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 University Honors

Honors Courses


Spring 2016

From Beethoven to the Beatles (MU 1003, Sect 550)
Dr. Thomas Wegren
MWF 11-11:50am, ChPk 208
Fine Arts

Beethoven to the Beatles develops basic musicianship, enhances artistic expressive awareness, provides historical and cross-cultural contexts, and encourages creative and analytical thinking through written expression. World-music perspectives are presented with live piano performances. Music can only be really alive when there are listeners who are really aware. Learning how to listen to and what to listen for in music is vital to artistic growth. Aaron Copland, the Dean of American Composers, said: “To listen intently, to listen consciously, to listen with one’s whole intelligence is the least we can do in furtherance of an art that is one of the glories of mankind.

Biological Anthropology and Archaeology (ANTH 1602, Sect. 550)
Dr. Jennifer Jones
T R 2-4pm, 39 SPCH
Social Science

In Biological Anthropology and Archaelogy we will explore questions that are at the foundation of what it means to be human via the discipline of anthropology – How have humans developed physically into our modern form? What does it mean that modern humans around the world look different from one another? What does it mean for our health that we now live lives much different than the conditions we evolved under?

  1. The skeletons and artifacts of extinct two-legged human ancestors tell us about the history of our ancestors. How did we develop into the walking, talking, aggressive and altruistic apes of today?
  2. Primate physiology and behavior tells us about our place in the natural world. Learn why this matters.
  3. Humans look different from each other. Learn why anthropology is interested in human biological variation and race.
  4. We’ve changed. Once egalitarian food gatherers, now we go to McDonalds and shop at the grocery store. What might our future look like?

We will read popular science non-fiction, science articles, and watch digital clips and documentaries to immerse you in how science is done and communicated to non-specialist audiences. You will also do a series of active learning exercises including 1) hands-on activities with replica casts of human fossils, skeletal material, and archaeological artifacts, and 2) a role playing historical reenactment of the Royal Society’s nomination of Charles Darwin for a major scientific honor of his day.

Creating Art (FA 1102, Sect. 550)
Dr. Justin Henry Rubin
MWF 2-2:50pm, H222
Fine Arts

No textbooks, only hands-on interactive learning. What do we do? We make films when you've never made one before, create an illuminated manuscript, study paintings of recluses and hold lively discussions on how and why people never stop making interesting things from every era and perspective.


Fall 2015

University Honors Ethnobotany (ANTH 4633, Sect 550)
Dr. David Syring
M & W 2-3:40pm
(Fills Sustainability LE)
Ever reached for a bottle of aspirin when you have a headache? Ever thought about where that tomato (or potato or rice or…) that you are about to eat comes from? Ever drunk a cup of tea or coffee to boost your energy levels? Ever held a wooden oar, spoon, baseball bat or 2X4 in your hands? Ever used the petals of a flower to ask a question (“…loves me, … love me not…”)?

All of these actions demonstrate the roles that plants play in human culture. Human societies have always depended on plants as sources for food, medicines, material goods, symbolic understanding, and more. This course offers you the chance to study the fascinating interrelations between humans and plants, including material, symbolic, ritualistic and other aspects of human-plant interactions. The course combines cultural anthropology and botany to investigate the roles of plants as food, medicine, natural resources and/or gateways to culturally sanctioned religious experiences.

University Honors Global Issues (SW 1212, Sect 550)
Dr. Dennis Falk
T & R 3:30-4:45 pm
(Fills Social Science and Global Perspectives LE)
This course focuses on global problems of war, peace, and national security; population, food, and hunger; environmental concerns and global resources; economic and social development; human rights. It examines issues from systems, problem solving, and futurist perspectives in honors seminar format.

University Honors Contemporary Mathematics (MATH 1024, Sect 550)
Dr. Carmen Latterel
M W & F 9-9:50am
(Fills Logic and Quantitative Reasoning LE)
Mathematics is both a powerful tool and a beautiful liberal education topic in and of itself. Yet, many people’s view of mathematics is one of a dry, boring, numeric subject. This course aims to increase awareness and appreciation of the uses, richness, and power of mathematics. We will explore graph theory, scheduling, linear programming, statistical sampling and inference, coding information, decision making, voting theory, game theory, geometric growth, symmetry, patterns, interest rates, and other topics. Our exploration will include discussion, writing, reporting, researching, projects, and other techniques usually reserved for non-mathematics classes. We will use technological tools to replace tedious operations, and learn instead how mathematics can enrich YOUR life.

