Honors in action: classroom picture

Fall 2022 Honors Courses

Fredonia Foundations Honors-Only Sections

The following courses are restricted to students admitted to the Fredonia Honors Program.

EDU 226:  Earth as a System (Section HR) 

  • Fredonia Foundations: Natural Sciences & Global Perspectives and Diversity

  • CCC: Natural Sciences

  • Dr. Michael Jabot

  • Face-to-Face  Tuesdays, 8:00-10:20 a.m.; (CRN: 33903); 25 seats

  • Open to all Education majors, including Adolescence Education programs, who are also members of the Fredonia Honors Program

  • Thompson E114

Course description: In today's world, with increasing global population, shifting climate and a growing demand for raw materials and energy, a basic understanding of the earth as a system is more important than ever. Earth as a System (ESS) aims to illustrate the interconnectedness and complexities of the planet's principal subsystems of hydrologic, atmospheric, biologic and geologic processes and their impact on shaping the planet and the lives of humans.

Class materials: This course is an OER course (no purchase required).

Assignments: data jam; country profile; NASA data contributions

ENGL 100: Craft of Writing (Section HR)

  • Fredonia Foundations: Written Communication 

  • CCC: Basic Communication–Written 

  • Dr. Susan McGee

  • Face-to-face: TR 12:30-1:50 p.m.; (CRN: 34873); 20 seats

  • Grissom A122

Course description: Craft of writing is a writing-workshop course in which students understand and practice various stages of the writing process and use writing and discussion as a means of situating themselves in a world of ideas. In this section of the course, students will develop individualized inquiry-based writing and research pathways. This means students will be discussing, reading, and writing about topics that are driven by their own passions and interests. At the opening of the semester, we will identify four or five broad areas of interest as a class. You will choose which theme or area you are most interested in exploring your own focused set of  inquiries within. The groupings will serve as a community of writers with similar interests that you can share insights and materials with as well as provide peer feedback and support during your writing process. 

Class materials:  This course in an OER course (no purchase required).

Assignments: journal writing, multiple essays, Googlepedia e-book, multimedia research project

ENGL 167:  Border Crossings (Section HR)

Course description: This section of the course, “Border Crossings: Away from Home,” will focus on the experience of refugees, exile, and migration in parts of the world affected by war, oppression, genocide, dramatic climate events, and poverty. While the focus will be global rather than strictly American or Western, the course will also problematize the shortcomings of globalism when it comes to crises of migration and exile.  This course also aims at exploring the experiences of homelessness and displacement in literature, especially in current conflict zones in the Middle East. Students will study literary narratives about homelessness, displacement, memory, nostalgia, melancholia, in specific relation to war. Through a variety of readings, students will be offered analytical skills that help them grapple with some of the most defining global questions of our time:  Are cosmopolitanism and multiculturalism ever attainable ideals?  What are personal, political and literary practices of hospitality?; What are the ends and limits of sympathy and compassion?; xenophobia and racism?; human rights and global inequities? This course is in line with the current Fredonia Foundations mission to help students experience a diversity of perspectives about and approaches to solving the problems of today. All readings are in English. 

Class materials: 


The Complete Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi 978-0375714832 

The BeeKeeper, Dunya Mikhail 978-0811226127

The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between: free, via Reed Library E-Book Central


Migrant, Refugee, Smuggler, Saviour: free, via Reed Library E-Book Central 


Excerpts from: In the Sea There Are Crocodiles by Fabio Geda; Last Girl by the Nobel Prize winner Nadia Murad; No Friend but the Mountains by Behrous Boochani; The Girl Who Smiled Beads by C. Wamariya and E. Weil; and Sweetness in the Belly by Camilla Gibb; Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

Also, films and secondary sources ( (all are available via free access on OnCourse) 

Assignments: unit quizzes; op-ed piece; media literacy slides; annotation and close reading presentation; podcast; poster making

ETHN 225: Introduction to Latinx History and Culture (Section HR)

Course description:   This course examines the complex history between the United States and Latin America, in order to understand the diversity of the Latino population and the reasons for their presence in the geographical territory that we now call the U.S.  Within individual groups, we will also study the different migrations and responses from the U.S. government.  For example, who were the Cubans who came during Operation Peter Pan, during the 60s, and during the Mariel Boat Lift?  The second part of the course will focus on contemporary issues that impact the Latino population, such as immigration laws, education and bilingualism, language, and voting rights.    

