Honors in action: classroom picture

Spring 2023 Honors Courses

Fredonia Foundations Honors-Only Sections


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

BIOL 109: Biology, Health, and Medicine (Section HR) 

  • Fredonia Foundations: Natural Sciences & Critical Thinking and Analysis
  • Dr. Scott Ferguson
  • Face-to-Face: Tuesdays, 11:00 a.m.-12:20 p.m.; (CRN: 15693); 25 seats
  • Science Center, 012

Course description: This course provides a foundation in the essential mechanisms of genetics and biochemistry in biology. These fields have expanded rapidly and contributed to a greater understanding of the factors that contribute to health and disease. Molecular descriptions of these factors have given us life-saving treatments and changed the face of modern medicine. We will also explore how the rapid progress in these fields has taken us into territory that presents ethical dilemmas that we may not be prepared for.

We will begin the course with an exploration of the rules of heredity, exploring how these rules operate in terms of genes and proteins and how they keep us healthy or cause inherited disease. This will lay the foundation for discussions on genetic testing and how this information can be used to make informed healthcare decisions. Recent developments have enabled us to edit our genes and those of plants and animals, but should we? Stem cells show a great deal of promise to cure disease, but also present ethical and medical challenges. We will also learn how it is possible to train our immune systems to seek out and destroy viruses, bacteria, and cancer cells. My goal is to empower students to be informed consumers of information that they may encounter when taking a genetic test, becoming parents, deciding whether to be vaccinated, or confronting a medical diagnosis.

Class materials: 

  • Echo 360 Clicker (formerly turning) and subscription
  • Lewis, Ricki. Human Genetics: Concepts and Applications.
  • Skloot, Rebecca. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
  • Additional open access materials/PDFs will be provided on OnCourse

Assignments: Clicker questions, discussion posts, quizzes, essays, and participation. Format still under development.

ENGL 132: Word and Sound (Section HR)

  • Fredonia Foundations: Arts & Creativity & Innovation

  • Alison Pipitone

  • 100% ONLINE (CRN: 15742); 20 seats

Course description: This arts-based course draws both from literary scholarship and from an understanding of the ubiquitous presence of music in our modern, interconnected society. This course will ask students to consider songwriting in several ways. First, we will explore some fundamental aspects of the sound of songwriting, including rhythm, meter, tempo, hooks, arrangement, and production. We will also consider the lyric with a focus on word choice, rhyme, 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 Great Depression), the 1960s (the Civil Rights Movement), and the 21st century (pandemic, social justice, political upheaval). 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 would argue, created by—the technology used to create and disseminate the song? (The textbook will serve as our jumping off point for this conversation.) 

This course explores the sound of words and the sound of music. How does the sound of American English become a part of the sound of a song? How do sound (words, music, production) and word (literal and figurative meaning) combine to create a uniquely American music? In short, the course aims to help students become skilled in decoding the role that sound plays in popular music, as well as to take on active creative roles as practitioners of sound use (and re-use) in their own texts. These experiences will help them be connected to—and critically aware of—the ways in which sound itself can be used to construct inclusive communities.

Class materials: 

  • Polashek, Timothy D. The Word Rhythm Dictionary a Resource for Writers, Rappers, Poets, and Lyricists. Rowman & Littlefield, 2016.

Assignments: discussion posts, 20%; sound assignment, 10%; lyric assignment, 10%; artist/sound manifesto, 10%; answer song assignment, 10%; resilience assignment, 10%; artist statement, 10%; textbook assignments, 20%

ENGL 296: American Identities (Section HR)

  • Fredonia Foundations: American History; Global Perspectives & Diversity

  • English: Literature & Identities

  • Multi-Ethnic African American

  • Women’s Studies 

  • Dr. Saundra Liggins

  • Face-to-face: MWF 10:00-10:50 a.m.; (CRN: 13146); 25 seats

  • Thompson E327

Course description:  In this class we will examine the nature of the American identity over time.  What does it mean to be American? How have people of different races, ethnicities, and class backgrounds created their American identities, especially within a country that has frequently denied their identity? We’ll also be reflecting upon how citizens’ identities play a role in a country’s obligations to those citizens. Our readings, screenings, discussions, and assignments will help us to analyze how such things as governmental policies, institutions, and beliefs shape an individual’s and a community’s sense of  their national identity.

Note: The texts read and viewed this semester may contain racial slurs and/or other language that some may find offensive. If you have any concerns about this during the semester, please feel free to contact me. 

Class materials will include but not be limited to the following texts: 

  • Jacobs, Harriet. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.
  • Westover, Tara.  Educated: A Memoir.
  • Takei, George. They Called Us Enemy.

