Foundational Interdisciplinary Sequence & Live. Learn. Lead.

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Foundational Interdisciplinary Sequences 2015-2016

African Civilization, section 01

Fall Semester:      HNR 254/255, section 01

Winter Semester:  HNR 274/275, section 01

Note: You must take section 01 for both semesters.

Schedule (First Semester): MW 3:00-4:15pm and 4:30-5:45pm HON 220

Schedule (Second Semester): MW 3:00-4:15pm and 4:30-5:45pm HON 220

Fulfills: Arts, History, Philosophy & Literature, World Perspectives, WRT 150 (with B or better), SWS

Steeve Buckridge, Associate Professor

David Alvarez, Professor

This course surveys the history of African civilizations to the nineteenth century. It will concentrate on the political, economic, cultural, and social development of specific African societies before European conquest of the continent. The course will be more thematic than chronological. The course will open with a discussion of the myths associated with African people and will explore a wide range of topics such as migration, languages, religious concepts, dress, art, social organization, and the process of state formation particularly in East and West Africa. The class will also examine the spread of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism in Africa. Other topics will include the Atlantic Slave trade, slavery in Africa, gender and the division of labor. The course format will include lectures, papers, group discussions as well as audio-visuals and music. This course is the first part of the two-part survey of African History specifically designed for Honors.   


Alliance and Conflict: World Construction in Religion and Society

Fall Semester:          HNR 280 section 04 (Must also enroll in a section of Live, Learn, Lead)

Winter Semester:      HNR 280 sections 03 and 04      

Schedule (First Semester): MWF 12-12:50 HON 218

Schedule (Second Semester): MWF 11:00-11:50 and 12:00-12:50 HON 218

Fulfills: Arts, History, SWS, World Perspectives, HST 380, Social Science (or Philosophy & Literature if needed), WRT 150 (with B or better)

Jeremiah Cataldo, Assistant Professor of History and Meijer Honors College


At the heart of every social relationship, whether among human collectives or with the natural world, exists either alliance or conflict. In this sequence, we investigate the nature of those dialectical relationships as they take place between religion and society. We will look at how those relationships have defined or framed in particular collective identities, behaviors, morals, truths, and laws. We will look also at how those relationships have affected the construction of knowledge.


This sequence will be taught from a social-scientific approach, introducing students to different types of critical theories. Drawing upon select religious and cultural contexts, areas of focus will include: religious and cultural “normatives,” texts, art, philosophy, theology, linguistics, and politics. The first semester of this sequence will focus both on an introduction to different critical theories and select religions and societies before and during the so-called “Axial Age” (800-200 BCE). The second semester will pursue a relative mastery of critical theory and focus on post-“Axial Age” religions and societies. By the end of the sequence, students will have an understanding of how religion and society are mutually constructive through relations of alliance and conflict. In addition, the theories and analytical procedures used throughout the sequence will provide helpful tools for critical analysis in other courses in the humanities and the social- and political-sciences.


American Civilization, section 01

Fall Semester:        HNR 213 and 214, section 01: American Civilization I

Winter Semester:  HNR 223 and 224, section 01: American Civilization II

NOTE: You must take section 01 for both semesters.  

Schedule (First Semester): MWF 9:00-10:50am HON 218

Schedule (Second Semester): MWF 9:00-10:50am HON 218

Fulfills: Arts, History, Philosophy & Literature, U.S. Diversity, HST 205, HST 206, ENG 225, ENG 226, WRT 150 (with B or better), SWS

Avis Hewitt, Associate Professor

Douglas Montagna, Associate Professor of History

Fall: Course provides a survey of American history, literature, and intellectual progress from European Colonization through Reconstruction. 

Winter: Continues the study of American Civilization begun in HNR 213. Emphasis is on philosophy and arts in American culture.


American Civilization, section 02

Fall Semester:        HNR 213 and 214, section 02: American Civilization I

Winter Semester:  HNR 223 and 224, section 02: American Civilization II

NOTE: You must take section 02 for both semesters.  

Schedule (First Semester): MW 3:00-5:45pm HON 219

Schedule (Second Semester): MW 3:00-5:45pm HON 219

Fulfill: Arts, History, Philosophy & Literature, U.S. Diversity, HST 205, HST 206, ENG 225, ENG 226, WRT 150 (with B or better), SWS

Steve Tripp, Professor of History

Michael Webster, Professor

This section of the Honors Foundation course focuses exclusively on the United States during the twentieth century, what publisher Henry Luce boldly identified as the “American Century.”   Using literature, poetry, film, autobiography, art, photography, and music, we will examine the lives of people who lived through the industrial revolution, the Jazz Age, the Great Depression, two world wars, de-industrialization, revolt, and reaction.  During the Fall semester, we will pay particular attention to the concept of Modernity in all its glorious manifestations.  In the Winter, we will consider the fate of Modernity amidst the social, political, and cultural upheaval of post-World War II America.


