Course Offerings

Fall 2020 Honors Courses



NEW! MATH 117: Why Mathematics? (Section HR)

CCC - Natural Sciences & Fredonia Foundations: Mathematics & Quantitative Reasoning & Information Literacy

Dr. Robert Rogers

TR 2:40-4:00 p.m.; Remote Instruction; (34251); 29 seats

Course Description: Why Mathematics? introduces the liberal arts student to the nature of mathematics and what mathematicians do. An emphasis is placed on presenting ideas and mathematical concepts rather than on mastering computational skills. Ideas from algebra, geometry, number theory, set theory, and topology are presented with emphasis on their history, relevance to other disciplines, and real world applications. 

 Course Objectives:

·        Provide an appreciation of mathematics beyond the “mathematical grammar” typically encountered in        courses designed to enhance mathematical proficiency.

·        Construct logical arguments and communicate them clearly and effectively.

·        Use the internet and other resources in an effective manner, discerning between reliable information and “e-crap.”

·        Connect mathematics to other disciplines.

Class Materials:  Provided by instructor

Assignments:  Since this is an appreciation course, there will be no in-class tests.  Throughout the semester, students will be given 15 assignments to do. These assignments will be a combination of fact-finding searches and mathematical problems.  A few assignments will be given out at a time with a specified due date. Students may submit any of the solutions up until that due date. A solution is either acceptable or unacceptable.  If it is acceptable, then it will be recorded as completed. If it is not acceptable, then students can resubmit revisions. Solutions may be resubmitted until the due date. At that point, solutions will not be accepted, and three new problems will be given. The grade is based on the number of solutions accepted.  


CHEM 113 – Chemistry & Environment (Section HR)

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

Prof. Krista Bellis

100% ONLINE; (33426); 28 seats

Course Description: 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. 

Assignments: TBD but most likely resource checks (30%); chem activities and case studies (30%); packback questions (15%); quizzes (25%) 


NEW! ENGL 100: The Craft of Writing (Section HR)

CCC: Basic Communication (Written) & Fredonia Foundations: Written Communication & Information Literacy

Dr. KimMarie Cole

TR 8:00-9:20 a.m.; Fenton Hall 105 (Hybrid); (32947); 20 seats

Course Description: (from University Catalog): A student-centered writing-workshop course in which students understand and practice various stages of the writing process; compose essays using narration, description, persuasion, exposition, and explanation; and use writing and discussion as a means of situating themselves in a world of ideas. There is an emphasis, as well, on reading critically.

Once we're together in the fall (or following registration in summer 2020) we'll decide together the focus of our course from among the following three choices.

A. It's an election year, and for many, it's your first opportunity to cast a ballot for a presidential campaign. Our broader culture informs us that it's not polite to talk about religion, politics, and money, but the intersections of these makes for some fascinating conversation and writing. We'll study and analyze campaign literature for its rhetorical structures and patterns. We'll read from among current political commentators to see how they create their positions. We'll create campaign literature in support of candidates or issues that resonate with our group. Students will write pieces for public consumption (letters to the editor, blog posts, platform planks, etc. in addition to the research they do on a current political topic.

B. Welcome to Fredonia.  If we select this version of the course, we will become a  mini-publishing house, creating content for the First-Year and Transition Office newsletter.  Working in collaboration with the director of that office, we'll select a range of topics that are relevant and timely for new students.  Through exploration, hands-on, and data-base research, we'll create a series of articles. We will select section editors and staff writers, and assign a range of short and long articles that would be used in that publication.  Individuals will not be required to have their work published but will have the opportunity to do so.

C.  The Deep Dive.  In this version of ENGL 100, students will work from a writer's notebook to develop a series of pieces around a single, self-selected topic.  They will write a range of different types of pieces for different people, and the goal will be to share the writing. Wondering what the heck I'm talking about?  Imagine that you select the topic of memory. You might complete a narrative piece about a favorite time or person in your life. Then, you'll send it off and see what they think.  Diving deeper, you'll complete interviews or research with experts on memory and write an analytical piece about what you find. Perhaps you're curious about the way that childhood memories affect us in adulthood.  That could be another piece, perhaps turned into an infographic for your residence hall neighbors. We'll do a lot of exercises to help you find a topic that will lend itself to this much scrutiny.

