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University Honors Program

Course Directory

University Honors Program Fall 2016 Courses

Fall 2016 Advising Information

Liberal Arts Core

CAP 3190-01

Capstone: Idea of the University

COMM 1000-16

Oral Communication

ENGLISH 1120-05

Introduction to Literature (Writing Emphasis)

HISUS 1023-04

History of the United States

HUM 1021-24

Humanities I

HUM 1023-02

Humanities III

HUM 3122-03


POL AMER 1014-06

Introduction to American Politics

PHIL 1020-05

Philosophy: The Art of Thinking

STAT 1772-10

Introduction to Statistics

Seminars & Electives

ANTH 3103-02

(same as REL 3103)  Religion, Magic, and Witchcraft

UNIV 1092-01

Civic and Community Engagement (1st Year Presidential Scholars ONLY)

UNIV 1092-02

Sophomore Think Tank (2nd Year Presidential Scholars ONLY)

UNIV 2196-01

Built Environment: Places & Spaces We Live and Learn

UNIV 4197-01

UNIV 4198-01

Honors Thesis

Honors Independent Study

Liberal Arts Core

CAP 3190-01  Capstone: Idea of the University with Dr. Jessica Moon, 5:30pm-8:20pm Th

Prerequisites: Junior Standing

Fulfills LAC Category 6

Course Description: This course will thoroughly investigate the American university.  Beginning with its historical roots, the course will examine the evolution of higher education in response to society’s cultural, political, and financial drivers.  Considerable time will be spent in the identification and evaluation of major issues, challenges, and opportunities present in higher education today.  This will be done with a heavy emphasis on discussion and activity-based learning!

Professor Biography:  I have served as director of the University Honors Program at UNI since 2004, but I was once in your shoes as a UNI student (BA in Family Services and MAE in Postsecondary Education: Student Affairs).  I went on to earn my PhD in Education (Educational Leadership) from Iowa State University.  My day to day roles include student recruitment and advising, oversight of curricular and extra-curricular offerings, and administration of program scholarships.  I believe in the value of active learning that takes place in the honors classroom and I’m excited to investigate the Idea of the University with all of you!

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COMM 1000-16 Oral Communication with Dr. Ryan McGeough, 9:30-10:45 TTh

Fulfills LAC Category 1B

Course Description:  This course is a survey course designed to assist the student in discovering how verbal and nonverbal communication messages function in a variety of settings--intrapersonal, interpersonal, group, and public. By studying the theory and process of communication and applying communication theory and principles to diverse real-life situations, students will have opportunities to practice and analyze communication skills in various communication contexts. In order to do this, this course involves both written and oral assignments throughout the semester.

The honors section will involve more critical analysis and discussion of course concepts, with an emphasis on both speaking and listening. At least one of the assignments will have a social issues or service-learning component, and topics for speeches will have more specific guidelines than other sections. Students will complete at least three individual speeches and one group project.

Professor Biography:  Dr. Ryan McGeough is a member of the Department of Communication Studies, where he teaches courses such as Political Communication, Rhetoric and Civic Culture and Oral Communication.  His research is focused on public argumentation across various types of media. His classes ask students to take an active role in class conversations and to connect assignments to their interests and passions. In his free time, he enjoys Southern cuisine, farmers’ markets, LSU football and being walked by his dog, Vonnegut.

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ENGLISH 1120-05 Introduction to Literature (Writing Emphasis) with Dr. Rick Vanderwall, 10:00-10:50 MWF

Fulfills LAC Category IIIB and IA

Note: Students who complete this writing-enhanced course will be able to satisfy Liberal Arts Core requirements in two categories: IIIB (Literature, Philosophy, or Religion) and IA (Reading and Writing).

Course Description: This Honors section of Introduction to Literature - Writing Enhanced will engage students in the study of literary texts with expression of research supported critical analysis, opinions and interpretations of the selected texts through writing, speaking, performance and discussion. The texts are loosely related by topics and themes that are related to danger, temptation, and, violence. The texts feature a range of both traditional texts and contemporary texts including Cormac McCarthy’s THE ROAD, Truman Capote’s IN COLD BLOOD, Charles Dickens’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL, William Shakespeare’s MACBETH, and Marlowe’s TRAGICAL HISTORY OF DOCTOR FAUSTUS.  Griffith’s WRITING ESSAYS ABOUT LITERATURE will provide a guiding resource as we work through the texts.

