Fall 2021 Honors Courses

Fredonia Foundations Honors Sections

EDU 226:  Earth as a System (Section HR)  Click on the link for video!

  • CCC: Natural Sciences; Fredonia Foundations: Natural Sciences & Global Perspectives and Diversity
  • Dr. Michael Jabot
  • Face-to-Face: Tu 8:00-10:20 a.m.; (CRN: 33903); 25 seats

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. 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 132: Word and Sound (Section HR)

  • Fredonia Foundations: Arts & Creativity & Innovation
  • CCC: Arts
  • Alison Pipitone, award-winning Buffalo Music Hall of Fame musician
  • 100% online; (CRN: 35068); 20 seats

Course description: This course will ask students to consider songwriting in several ways. First, students will explore some fundamental aspects of the sound of songwriting, including rhythm, meter, tempo, hook, arrangement and production. We will also consider the lyric with a focus on word choice, image, tone, and voice. Next, the class will explore the role that songs have in reflecting and influencing a culture. To that end, we will consider the concept of resilience as is evidenced by influential songs of the 1930s, the 1960s, and the 21st century. What do songs across so many decades have in common? What themes emerge that help to define a uniquely American sound? In addition, how is that American sound influenced by--and some word argue, created by--the technology used to create and disseminate the song?


  • Various (open source and websites): phonemes; the vocabulary of sound including rhythm, meter, tempo, hook, arrangement, and production.
  • Sisario, Ben, et al. “Bob Dylan Wins Nobel Prize, Redefining Boundaries of Literature.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 13 Oct. 2016, www.nytimes.com/2016/10/14/arts/music/bob-dylan-nobel-prize-literature….
  • Davis, Francis. “Napoleon in Rags.” Atlantic, vol. 283, no. 5, May 1999, pp. 108–117. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=1819768&site=ehost-live.
  • Natty, Mala (DMZ), Benjamin Zephania, “Word and Sound” (song and interviews)
  • “We Mean It, Maaan!: the Lost Art of the Pop Manifesto.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 29 Apr. 2010, www.theguardian.com/music/2010/apr/29/pop-manifestos-manics-malcolm-mcclaren.
  • More articles, videos, TBD


  • Discussion posts throughout semester
  • Sound Assignment
  • Lyric Assignment
  • Resilience Assignment
  • Answer Song Assignment
  • Artist Manifesto/Artist Statement

ENGL 167:  Border Crossings (Section HR) Click on the link for video!

  • Fredonia Foundations: Other World Cultures & Global Perspectives & Diversity;
  • CCC: Other World Civilization
  • Dr. Iclal Vanwesenbeeck
  • 100% ONLINE (CRN: 34961); 20 seats

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 in literature, philosophy, political theory, and economics, students will be offered analytical skills that help them grapple with some of the most defining global questions of our time:  What responsibility of hospitality do nations and cultures have to those displaced? What is linguistic exile? 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.

Class materials: 

  • Books:
  • 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;  
    • Sweetness in the Belly by Camilla Gibb; Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
  • Films and secondary sources (all are available via free access on OnCourse) 

Assignments: Unit quizzes; OpEd piece; media literacy slides; annotation and close reading presentation; podcast; poster making

HIST 171: American Patterns (Innovation and Change in the Nineteenth Century) (Section HR) Click on the link for video!

  • Fredonia Foundations: American History/Creative Thinking & Innovation
  • CCC: American History
  • Dr. Elisabeth Davis, davise@fredonia.edu
  • Face-to-Face: TR 8:00-9:20 a.m.; CRN (35067); 25 seats

Course description: The 1800s was a time of immense change in the United States. In the years leading up to and following the Civil War, Americans experimented with new gender roles, religious values, economic and industrial standards, technology...and more. This course will explore the changes that occurred in American life during the long nineteenth century, reflecting on how this era helped create the modern world. 

Course materials:

  • primary sources (posted on OnCourse)
  • podcasts, blogs, and documentaries (posted on OnCourse)

Assignments: field trip to a local cemetery (during class time); essay on a primary source; research project on a topic of your choice (in the 1800s); students will use their research to create a podcast; final, culminative essay

MUS 233:  Musics of the World (Section HR) Click on the link for video!