Class Materials: ENGL 100 is an Open Educational Resources course; you will have no text to purchase.  Depending on which version of the course we select, there will be on-line reading. Students may be responsible for finding and bringing in materials as well.  Our course will meet in a computer lab, so you don't have to bring a personal laptop or tablet, but you may if you wish. If you want to make a back-up of your writing beyond the cloud, bring a flash drive with you.

Assignments: Again, the assignments will change depending on which version of the course we select.  Students can expect to complete at least 20 pages of final draft writing and typically several drafts of each piece before it's completed.  There will be regular writing exercises in and out of class that will flex your writing muscles and build up your writing fluency. Students will complete an electronic portfolio to document their progress and accomplishments.


ENGL 167 – Border Crossings (Section HR)

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

Dr. Iclal Vanwesenbeeck

100 % ONLINE; (34210); 23 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, 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 to 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; Dunya Mikhail, The Beekeeper; Peter Tinti and Tuesday Reitano, Migrant, Refugee, Smuggler, Savior 

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

Films: Netflix and/or other streaming subscriptions required to view these films: Styx, Fire at Sea, Human Flow (excerpts), Capernaum, Salam Neighbor, 4.1 Miles

Assignments: Discussion forums, poster project, midterm and final exams, quizzes, research essay


NEW! ENGL 260: Intro to Creative Writing (Section HR) 

CCC: Arts & Fredonia Foundations: Arts/Creative Thinking & Innovation

Dr. Michael Sheehan

MWF 10:20-11:10 a.m.; Fenton Hall 170 (A/B/C); (32332); 20 seats

Course Description: This class serves as an introduction to what creative writers do. We will be working on the foundations of creative writing across genres—poetry and fiction, as well as creative nonfiction, playwriting, graphic narrative—and doing so via frequent, short exercises. The class will also include readings, discussions, and in-class peer review (workshops). One of the goals of the class is to introduce you to the tools and vocabulary you’ll need to pass on to Intermediate Creative Writing, and to make you better readers, better writers, better collaborators, and better critics (of both your own work and the work of others). The class will provide you with a writing community and will, hopefully, inspire you to challenge yourself and take risks in your own writing. The aim of this class is to introduce you to the process and the craft of creative writing while instilling a sense of play and experimentation. 

Class Materials: Heather Sellers, The Practice of Creative Writing; Matt Bell, A Person or a Tree or a Wall (stories); Noah Falck, Exclusions (poems) 

Assignments: Students will complete frequent, short writing exercises; regularly update a journal with reading responses, craft analyses, and reflections on the writing process; submit completed works of creative writing in both genres; attend craft talks and readings with visiting writers and write short reflective responses; and read and provide feedback on peers’ works-in-progress.


HIST 171: American Patterns - Cold War Films (Section HR)

CCC: American History & Fredonia Foundations: American History/Creative Thinking & Innovation

Dr. Jackie Swansinger

TR 11:20 a.m.-12:40 p.m.; A/B instruction; (33812); 28 seats

Course Description:  French demographer and economist Alfred Sauvy wrote an article in 1952 that referred to the Tiers Monde, or Third World.  His concept was simply that “countries that were ignored, exploited, and misunderstood,” wanted to be a part of the modern world, but not as partisans for the United States or the Soviet Union.  He proposed, like the Third Estate of the French Revolution, they wanted to live like those two countries without endorsing them. This course will examine six members of the Third World and their choices between 1945 and 1970. 

During the Cold War – the contest between the USA and the USSR to define and explain the social revolutions of the 20th century – decolonization occurred across the planet.  More than fifty new countries were created, all of them seeking a piece of the prosperity, modernity, and scientific world depicted in both still and moving pictures. In 1952, they were all members of the Third World, but by 1970, a good many had moved out of that category--think four little tigers--while others had fallen into a fourth world where poverty and survival were common. We will choose six countries to follow over the course of the semester and see how they coped. What happened to them?