Big History                         

Fall Semester: HNR 280 Sections 07 and 08

Winter Semester: HNR 280 Sections 07 and 08

Schedule (First Semester): TR 2:30-3:45 and 4:00-5:15pm HON 218

Schedule (Second Semester): TR 2:30-3:45 and 4:00-5:15pm HON 218

Fulfills: History, Philosophy & Literature, World Perspectives, HST 380, WRT 150 (w/ B or better), SWS, Physical Science

Craig Benjamin, Professor

Various Professors from different Disciplines will be guest speakers throughout the year

Everything that exists has a history: each person, plant, animal and object, our planet, and the entire universe.  Each of these histories offers valuable insights; but collectively they reveal even more. Big history weaves evidence and perspectives from many scientific and historical disciplines into a single, accessible origin story – one that explores who we are, how we got here, how we are connected to everything around us, and where we may be heading.  Big History examines these connected histories on very large scales across long time frames through a multidisciplinary approach focused on both the history of the non-human world, and on the major adaptations and alterations in the human experience.


This Big History course will examine the past on the largest possible time scale: it begins with the origins of the universe, and goes on to tell a series of linked stories about the origins of stars and planets, of life on earth, the emergence of human beings, and the various types of human societies that have existed up to the present day. History on this sort of scale encourages each of us to consider our place in the global world of the twenty-first century, and to think of how we might contribute to the future of that world.  Both semesters of the course will be taught by Professor Benjamin, who is a leading big historian and a member of the Executive of the International Big History Association.  He will be joined throughout the course by many different professors from various academic disciplines who will bring their expertise to the course through a series of guest lectures. This course fulfills the General Education Program's Foundations (Historical Perspectives and Social Science Emphasis) and World Perspective (Culture Emphasis), and WRT 150 and one SWS designations. You will also learn how to research and write extensive and rigorous research essays in a range of scientific and historical subjects.


Classical World

Fall Semester:          HNR 211 and 212, section 01

Winter Semester:    HNR 221 and 222, section 01

Schedule (First Semester): MWF 1:00-1:50 and 2:00-2:50pm HON 220

Schedule (Second Semester): MWF 1:00-2:50pm HON 220

Fulfills: Arts, History, Philosophy & Literature, World Perspectives, HST 380, WRT 150 (with B or better), SWS
Diane Rayor, Professor (Fall)

Chuck Pazdernik, Professor (Fall)

Charles Ham, (Winter)

Peter Anderson, (Winter)

This course takes a multi-disciplinary approach to the study of the history, literature, intellectual history, philosophy, and arts of the Classical period with emphasis on Greeks and Romans. This approach includes close and extensive reading of primary sources (such as literary texts and artifacts) and secondary sources (including history and art history textbooks).


European Civilization, section 01

Fall Semester:        HNR 215 and 216, section 01: European Civilization I   

Winter Semester:  HNR 225 and 226, section 02: European Civilization II 

Note: You must take section 01 for both semesters.

Schedule (First Semester): TR 10:00am-12:45pm HON 218

Schedule (Second Semester): TR 10:00am-12:45pm HON 218

Fulfills: Arts, History, Philosophy & Literature, World Perspectives, HST 380, ENG 221, WRT 150 (with B or better), SWS

Ellen Adams, Assistant Professor

David Eick, Associate Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures

Fall: This course examines the sweeping political and cultural changes that roiled Europe from the Renaissance through the eve of the French Revolution. Studying art and literature in tandem will yield insights into the ways in which intellectuals challenged dominant ideologies and promoted new values like tolerance of difference, freedom of thought and expression, equality and human rights. We will delve into the Renaissance and the Enlightenment via two “Reacting to the Past” (RTTP) games: “Machiavelli & the Florentine Republic, 1494-1512; and “The Enlightenment in Crisis: Diderot’s Encyclopédie in a Parisian Salon,” in which we will canvass the bold ideas which inspired the most ambitious enterprise in the history of publishing. Throughout the semester, we will explore the how the lives and work of ordinary people, writers, artists, and musicians both reflected and shaped historical events.