  • CCC: Other World Civilizations; Fredonia Foundations: Arts & Global Perspectives and Diversity; Leadership: Global Perspectives
  • Dr. Andrés García Molina, SUNY PRODiG Fellow
  • Face-to-Face: TR 11:20 a.m.–12:40 p.m.; (CRN: 34061); 25 seats

Course description: This course is a topical survey of some of the musical and sonic traditions of the world in relation to questions of politics, aesthetics, and ethics. The purpose of the course is to introduce students to a wide range of ways of thinking critically about music, sound, and global diversity through an interdisciplinary approach, drawing from methods in the disciplines of ethnomusicology, sound studies, anthropology, film and media studies, and comparative literature. No previous background in music is required. A tentative map of our course organization is as follows: We begin with a broad introduction to the methods and scope of ethnomusicology, as well as an approach to sound at the intersection between anthropology and sound studies (Part I). We then engage global musical responses to the COVID-19 pandemic as an entrypoint into various artistic and creative traditions of the world at the interface between historical practices and an unfolding global event (Part II). We then zoom out and meditate on the very concept of “musics of the world” and its variants (e.g., world music, ethnic music, global sounds) through an examination of encounters between “Western” and “world” music, given that our class itself, articulated from the United States, performs one such encounter (Part III). Importantly, we ask: Why should a class like this exist? What are the logics behind its inclusion as part of compulsory university curricula? What meanings might be embedded in the course’s geographical ambition? We then critically examine conventional ethnomusicological approaches to global musical traditions (Part IV), drawing on the concepts we will thus far have developed in the course. Space will be made for open topics to be proposed and selected by students based on their personal interests; in each week following the culmination of parts II and IV, we will focus on topics to be determined through student polls. We conclude with a final meditation on music and other modalities of sound as central to interrogating the relationship between the personal and the political. 

Class materials: All text and audiovisual resources will be available via OnCourse.

Assignments: 1. Weekly response papers that connect class materials with students’ everyday life and experiences. 2. One take-home mid-term exam comprised of two essay responses. 3. A choice between a take-home final exam similar to the mid-term or a much more encouraged alternative: an open-ended final creative project that engages class materials through a format of your choosing. Students in the past have created photo essays, short stories, poetry collections, musical compositions, short documentaries, and curated playlists, among others—the objective is to make connections between your expressive media and class discussions both implicitly (in your creative work) and explicitly (in an accompanying statement).

PSY 129:  Foundations in Psychology (Section HR) Click on the link for video!

  • CCC: Social Sciences & Fredonia Foundations: Social Sciences/Critical Thinking and Analysis
  • Dr. Thuy Karafa
  • Face-to-Face: MWF 9:10-10:00 a.m.; (CRN: 33984); 25 seats

Course description: Introductory psychology is an overview of the major areas in psychology such as learning, personality, social behavior, biological psychology, abnormal behaviors, and sociocultural psychology.  It highlights the history of psychology, scientific methods applied in the laboratory and in the field, and theories that guide much of psychological research. To understand, explain, and explore individual behaviors in self and others, this course will examine the main areas that influence behaviors such as the brain development, drugs, environment, culture, and peer groups. This course will help students to critically analyze psychological topics that are relevant to and that affect their lives and others.

Class materials: Psychology in Modules, Thirteenth edition, David G. Myers; Nathan C. DeWallE-book from $71.99 ISBN:9781319355487; LaunchPad $99.99  ISBN:9781319355548; Loose-Leaf $137.99 ISBN:9781319355470; Paperback from $81.99 ISBN:9781319132095

Assignments: Besides standard exams to determine students’ knowledge of material, a quiz will be given during classes to assess students' understanding of material presented in class. In addition to the quizzes, in-class assignments are to be completed during class time. The purposes of these quizzes and in-class assignments are to test students’ reading comprehension, to ensure students are prepared for discussion, and to encourage students to think critically about psychology, ask questions, assist one another, and work in groups.

During the semester, four reflection papers (1 page each) will be assigned. These are critical analyses of questions that encourage students to apply relevant psychological concepts to their lives as well as their community.  Students must use psychological concepts to support their claims and analyses.

Lastly, a semester paper (worth 70 points) will also be assigned to encourage students to integrate and apply theories and concepts learned in class.

WGST 210: LGBTQ Literature & American History (Section HR) 

Click on the link for video!

