Course Offerings

Spring 2020 Honors Courses



NEW! CHEM 113 – Chemistry & Environment (Section 04)

CCC - Natural Sciences & Fredonia Foundations - Natural Sciences/Critical Thinking and Analysis

Prof. Krista Bellis

ONLINE (CRN); 20 seats

This course is designed for students in all majors. It focuses on the examination of prevalent environmental issues and the chemical concepts related to these issues. Students will develop innovative solutions to complex problems via their responses to case studies and build on critical thinking skills necessary for citizens to be engaged, form educated opinions and actively make decisions related to these issues in a responsible manner.

Class materials: This course will use OER materials, so no textbook needs to be purchased. 


BIOL 109 – Biology, Health, and Medicine (Section 01) 

CCC - Natural Sciences & Fredonia Foundations - Natural Sciences/Critical Thinking & Analysis

Dr. Theodore Lee

MWF 1:00-1:50 p.m. (14560); 24 seats

The course will provide an introduction to human biology and health focusing on genetics (DNA) and biochemistry (proteins).  The course will cover the replication and expression of genetic information and the roles of these in diseases. Students will learn about infectious and inherited diseases.  The course will cover how scientists have studied diseases and developed treatments for them and what work is currently being done to develop new treatments to disease. The course will have discussions on areas of bioethics.

Class materials: clickers (clicker and subscription--used clickers are likely available); readings TBD

Assignments: debates on topics such as vaccinations, genome editing, and universal health care; a term paper on a topic of your choice relating to health and/or medicine


ENGL 144 – Reading Humanity (Section 03)

CCC - Humanities & Fredonia Foundations - Humanities/Critical Thinking and Analysis

Dr. Emily VanDette

TR 9:30-10:50 a.m. (14198)

This course explores representations of animals and of animal-human relationships in literature and other cultural productions.  We will ask such questions as the following:

  • What is an animal?
  • What is a human? 
  • Do animals have authentic identities and individuality? 
  • Do humans have certain ethical responsibilities to animals? 
  • What is the “species divide,” and how do people (authors, artists, philosophers etc) define it? 
  • How do representations of animals relate to historical constructions of human identity?   

In addition to studying literary representations of animals, the course will include artistic, cinematic, and digital media representations of animals, as well as philosophical, historical, and eco-critical discussions. We will especially focus on debates surrounding animal rights, and explore how literature and art engages in those debates.

Readings: TBA but likely the following: Black Beauty, by Anna Sewell; Trixy, by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps; select animal writings by Mark Twain, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Alice Walker, J. M. Coetzee, and more; plus, several philosophical selections about the status of animals in society.

Class materials: Three required books, Black Beauty, Trixy and Laika; other required readings will be provided for students. 


ENGL 167 – Border Crossings (Section 02)

CCC - Other World Civilizations & Fredonia Foundations - Other World Civilizations/Global Perspectives & Diversity

Dr. Iclal Vanwesenbeeck

MW 4:30-5:50 p.m. (14601)

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, western imperialism, and/or colonialism. 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, armed conflict, and ethno-religious conflict. 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?

Class materials: 

Primary readings: Hisham Matar, The Return: Fathers, Sons, and the Land in Between; Marjani Satrapi, The Complete Persepolis; J.M. Coetzee, The Childhood of Jesus

Secondary texts: scholarly articles, museum artifacts, several podcasts and documentaries

Films: Styx, Fire at Sea, Human Flow (excerpts), and two films suggested and voted on by students

Assignments: Discussion forums, event attendance, podcasts, poster exhibition, research paper, film festival planning


ENGL 296 – American Identities (Section 02)

CCC - American History (B) & Fredonia Foundations - American History/Global Perspectives & Diversity

Dr. Christina Jarvis

TR 2:00 -3:20 p.m. (14051)

How have historical events and/or legislation shaped who can be an American citizen? Are there connections between citizenship, military service, and civil rights? What myths and stories have been central to constructing an “American” identity? What forms of violence are tied to these constructions? How do gender, race, ethnicity, and class intersect with and complicate notions of an “American” identity? What are the issues and dynamics polarizing America and Americans today, and how can we begin to create common ground? Can we reclaim shared notions of an American identity?

