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.
Religions of Iowa (HONR 230: Humanities)
Dr. Swasti Bhattacharyya
Assoc. Professor of Religion
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.
Microorganisms: Shaping Our World in Unseen Powerful Ways (HONR 220: Honors Science)
Dr. Brian Lenzmeier
Professor of Biology
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.
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.
Born in the USA: Sociological Perspectives on Contemporary American Culture (HONR 210: Honors Social Science)
Dr. Bryan Kampbell
Assoc. Professor of Communication & Honors Program Director
This course will examine recent academic research in Sociology as well as popular social commentary in order to understand contemporary American society better. Topics may include but will not be limited to: trends in income distribution; shifts in marriage and family life, polarization of political culture, heightened religious conflict, the changing world of work, rural/urban relations, and other areas of interest to students. As future leaders in professional and civic contexts, honors students will consider how we can engage the complexity of the social world, how we can manage it, and how we can lead into it. To that end, iconoclastic, “alternative” or “third way,” perspectives will feature prominently. Seminar-style class sessions will focus on discussion of assigned readings. Students will research an interdisciplinary social science topic of public importance that is of personal and/or professional interest, prepare an academic paper based on their findings, and present the material in an oral presentation.
HONR 200: Honors Fine Arts
Dr. Merrin Guice
Asst. Professor of Vocal Music
HONR 230: Honors Humanities
Dr. Bryan Kampbell
Assoc. Professor of Communication
HONR 210: Honors Social Science
Dr. Brad Best
Professor of Political Science
HONR 221/222/223: Honors Science
Dr. Kristy McClellan
Assoc. Professor of Biology