Professor Biography:  Professor Rick Vanderwall is a long time educator having taught all levels of students starting with sixth grade.  He is a curriculum writer specializing in English education, Shakespeare, Film and Theater.  He has directed over 60 theatrical productions at the high school level.  Currently he is a faculty member in the Department of Languages and Literatures. He is affiliated with the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C. consulting and doing workshops in Shakespeare pedagogy for teachers.

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HISUS 1023-04 History of the United States with Dr. Joanne Goldman, 12:30-1:45 TTh (Class in Honors Cottage)

Fulfills LAC Category VA

Course Description: This course is designed to introduce students to the history and culture of the American people. It is organized about various themes discussed within particular chronological frameworks. We will concentrate on the themes of war and politics, gender and reform, the natural environment and economics in each of four periods of American History:

                                                           Colonial Period: 1600s-1780s

                                                            Early National Period à Civil War and Reconstruction:  1780s-1870s

                                                            The US in an International Arena: 1880s-1940s

                                                            Post World War II: 1950s-Present

Lectures and discussions will draw connections that will provide a rich context for understanding why we are, where we are, and how we got there. In addition to the required textbook assignments, there will be four supplemental readings that will be discussed in class. Students will be required to research a subject and make a presentation in class in the form of panel discussions and debates. Additionally, students will work with primary documents. There will be four exams.

Professor Biography: Joanne Abel Goldman came to UNI in 1990. She earned her Ph.D. in 1988 from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Her dissertation examines the process of policy formation with regard to the decision to build an integrated sewer system in New York City in the nineteenth century. This project developed Dr. Goldman’s expertise in the history of technology, history of the city, and the Early National Period, 1780s-1860s, of American History, areas in which she teaches upper level classes. More recent research interests have considered post World War II national science policy with regard to the Manhattan Project, the Ames Laboratory, and atomic energy education. Dr. Goldman considers herself an animated teacher who enjoys getting to know students and looks forward to interacting with this particularly motivated group.

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HUM 1021-24 Humanities I with Dr. Jerry Soneson, 9:30-10:45 TTh

Fulfills LAC Category 2A

Course DescriptionThis course is an introduction to the humanities.  Central to this area of study is the question of what it is to be civilized, to be “human” at its best.  In this course we study this question as we also develop a critical understanding of some of the more important social, economic, political and cultural elements which constitute the human story of the West from the earliest human beginning through the Middle Ages​, and which have enduring significance in and for the present.  Our honors section will draw upon the imagination and creative talents of honors students by offering the opportunity for them to think about, discuss and write upon these matters in concentrated and creative ways.  About half of our time together will be devoted to lectures and art films in order to tell the historical story of the West, but the other half of our time together will be devoted to class discussion of major literary, philosophical, religious and artistic works that have been produced within that story.  Students will have abundant opportunity to work more fully with the material we cover in written exams and longer essays.

Professor Biography:  Dr. Jerry Soneson, who came to UNI in 1991, is the Head of the Department of Philosophy and World Religions. He has also been part of the Honors Program since it began, often teaching honors sections of Humanities ​I and ​III, twice teaching the Presidential Scholars Seminar, The Holocaust and Religion, ​ the honors capstone course, ​The Holocaust in Literature and Film, and co-teaching the Honors Seminar, The Idea of the University​ and Moral Education in Literature and Film​.  Specializing in philosophy, religion and ethics during the Modern Period, he likes to ask, to think, to write about, and to discuss with students matters which have to do with the great questions of life, such as good and evil, freedom and bondage, war and peace, tragedy and hope, ideals that make life worth living, and why humans all too often seem to blow it. He loves to teach Humanities I and Humanities III because it gives him the chance to explore all of these topics with students within the historical setting of past – Ancient, Classical and Medieval, in the case of Humanities I, and Modern, in the case of Humanities III.

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HUM 1023-02 Humanities III with Dr. Emily Machen, 9:30-10:45 TTh

Fulfills LAC Category 2A

Course DescriptionThis class will introduce students to the major themes in the history of Western Europe from the French Revolution to the present.  We will study history’s “big” events, including wars and revolutions.  However, rather than exploring World War I or the Cold War from a purely political or military point of view, we will investigate how these events impact human society.  Students will determine how war, revolution, and social upheaval shape people’s lives depending on where they live, their social class, and their race and gender.  Men and women often experiences events differently.  The same is true for minorities. The experiences of a Senegalese soldier or a woman ambulance driver during World War I differ from the experiences of European men on the front lines or politicians on the home front.  Students will build an understanding of how Western society develops by delving into a variety of sources produced during the eras we study.  Reading materials will be supplemented by images and film clips that add an important visual component to the course.  The class will incorporate a combination of lect

This class will also include a current events element.  History is not simply about what happened in the past.  It should also help students understand contemporary society and current problems.  As a result, throughout the semester, we will be discussing important stories showing up in the news.  We will situate these stories into their historical context so that students know why Europe is experiencing a growth in far right political parties or what is motivating Ukrainians to protest against their government.  By the end of the course, students will understand how Western societies have developed and how that development shapes our contemporary world.