To investigate questions, we will study representations of and connections between gender, class, race, ethnicity, and violence in American culture from 1830 to the present. Specifically, we will examine four main topics: “Manifest Destiny” and Westward Expansion; Slavery, Memory and Historical Legacies; War and National Identity: From World War II to the Shadows of 9/11; and Poverty & Intersectionality: Regional Identities & Global Inequalities. We will also spend time exploring contemporary issues, such as gun violence, immigration, digital technologies, and consumerism, from multiple perspectives.

Readings: Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave

Cynthia Ozick, The Shawl

Claudia Rankine, Citizen

Shukla & Suleyman, eds., The Good Immigrant: 26 Writers Reflect on America

The majority of our class texts will consist of scanned essays, poems, and other primary documents (available in e-reserve folder of OnCourse site). Authors will include Dorothy Allison, Roxane Gay, J.D. Vance, Mitsuye Yamada, Sherry Turkle, Brian Castner, and many others.

Assignments: examination; “bubble hopping” paper; group solution-oriented project; spirited participation; discussion questions; and identities inventory paper/final project 


HIST 150 - Global Pasts (Section 01)

CCC - Other World Civilizations & Fredonia Foundations - Other World Civilizations/Critical Thinking and Analysis

Dr. Markus Vink

TR 8:00 -9:20 a.m. (14222)

This course focuses on the early period of world history: human pre-history and history covering the period from 3500 BCE to about 1550 CE. Because of the length of the period and the complexity of the topics covered, the approach is thematic and comparative, emphasizing multiple global perspectives and diversity. No attempt is made to provide a comprehensive narrative or to survey the whole period. Instead, course material will emphasize a few major themes of "processes," such as the development of agriculture, the formation of cities and classical empires, the spread of universal and ethnic religions, global integration and exchange, which give a special character to the period. These processes are then illustrated by examples or "cases" from Africa, the Americas, and Eurasia. These “cases” are then compared and contrasted in order to explore and expose various “patterns.”


HIST 160 - Western Pasts:  I, Claudius and the Roman Empire (Section 03)

CCC - Western Civilization & Fredonia Foundations - Western Civilization/Critical Thinking and Analysis

Dr. John Arnold

MW 3-4:20 p.m. (14231) 

The course provides a background in key topics of the Western Civilization survey by focusing on the formation of the Principate, the first Roman Imperial constitution.  It does so through the pop-culture mirror of the I, Claudius television series, which faithfully reproduces Roman clothing, hair styles, décor, and cultural viewpoints, all the while remaining true to some of the remaining primary sources.  At the same time, the course deconstructs this pop-culture view of Rome by scrutinizing the key primary sources. We read the work of contemporary classical scholars who uncover the cultural, social, and political biases present in the work of such authors as Tacitus, Suetonius, and Velleius Paterculus.  In doing so, we come to understand that historical work, or historically inspired work, can be faithful to the sources yet false in its interpretation of the sources. We see that Roman historical writing belies a thought world as convulsed over arguments about social, gender, and sexual roles and their impact on politics as our does that of our own world. 

The course requires that students practice critical thinking, speaking, and writing skills in an effort to ferret out the truth of often ambiguous and difficult source material.  Students should come to understand how historical views of ancient Rome have not only supported the formation of American power structures and institutions, but have also reflected anxiety over their exercise of power.  

Class materials: H. H. Scullard, From the Gracchi to Nero (Routledge); additional readings on OnCourse


POLI 120 – Politics in American Life (Section 02) 

CCC - Social Sciences & Fredonia Foundations - Social Sciences/Critical Thinking & Analysis

Dr. Jonathan Chausovsky

TR 9:30 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. (12850)

Over the past four decades a message of limited government has dominated political conversations. Associated with this view has been an economic theory that free markets lead to economic success. Proponents argue that too many regulations hamper business, and these regulations should be removed. The major financial crisis in 2008, undermined this message and contributed to the election of Barack Obama as President. With great effort Democrats enacted a major heath insurance reform. This has been followed by a revival of limited government Reaganism, by Tea Party activists beginning in 2010. The election of Donald Trump upset the existing formula of parties divided over free markets with an emphasis on populism and restrictions on immigration. Many of his actions have been, shall we say, controversial. Trump has now dominated, and transformed, American politics, though perhaps not in the manner he hoped. 