Class materials:  Aside from articles and readings in OnCourse to provide a historical background, we will study art, literature, movies, murals, and music produced by Latinos to hear their voices, their perspectives, their experiences.  The cost of the books for this class will be less than $50.00.

Assignments:  weekly journals reflecting on the readings and discussions; an oral presentation; and other interactive activities. For the final project, students will research Latino issues within their discipline to develop professional and civic awareness, respect, and responsibility as well as a sense of agency and advocacy. 

MUS 115: Music Appreciation (Section HR)

  • Fredonia Foundations: Arts & Critical Thinking & Analysis

  • CCC: Arts

  • Dr. Tiffany Nicely

  • Face-to-face: TR  9:30-10:50 a.m.; (CRN: 35313); 50 seats

  • Open to all Music majors who are also members of the Fredonia Honors Program

  • Mason 2019

Course description: MUS 115 Honors is reserved for music majors who are also members of the Fredonia Honors Program. This course establishes the fundamental elements of music, and traces their use and development from the Middle Ages through the present day. Students will study the content and context of pieces by a wide variety of composers, while learning how instruments and vocal techniques evolved over time.

Class materials:  The Enjoyment of Music (14th ed.); open-source musical scores

Assignments: weekly reading and listening assignments, exams, and a final paper

PHIL 270: Philosophy and the Arts (Section HR)

  • Fredonia Foundations: Humanities & Creativity & Innovation

  • CCC: Humanities
  • Dr. Christopher Pacyga

  • Face-to-face: MWF 9:00 to 9:50 am; (CRN: 34592); 25 seats

  • Thompson E305

Course description: Lurking beneath all of the pleasures, horrors and revelations that art provides are any number of philosophical quagmires: What is art? What’s the difference between an artwork and craft? Is the word 'art' merely descriptive, or is it a term that carries praise and approval? Does art necessarily have a social function? Can non-human entities be artful or artistic? What makes good art good, and bad art bad? Can TV shows be works of art? How about commercial advertisements? If we don’t consider Taylor Swift an “artist” are we just expressing an unjustifiable elitism? Is “popular art” an oxymoron? Or is all art really just entertainment? Can art be appreciated passively, or is active engagement necessary? Is there any skill or expertise necessary to really appreciate art? Of course, the answers to all of these questions depend on what art is in the first place.

Throughout the tradition, philosophy about art has developed along two basic lines of investigation. On one side, we have attention paid to the notion of art or artworks. On the other side, we have attention paid to the experience of appreciating art. For the first half of the semester, we’ll be surveying works that pertain to the former, or the object side. For the second half of the semester, we’ll survey stuff on the latter, the observer or aesthetic side.

Class materials:  There is no textbook to purchase for this course. Texts for the course have been selected and (sometimes) edited by the instructor from primary sources, both in the public domain and from resources already available to SUNY Fredonia students via Reed Library online holdings. When possible, the texts will be provided on the OnCourse LMS in .pdf format, while others will be accessible by links to library resources requiring SUNY Fredonia login credentials. 

In addition to the primary texts, students will be provided with outlines and explanatory texts that are intended to accompany the primary texts and lectures. These will also be available from the course OnCourse page under weekly topics.

The course will utilize the OnCourse LMS heavily for structure, content delivery and student interaction (in addition to class meetings). 

Assignments: reading/response homeworks, forum discussions, weekly quizzes and a term paper

STAT 260:  Intro to Data Science (Section HR)

  • Fredonia Foundations: Math and Quantitative Reasoning

  • CCC: Math and Quantitative Reasoning

  • Dr. Joseph Straight

  • Face-to-face: TR 2:00-3:20 p.m.;  (CRN: 34838); 12 seats

  • Fenton 115 (computer lab)

Course description: An introduction to the art and science of transforming data into information.  Working with data using R and RStudio; data collection, wrangling, modeling, and visualization; data “storytelling.” Background assumed: N.Y.S. Algebra II or equivalent.

