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Spring 2023 Honors Topics Courses

Honors College Faculty Fellows Courses

These special topics courses will be taught in the 2022-2023 academic year.  See the full list of Honors Faculty Fellows and their courses here.

HONR 202A – Use and Abuse of Science

CRN: 16877 - 3 credits

Vagner Benedito

Evansdale Crossing 412 

11am-12:15pm TR

In “Use and Abuse of Science,” students will explore the mechanisms and limitations of science from its potential to solve societal problems to cases of intentional scientific fraud and abuse. They will develop the skills to analyze the world around them and evaluate scientific claims in advertising, politics, commercial products and on social media. From ongoing societal issues, such as global warming, food and energy production, and the pandemic, to historical cases of scientific flaws or misconduct, such as bias in Artificial Intelligence algorithms and the clearly unethical experiments with the Tuskegee syphilis study, scientific literacy is an indispensable skill for full participation in civic discourse and our communities. 


HONR 202B – Extending Reality

CRN: 16878 - 3 credits

David Smith

Evansdale Crossing 412 

2pm-3:15pm TR

“Extending Reality” will present students with a guided media and discussion-based tour of XR technology (virtual, augmented and mixed reality), learning about its origins, current applications and future growth potential. With the increasing merging of the digital and physical worlds, we are presented with new opportunities for interactivity and communication as well as new problems of privacy and digital identity in the metaverse. Students will learn about these concepts through lectures, class discussions and hands-on learning activities. The course will culminate in students pitching, planning and producing a meaningful XR project made to benefit a campus or community partner.  

HONR 202C – Ethics and Organ Transplant

CRN: 16879 - 3 credits

Lynsey Biondi

Health Sciences South 1394 

2pm-3:15pm TR

This course is designed for those with an interest in medicine, health sciences, or philosophy and ethics.  The course will serve as an introduction to bioethics and applied practice in medicine, using organ transplantation as the core subject matter. Ethical debates in transplant include (but are definitely not limited to) rationing/allocation of scarce organs, futility and the declaration of brain death, use of human and animal research subjects, buying and selling organs, operating on healthy living donors who do not need an operation, restriction of organs based on vaccine status, and use of organs from prisoners. Taught by a practicing transplant surgeon, students will explore the science of transplant surgery and immunology through readings, lecture, discussions, and videos; students will meet with multidisciplinary professionals in the field of organ donation and transplantation.

HONR 207A – Legal Fictions

CRN: 16882 - 3 credits

Rose Casey

Hodges Hall 312 

10am-11:15am TR

“Legal Fictions” brings together law and literature to engage global perspectives on justice. By reading novels, poetry and drama alongside legal statutes, resolutions and conventions, students will see how law and literature employ similar methods to build a more just world. They’ll learn about laws that have discriminated based on race, gender and nationality and examine how legal systems around the world have protected individual and group rights. By exploring continuities between countries as diverse as India, South Africa, the U.S. and the U.K., “Legal Fictions” inspires students to think expansively about justice: what it is, what is has been, what it could be.

Regular Courses (3 credit courses)


HONR 293: Diversity & Incl. Leadership

Course Description: The Diversity & Inclusive Leadership course will introduce students to a multifaceted perspective of diversity and its intersection with leadership development. Students will gain a foundational understanding of deeply rooted issues including power, privilege, and oppression, while also drawing connections to how such issues can relate to their current and future responsibilities as leaders.  Each student will explore their own identities (e.g. race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexuality, LGBTQ+, age, ability status, social class, culture, etc.) as well as their lived or witnessed experiences while learning from established frameworks and apply theoretical knowledge to current events and case studies to deepen their understanding.  Upon completion, students will be more introspective, thoughtful, and empathetic as their perspectives, on both diversity and leadership, are broadened.


HONR 293: Exploring Star Wars

Course Description: Star Wars may be set “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away,” but the epic holds great relevance for us right here and now.  This course will explore the Star Wars franchise (primarily the movies and recent tv series) using a variety of perspectives, from the comparative mythology of Luke and Rey’s heroic journeys to the ethics of the Jedi and Sith Codes and the philosophy of The Force.  This course will also examine Star Wars from a range of scientific angles, from the physics of hyperdrive to the medical practicality of Bacta tanks.  Whether you are a lifelong Star Wars fan or just interested in learning more, please join us for an interdisciplinary adventure!


HONR 293: American Feuds 101

Course Description: Hatfield, McCoy, Earp, Clanton, Capone, Moran:  These names and others have become part of American lore. In this class, we will strip away the layers of legend and see who these people were and why they fought and killed each other. We will examine the legends and see that the truth is very different than what we have been taught.


Full Semester - 2 credit courses


HONR 245: Service in Tutoring

Course Description: An introduction to the basic principles, practices, and current theory of peer tutoring. This course will provide Honors students the opportunity to tutor in local high schools while learning about topics of interest in education. Students will engage in reflection and critical inquiry that link service learning to academic learning.