Honors Explorations Courses

Honors Explorations Courses

Honors explorations courses are topic-based general education courses taught by faculty in their particular areas of interest and expertise.  Honors students are required to complete three honors explorations courses in different areas.  Below is a list of upcoming course offerings.

Fall 2016

Bohemian Life (HONR 200: Honors Fine Arts)

Dr. Merrin Guice

Asst. Professor of Vocal Music

Time TBD

Bohemian Life: the intersection of dance, music, and poetry in both performance and relationship in the 19th century. This class will explore the societies in Western Europe that formed social groups dedicated to an artistic community and the art that was the result. 

The Right to Private Property (HONR 230: Honors Humanities)

Dr. Bryan Kampbell

Assoc. Professor of Communication & Honors Program Director

Tu/Th 9:30am-10:45pm

The right to private property has been a topic of discussion since antiquity. Questions about private ownership have animated controversies in politics, theology, law, economics, and philosophy for centuries. Property rights play a role in environmental studies, business, city planning, copyright law, agriculture, and scientific research, just to name a few.

This course will offer an introduction to this vast and fascinating topic. After a brief survey of key writings about private property from antiquity to the colonial period in America, we will walk through a few landmark judicial decisions that have affected how we define and manage property in the United States.

The remainder of the class will be devoted to some of the thorny but interesting issues before us today, depending on student interest. Topics may include but are not limited to: intellectual property, music piracy, the Cliven Bundy standoff, eminent domain, cap and trade policies, privacy rights, nuisance, water rights, fracking, derivatives, and so on. Coursework includes readings, seminar-style discussion, some short response papers, and a research paper with presentation on a topic of the student’s choice.

Interim 2017


Spring 2017

HONR 210: Honors Social Science

Dr. Brad Best

Professor of Political Science

Time TBD

Description TBD

HONR 221/222/223: Honors Science

Dr. Kristy McClellan

Assoc. Professor of Biology

Time TBD

Description TBD

Fall 2015

Religions of Iowa (HONR 230: Humanities)

Dr. Swasti Bhattacharyya

Assoc. Professor of Religion

MWF 2:00pm-2:50pm

Most people the world over know that Iowa is part of the heartland of the USA and home to agriculture and agribusiness. However, few, even within Iowa itself, are aware of the rich diversity of religious traditions growing throughout the state. Cedar Rapids is home of the “mother Mosque:” the first mosque in the country. Rocks and people have traveled from all over the world to be a part of, and see, the Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend. For the past 25 years, Postville has been home to a group of Hasidic Jews and Maharishi Vedic City (incorporated in 2001) is an Iowan town whose name is grounded in ancient religious traditions from India. These are but a few examples of the diverse religious traditions that have taken root in Iowa. In this course, beginning with the Buddhist temple in our own back yard, through reading primary and secondary texts, films, and actual visits to a number of religious centers in Iowa, we will engage the diverse voices of the men and women who practice their religious beliefs within our state.

Interim 2016

Microorganisms: Shaping Our World in Unseen Powerful Ways (HONR 220: Honors Science)

Dr. Brian Lenzmeier

Professor of Biology

Time TBD

Unbeknownst to humans, microorganisms were influencing our health, our culture, our economies, our history and our humanity for millennia.  The significant role microorganisms play in our everyday lives began to be uncovered in the 17th century by an uneducated but highly curious janitor from Holland who invented the microscope. Since that seminal moment, we’ve learned microorganisms naturally make us healthier but also kill us.  They can improve agricultural yields as well as decimate our livestock.  They can be manipulated to produce medicines or refined into biological weapons.  The overarching goal of this honors course is to explore the ever-evolving and complex relationships between microorganisms and humans.  We will begin with an examination of the science and the scientists behind influential microbiological discoveries and will progress through the semester by discussing the modern intersection between science and humanity through topics like vaccines, genetic engineering, germ warfare, and the microbiome project.

Spring 2016

Contemporary Art Concepts: Reading and Reacting to Art of the Living Artist (HONR 200: Honors Fine Arts)

Prof. David Boelter

Assoc. Professor of Art

Time Tu/Th 9:30am-10:45am

Contemporary artists utilize a range of materials, technologies, and concepts as well as push ideas as to what art is and how it can be defined. Artists today investigate concepts, questions, and rituals that look to the past, define the present, and predict the future. In such a diverse world, there is no singular way to define what contemporary art is; there are only methods of reading it, analyzing it, and responding to what it is attempting to say about the world we live in. In this course we will examine the works of contemporary artists and explore the ways that they are documenting, critiquing, and commenting on the present world, we will investigate their chosen materials both verbally and through hands-on processes, and we will diversify the manner in which we consider and define artistic language and practices.