Liberal Arts Core
**Fulfills Liberal Arts Core requirement for Category VI - Capstone (Junior standing)
Course Description: We will explore creativity from a Systems Perspective—as achievement resulting from a confluence of the Individual, the Domain, and the Field. We will investigate creativity’s role in the evolution of culture. The course will expose you to frameworks that explain creativity and will provide you with opportunities to enhance your personal creativity. This semester, our reading, thinking, and discussions will concentrate on the role of Complexity--both cultural and psychological--as a catalyst for Flow and Creative Achievement. Ultimately, you will leave this seminar with an understanding of how individuals and groups can build lives of meaning through the processes, places, and products of creativity.
You will take no exams or quizzes, nor write any papers. However, once we've achieved a grounding in the theory, research, and practice of creativity, we will design, develop, and implement UNI's first creativity conference/festival! This course will be as much experiential as it is cerebral. This is a seminar for those who thrive on vigorous, stimulating conversation. It is a course for students who are highly curious and motivated to actively discuss the world of ideas. However, the experience must also be fun. If we've achieved all of the aforementioned and have not had a lot of fun along the way, we will have failed.
"The reason creativity is so fascinating is that when we are engaged in it, we feel that weare living more fully than during the rest of life . . . but creativity also leaves an outcomethat adds to the richness and complexity of the future." — Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Professor Biography: I've been studying creativity since 1998. Currently, most of my work focuses on investigating the development of psychological complexity in persons who are both highly creative and successful. I am especially interested in how systems such as families, schools, and communities apply principles of optimal experience and complexity theory to optimize human potential and contribute positively to the culture.
I've taught this course most semesters since spring 2005. Facilitating an Honors section is especially rewarding. For the last year, I have been developing the Creative Life Research Center at UNI. In the near future, I will be team teaching the interdisciplinary seminar The Creative Experience, and experiential course that integrates theatre, art, music, and developmental psychology.
I have been especially influenced by the work and support of my students and of my teacher, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. My PhD is in Human Development. I have been at UNI for a long time.
**Fulfills Liberal Arts Core requirement for Category VI – Capstone (Junior standing)
Course Description: The likelihood and concomitant challenges of interacting with others different from oneself in a variety of professional and personal situations is greater than ever, both globally and locally. To better meet such challenges, this course will focus on developing intercultural perspectives by expanding self-awareness and cultural awareness, as well as honing skills to communicate effectively in both international settings and settings involving cultural diversity within one’s own nation. A range of readings, visual media, as well as familiarity with cultural frameworks and concepts, will facilitate this endeavor.
The approach to this course can be termed a culture general approach as it is not the purpose of this class to learn so-called “cultural rules” of a specific culture. While specific cultures will be discussed, they are used to exemplify broader concepts that can be applied to unique, intercultural situations students might encounter. Topics addressed include, but are not limited to, the following: different worldviews and their origins, issues of identity and power, conflict management styles, verbal and nonverbal behavior, stereotypes, and the impact of social variables such as age, gender, and class. The course employs an interdisciplinary approach which is relevant to a variety of intellectual and professional pursuits (e.g., business, sociology, language studies, religion, history, education, art, health).
This course will be highly interactive, including simulations, role-play, fieldwork, interviews, intercultural encounters, and collaborative discussion. There will be several written response essays and reports on fieldwork and interviews, three or four quizzes, and a research paper. It should be noted that the instructor views the course as a collaborative awareness-raising and exploration.
Professor Biography: Professor A.J. Meier came to UNI in 1992, after teaching theoretical and applied linguistics for eleven years at the University of Vienna, Austria. At UNI, she has taught a variety of courses in the TESOL/Applied Linguistics program, including graduate seminars, Presidential Scholar seminars, and Honors seminars on intercultural communication. She has also taught seminars and conducted workshops on intercultural communication in Austria, Russia, and Costa Rica. Her major research interests lie in the areas of sociolinguistics and intercultural communication, including their pedagogical ramifications. Since the completion of her doctoral dissertation on cross-cultural apologies, Professor Meier’s interest in the connectedness between language, culture, power, and identity has developed and been the focus of numerous publications. Her many years spent studying and teaching abroad as well as her extensive travels provide a background of personal challenges in intercultural perspectives that make Professor Meier committed to courses such as this.
**Fulfills Liberal Arts Core requirement for Category IB
**Fulfills Liberal Arts Core requirement for Category IIIB and IA
Note: Students who complete this writing-enhanced course will be able to satisfy Liberal Arts Core requirements in two categories: IIIB (Literature, Philosophy, or Religion) and IA (Reading and Writing).