Class Materials:  This course will use films, novels, and pictures to recreate an understanding of life in at least six of those countries during this era.  The class can help pick our choices as we start. (There will be a list of ten to twelve countries; not all fifty will be offered).

Assignments:  short papers (1-1.5 pages), quizzes, film reviews, midterm, and an oral presentation with sources


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

CCC: Humanities &  Fredonia Foundations: Humanities/Global Perspectives & Diversity

Dr. Jeffry Iovannone

MW 4:10-5:30 p.m.; Remote Instruction; (33899); 28 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 walking tour of historic LGBTQ sites in Buffalo and working together to create a public history exhibit. 

Class Materials:


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%)



HONR 302: Studying Civil Rights Through Sports Films (Section 01)

Upper-Level Honors Seminar: The Human Experience

Dr. Cedric Howard

T 6:00 p.m.- 8:20 p.m.; Science Center 105; (34415); 25 seats

Course Description: This course will use sports films to explore how forces in society have shaped the opportunities and experiences of various groups involved in the Civil Rights Movement. Sports are an integral part of everyday life and research suggests that the study of sports provides a framework for learning how people interact with one another and become familiar with the social world in which they live (Woods, 2016).  A societal analysis of the Civil Rights Movement through sports film is an excellent framework to examine life from a social point of view (i.e., via rules of engagement, social values, and political influences of the dominant social class).  

Through lectures, small group discussions, films, personal reflections, and research assignments, students will explore the cultural contributions, challenges, and outcomes that sports had in promoting civil rights in the United States.  Students will be strongly encouraged to generate questions before and after class sessions as a way to help facilitate the educational process. 

Class Materials: Ron Woods, Social Issues in Sports (2016); Bruce Dierenfield, The Civil Rights Movement (rev. ed.)

Assignments:  text reading reflection paper and essay (100 points each, 1400 points total); journal/article reviews and movie critiques (100 points each, 1300 points total); participation (400 points total); midterm paper (5-7 pages, 300 points total); final exam (closed book, 600 points total).


HONR 303: Election of 2020 (Section 01) 

Upper-Level Honors Seminar: Social Science

Dr. Jonathan Chausovsky

TR 9:40 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.; McEwen Hall 202; (34569); 25 seats

Course Description: The 2020 election cycle promises to be a bruising battle. The stakes are high: two major parties are contesting for the future direction of the government. The rules and practices of elections have evolved, not due to design, but due to the actions of practitioners seeking to take advantage of the political landscape. There will be cash contributions in amounts ranging from small to huge, and campaign consultants devising strategies to target voters in traditional and new media. Likely, there will be hacking, misdirection, foreign attempts to influence the outcome, illegal contributions, and minimal enforcement by the Federal Elections Commission.

You may ask yourself, how did we get here? We will analyze and try to make sense of our coming political contests. To do so we need to understand the constitutional rules in place, the campaign finance regulations, the development of the party system over time, and the advent of new technology like social media. We will explore the world of political consulting, since politicians cannot navigate the current environment without them. We will also examine the use and misuse of public opinion data, and the basic methods that underlie scientific survey methods. This analysis will enable you to synthesize developing events with existing theories.

Class Materials: We will read one classic text on presidential elections (see below). A variety of other materials will be available online. Students will be required to read a major national newspaper each day, and to monitor a variety of other news sources such as political blogs, academic blogs, news magazines, and campaign news releases.

Nelson W. Polsby; Aaron Wildavsky; Steven E. Schier and David A. Hopkins. 2019. Presidential Elections: Strategies and Structures of American Politics, Fifteenth Edition. Rowman & Littlefield. 978-1-5381-2511-3 • Paperback • August 2019 • $54.00; 978-1-5381-2512-0 • eBook • August 2019 • $51.00

Assignments: Students will be evaluated on a mix of papers and short projects. One project will be to gather data on publicly available campaign contributions at the Congressional level. A second will be to compare two (or more) political blogs that analyze an aspect of the election events. Students will make short presentations of their blog findings. Debate watch parties will be encouraged.


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