University Honors Advanced Writing (WRIT 3180, Sect 550)
Dr. Liz Wright
T & R 8 - 9:15am
(Fills Advanced Writing Requirement)
Nervous about writing your UH capstone project? The course will allow University Honors students the opportunity to learn collaboratively in an interdisciplinary setting as they work on the capstone scholarship projects and write and edit an on-line journal. Students will explore the requirements of various academic journals, determine the criteria for their journal, revise their own Capstone Project text in various drafts, peer review their colleagues’ writing, recruit other peer reviewers, solicit a call for papers, formally communicate with these additional peer reviewers and other relevant parties, determine the content of the journal, and design the layout of the journal, In so doing, students will have a holistic experience, seeing the evolution of writing from its nascent stages to publication. This course is designed to fulfill the Advanced Writing requirement which almost every major on campus maintains.



Spring 2015

Biology of Women (HON 3095 Section 550)
Colleen Belk
W 3-5:50pm
3 credits
Fulfills Natural Sciences and Cultural Diversity liberal education requirements* (old category 5)
The Biology of Women course will undertake a comprehensive examination of the biology of the human female life cycle with a focus on learning to challenge prevailing stereotypes and double standards that are harmful to both males and females. Topics include: How two different sexes evolved; sex differences in embryonic and pubertal development; sex differences in human skeletal structure, body composition, reproductive anatomy and physiology. Disordered eating, violence against women as a health issue, premenstrual syndrome, menstruation the female sexual response, pregnancy and birthing, control of fertility and abortion, menopause and aging issues relevant to women. 

Community and Journalism (JOUR 2400 Section 550)
John Hatcher
TuTh 3:30-4:45pm
3 credits
Fulfills Global Perspectives liberal education requirement (does not fulfill a category in the old lib ed system but students can petition for lib ed credit through their advising office)
What is a community? What is journalism? How are globalization and technology changing what we think we know about these concepts? What is the relationship between community and journalism? What role should the journalist play in a community setting? What new questions can be gleaned through the study of journalism in one community?

Honors students in this class will spend the semester studying the dynamic relationship that exists between communities and journalism in case studies from around the world. The final step in this process will be for the students to identify a community that does not have a strong journalism/storytelling network and to propose their own startup, entrepreneurial journalism project that would serve this community. Students will be encouraged to seek out historically marginalized communities for these presentations. The students will then present their startup proposals in poster sessions in a session that will be open to the community.

Encountering Death and Grief: A Multicultural Journey (HLTH 3341 Section 550)
H (Mitzi) Doane
M 3:30-6pm
3 credits
Fulfills Cultural Diversity liberal education requirement (does not fulfill a category in the old lib ed system but students can petition for lib ed credit through their advising office)
This class incorporates field trips and guest speakers who come from different cultures, religions or death experiences (such as loss due to suicide, murder, accident). Students have an opportunity to explore death via reading and discussion including such topics as capital punishment, the right to die, war. The class is not a lecture, it is a seminar where there is a free give and take.

Philosophy and Rhetoric (COMM 3610 Section 550)
David Gore
TuTh 2-3:15pm
3 credits
Fulfills Humanities liberal education requirement (does not fulfill a category in the old lib ed system but students can petition for lib ed credit through their advising office)
We all face the challenge of how to talk effectively about the things that matter most to us. Just as it is not easy to know what we think about any given topic, we all struggle to articulate our thoughts in a way that can secure the agreement of our hearers. This course is an intellectual adventure exploring the relationship between philosophy, literally the love of wisdom, and rhetoric, literally the task of capable discussion. Each time we meet we will speak of what we have read, attempt to come to grips with our own awareness of this complex and messy world, and seek to plot out the values that we share in common. Along the way, we shall endeavor to sharpen the equipment necessary for living a good life, a life dedicated at once to learning and practicing what we learn.

*Note that due to database constraints, although this course will count toward Cultural Diversity and Natural Sciences requirements, this will not show up on your APAS until the course has been completed.



Fall 2014


Intercultural Communication (COMM 3535 Section 550**)
Ryan Goei
Course # 29657
TuTh 6pm – 9:40pm
4 credits
Fulfills Cultural Diversity in the US liberal education requirement (old Social Science Category 6 and also the International Perspectives requirement)

**this section is open to incoming UH freshmen only

Intercultural Communication is an extremely popular and rewarding class opportunity for UH students. Intercultural Communication is a very unique class. There are no textbooks. It is an applied class in which students engage with each other, a culturally diverse group of classmates, to learn about individuals and their experience with culture and communication here in the US and around the world. The class is based on the notion that to understand people and culture one must start by getting to know the person. As such the class requirements are almost exclusively relational in nature. You will be engaging in and writing about out-of-class “dates” with classmates from other cultures and will be participating in several class activities and trips (including two all day Saturday trips) to spend some time together building friendships. In the past these relationship-building class activities have included picnics, canoeing, swimming, camping, roller-skating, competitions, and dining out, amongst others. Students leave this class with an immensely personal understanding of humans and how culture affects their lives and views. They also often leave the class with lifelong friends, friends from various cultures both within the US and around the globe.