Course Description: This Honors section of Introduction to Literature - Writing Enhanced will engage students in the study of literary texts with expression of research supported critical analysis, opinions and interpretations of the selected texts through writing, speaking, performance and discussion. The texts are loosely related by topics and themes that are related to danger, temptation, and, violence. The texts feature a range of both traditional texts and contemporary texts including Cormac McCarthy’s THE ROAD, Truman Capote’s IN COLD BLOOD, Charles Dickens’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL, William Shakespeare’s MACBETH, and Marlowe’s TRAGICAL HISTORY OF DOCTOR FAUSTUS. Griffith’s WRITING ESSAYS ABOUT LITERATURE will provide a guiding resource as we work through the texts.
Professor Biography: Professor Rick Vanderwall is a long time educator having taught all levels of students starting with sixth grade. He is a curriculum writer specializing in English education, Shakespeare, Film and Theater. He has directed over 60 theatrical productions at the high school level. Currently he is a faculty member in the Department of Languages and Literatures. He is affiliated with the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C. consulting and doing workshops in Shakespeare pedagogy for teachers.
**Fulfills Liberal Arts Core requirement for Category IIA - (class in Honors Cottage)
**Fulfills Liberal Arts Core requirement for Category IIA - (class in Honors Cottage)
Course Description: This course surveys the development of Western Civilization from the ancient Hebrews to the beginning of the Renaissance in 1300. We will survey the history and sample the literature of the Hebrews, Greeks, Romans, and finally of the various medieval European states. The honors section will be conducted on the basis of active class participation. Student presentations on a variety of subjects and discussions of issues and texts will augment formal lectures by the professor. Also, each student will have at least one individual tutorial with the professor.
Professor Biography: The course is taught by Jay T. Lees of the history department. His specialty is medieval Germany. Lees teaches classes on English, German, and medieval history, as well as specialized courses on women in the Middle Ages, the Crusades, and Shakespeare as a historian. He is also one of the directors of the University of Northern Iowa Summer Study Abroad Program in Krakow Poland, where he teaches a course on the Holocaust, and the director of the UNI Sumer Study Abroad Program in Perugia, Italy, where he teaches a course on Sacred Space. Lees is a recipient of the University of Northern Iowa Class of 1949 Award for Excellence in Teaching, as well as a two-time recipient of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Award for Outstanding Teaching, and a recipient of an Apple Polishers Award from the Student Alumni Ambassadors.
**Fulfills Liberal Arts Core requirement for Category IIA
Course Description: How does an individual define a self? Is the “self” a mere product of the environment or internal emotion, an active agent independent of outside influence, a part of a metaphysical plan, a source for production and result of social constructs? What role does the political, artistic, economic, religious, and intellectual change across the breadth of human social structure play on the idea of identity? What prompts a person’s sense of agency or control over his or her life and actions? All of these are questions that will underlie this section of Humanities 3, which covers the Western Civilization’s historical evolution from the late 18th century and the French Revolution to today.
While there will be some lecture, the emphasis of the course will be on class discussion, with students expected to take an active role in the teaching and the learning. We will use some shorter texts – four primary ones specifically – and an extensive overview text for background, but there will projects where individuals bring to the conversation their own interests and expertise. A musician might perform as illustration of an early 19th century musical trend while a student majoring in finance might present an explanation of the impact of the 20th Century’s global depression and resulting World Wars on our current economic theories. Ultimately the success and development of the course will rest on the interaction of all participants, professor and students alike, as we place our viewpoints in the great cosmic dance of the modern era.
Professor Biography: Dr. Anne Drolet has been a full-time member of the Department of Languages and Literatures since 2007. She received her doctorate at Binghamton (NY) University and before coming to UNI, taught at Bucknell University and Wartburg College. She specializes in contemporary American multicultural literature, teaching a variety of courses that range from College Writing and Research to graduate level seminars. In all of her courses, she encourages students to tell their stories and to examine how those stories impact each person’s world view. The questions of who and why and how and so what all become part of the discussion and course structure. Creating new ways to engage students in learning and using a variety of resources from a wide range of disciplines and areas of interest all add to her classroom environment and experiencing the excitement of student perspectives.