Professor Biography:  Emily Machen is an associate professor of history.  She is a specialist in modern Europe with an emphasis in French women’s history. She received an undergraduate degree from Southeast Missouri State University, where she studied history and French, and a Ph.D. from the University of Mississippi.  Professor Machen lived in France for two years while completing her dissertation. She teaches a variety of classes, including Modern France, European Society and the Great War, European Women’s History, and Humanities III.  She enjoys all of her classes and tries to engage students by incorporating news and documentary video clips, images, and artifacts related to various historical periods. 

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HUM 3122-03 Japan with Dr. Cynthia Dunn, 11:00-11:50 MWF

Fulfills LAC Category 2B 

Course Description:  This course is an introduction to Japanese culture from an anthropological perspective.  Its purpose is to enable you to gain a basic familiarity with Japanese culture and society while also gaining a new perspective on your own culture and the diversity of human experience.  Throughout the course we will explore how cultural patterns such as group-belonging, social hierarchy, role-reciprocity and social relativism account or fail to account for a variety of Japanese social institutions and life experiences.  We begin with a basic orientation to Japanese geography and history.  From there our exploration moves to the small-scale units of the family and local community, gradually broadening to encompass larger social institutions related to religion, education, arts and entertainment, the workplace, and government. 

Professor Biography: Cyndi Dunn is an associate professor of anthropology with a specialization in Japanese language and culture.  She spent two years teaching English in Japan before completing her Ph.D. in linguistic anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin.  In addition to the Japan course, she teaches courses on Language and Culture and Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective.  Her research focuses on Japanese politeness and honorific use.  In 2008, she returned to Japan for a six-month study of the business etiquette training given to new employees at Japanese companies.

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POL AMER 1014-06 Introduction to American Politics with Dr. Justin Holmes, 2:00-3:15 TTh

Fulfills LAC Category VA

Course Description:  The American Republic has lasted more than 200 years, despite radical changes in society, technology, and the world context it is situated in. While there is considerable consistency in the ideas behind American government, situational pressures have required constant adaptation. Developments and events of the last few years such as the internet, 9/11 and the ensuing war on terror, and the recent recession have presented challenges to American politics. In this class, we will look at both the historical origins and contemporary manifestations of American democracy, political institutions, and the public itself. Specific topics will include institutions of government, political participation, civil rights and civil liberties, the mass media and public opinion, elections and representation, and governance in the internet age. We will be going into particular depth on political campaigning (with a focus on the 2012 election) and congressional gridlock.

Classes will be in the lecture discussion format, with considerable discussion. Each student will be responsible for leading class for a portion of one day. There will be two reflection papers, and 3 exams.

Professor Biography:  Justin Holmes is an Assistant Professor of Political Science. He earned his PhD from the University of Minnesota. He has been at UNI since 2008, after previously teaching at the University of Minnesota and Gustavus Adolphus College. Holmes' research and teaching focuses on Public Opinion, Voting Behavior, Political Communication, and Political Psychology. Recent projects include studies of the psychology of the impact of negative information on presidential approval, a study of how citizens form opinions about intervening in foreign conflicts, an examination of how campaigns and interest group use new media to mobilize supporters, and a study of the role of emotion in citizens' political participation. During election season, Holmes' is a frequent interviewee on both local and national media.

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PHIL 1020-05 Philosophy: The Art of Thinking with Dr. Margaret Holland, 2:00-3:15 TTh (Class in Honors Cottage)

Fulfills LAC Category IIIB

Course Description:  Philosophy takes as its subject matter, and critically examines, all human activities and beliefs.  It asks questions about the fundamental nature of reality, knowledge, goodness and beauty.  Western philosophy began in ancient Greece with thinkers who investigated nature and the physical world.  Later thinkers directed their attention to human life and conduct.  They then went on to examine questions about the nature of reality, the foundations of knowledge, politics and moral value.  In this course students will have the opportunity to acquire first-hand knowledge of the concerns and methods of the best in our philosophical heritage.  We will focus on notable themes, as well as points of agreement and disagreement among various thinkers.  My hope is that students will complete the course with an understanding of the philosophical tradition, and an appreciation for the activity of critical and reflective thinking.   Honors students will have the opportunity to research one of the branches of Philosophy and give the class a short presentation on the branch she or he selects.