Intercultural Communication fulfills the Cultural Diversity in the United States requirement of UMD’s Liberal Education Program requirements. It is a four-credit class that begins the first week of Fall semester, like all others, but lasts only six weeks instead of sixteen. The class is time intensive early but complete before midterm exams are scheduled for most other classes.


Special Topics: Psychology of Drinking and Alcohol Misuse (HON 3095 Section 550)
Scott Carlson
Course # 34804
MWF 11-11:50
3 credits
Fulfills Social Science liberal education category (students using the pre-2012 liberal education program will need to consult with Dr. Carlson and petition CEHSP for lib ed credit)

Alcohol use is common in North America and alcohol misuse is a major social, psychiatric, and public health problem in the United States. This course provides both an overview of psychological perspectives on the causes of drinking and alcoholism and an introduction to major theories within the broader discipline of psychology. Students will be exposed to general concepts and perspectives in major sub-disciplines within psychology and these will then be applied specifically to the study of alcohol use and problems. An emphasis is placed on how psychologists empirically approach answering questions through quantitative research. Students will be mentored in the writing of relevant types of proposals needed in the conduct of research in this field.


Special Topics: The World of Surfing (HON 3095 Section 551)
Scott Laderman
Course # 34805
TuTh  9:15-10:55am
4 credits
Fulfills both Humanities and Global Perspectives liberal education categories 
(students using the pre-2012 liberal education program will need to consult with Dr. Laderman and petition CEHSP for lib ed credit)

The World of Surfing will combine the classroom study of the history of surfing with pool- and Lake Superior-based instruction on how to surf.  Surfing is of course a major cultural phenomenon, having spawned numerous movies, television programs, novels, works of visual art, video games, bands, and lines of clothing.  The course will examine the basis for this popularity, tracing the sport's modern evolution from nineteenth-century Hawai'i through its global ubiquity in the twenty-first century.  Along the way, we will explore surfing's intersection with some of the major developments of the last two hundred years: empire-building and the "civilizing mission," economic and cultural modernization, the growth of international tourism, the political upheavals of the Cold War era, and corporate globalization.  In addition to this classroom content, we will spend time in the UMD pool, where students will learn and develop surfing skills, which they will ultimately put to use during a surfing outing on Lake Superior.


The City in Film (CST3095)
Kathryn Milun
Course # 32751
TuTh 10 - 11:50am
4 credits

Currently under review for lib ed approval. Will likely fulfill one or more lib ed categories. It is under consideration as Liberal Education offering in categories II.  Knowledge Domains (Social Sciences  and Fine Arts) and III.  Key Topics (Global Perspectives and Sustainability).  If it achieves these designations in the Fall of 2014, the instructor will work with CLA advising to see whether the 2014 Honors students can receive appropriate Lib Ed credit.   

“The City in Film” is an ambitious, interdisciplinary course that offers, through a cross-cultural array of feature films, a unique, story-based way to learn about the history of the modern city, its global extension outside of its Euro-American beginnings, the social and environmental issues triggered by industrialized urban form, and the artistic and popular responses to such urban modernity.  The course has a production dimension so that students will learn to be not only social analysts but also artistic producers.  Throughout the course, students will learn to connect the social content of what films say about modern urban life with the artistic rhetoric of how films speak.  As producers of their own three-minute short film on Duluth—a collaborative, peer-reviewed production process that will be built into the course from the beginning--students will learn to view filmic content as both social analysts and creative storytellers.  The students will host a “Local City Shorts” mini-film festival at the end of the semester to showcase their productions.  In this course, students will learn to bring social analysis into the process of visual storytelling so that, in the end, they become more adept at telling others what it feels like to live within large social structures that, as historically created forms, are neither inevitable nor inert. In short, by becoming city filmmakers themselves, students are encouraged to think as analysts and problem-solvers creatively facing the challenges of the large scale built environment they have inherited.


Global Issues (SW 1212 Section 001)
Dennis Falk
Course # 31761
TuTh 3:30-4:45pm
3 credits
Fulfills Social Science and Global Perspective liberal education category (old category 8—Contemporary Social Issues and Analysis)

Focus on global problems of war, peace, and national security; population, food, and hunger; environmental concerns and global resources; economic and social development; human rights. Examination of issues from systems, problem solving, and futurist perspectives in honors seminar format. 

Click here for information on University Honors Contract Courses


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