Class materials:

Textbook: Modern Data Science with R, by Benjamin S. Baumer, Daniel T. Kaplan, and Nicholas J. Horton, CRC Press, 2017; ISBN-13: 978-1-4987-2448-7.

Software: We will be using R and RStudio.  R is a general purpose language that supports modern statistical computing and graphical methods.  RStudio provides an integrated development environment for R, facilitating its use by providing help and documentation, a workspace browser, and a data viewer, and by helping the user write good R code.  Both R and RStudio are free and open-source.

Assignments: homework exercises; presentations; quizzes; midterm and final exams; final project

PHYS 152: Observing the Sky (Section HR) 

  • Fredonia Foundations: Natural Sciences / Critical Thinking & Analysis

  • CCC: Natural Sciences

  • Dr. Michael Dunham

  • Face-to-face: TR 11:00 a.m.-12:20 p.m. (CRN: 35269); 20 seats

  • Room TBD

Course description:  Why does the Sun rise in the east and set in the west? Why does the Sun rise and set at all? Why does the time of sunrise and sunset change throughout the year? Why does the position of the Sun in the sky change over the course of the year? Why does the Moon look different from night to night? Why are different stars visible in the night sky in different seasons?  Humanity has asked these questions since the dawn of time. Many of you have probably noticed at least some of these daily, weekly, and yearly motions of celestial objects, and possibly wondered “why?” at some point. This course will use these questions as the launching point for a semester-long study of what is visible in the sky and how humans have learned to observe the sky. Along the way, we will learn about the historical development of science, modern techniques in observing the sky, digital imaging techniques, and the ethics and practices governing modern observational astronomy (and all of science in general). We will also develop critical thinking, analysis, and evaluation skills that will benefit you regardless of your background and major.

Class materials:  There are no required materials that must be purchased. Students with laptops will be encouraged to bring them to class, but you will not be required to have your own.  The only thing you need to succeed in this class is a desire to learn about astronomy, to learn about science, and to have fun while doing it!

Assignments: Weekly course readings will be assigned via internet readings and/or handouts given out in class.  Graded course assignments will consist of in-class activities, approximately five written homework assignments, online quizzes, and a final project occupying a significant portion of class time throughout the final five weeks of the course.

Please scroll down to find the Upper-Level Honors Seminars and Applied-Learning Experiences.

Upper-Level Honors Seminars

The following courses are restricted to students admitted to the Fredonia Honors Program.

HONR 302: Kurt Vonnegut: What Are People For? (Section 01) 

  • Upper-Level Honors Seminar: The Human Experience
  • Dr. Christina Jarvis 
  • Face-to-Face: TR 9:30 to 10:50 a.m.; (CRN:35239); 25 seats
  • Thompson W231

Course Description I (for karass members): “If the accident will,” we will meet in Gerhard Müller’s taxicab and heed some peculiar travel suggestions. Anticipated stops include Ilium, Midland City, the Galapagos Islands, Dresden, Tralfamadore, Skyscraper National Park, San Lorenzo, and Kilgore Trout’s America. If the moments come together, we will survey key texts and events from Vonnegut’s early, middle, and late career to discover a portrait of a writer, satirist, public spokesman, artist, planetary citizen, and humanist “that is beautiful and surprising and deep.” (If they don’t, feel free to say, “Oh well, she was never going to write Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony anyway.”)

Course Description II (for non-Bokononists): This seminar will tackle the central question “What are people for?” through Kurt Vonnegut’s writings. We will also celebrate the Vonnegut Centennial by examining his legacies and roles as a popular novelist, essayist, social critic, visual artist, and literary figure/public intellectual of the mid- to late-twentieth century. 

In addition to analyzing key works that span the length of Vonnegut’s career, we will consider a range of questions. In what ways was Vonnegut specifically a major American writer? How did he respond to the cultural, social, and environmental events of his time? How did his background in science, anthropology, and journalism shape his writings? What are the central themes and questions that emerge over the course of his career? What are Vonnegut’s literary, social justice, environmental, and artistic legacies? 