Winter: This course examines the sweeping political and cultural changes taking place in Europe in the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the ways in which writers, artists, filmmakers, and musicians—and even restaurant chefs!--reflect and shape these changes. How does a society move towards industrialization and what implications does this have for traditional ideas about class, gender, and family? How do advances in technology affect the nineteenth century and the onset of total war in the twentieth century? How do people experience ideas and movements linked to politics, nationalism, psychology, and gender at the end of the nineteenth century? How can we see the European experience in its global context during a period of empire building? What were the social, political and cultural effects of total war, fascism and decolonization in the twentieth century? What can we learn about our modern society and ourselves by understanding this past?


European Civilization, section 02

Fall Semester:      HNR 215 and 216, section 02: European Civilization I   

Winter Semester:  HNR 225 and 226, section 02 European Civilization II

NOTE: You must take section 02 for both semesters.

Schedule (First Semester): TR 1:00-3:45pm HON 220

Schedule (Second Semester): TR 1:00-3:45pm HON 220

Fulfills: Arts, History, Philosophy & Literature, World Perspectives, HST 380, ENG 221, WRT 150 (with B or better), SWS

Grace Coolidge, Associate Professor of History

Diane Wright, Professor of Modern Languages

While this course covers all of European history and culture, we put a special emphasis on Spain. Spain occupied a unique historical and geographical position as the cultural crossroad of East and West, where the three “peoples of the book” (Christians, Jews and Muslims) coexisted in complex patterns of harmony and tension.  The Spanish empire dominated the early modern world, and Spain was home to a rich cultural Renaissance.  By contrast, twentieth-century Spain survived a brutal civil war and the longest-running Fascist dictatorship in European history to become a thriving modern democracy.  We explore the twists and turns of Spanish history and compare and contrast Spain to the rest of Europe, learning about its uniqueness as well as about the common ties that bind it to the mainland.  The course covers Spanish and European history and culture from the medieval period to the present day European union.  We learn how to cure love-sickness, follow a cross-dressing nun in her adventures across Spain and the new world, meet the famous witch Celestina, and wrestle with the Frankenstein monster.  In the 19th century the class uses a six-week simulation in which students play the parts of workers and factory owners caught up in the Industrial Revolution, making choices and living with the consequences in this fast-changing culture.   We explore the tragic, disillusioned poetry of World War One, the impact of the Holocaust, and the slow rebuilding of a traumatized Europe into today’s European Union.  The class puts special emphasis on learning to write historical and literary essays and to handle a college-level reading load, skills that will benefit students in any discipline they pursue.


Focus on East Asia

Fall Semester:           HNR 256, 257 section 01

Winter Semester:       HNR 276, 277, section 01

NOTE: You must take section 1 for both semesters.

Schedule (First Semester): MW 3:00-5:45pm HON 218

Schedule (Second Semester): MW 3:00-5:45pm HON 218

Fulfills: Arts, History, Philosophy & Literature, World Perspectives, HST 380, WRT 150 (with B or better), SWS

Craig Benjamin, Associate Professor of History

Yan Liang, Assistant Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures

Jeremy Robinson, Associate Professor of Japanese

This course explores the history and culture of China, Korea, Japan, Southeast Asia, and Central Asia between c. 50,000 BCE and today. East Asian history and culture is often neglected in mainstream Western education systems, but over recent decades we have come to realize the fundamental significance of this region to global history. China has the longest continuous history of any civilization, and for millennia was the wealthiest and most powerful empire on Earth.  Today one-fifth of the world’s population lives in China, a nation undergoing rapid economic growth and social and political transformation.  China now has the second largest economy on the world, and Japan the third.  This course explores the extraordinary technological and philosophical contributions the eastern regions of Eurasia have made to world culture through a detailed consideration of the political, military, economic and cultural history of China and the other major eastern hemisphere nations.


During the first semester, Professor Benjamin explores the rich history of China from the Paleolithic Era to the Tang Dynasty, including China’s engagement with ancient Central Asia along the Silk Roads.  At the same time, Professor Liang will offer a comprehensive overview of the literature of China from ancient times through to the twenty-first century.  In the second semester, Professor Benjamin follows Chinese history from the Tang Dynasty through to today, and also investigates the long and fascinating history of Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia.  At the same time, Professor Robinson will offer a comprehensive overview of the literature and culture of Korea and Japan.   By the end of this two-semester course students will have gained a deep understanding and appreciation of the fascinating 50,000 year-long history of this dynamic region, and the extraordinary contributions its peoples have made to global culture.  This course fulfills the General Education Program's Foundations (Philosophy and Literature Emphasis) and World Perspective (Culture Emphasis), and WRT 150 designations. You will also learn how to research and write extensive and rigorous research essays. 