  • CCC: Humanities & Fredonia Foundations: Humanities & Global Perspectives and Diversity
  • Dr. Jeffry Iovannone
  • REMOTE: MW 5:00-6:20 p.m. (CRN: 34949); 25 seats 

Course description: This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to the history of the American LGBTQ Rights Movement, combining historical, literary, and cultural analysis and methodologies. We will examine the American LGBTQ Rights Movement through primary sources such as literary texts, oral histories, and other archival documents. Sexual orientation and gender identity will be examined in relation to other marginalized identity positions such as class and race. Students will additionally have the opportunity to engage with this history outside of the classroom by participating in a virtual walking tour of historic LGBTQ sites in Buffalo and working together to create a public history project. 

Class materials:

  • Books
    • Brown, Rita Mae. Rubyfruit Jungle (Bantam, 2015).
    • Feinberg, Leslie. Stone Butch Blues, 20th Anniversary Author Edition (self-published).
    • Highsmith, Patricia. The Price of Salt, or Carol (W.W. Norton, 2004).
    • Kramer, Larry. The Normal Heart (Samuel French, 1985).
    • Lorde, Audre. Zami (The Crossing Press, 1982).
    • Miller, Merle. On Being Different (Penguin, 2012).
  • Various additional readings available through OnCourse.

Assignments: discussion participation (10%); oral history response papers (10%); literature response papers (20%); group presentation (20%); public history project (40%)

STAT 260:  Intro to Data Science (Section HR) Click on the link for video!

  • Fredonia Foundations: Math and Quantitative Reasoning.  This course does not count toward the CCC.
  • Dr. Joseph Straight
  • Face-to-Face: TR 9:40-11:00 a.m.;  (CRN: 34838); 10 seats

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

Upper-Level Honors Seminars

HONR 302: Black Lives Matter (Section 01) Click on the link for video!

  • Upper-Level Honors Seminar: Human Experience
  • Drs. Jennifer Hildebrand and Saundra Liggins
  • Face-to-Face: MWF 10:20-11:10 a.m.; (CRN: 34415); 25 seats

Course description: This course is designed to expose students to the origins, history, and implications of the contemporary Black Lives Matter Movement. Through an historical context we will look at how American state institutions--for example, slavery and the criminal justice system--maintain inequality through both violent and non-violent means. We will also broadly examine the role of  literature and music within protest movements including but also pre-dating the Black Lives Matter movement. One question that will be considered is how literature and music have been used as tools for building community and shaping perceptions of whiteness and blackness.  Relatedly, issues of language will be examined in this class. Are “All Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter” simply different ways of saying the same thing or are they fundamentally different philosophies? Who gets to claim the rhetoric(s) of protest? The intersection of the Black Lives Matter movement and politics will be examined as well. Students will learn how the Movement has spurred strategies for change within the political process by addressing issues of voting rights and civic engagement and how, historically, grassroots protest movements have run counter to more traditional political developments.

Class materials: TBD

Assignments: The majority of the student's grade will come from two exams, two papers, and in-class discussion.

HONR 306: Entrepreneurship (Section 01) 

  • Upper-Level Honors Seminar: Interdisciplinary
  • Dr. Susan McNamara
  • Face-to-Face: M 6:30-9:00 p.m.; (CRN: 34841); 15 seats 

Course description: Entrepreneurship is defined by some as translating a big idea into making an impact in the world or within an organization. This course will delve into the many ways  a “big idea” or concept can be shaped into a business or social enterprise. Creativity and ideation will be explored as well as how to test concepts and pivot appropriately. Students are also invited to bring ideas they have considered before and to build a team to help them further develop the idea into a viable business. Creating businesses as “side gigs” and part time businesses will also be included in our considerations. Students will work in teams  of diverse talents and backgrounds. All majors are encouraged to register as “big ideas” which offer an opportunity to make an impact in our world exist across disciplines. 

Class materials: A book will NOT be required.  Materials will be provided through OnCourse and/or distributed in class.  Guest speakers will be invited to share their entrepreneurial experiences.

Assignments: Numerous in-class presentations will be given based on concepts taught in class.  The final project will include a business plan and presentation on an idea that has been developed in a team across the second half of the semester. 

HONR 306: Public Intellectuals and Social Change (Section 02) 

Click on the link for podcast!