**Fulfill Liberal Arts Core requirement for Category IIB - (class in Honors Cottage)
Course Description: This course is an introduction to the rich and diverse cultures of Russia and the former Soviet Union. History and literature will be our primary windows into this culture because they have been crucial to Russian ideas of what it means to be Russian. We will also take music, film, geography, religion, the graphic arts and politics into consideration. The course will highlight the continuing conflict between Western influence and Russian distinctiveness. The influence of the many non-Russian cultures incorporated at various times into the Russian state will also be examined. We will read one of the most popular novels from the late soviet period, which happens to have been written by a non-Russian. There are many and diverse sources of Russian culture. Class discussion of films and readings will be an important part of the course. We may also take advantage of events on the UNI campus that are related to Russian culture (such as plays, films, lectures, and musical performances).
Professor Biography: I grew up near Washington, D.C., and I guess that helps account for my chosen career as a professor of political science. The politics of other countries has long fascinated me. I have spent much of my career studying the politics of Eastern Europe and the former Yugoslavia. Nationalism and democratization have been two of my main areas of research. Through my research I have come to appreciate the importance of culture not only for politics but for all aspects of life. I do some of the old fashioned lecture format in my classes, but I try to keep it informal and jazz it up by impersonating various historical or imaginary characters. I enjoy using excerpts of films and sometimes entire films in my classes. I am increasingly relying on class discussions in my courses to allow students the opportunity to reflect on course material and try out ideas.
**Fulfills Liberal Arts Core requirement for Category IIIB
Course Description: This course will provide a broad, chronologically organized survey of the development of the western, monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) from the earliest written sources through the early Islamic conquests of the 7th century C.E., followed by a survey of two major religions originating in India: Hinduism and Buddhism. We will focus on reading (in translation) the primary texts of each tradition, describing their similarities and differences in worldview, beliefs about the nature of the divine, and ideas about the purpose of human existence. This section of the course will emphasize the acquisition and development of oral presentation and writing skills: small groups will collaborate to offer presentations to the class on specific areas within the various religious traditions, and students will select a topic for in-depth individual study and write a research paper.
N.B.: We will be less concerned with the historicity of the ‘supernatural’ events described in some of the traditions than with how the stories affected the beliefs of each religion: we are tracing the development of religious thought, not trying to determine, for example, whether or not Noah did in fact build a really big boat.
Professor Biography: John Burnight is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy and World Religions. He received his PhD from the University of Chicago’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations in 2011, with an emphasis on Hebrew language and literature. He has been a lecturer at a small private college in the Chicago suburbs and large public universities in Connecticut and North Carolina, teaching introductory and upper-level courses in Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, World Religions, and the History of Monotheism. In 2007-08 he was a Fulbright-Hays Visiting Research Fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His research focuses on “subversive” or “protest” literature within the biblical texts: namely, works such as the Book of Job that speak “truth to power” and critique the dominant Israelite/Judahite theology of the biblical periods.
**Fulfills Liberal Arts Core requirement for Category VA
Course Description: The discipline of Sociology offers a structural way to think about society and one’s place in it. This reading-intensive and discussion-based class makes use of everyday life in the US, including historical and contemporary popular culture, to examine society and how it works. We will examine popular culture from a scholarly perspective as well, and a general knowledge or familiarity with “smart cartoons” like the classis American cartoon The Simpsons will assist students greatly in this class. In class exams and a final project (including class presentation) are a part of this course.
Professor Biography: Dr. Stalp is an Associate Professor of Sociology at UNI. She is a qualitative sociologist, who studies the intersections of gender, culture, and leisure. Stalp just returned from a spring/summer 2013 research sabbatical in Ireland, studying how Irish women quilt. In her 2007 book, Quilting: The Fabric of Everyday Life, Dr. Stalp found that US quilting actually threatens family life, and she has continued to investigate women’s creative activity, including handcrafting, subversive crafting, and guerilla knitting, as well as her new research in Ireland. Dr. Stalp also studies the Red Hat Society, and how it puts a positive spin on the aging process, for as the RHS Ladies state, “We Do It Cuz It’s Fun”. Finally, Dr. Stalp studies US artists working across a variety of mediums, to see how they negotiate the creative process with the economy.
**Fulfills Liberal Arts Core requirement for Category VA - (class in Honors Cottage)
Course Description: This course is designed to introduce students to the history and culture of the American people. It is organized about various themes discussed within particular chronological frameworks. We will concentrate on the themes of war and politics, gender and reform, the natural environment and economics in each of four periods of American History:
Colonial Period: 1600s-1780s
Early National Period à Civil War and Reconstruction: 1780s-1870s
The US in an International Arena: 1880s-1940s
Post World War II: 1950s-Present
Lectures and discussions will draw connections that will provide a rich context for understanding why we are, where we are, and how we got there. In addition to the required textbook assignments, there will be four supplemental readings that will be discussed in class. Students will be required to research a subject and make a presentation in class in the form of panel discussions and debates. Additionally, students will work with primary documents. There will be four exams.