Food for Thought    

Fall Semester: HNR 280 02 (Must also enroll in a section of Live, Learn, Lead)

Winter Semester: HNR 280 sections 01 and 02 (SWS)

Schedule (Fall): TR 4:00-5:15pm HON 220

Schedule (Winter): TR 8:30-9:45am and 10:00-11:15am HON 214

Fulfills: World Perspectives, History, SWS, US Diversity, Social Science, WRT 150 (w/ B or better)

Amy McFarland, Professor


If we are what we eat, why are we so removed from ourselves? This course examines food - from seed to waste and beyond - and its impact on our bodies, our wallets and our planet. Beginning with where our food comes from, this class will explore the cultural, scientific, and economic 'evolution' of our food systems - from the birth of modern agriculture to the patenting of genes and genetic modifications - we will investigate the causes and consequences of producing food for the ever-growing modern world. The course then will examine the choices we make, the true costs of food - - locally, regionally, nationally, and globally - - will be uncovered with special attention being paid to the social class inequality of those choices and their consequences. The final phase of the investigation delves into waste and excess and the hidden environmental, economic and social costs of excess. We will turn these lenses on our community and using what we discover, explore pathways to positive change.


History of Science          

Fall Semester:         HNR 258 and 259, section 01

Winter Semester:   HNR 278 and 279, section 01

NOTE: You must take section 01 for both semesters.

Schedule (First Semester): TR 8:30-9:45am and 10:00-11:15am HON 148

Schedule (Second Semester): TR 8:30-9:45am and 10:00-11:15am HON 148

Fulfills: Arts, History, Philosophy & Literature, World Perspectives, WRT 150 (with B or better), SWS

Sheldon Kopperl, Professor of Biomedical Sciences

Andrew D. Spear, Assistant Professor of Philosophy

The world of today – in which the building blocks of life are modified and rearranged for human purposes, heavy machines move effortlessly through air and space, and course descriptions are read on computer screens and can be accessed by anyone anywhere in the world at the click of a button – is unthinkable without science. Yet science (and its much-loved child, technology) did not spring into the world fully formed: it, like everything else, has a history. More importantly, the history of science is just one part of a broader history of the human endeavor to understand our universe and our place in it. This broader endeavor includes not only science, but also religion, literature, art, philosophy, and the study of history itself. This sequence is about this broader human endeavor with special reference to the history of science in Europe (from the Ancient Greeks to around 1850). Themes of the course will include the nature of knowledge, human nature, the relationship between scientific knowledge and other kinds of knowledge and belief, the impact of science and technology on ethics, politics, and the arts (and conversely), and the implications of changing methods and new results in science for our conceptions of ourselves and of the universe. The format of the course is lecture and discussion with occasional in-class group work and/or student presentations.


The first semester explores the history, philosophy, literature, and arts of Europe in an integrated manner, emphasizing the history of science. Specifically, HNR 258 focuses on the historical development of science and some developments in European art beginning in Ancient Greece and then focusing on the period from 1400 – 1650, while HNR 259 focuses on philosophy and theology beginning with Ancient Greece, then concentrating on the period from 1400 – 1650. Together, the two courses work to develop a picture of the Ancient Greek and Medieval-Scholastic (so largely Christian) world-view that had come to dominate European thinking by the 1300s, of the subsequent upheavals brought about by the Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation, and of the beginnings of the Modern Scientific Period and its key breaks with the previous worldview, including new proposals in astronomy and anatomy, and new ways of thinking about the nature, foundations, and goals of science and scientific method. The courses emphasize writing, critical thinking, and research skills.


The second semester continues to explore the history, philosophy, literature, and arts of Europe in an integrated manner, emphasizing the history of science. HNR 278 focuses on historical developments in science and the arts from 1650—1850, while HNR 279 focuses on philosophical, political, and cultural developments during the same period. Beginning with the mechanical philosophy of Rene Descartes and the scientific accomplishments of Isaac Newton, the two sections work together to trace the impact of these developments, as well as reactions to them and parallel developments, through the Enlightenment and Romantic periods, including the political and industrial revolutions. The courses emphasize writing, ethical and political reasoning, and some amount of group work and individual or group presentations.