  • Upper-Level Honors Seminar: Interdisciplinary
  • Dr. Jeanette McVicker
  • Face-to-Face: TR 9:40-11:00 a.m.; (CRN: 34893); 25 seats

Course description: The term ‘intellectual’ registers on most ears as an elitist designation, while the adjective ‘public’ suggests something that speaks to/comes from ‘the people.’ If we see these potentially contradictory terms as expressing instead a tension that is generative, attuned to both a tradition (whether academic, religious, political, etc.) of thinking and action as well as disruptions that expand a tradition without allowing it to ‘capture’ and silence voices for social change, we can begin to consider that public intellectuals come not necessarily from the ivory towers or sites of privilege, but frequently arise within circumstances that call for ethical, expansive and compassionate critical modes of address/research/ action. The course will provide many opportunities for students to contemplate how such figures have embraced this tension across disciplines, cultures, and traditions throughout history. Most importantly, it will offer students opportunities to consider the work of public intellectuals in our own time and what gives their work currency and urgency.

This upper-level seminar will take an interdisciplinary approach to considering the role of the public intellectual in supporting social change. Some questions addressed will include how the idea of a ‘public intellectual’ arose (e.g., as discussed by marxist philosophers such as Antonio Gramsci and Louis Althusser), who has been regarded as a public intellectual (e.g., scientists such as Albert Einstein, Robert J. Oppenheimer; philosopher/writers such as Edmund Wilson, Hannah Arendt and C.L.R. James; writer/activists such as Virginia Woolf, James Baldwin and Edward W. Said), whether the idea of the public intellectual continues to have relevance in the present (e.g., would we consider the following to be public intellectuals today: Arundhati Roy, Angela Y. Davis, Cornel West, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Judith Butler, Kimberle Crenshaw, Spike Lee, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Malala Yousafzai, Greta Thunberg?) and its possibilities for the future. How have social media and the performative arts altered definitions as well as emergence of/access to potential public intellectuals (e.g., are Lin-Manuel Miranda and Beyonce public intellectuals?) and how do various social crises (from #MeToo to #BLM to Marjorie Stoneman Douglas student survivor-leaders) provide such emergence as/recognition of public intellectuals? 

Guest speakers from Fredonia faculty and beyond will also be invited to share their ideas regarding the role and expectations of public intellectuals.

Class materials:

  • Most readings will be made available via OnCourse, but students should purchase these:
  • Virginia Woolf, Three Guineas (annotated edition)
  • Mark Hussey, ed. with an introduction by Jane Marcus (Mariner, 2014)
  • Angela Y. Davis, Freedom is a Constant Struggle (Haymarket Books, 2016)

Assignments: Students will help lead discussion through roundtable discussions (each student will serve on at least one and give feedback during others) and contribute more in-depth research presentations addressing several of the primary figures/readings. Focusing on a particular historical or contemporary figure, students will construct a public intellectual profile that addresses the impact of this individual on a wider public and assesses the legacy of public intellectuals generally. Students will share their seminar research in a project that can be submitted to the Fredonia Student Research & Creativity Expo or SUNY Undergraduate Research Conference as a research poster, podcast or essay (see OSCAR site for general info).

Honors Applied-Learning Experiences

HONR 390: Honors Advanced Learning Project

  • Dr. Natalie Gerber
  • Face-to-face: Th 4:20-5:50 p.m. plus individual meetings (CRN: 35074); 4 students

Course description: In this mentored research experience, Honors students will, individually or in small groups, learn how to research complex problems or opportunities; draft recommendations while working within the constraints of staffing, budgets, and timelines; and learn to craft persuasive materials, presenting their findings to an appropriate campus body (e.g., Honors Program Advisory Board).

Class materials: TBD (but likely to include a book on writing proposals)

Assignments: project plan; review of literature; local data; draft proposal and reflection; final proposal and reflection on growth; formal presentation           

HONR 490: Honors Internship 

  • Dr. Natalie Gerber
  • Variable credits (1-24) (CRN: 34717); 5 students

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

Note: Honors students interested in pursuing an internship, in conjunction with an Honors learning contract, in lieu of an Honors course should contact Dr. Natalie Gerber, Director of the Honors Program, to learn more about this opportunity. 

Students may also pursue an internship in their major and pair it with an Honors learning contract to substitute for one course.

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