Professor Biography:  Margaret Holland is an Associate Professor of Philosophy.  She has a M.A. in Philosophy from Boston College and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the State University of New York at Buffalo.  She has been teaching classes such as Ethics, Ancient Philosophy, the Philosophy of Art, and Philosophy: The Art of Thinking at UNI since 1991.  She particularly enjoys classes with a good deal of student participation.  Professor Holland had a very good experience teaching an Honors section of this class a few years ago; she looks forward to working with Honors students this Fall.

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STAT 1772-10 Introduction to Statistics with Dr. Mark Ecker, 12:30-1:45 TTh 

Fulfills LAC Category IC

Course Description:  The Honors Introductory Statistics course covers the topics of: descriptive statistics, probability, random variables, sampling distributions, inferential statistics, confidence intervals and hypothesis tests.  Students will be exposed to critical statistical thinking, along with the statistical software package, S-Plus.  Emphasis will be on real world applications of pertinent statistical methods and ideas.  Students will collect data on a topic of interest to them and analyze the data using the tools learned in the classroom.

Professor Biography:  I am Professor of Statistics in the Department of Mathematics at UNI, where I specialize in the area of spatial prediction and modeling using Bayesian and Geostatistical techniques.  My research involves developing methodology for spatial association often present in environmental and economic data.  Recently, I have worked as part of a multidisciplinary team of chemists, biologists, and environmental scientists at the University of Northern Iowa analyzing water quality data in Iowa's lakes and wetlands.  I currently work with Iowa Workforce Development and the Institute for Decision Making to forecast the potential available workers in laborsheds across Iowa.  My most recent research project involves developing new statistical techniques to measure the negative or positive financial impact on housing prices from living close to a point source, such as a hoglot, nuclear power plant or a highly desirable school. 

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ANTH 3103-02 (same as REL 3103) Religion, Magic, and Witchcraft with Dr. Anne Woodrick, 5:30-8:20 M

Course Description:  Religion, Magic and Witchcraft is organized as an informal, discussion seminar with minimal lecturing. The course materials emphasize a comparative and anthropological approach to the study of religion, magic and witchcraft.  We begin with an overview of theoretical frameworks that “explain” religious beliefs and practices. We will put on various theoretical “hats” and analyze religion in the films “Holy Ghost People” and “Frisbee: The Life and Death of a Hippie Preacher” and the short novel “A Saint is Born in Chimá.” Next we will focus on the topics of religion, magic and witchcraft through a comparison of contemporary African witchcraft and an early American colonial society (Salem, Mass). Finally we examine the religious traditions in the US that are outside of mainstream practices: vodou and neo-paganism.

My goals for the class are to acquaint students with the diversity of theoretical options available for the explanation and interpretation of religious life and to provide students with the opportunity to analyze ethnographic religious data.  Students will improve their abilities to communicate their own ideas and reactions to course readings to others, and to listen, understand, and respond in a meaningful way to the comments made by classmates and the professor. Course requirements include a reading journal, attendance and discussion, a formal (written) analysis of religion in Chimá, a final essay exam, and tentatively, a PowerPoint presentation comparing US neo-paganism with another US religion of your choice. 

Professor Biography: Dr. Anne Woodrick is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Northern Iowa. She received her BA in Anthropology from the University of Michigan and her doctorate from the University of California, San Diego.  She has been a member of the UNI faculty since 1988. Her research interests include the role of religion in community development and mobilization among Latino immigrants in the US Midwest and the religiosity of rural Mexican women. Dr. Woodrick participated in ethnographic studies in Temax, Yucatán, Mexico, rural Central Mexico and among Latino immigrants in Marshalltown, Sioux City and Hampton, Iowa. 

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UNIV 1092-01  Presidential Scholars Seminar: Civic and Community Engagement with Dr. Oksana Grybovych, 2:00-3:50 M (class in Honors Cottage)

**2 credit hour seminar - 1st year Presidential Scholars ONLY 

Course Description:  Throughout history, philosophers, political theorists, and citizen activists have argued that the existence of a vibrant and just democracy demands much more of citizens than a periodic vote cast in a ballot box, and that citizens must become actively engaged in addressing the social and political problems facing their communities and the larger society. In turn, effective engagement demands that public be educated in particular ways so that they are able to participate in this activity.