Islamic Middle East

Fall Semester:         HNR 209 and 210, section 01

Winter Semester:   HNR 219 and 220, section 01

Schedule (First Semester): MW 12:00-1:15 and 1:30– 2:45 HON 219

Schedule (Second Semester): MW 12:00-1:15 and 1:30-2:45pm HON 219

Fulfills: Arts, History, Philosophy & Literature, World Perspectives, HST 211, WRT 150 (with B or better), SWS

Coeli Fitzpatrick, Associate Professor of Philosophy

Majd Al-Mallah

Fall: This course looks at the rise of Islam from the hot desert of the Arabian Peninsula and traces its development and expansion through the region and beyond until the decline of the last Islamic Caliphate, the Ottoman Empire.  Students will learn about the world that was Muhammad’s birthplace, and answers to questions about him and the new religion of Islam.  What was the world of Mecca and Medina like before Muhammad?  What did this new religion change?  How did was the message of the Qur’an revealed and received?  What does the Qur’an really say?  How did the Muslims conquer the Middle East so quickly—did they ride through the region with swords in one hand and Qur’ans in the other?  How did Muslims and Middle Eastern Christians and Jews experience the Crusades?  What is it like to view these historical events through their eyes?  In answering these and many other questions, we will explore the rich cultural, literary, philosophical and artistic legacy created by the Muslims in this period called the Classical period of Islam.


Winter: The decline of the last Islamic Caliphate, the Ottoman Empire, used to be described by historians as a history of “the sick man of Europe.”  The final demise of the sick man happens after WW I, and it is a period of immense change in the Middle East—indeed it is the period where the “Middle East” and many of its countries are invented—with the border lines of some countries literally drawn up by European politicians.  These massive changes leave their marks everywhere in the society: Islam undergoes a major reform, socially and politically and comes to be a vehicle of resistance towards outside interference; Muslim modernizers and revivalists struggles over the influence of Islam within society; Allah’s gift of oil to the Arabs and Muslims is discovered; new literary genres are developed and we see the rise of the Arabic novel;  the state of Israel is created; the feminist movement begins and women demand more rights; all citizens demand representation.  But most of the Middle East today is still governed by monarchies and dictators—why?  And what about terrorists from the Middle East? The Western world views the Middle East as a hotbed of fanatical Muslims.  What truth is there to this view?  What do average Muslims think about the West?  This sequel to HNR 209/210 explores the modern Middle East in all its fascinating aspects: religion, culture, society, literature, history.  This makes reading the news much more relevant and interesting!


Latin American Civilization

Fall Semester:         HNR 280 10 & 11

Winter Semester:    HNR 280 17 & 18

Fulfills: Art, History, Philosophy & Literature, World Perspectives, HST 230, WRT 150 (with a B or better), SWS

Schedule (First Semester): MWF 1:00-1:50pm (ASH 1320) and 2:00-2:50pm (PAD 261)

Schedule (Second Semester):  MWF 1:00-1:50pm and 2:00-2:50pm LHH 122

David Stark, Associate Professor of History

Jose Lara

Medar Serrata, Associate Professor

This is a two-course sequence on Latin American civilization and culture from pre-conquest times to the present. We will survey various aspects of Latin American civilization to include the history, literature, culture, and arts of Latin America.  Given the vastness of Latin America the approach of the course is thematic and chronological rather than regional. The first part will address the development of the great Amerindian civilizations, the encounter between Amerindians, Europeans, and Africans, the making of a colonial society, the struggles leading to the collapse of colonial rule, and the wars of independence. The second part will pay attention to five specific and interconnected themes: the struggle to define the nation, imperialism and intervention, divergent paths of political and economic development, resistance and revolution, and confronting the challenges of modernity. Upon completion of the two sequences students will have a comprehensive understanding of how the complex interaction between different cultures melding in the Americas shaped the colonial societies, and how some elements of this legacy persisted or were transformed by different social groups before and after independence.


Making of Europe I

Fall Semester:        HNR 217 01 Making of Europe I 

Winter Semester:  HNR 218 and 228, section 01 Making of Europe II: The High Middle Ages

Schedule (Fall and Winter Semester): TR 10:00-11:15am HON 220

Fulfills: Arts, History, Philosophy & Literature, World Perspectives, HST 203, ENG 220

Benjamin Lockerd, Professor of English

Mark Pestana, Professor of Philosophy

Fall Semester:             HNR 227 01 Making of Europe III: Early Renaissance

Winter Semester:       HNR 228 01 Making of Europe IV: SWS

Schedule (Fall and Winter Semester):   TR 8:30-9:45am HON 220

Benjamin Lockerd, Professor of English

Mark Pestana, Professor of Philosophy

HNR 217: The Making of Europe I


This is the first course in a 4-course sequence that will address the development of European culture from the end of the Roman Empire to the beginning of the modern era.  This first course seeks to give students some knowledge of the Roman Empire and then to enter into a study of the early Middle Ages, from about 450 A.D. to about 1100 A.D.  The approach of the course will be interdisciplinary, with professors from all the major disciplines within the Humanities.  In this way, we hope to achieve a comprehensive view of the development of European civilization during this period.