Professor Biography: Joanne Abel Goldman came to UNI in 1990. She earned her Ph.D. in 1988 from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Her dissertation examines the process of policy formation with regard to the decision to build an integrated sewer system in New York City in the nineteenth century. This project developed Dr. Goldman’s expertise in the history of technology, history of the city, and the Early National Period, 1780s-1860s, of American History, areas in which she teaches upper level classes. More recent research interests have considered post World War II national science policy with regard to the Manhattan Project, the Ames Laboratory, and atomic energy education. Dr. Goldman considers herself an animated teacher who enjoys getting to know students and looks forward to interacting with this particularly motivated group.
**Fulfills Liberal Arts Core requirement for Category IC
Course Description: The Honors Introductory Statistics course covers traditional topics including descriptive statistics, probability, random variables, sampling distributions, inferential statistics, confidence intervals and hypothesis tests. Students will learn critical statistical thinking, along with the statistical software package, S-Plus. Emphasis will be on real world applications of pertinent statistical methods and ideas. Students will collect data on a topic of interest to them and analyze the data using the tools learned in the classroom.
Professor Biography: I am Professor of Statistics in the Department of Mathematics at UNI, where I specialize in the area of spatial prediction and modeling using Bayesian and Geostatistical techniques. My research involves developing methodology for spatial association often present in environmental and economic data. Recently, I have worked as part of a multidisciplinary team of chemists, biologists, and environmental scientists at the University of Northern Iowa analyzing water quality data in Iowa's lakes and wetlands. I currently work with Iowa Workforce Development and the Institute for Decision Making to forecast the potential available workers in laborsheds across Iowa. My most recent research project involves developing new statistical techniques to measure the negative or positive financial impact on housing prices from living close to a point source, such as a hoglot, nuclear power plant or a highly desirable school.
HONORS SEMINARS AND ELECTIVES
Course Description: Religion, Magic and Witchcraft is organized as an informal, discussion seminar with minimal lecturing. The course materials emphasize a comparative and anthropological approach to the study of religion, magic and witchcraft. We begin with an overview of theoretical frameworks that “explain” religious beliefs and practices. We will put on various theoretical “hats” and analyze religion in the films “Holy Ghost People” and “Frisbee: The Life and Death of a Hippie Preacher” and the short novel “A Saint is Born in Chimá.” Next we will focus on the topics of religion, magic and witchcraft through a comparison of the Azande, an African tribal society, and an early American colonial society (Salem, Mass). Finally we examine the religious traditions in the US that are outside of mainstream practices: vodou and neo-paganism. Possible field trip to the Waterloo Museum of Art [Haitian Art Collection].
My goals for the class are to acquaint students with the diversity of theoretical options available for the explanation and interpretation of religious life and to provide students with the opportunity to analyze ethnographic religious data. Students will improve their abilities to communicate their own ideas and reactions to course readings to others, and to listen, understand, and respond in a meaningful way to the comments made by classmates and the professor. Course requirements include a reading journal, attendance and discussion, a formal (written) analysis of religion in Chimá, a final essay exam, and a PowerPoint presentation comparing US neo-paganism with another US religion of your choice.
Professor Biography: Dr. Anne Woodrick is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Northern Iowa. She received her BA in Anthropology from the University of Michigan and her doctorate from the University of California, San Diego. She has been a member of the UNI faculty since 1988. Her research interests include the role of religion in community development and mobilization among Latino immigrants in the US Midwest and the religiosity of rural Mexican women. Dr. Woodrick participated in ethnographic studies in Temax, Yucatán, Mexico, rural Central Mexico and among Latino immigrants in Marshalltown, Sioux City and Hampton, Iowa.
**2 credit hour seminar – Requires sophomore standing - (class in Honors Cottage)
Course Description: People typically think of food as a source of energy and nutrients to support life. However, food influences and intertwines with every aspect of our lives including health, politics, art, economy, environment, religion, and culture. This course will explore the many ways food affects our lives. We will examine how our modern industrial food system and food policies have transformed what most Americans eat, the impact of the current methods of food production on environment, and the challenges of feeding the global population as the United Nations projects 8-12 billion people by the end of the 21st century. In addition, we will explore cultural, social and religious traditions involving food as well as food as a source of inspiration for artists and writers.
