 8:50-9:40am, HC 082, 1870:250-002, M W 11:00-11:50 AM, HC 082 or
1870:250-005, 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 non-specialists, 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.

Sarah Akers, 1870:250-003, WF 12:05-12:55 PM, HC 092

 This course will examine several motion pictures, ranging from the silent film era to the present day, all of which are based on actual historical events or subjects. We will compare the content of the films with the established facts, and discuss how a work of art (such as a film) can either enhance or diminish our knowledge of history.

Jazz History-Through the eyes of a jazz artist
J. Augustine, 1870:250-009, M 3:20-5:00 PM, HC 082

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 1870:250-010
M W 8:50AM-9:40AM, or 1870: 250-011, MW 9:55-10:45AM, Smilek Honors Complex 083. 

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.

Virtual Life=Real Life 1870: 250-014 Dudley Turner

Everything can be virtually everything – and probably is already.  We begin with an international collaboration working with the Dublin Institute of Technology (Dublin, Ireland) and their students in their module "Is One Life Enough?" then continuing to explore other aspects of the virtual world.  This colloquium examines virtual identity, art, business, music, theatre, science, dance, fashion and education – in the Virtual World and as it relates to the Meat World.  

Scheduled ONLINE Thursdays, 3:30-5:00 p.m. as well as other online work and activities; involves writing, discussions, individual and group projects.

Life’s a Bit: Is Technology a Panacea or Plague?
 [10013] 1870:250-012 
T TH 9:55-10:45AM, Honors Complex 092 
T. Bacher

Technology advances have altered our daily lives. As more innovation leads to greater connectivity and instantaneous contact, is our quality of life improving? Is living longer, living better?

This course explores technology’s role in our daily lives. What do film, literature (fiction and non-fiction), music and other arts tell us about technology? Non-lecture-based class periods will be devoted to discussions, interactive games, problem-solving, and other means of analysis. Required Text:  None

Social Sciences

Social Movements: Civil Rights, Anti-War, Equal Rights for Women 
Dr. Stanley Akers, 
1870:360-001, T TH 11:00-11:50 AM, HC 82 or 
1870:360-003, T TH 9:55-10:45 AM HC 082

In this colloquium we will examine the theory of social movements in modern US society and focus on the Civil Rights, Women's, and Anti-War Movements. Our objective is to examine the role of movements in formation of public policy and the interaction between movements and their impact not only on the society of the time, but their role in creating conditions which require further action in the 21st Century.

Human Rights: What, Whose, and Why Are They?
1870:360-002,M W 9:55-10:45 AM, HC 092, 1870:360-009,M W 8:50-9:40 AM, HC 092

What are your rights –and other people’s rights? What are rights’ limits? How did the idea of rights get invented? Which rights are more important: economic, social, political, or civil rights? Rights issues affect each of us every day as students, citizens, drivers, workers, bosses, and in almost every other role in our lives.

Through reading, discussion, video, and guest speakers, this course examines how rights have developed and how they work—or fail to work. The textbook is the paperback Human Rights: A Very Short Introduction by Andrew Clapham, published by Oxford University Press in 2007.

The Role of The Mass Media in Shaping Public Attitudes and Opinions
 Dr. Stanley Akers, 1870:360-004, T TH 12:05-12:55 PM, HC 082

This colloquium will focus on the role of the mass media, particularly television and the Internet, in shaping public attitudes and opinions, and by extension public policy. We will examine such events as the Army-McCarthy Hearings, the Kennedy Assassination, the Vietnam War, notable criminal cases and terrorism coverage with a view to understanding how public perception is shaped and acted upon politically.

Shaping a Generation: The Baby Boomers and U.S. Popular Culture
 Sarah M. Akers, 1870:360-005, W F 3:20-4:10 PM, HC 082 or 1870:360-008, W F 2:15-3:05 PM, HC 092

In this colloquium, we will examine the fifteen years of U.S. history following the Second World War. This period was seminal in forming the attitudes and values of the generation known as the Baby Boomers who form the country's current leadership - political, economic, religious and cultural. We will make this examination primarily through the prism of U.S. popular culture.

Immigrant America
Dr. Harvey Rosenthal
1870:360-006,T TH 2:15-3:05 PM, HC 083

The American story is not a story of people but of the many peoples that forged a composite nation and state.  For 400 years, and for a wide variety of reasons, peoples of nearly all races, ethnicities, continents and cultures sought out America's shores.  They settled, built and merged to create a new culture.  This course tells the migrant's story, the process of transformation from immigrant to American; our story.  It is not always glorious but it is always interesting and topical.  Today, again, this process is under examination by government, the press and thinkers at all levels.  The future shape and content of our republic is in the making.  Be an informed part of the adventure.

Jazz as a means of Social Communication Joseph Augustine
1870:360-007,TH 3:20-5:00 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

TV, Radio, Internet...oh my!
 Carrie A. Tomko, 1870:360-013, M 9:55-11:35am 

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!

Natural Sciences

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

. HC 092

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 or 1:10, as indicated for each of the sections, 001, 002, resp.

Breakthroughs and Blind Alleys: The History of Scientific Discovery
 Akers, Sarah 1870:470-004, WF 1:10-2:00 PM HC 092 or
 Stanley Akers 1870:470-005, TTh 8:50-9:40 AM HC 082

This course will seek to trace the history of medicine and science from the earliest discoveries to the most recent insights; we will also examine misjudgments, misconceptions, as well as outright fraud and quackery. In the final analysis, the development of medicine and science impacted the course of human history and civilization from the dawn of time to the present day.

Water in our environment
 Dunbar, Michael, 1870:470-007,TuTh 9:55-10:45am, HC 83, or 1870:470-801,Tu 6:05-7:45 PM HC 082, or Th 1870:470-802 6:05-7:45PM HC 082

A natural resource such as water is not an individual physical entity, but rather an active system laden with meaning. Water resources are under constant stresses by environmental, political and social processes. Conservation policies and economic production are just a couple examples of processes that have an effect on water resources. Society typically expresses a level of place attachment to water resources that extends beyond their value as a commodity.

We will be exploring different issues that impact our most valuable natural resource. We will delve into why people care about water issues even though there may be no impending threat to their supply. Our discussions and debates will examine topics such as whether water is a basic right, challenges to its distribution, the environmental costs associated with meeting demand, and the outlook for the future.

The Great Pandemics and Plagues of History
 James Kagafas 
1870:470-008 W F 12:05-12:55 PM HC 083, or 
1870:470-009 WF 1:10-2:00 PM 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.

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