                Each semester of the Making of Europe sequence involves all four disciplines, but each of the four semesters also focuses particularly on one of the four disciplines, as follows:

                --HNR 217: History

                --HNR 218: Philosophy

                --HNR 227: Art

                --HNR 228: Literature


HNR 218: The Making of Europe II


This course will examine the late Middle Ages (sometimes called the High Middle Ages) in Europe, from approximately 900 to approximately 1300 A.D.  We will study and discuss the cultural, artistic, religious, intellectual, and political developments that took place at this time.  The course will be interdisciplinary, involving discussion of history, philosophy, art, architecture, music, and literature of the period. The course emphasizes the great philosophical works of the era, especially the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas. We also read selections from Dante's Divine Comedy.


HNR 227: The Making of Europe III


This course will examine the transition from the late Middle Ages to the early Renaissance period in Europe.  The Renaissance begins at different times in different regions: around 1300 in Italy, but not until the late 1400s in England.  Historically, we will look at roughly that period, but in literature we will move forward into the late 1500s. We will study the various cultural, artistic, religious, intellectual, and political developments of the period, with an emphasis on the romance epic, the development of polyphony, and Renaissance painting.  The course is interdisciplinary, involving history, art, architecture, music, philosophy, and literature.  There will be a pronounced emphasis on the great artistic accomplishments of this period.


HNR 228: The Making of Europe IV


This course will examine the late Renaissance period in Europe, from approximately 1500 to approximately 1700.  Major topics in the course will be the Protestant Reformation, the consolidation of the modern European nation states, and Humanism.  We will study the cultural, artistic, intellectual, and political developments of the era.  The course is interdisciplinary, involving history, art, architecture, music, philosophy, and literature. There will be an emphasis on literary works of the period, including those of Shakespeare and Milton.


National Security                            

Fall Semester: HNR 280 Section 16 (must also enroll in a section of Live, Learn, Lead)

Winter Semester: HNR 280 Sections 11 and 12 

Schedule (Fall): TR 11:30am-12:45pm HON 220

Schedule (Winter): TR 11:30am-12:45pm 1:00-2:15pm HON 148

Fulfills: History, 1 Social Science, HST 380, World Perspectives, WRT 150 (w/ B or better), SWS

Jonathan White, Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies, Honors College

The National Security Sequence is designed to teach you how to assess threats to United States security. It focuses on methods for gathering information and transforming it into intelligence. Topics include: history of national security, terrorism, unconventional and conventional war, chemical-radiological-biological-nuclear (CRBN) threats, qualitative and quantitative research methods, and applied lessons from military history. You will also participate in a simulated not-for-profit company that gathers and analyzes information for the United States’ Intelligence Community. The whole process culminates in the second semester when your research team will produce and present an actual threat assessment based on information available to the public. Guest lecturers will include former U.S. intelligence agents.


The first course in the fall will focus on research methods. You will learn to utilize research tools and how to gather information related to national security. You will also learn how to assess and analyze information and the processes for turning information into national security intelligence. You will be introduced to a year-long project where teams of interdisciplinary researchers will gather and analyze threats to the security of the United States. Two courses in the winter semester will build on the skills developed in the fall semester. First, you will complete a class covering historical intelligence-gathering techniques from the Revolutionary War to the present. You will enhance research skills by utilizing Hauenstein-Markle Collection of National Security and Intelligence. Second, you will continue the research project from the fall semester by conducting and presenting an actual threat assessment. If you choose, you may use this sequence to begin an interdisciplinary major in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in National Security Studies.


Social Product Innovation (SPI)  

Fall Semester: HNR 280 14 (Must take a Live, Learn, Lead.)

Winter Semester: HNR 280 09 & 10

Schedule (Fall Semester): W 3:00-5:50pm HON 148

Schedule (Winter Semester): TR 11:30am-12:45pm, 1:00-2:15pm HON 219

Requirements Fulfilled: History, Art, SWS, World Perspectives, Social Science, WRT 150 (w/ B or better)

Paul Lane, Professor


Join us on a quest to find innovative, sustainable solutions to relevant world problems and become part of a close-knit community of engaging students and instructors!  This lively, multidisciplinary sequence includes a study of the past, present and future of innovation, as well as creative project-based research and development of products and services; energetic collaborative learning, discussion, and brainstorming; inspiring field trips and guest speakers; and optional social gatherings.  Students with diverse backgrounds and interests benefit from the course, as innovation flourishes when participants bring varied perspectives, experience, and training to the creation, development, and evaluation processes.  After completing Social Product Innovation, students may participate for academic credit in the annual trip to Nicaragua in May.