What is it about the structure and practice of American politics that has led to these outcomes?  We will look at the messy state of politics, and we will learn to analyze this mess with social scientific methods. The approach will emphasize political development in history. This approach observes how political decisions develop out of prior existing circumstances. The pressures are channeled through the political institutions, but no one interest gets just what they want. 

Because of the unusual events ongoing, we will begin with impeachment. Examining its role in our history and today will allow us to explore the role of the Congress and the Presidency in an era of divisive politics. We will examine it in light of the evolution of the party system, of the media, and of public opinion. We will supplement this with material on the basic structure of federalism and separation of powers – and Trump's alleged transgressions. Next, we will read a case study on  health care. Where did the current system come from, why is it controversial, and what are the alternatives? Why have there been such ferocious efforts to dismantle it? Finally, we will examine the changes in inequality, and evolution of social movements.

There will be four papers (but no exams). 

Class materials: 

Charles L. Black, Jr. and Phillip Bobbitt. Impeachment: A Handbook, New Edition. Yale UP, 2018. 

Lawrence Jacobs & Theda Skocpol. Health Care Reform & American Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know, Revised and Updated Edition. Oxford UP, 2012. 

Plus. one book to be determined, and an assortment of articles and readings posted on OnCourse.


SOC 249 – Toward a Great Society (Section 02) 

CCC - American History (B) & Fredonia Foundations - American History/Creative Thinking & Innovation 

Dr. Mary Carney

TR 9:30 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. (14562)

What was, and is, a “Great” Society?  This question serves as the historical and metaphorical theme as we journey from 1600 to 1968 exploring how and why the United States helps, or doesn’t help, vulnerable citizens.  Ideas related to democracy, policy, social contracts, human rights, oppression, social justice, benevolence, and social control are explored.

The metaphor attached to Lyndon Johnson’s presidency was that America was, or could be, a “Great Society.”  One of the main ideas of this political theme was to “cure” poverty and other social ills. How America has helped the needy was described by historian Walter Trattner (1999) “as a vital part of the American character.” This course examines this American character by focusing on a specific element of American social history: how we as a society have addressed the human, social, civil and human rights needs of the poor and socially marginalized subcultures.  We will explore competing political, social, cultural and ideological factors and their complex interactions and influences on our social policy from 1600-1968/74. In studying these factors, we ask the question: What is a Great Society and can we get there?

Why? Learning historical knowledge not only serves as a foundation to understand current social welfare policy and service systems but also helps us understand the people and decisions made in a certain time and place.  These decisions, although seemingly occurring too long ago for us to care, impact us today. They form the basis of current policy and collective values. Ideas and dreams from the past, like a “Great Society,” still have resonance as each generation comes to terms with the realities of social problems like poverty, mental illness, homelessness, substance abuse, child abuse and neglect.  Each individual in each generation, not just social workers, must come to terms with what they believe their obligations as a citizen in a democracy are in relation to these problems. By looking at what we have done, we can better formulate answers to these questions: What should we do? How? and Why?

Class materials:  This course will use OER materials, so no textbook needs to be purchased.  Instead, we use selections from online textbooks for contextual content. The books we will use for these selections are Corbett et al’s (2019) U. S. History  and Kurtz et al’s (2016 or latest update) American Government available through OpenStax.  Added to this will be readings from primary source documents found online and appropriate journal articles dedicated to specific issues in social welfare history. All readings will be linked through OnCourse.

Assignments:  This course uses a portfolio process with assignments linked to each unit and which help with the final creative project  (total of 10 assignments). The culminating assignment is an advocacy video made from PowerPoint Collages in which students explore their own ideas related to the questions: What is a Great Society and how do we get there?  We will also have unit tests with at least one essay on each.  

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