Assignments: to be determined (TBD)

MUED 251: Psychology and Sociology in Music Education (Section HR)

  • Fredonia Foundations: Social Sciences & Critical Thinking & Analysis 

  • Dr. Richard Webb

  • Face-to-face: MWF 12:00-12:50 p.m.; (CRN: 12827); 20 seats

  • Mason 1022

Course description: Study basic principles of educational psychology and sociology, including learning processes, motivation, communication, and classroom management. Study the special education process and state and federal special education laws and regulations. Introduction to research-validated instructional strategies for teaching students within the full range of abilities in music. Study of the rights and responsibilities of teachers, staff, students, parents, community members, school administrators, and others with regard to education, as well as the importance of productive relationships and interactions among the school, home, and community for enhancing student learning. Students enrolled in the Honors section of MUED 251 will be provided learning experiences mutually agreed upon between, and designed by, the students and instructor.

Note: Enrollment for this course is restricted to MUED Honors students. If you are interested in enrolling but are not an MUED major, please email Honors.Program@fredonia.edu to be placed on a waitlist.

Class materials:

Required Textbook Purchase:

Other Materials:

  • Other readings in PDF format, templates, and video links (provided on OnCourse)
  • Access to the class Google Folder
  • Access to the course Padlet

Assignments: class preparation & participation (incl. Cornell Notes), 30%; quizzes, 30%; review papers, 30%; group work (class presentations, final group project), 10%.

PHYS 205: Science and Civilization (Section HR)

  • Fredonia Foundations: Western Civilization & Global Perspectives & Diversity

  • Dr. Justin Conroy

  • Face-to-face: TR 9:30 to 10:50 am; (CRN: 15793); 24 seats

  • Science Center 012

Course description: This course is a survey of major scientific discoveries, the effect that these discoveries have had on the progress of civilizations, and the relationship between culture and science.  

In the course of human history, science has played an integral role in the advancement of civilization.  Science influences our thought patterns and helps shape our worldview in a variety of ways, including culturally and religiously.  Science has improved our quality of life and has also led to its destruction.  In this course we will cover a history of science and how it has shaped our world, led to major advances, and pushed social, ethical, and religious boundaries.  Some of the topics we will address include the following:

  • What is science?  How is it done?  How does it progress?  What is a scientific theory?  
  • How may science influence our worldview?
  • How can we distinguish science from pseudoscience?
  • Can science and religion coexist?
  • Is Intelligent Design a viable alternative to Evolution?
  • Is climate change for real? (Answer = yes)
  • Why has a disproportionate amount of scientific progress historically come out of “the West”?
  • How can a knowledge of science motivate civic engagement and influence public policy?
  • What advancements are we likely to see over the next few decades, and how will they influence us as a society?

Class materials: assigned readings, PDFs, no required textbooks

Assignments: in-class projects, essays, two exams, final project

WGST 201: Topics in Gender Studies (Section HR) 

  • Fredonia Foundations: Social Sciences & Creativity and Innovation

  • Leadership Global Perspectives

  • Women's Studies

  • Dr. Jeffry Iovannone

  • 100% ONLINE (CRN: 14461); 25 seats

Course description: To be determined (TBD)

Course materials: TBD

Assignments: TBD

Upper-Level Honors Seminars

Scroll down for upper-level Honors seminars.

Upper-Level Honors Seminars, Internships, and Learning Contracts

The following courses are restricted to students admitted to the Fredonia Honors Program. There may be additional restrictions placed on each course.

HONR 301: The G-29 RAC Project (Section 01) 

  • Upper-Level Honors Seminar: Arts
  • Paul Mockovak II, MFA
  • Face-to-Face: TR 9:30 to 10:50 a.m.; (CRN:15522); 16 seats
  • Rockefeller Arts Center G-29 (Theatre Studio)
  • Video preview (click on hyperlink!)

Course description: “Theatre at the Speed of Art!” “Creativity in a Can!” “Theatre on the Fly!” This course is a classroom variation on the 24-hour Theatre project bringing the majority of elements of theatre together. Instead of "From Page to Stage" as a concept, we will do it all hands on. The participants in groups will develop a concept, write, design, direct, act, rehearse, and present an “episode/project” on either a weekly or a biweekly basis, gaining experience on both sides of the artistic table. 

Class materials: to be determined (TBD)

Assignments: TBD

HONR 302: Philosophy and Science (Section 01) 

  • Upper-Level Honors Seminar: The Human Experience
  • Dr. Neil Feit
  • Face-to-Face: MW 3:00 to 4:20 p.m.; (CRN:15772); 25 seats
  • Fenton 179

Course description: In this seminar, we will consider various philosophical questions about the foundations of science. Some of the questions have to do with our knowledge: Do the methods of science give us good reason to believe that theories are true? What is a scientific explanation? Does science use induction, and if so, is this a problem? Other questions concern reality: What entities are scientific theories committed to? What are laws of nature? One or two questions might be moral: Can (and should) science be value-free? 