Theory and Practice of Rights                    

Fall Semester: HNR 280 section 09 (Must take a Live, Learn, Lead)

Winter Semester: HNR 280 sections 07 and 08

Schedule (First semester): TR 4:00-5:15pm HON 148

Schedule (Second semester): TR 2:30-3:45pm, 4:00-5:15pm HON 148

Fulfills: US Diversity, WRT 150, SWS, World Perspectives, HST 380, 2 Social Sciences (or 1 SS and 1 History), (Philosophy & Literature for transfers), WRT 150 (w/ B or better)

Karen Zivi, Professor

Richard Hiskes, Professor


If the 1960s marked a “rights revolution” in the United States, the 21st century has been witness to that revolution’s expansion around the globe. But what are rights? Where do they come from? What do they do? And how do they work? This 3-course sequence takes a multi-disciplinary approach to the study of rights theory and practice. In the first semester, students will examine the philosophical meanings of and justifications for using rights to challenge political authority. The focus will be on 18th and 19th century European and American debates and conflicts, and particular attention will be given to questions of gender and race. In the second semester, students will examine rights philosophy and practice from a more contemporary and broader cross-cultural perspective with emphasis placed on assessing the benefits and limits of using rights language to address inequality and injustice in realms such as gender, sexuality, and health.



Fall Semester:         HNR 280 21 (Must take a Live, Learn, Lead) 

Winter Semester:    HNR 280 sections 15 and 16

Schedule (Fall):    MW 1:30-2:45pm HON 218

Schedule (Winter):   TR 2:30-3:45pm, 4:00-5:15pm EC 510

Fulfills:  History, Art, One Social Science, US Diversity, HST 380, WRT 150 (with a B or better), SWS

Melissa Morison, Associate Professor

Shirley Fleischmann, Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Matthey Daley, Associate Professor of History

Cathedrals or wastelands, solutions or nightmares, cities rank amongst the most fundamental political, economic, and socio-cultural phenomena of human society. We have built, modified, praised, and cursed our cities for thousands of years. Cities have become the primary tools used by more than half of the human beings on our planet to organize their shelter, food, water, government, education, religion, and entertainment.


But this was not always the case. What prompted the emergence of the earliest cities? Can it be true, as some scholars have suggested, that cities were an inevitable development? Can we imagine other viable long-term options? Is the “Age of Cities” coming to an end? In the first semester of the course (3 credits; Professor Morison), we will examine the city as “artifact,” analyzing the broad spectrum of ways that cities have developed and functioned across time and space. We will consider planning strategies, cultural and environmental interaction, infrastructure, meaning, form, and representation of the city in the visual arts. We will also use the Fall semester to develop an understanding of key theoretical approaches and the language of architectural and urban analysis.

Live. Learn. Lead.

FALL 2015


HNR 280 01: Live. Learn. Lead: Life in Honors

Schedule: TR 11:30am-12:45pm HON 214

Mike Roskamp, Professor

This Live, learn, Lead will focus on issues related to Health & Wellness.

We will examine personal & societal values, lifestyle choices, and larger issues related to health and wellness as a "driver" in global society. Special attention will be given to current national health issues as well as the relationships among physical activity, brain function, and academic achievement.  Readings and media use will include "Spark”, by John Ratey; “Salt, Sugar, Fat,” by Michael Moss; select leadership texts; and viewing of the film “Supersize Me.” This class will prepare participants to take more active roles in promoting their own personal well-being, as well as advocating for healthier communities locally and beyond.


HNR 280 03: Live. Learn. Lead: Life in Honors

Schedule: MWF 11:00-11:50am HON 218

Jeremiah Cataldo, Professor

Questions of identity, place, and power pervade every decision that individuals make. We choose, we behave, we enter into relations with others based on how we answer those questions--an activity even more profound when anchored within the legitimating framework of religion. This course will explore such questions, their answers, and how they impact us within the framework of religion. Toward that end, a basic presupposition--but one that will be tested--will be that religion is a cultural product that drives individual and group responses to questions of identity, place, and power. 


HNR 280 06: Live. Learn. Lead: Life in Honors

Schedule: TR 1:00-2:15pm HON 148

Jane Toot, Professor

A rapidly growing population are the Aged.  This powerful influence presents as significant contributors or needy consumers.  The dilemma is maximizing the former while attending to the latter.  This course will examine this possible paradox through reflection on thoretical concerns and practical service applications in real life settings. 