Class materials: 

Player Piano (0385333781)

Cat’s Cradle (038533348x; or, 9780385333481)

Slaughterhouse-Five (9780385333849)

Breakfast of Champions (9780385334204)

Galápagos (9780385333870) 

A Man Without a Country (081297736X)

Selected short stories, speeches, and essays by Vonnegut along with brief articles, talks, and chapters by contemporary figures like Sherry Turkle, Andrew Yang, Nicholas Carr, and Amanda Gorman

Assignments: short papers and discussion questions; group library exhibit for Reed Library that will engage a broader audience on some aspect of Vonnegut’s work; spirited participation; letter to Kurt; and a final project

HONR 303: Politics and the Arts (Section 01) 

  • Upper-Level Honors Seminar: Social Science

  • Dr. Jonathan Chausovsky

  • Face-to-face: TR 3:30-4:50 p.m.; (CRN: 35240); 25 seats

  • Thompson E363

Course description: Some art is intentionally political; some is not. Some artists have been influenced by the political events that surround them; some have not. The causal arrow in these two formulations is that politics influences artistic creation. Yet, of course, we can also reverse that causal arrow: artistic creations can shape political environments. Murray Edelman argues that art shapes public conceptions about what is possible, and what is desirable within the political system. Part of this is based in emotion, which contrasts with the idea that people select choices based purely on rationality. Public displays may suggest a vision that reflects the character of the inhabitants, and may also seek to inspire visions that artists project. We will use Victoria C. Gardner Coates’  History of Democracy in Ten Works of Art to examine artistic vehicles of political expression.

Some cities have become centers for artistic creation: Florence, Vienna, Paris, Barcelona, and New York City have each cultivated communities of artists, in music, painting, sculpture, architecture, literature, and more. We will explore the environments that cultivated these communities, as well as the impact of the artistic communities on the reputation, status, and desirability that emerged as a result. Related to this is the impact of urban planning on space. Cities and spaces can encourage interactions, or can be designed (intentionally or otherwise) to stifle them. This can include museums, performing arts venues, outdoors performances and concerts, or large public murals or displays. By contrast, some artists have escaped political persecution. Joseph Horowitz’s Artists in Exile is a vehicle for this important exploration.

Finally, we will also explore the politics between artists, who vie for recognition, attention, and public funding, or may fundamentally disagree about visions of what art is good, and what is not good.

Class materials:  The following books are assigned. Do not purchase them prior to discussion with Professor Chausovsky, as we may need to purchase some through Perusall, an online annotation platform. Other articles and book chapters will be provided electronically.

Murray Edelman. From Art to Politics: How Artistic Creations Shape Political Conceptions. University of Chicago Press. 1995.

Victoria C. Gardner Coates. David’s Sling: A History of Democracy in Ten Works of Art. New York: Encounter Books, 2016.

Joseph Horowitz. Artists in Exile: How Refugees from Twentieth-Century War and Revolution Transformed the American Performing Arts. New York: Harper Perennial (Reprint edition), 2009.

Assignments: There will be three essays that will be much of the grade. 

HONR 305: Conflict in Hispanic Cinema (Section 01) 

  • Upper-Level Honors Seminar: The Human Past

  • Counts for Film Studies minor

  • Dr. Juan Antonio de Urda Anguita

  • Face-to-face: MW 3:00 to 4:20 p.m.; (CRN: 35241); 10 seats

  • Fenton 159

Course description: In this course, we will use a number of movies of different Spanish- speaking countries as a springboard (together with other materials, such as presentations) for learning about their history and the common relations and issues that connect those societies. The theme of all the movies is social, political or military conflict. The visual aspect will help the students to understand cultural nuances, and the original language with English subtitles will make the experience more complete. We will also discuss the movie as a work of art, as a product of its time and place.

Class materials: No class materials required. The students will be assigned class presentations in which they will research and introduce the social and historical backgrounds of the movies, providing context for the group to better understand them.

Assignments: Besides the presentations, the students will write short reaction essays to every film and two longer essays connecting the historical and social themes of several of them.

HONR 490: Honors Internship (Section 01)

Course description: Upper-level experiential learning opportunity through on-campus or off-campus placements. Nature of work will vary from placement to placement. This course is generally reserved for Honors Program members and students are responsible for finding and negotiating their own placement. Course requires students to consult with the Honors Program Director and the Career Development Office to complete a Learning Contract in accordance with college guidelines before the start of the internship.

Class materials: n/a

Assignments: TBD via a CDO learning contract and an Honors learning contract

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