Class materials: inexpensive textbook; other readings in the form of PDF files; notebook

Assignments: As of now, anticipated assignments are in-class projects, two exams, essay, final project & presentation, reading questions.

HONR 303: The Science of Learning: Mindfulness and Growth Mindset (Section 01) 

  • Upper-Level Honors Seminar: Social Science

  • Dr. Guangyu Tan

  • Face-to-face: TR 11:00 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.; (CRN: 15773); 25 seats

  • Thompson E124

Course description: In this seminar, we will explore the ancient yoga philosophy and the current research in brain science and neuroscience. Yoga is not only a physical exercise, but more importantly, a way of life and a means of uniting with our highest purpose, our true nature, and our internal healer. In this seminar, we will apply the eight limbs of yoga and evidence from science to our own life, and practice mindful strategies that help us to live a happier, healthier and more fulfilling life. Each class will start with a five-minute guided meditation and end with a five-minute savasana. The first ten weeks will be lectures and forums on yoga philosophy, neuroscience, and positive psychology.  The last five weeks will be practice of the mindful strategies.

Class materials: yoga mat and Yoga: Discipline of Freedom

Assignments: weekly journal entries; and a final reflective essay/project on what happiness is and how the practice of mindfulness impacts students’ sense of happiness, learning, and the purpose of life

HONR 304: Biodiversity (Section 01) 

  • Upper-Level Honors Seminar: Science and Society

  • Dr. Thomas Hegna

  • Face-to-face: MWF 11:00 to 11:50 a.m.; (CRN: 15107); 24 seats

  • Houghton 126

Course description: This course aims to explore all aspects of biodiversity. From how we recognize species, to classification, to biodiversity’s importance, extinction, and conservation. Students will come away from the class with an understanding of how the fundamental data for studies of biodiversity is acquired, problems and caveats to its use, and what that information means. We will examine both large-scale trends through time and the efficacy of modern conservation practices. The class will be supplemented with hands-on exercises and virtual guest lectures from taxonomic experts from around the world.

Class materials: 

• Sigwardt, J.D. 2018. What Species Mean: A User’s Guide to the Units of Biodiversity. CRC Press; Boca Raton, FL. https://www.routledge.com/What-Species-Mean-A-Users-Guide-to-the-Units-of-Biodiversity/Sigwart/p/book/9781032338842 

• Various assigned papers available as PDFs

Assignments: Assignments will include a mini-bioblitz in the field; an in-class exercise in species description and delineation; and a presentation on a taxonomic group of organisms. 

HONR 306: Nations and Nationalism; Music and Language (Section 01) 

  • Upper-Level Honors Seminar: Interdisciplinary Thinking

  • Dr. Lacey Golaszewski

  • Face-to-face: TR 8:00 to 9:20 a.m.; (CRN: 15774); 24 seats

  • Mason 2140

Course description: This course discusses the intersections between music, language, and nationalism around the world in recent centuries. As such, it features patriotic hymns, musical propaganda, national anthems, nationalist operas, music for State-sponsored musical competitions, nationalist folk music, and rock and pop protest songs, exploring them in terms of both music and lyrics. The course also comprises nationalist poetry and prose set to music, such as that by France’s Victor Hugo and Senegal’s Leopold Senghor, writings about and in reaction to nationalism and nationalist music, and propagandistic literature related to music. The course includes discussions on military bands, symphony orchestras, operas, musicals, and music conservatories as vehicles for the display of and indoctrination of nationalism in places ranging from late eighteenth-century revolutionary France to twentieth-century Southeast Asia, and it examines the roles of music and literature in nationalist movements in Europe in the nineteenth century and formerly colonized regions throughout the world, including especially those in Africa, in the twentieth century. Finally, the course links music and language to nationalism and national identity in today’s world, including that concerning the present situation in Ukraine. In sum, the course focuses on how music and language contributed to the formation and development of concepts of nation and national identity throughout the world. 

Class materials: a laptop or similar device is recommended; the instructor will provide other materials

Assignments: Assignments include brief readings, written reflections, student presentations, and a research paper.

HONR 490: Honors Internships (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

Students may opt to pursue an applied-learning project (minimum 2 credits) in place of any one course that is part of the program requirements. This applied-learning project could be a directed study, field experience or learning assistantship, internship, service-learning project, and/or volunteer project.  Students must consult with the program director prior to the experience to complete a learning contract and to arrange to receive credit.  See this presentation for further information.

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