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

 1. Reflect upon and incorporate the variables of aging into discussion and decision-making.

 2. Identify and utilize the possible interaction of saging and aging.

3. Utilize aspects of saging in determination of activities for the aged as appropriate. 

 4. Engage in practical examples of saging/aging through co-curricular activities.


HNR 280 13: Live. Learn. Lead: Life in Honors

Schedule: TR 1:00-2:15pm HON 236E

Karen Zivi, Associate Professor

Live, Learn, Lead (LLL) is a first-year common course designed to introduce students to the expectations of an Honors education in the liberal tradition, to help them acclimate to the academic rigors of university life, to develop skills of inquiry for scholarly research, and to foster engagement with the university and wider community. As such, this course will include a variety of pedagogical experiences including lectures to develop listening skills, group work to foster collective decision-making skills, presentations to hone public speaking skills, research projects to strengthen critical thinking and writing capacities, and attendance at and reflection on co-curricular activities to link course themes with experiences outside the classroom. In this particular section, we will focus on the idea and practice of human rights.


Human rights is the dominant language of global politics in the contemporary world. It is used to identify violations of human dignity and freedom and to demand their redress, to call governments to account and to rally local citizens. Human rights is a philosophical concept, a legal tool, and a moral and political language that can be empowering and disappointing. In this course, we will explore the philosophical history as well as the political practice of human rights. We will read philosophical texts that discuss what human rights are and why they are important and we will look at how political actors have mobilized human rights in their efforts to address egregious abuses of power. Human rights controversies to be discussed may include: genocide, women’s human rights, and health care as a human right.


Required Readings May Include:

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women

John Locke, Second Treatise on Government (excerpts)

Mary Wollstonecraft, Vindication of the Rights of Woman (excerpts)

Tracy Kidder, Mountains Beyond Mountains

Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others


HNR 280 15: Live. Learn. Lead: Life in Honors

Schedule: TR 4:00-5:15pm HON 219

Kelly Clark, Professor

This course is designed for the development of fundamental learning, reasoning, reading, leading, and writing skills (understanding, evaluation and reflection). The content offers an introduction to life, death, happiness, morality, and the meaning of life. Each student will begin the reflective examination of those beliefs and convictions that form the basis of the philosophy that guides his or her own life. Through novels, films and philosophy, we will work together towards a better understanding of ourselves, our world, and our lives.


HNR 280 17: Live. Learn. Lead

Schedule: MW 4:30-5:45pm HON 214



HNR 280 18: Live. Learn. Lead: Life in Honors

Schedule: TR 8:30-9:45am HON 214

Gordon Alderink, Professor

This course will be a study of the nature and importance of liberal education (including the education of the adult free citizen) through extensive reading of classical and modern texts and through examination of the contemporary state of liberal education at GVSU. This course will also introduce you to the expectations of an Honors education in the liberal tradition. This course should help you acclimate to University life, develop your skills of inquiry for academic research and self-authorship, direct your collegiate experience, and develop agency through personal engagement with the University and wider community. A hybrid problem-based learning teaching methodology will be used. This method is student-centered (as opposed to traditional teacher-centered) that depends on active, student directed learning, with an emphasis on the Freirean model of teacher-student/student teacher dialogue. After you have experienced the problem-centered approach of learning you will never want to go back.


HNR 280 19: Live. Learn. Lead: Life in Honors

Schedule: MWF 1:00-1:50pm HON 148



HNR 280 22: Live. Learn. Lead: Life in Honors

Schedule: TR 10:00-11:15am HON 219

Jonathon White, Professor

Dr. Jon's section of Live Learn Lead focuses on theoretical and practical uses of liberal education. One major theme in the class deals with classic philosophical schools of thought in Western Civilization. We read selected philosophical literature from Ancient Greece, the European medieval period, the Enlightenment, the modern era, and speculations about the future of human experience. Our readings include: Plato, Aristotle, Boethius, Voltaire, Nietzsche, Jung, and Joseph Campbell. We also analyze the film "The Seventh Seal" to consider the role of education in personally assessing the meaning of life.


The other major part of the class involves running a corporate simulation. Each student becomes a consultant in Zebra 27, a company designed to gather information for a variety of clients. The simulation is based on Dr. Jon's own consulting experiences. Students are assigned to research teams and each team is charged with a particular problem. Teams convert the theories of liberal education into practical results. They present business products at the end of the semester.