This course will provide a unique opportunity to get involved and be a part of the community. Students will hear from local leaders and activists, take field trips to explore neighborhoods and visit community organizations, and engage in real world, hands-on community-based civic engagement project. Along the way we will explore a range of topics in civic and community engagement, and reflect and think critically about issues related to these topics. Areas to be explored will include concepts of civic engagement, strategies and models of effective engagement, civic agency, service learning, and the role of education in preparing youth for civic engagement.

Professor Biography:  Oksana Grybovych is an Associate Professor in the Division of Leisure, Youth and Human Services, and a project coordinator with the Sustainable Tourism and Environment Program. She holds an EdD in Leisure Services from the University of Northern Iowa (USA), MSc in Leisure and Environments from the University of Wageningen (the Netherlands), and a BA in Economics/ Management from the Institute of Economics and Law (Ukraine). Her research centers on tourism and community planning and development, citizen participation in planning and decision making, participatory planning and policy making models, deliberative democracy, and service learning and civic and community engagement.

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UNIV 1092-02 Presidential Scholars Seminar: Sophomore Think Tank with Dr. Jessica Moon, 5:00-5:50pm + arr T

**2 credit hour seminar – Sophomore Presidential Scholars ONLY - (class in Honors Cottage)

Course Description: The intent of Sophomore Service Learning is to provide a structured way for Presidential Scholars to grow intellectually while combining their strengths and talents for the benefit of our campus and community. The spring semester will be devoted to the execution of the implementation plan developed during the fall Think Tank. 

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UNIV 2196-01 Honors Seminar: Built Environment: Places & Spaces we Live and Learn with Dr. Rick Knivsland, 3:00-4:50 W (class in Honors Cottage)

**2 credit hour seminar - Sophomore standing

Course Description:  We spend most of our lives in buildings: homes and apartments, schools, stores and shops, and the workplace. How and why did these structures take the shapes and forms they have?  What effects do they have on us? What meanings do they acquire? Even when we are outdoors we are often on streets, in parks, towns, and on campus. These places were all created by people. Why are we drawn to cities, suburbs, or the farm? The sum of all of these places is called the Built Environment. Are virtual environments becoming equally important? This course is an examination of our built environments. Guest speakers, discussions, reading, fieldwork, research, presentations, and reflective writing will all be a part of this course.

Professor Biography:  Rick Knivsland spent a lot of time playing with building sets, making “forts” and clubhouses, and biking around the East side of St. Paul as a child. After graduating from Gustavus Adolphus College, he taught high school Visual Art and Language Arts in NE Iowa. After earning his M.A. at the University of Iowa, he accepted a position teaching Art and Design at Northern University High School, where he turned one of his passions into an innovative Architecture course.  Currently, he is a Field Experience Coordinator for the College of Education, and is very involved in the renovation of Schindler Education Center.

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UNIV 4197-01 Honors Thesis with Dr. Jessica Moon, arr

Course Description: The Honors Thesis is the final step towards earning a University Honors designation from the University of Northern Iowa.  The thesis gives Honors students the opportunity to explore a scholarly area of interest with the guidance of a faculty member.  It is intended to serve as the culmination of the Honors experience. 

The thesis provides you with experience in research as well as an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise.  While the process may at times be challenging, it will also be rewarding.  You will enhance your knowledge of the chosen topic and further develop your research or creative skills.  The final product should leave you with a sense of pride and accomplishment for what you have attained. 

Students wishing to register for Honors Thesis must meet with Jessica to discuss course requirements and have their registration holds removed.  Call Brenda at 3-3175 to make an appointment.

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UNIV 4198-01 Honors Independent Study with Dr. Jessica Moon, arr

Course Description: The purpose of independent study is to provide students with an opportunity to participate in an educational experience beyond what is typically offered in the classroom.  Students must be prepared to exercise a great deal of independent initiative in pursuing such studies.  Honors students may receive independent study credit for research projects of their own or those shared with faculty members, certain internship opportunities, or some types of work or volunteer experiences. 

Students wishing to register for Honors Independent Study must meet with Jessica to discuss course requirements and have their registration holds removed.  Call Brenda at 3-3175 to make an appointment.

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