Students will be able to demonstrate their comprehension of controversies surrounding food and nutrition in a manner that allows critical reflection and multiple perspectives on the issue at hand. Students will be challenged to link food and nutrition to their areas of interest and study. Students will investigate and propose feasible and evidence-based solutions to food and nutrition dilemmas discussed in class.
Professors Biography: Oksana Matvienko is an associate professor of nutrition in the School of Health, Physical Education and Leisure Services. She earned her Master’s degree in Physical Education/Exercise Science and her Ph.D. in Nutrition. Her areas of interest, expertise, and research include healthy lifestyles and chronic disease risk reduction through lifestyle modification, weight management, sports nutrition, and Blue Zones. She is particularly interested in motivators and facilitators to change in eating and exercise behavior.
**Two semester sequence fulfills Liberal Arts Core requirement for Category IA & IB)
Course Description: The Honors section of this two-course single-year sequence integrates written, oral, visual, and electronic communication in a study of the topic Food Matters. Using the common read, The American Way of Eating and other supplementary readings to guide discussion and assignments, students will explore the problems involved in the growing, harvesting, preparing, and selling of food in the United States during the first semester. The second semester will be spent exploring and participating in finding and implementing real-world solutions to these problems. Students will be asked to consider how their own experiences have been impacted by food and their experiences with it in a variety of writing and speaking genres. (Credit earned for both Fall & Spring semesters of UNIV 1059 satisfies Liberal Arts Core 1A and 1B; credit earned for UNIV 1059 for the Fall only satisfies neither LAC 1A nor 1B. Prerequisites: neither LAC 1A nor LAC 1B previously satisfied.)
Professor Biography: Dr. April Chatham-Carpenter is a Professor of Communication Studies at UNI. She teaches and researches in the areas of first-year experience, integrated communication (writing and speaking), family communication, conflict management, and autoethnography. She serves as an administrative fellow in the office of the Provost and Executive Vice-President for Academic Affairs at UNI, overseeing a variety of initiatives for that office. One of those initiatives is the newly developed Cornerstone first-year course, which is a writing and speaking-intensive 6 hour equivalent to College Writing/Research and the Oral Communication Course.
*2 credit hour seminar – For First-Year Presidential Scholars ONLY - (class in Honors Cottage)
Course Description: You know your doctor, you know your dentist, do you know your farmer? Where does our food come from? Who is growing them and how? Are they making a living wage? How is the land treated? What factors influence the quality of the food we eat, and the vitality of rural communities? We will explore these and many other related questions through discussion, hands-on projects, films and field trips.
My hope is that through this seminar you will be able to 1) become more familiar with our region’s landscape and be able to interpret what you see more fully, 2) develop a basic understanding of our food system and its social, political, economic, and biological dimensions, and 3) examine and articulate your own vision for the future as you put the pieces of the puzzle together.
Professors Biography: After grad school, I spent one growing season as an apprentice on a 27-acre vegetable farm in Maine. That turned out to be one of the most educational experience I have ever had. I learned to prepare the ground, plant, manage, harvest, market, and sell our vegetables. I learned what all it took to have food on our plates, and ever since, I have been working on strengthening community relations around food.
I have the privilege of being the director of UNI’s Center for Energy & Environmental Education; we run a number of community-engaging programs, including our Local Food Program. One of the key insights that shape how I have organized my classes is that we need to pay attention to and become involved in the region where we live, as a chunk of the world we experience and have control over. To make the world a better place, we need to demonstrate our competence in living well in the places we live (without messing things up). Food and agriculture is a great topic to start with, because we all can relate to it right away.
The Honors Thesis is the final step towards earning a University Honors designation from the University of Northern Iowa. The thesis gives Honors students the opportunity to explore a scholarly area of interest with the guidance of a faculty member. It is intended to serve as the culmination of the Honors experience.
The thesis provides you with experience in research as well as an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. While the process may at times be challenging, it will also be rewarding. You will enhance your knowledge of the chosen topic and further develop your research or creative skills. The final product should leave you with a sense of pride and accomplishment for what you have attained.
Students wishing to register for Honors Thesis must meet with Jessica to discuss course requirements and have their registration holds removed. Call Brenda at 3-3175 to make an appointment.
The purpose of independent study is to provide students with an opportunity to participate in an educational experience beyond what is typically offered in the classroom. Students must be prepared to exercise a great deal of independent initiative in pursuing such studies. Honors students may receive independent study credit for research projects of their own or those shared with faculty members, certain internship opportunities, or some types of work or volunteer experiences.
Students wishing to register for Honors Independent Study must meet with Jessica to discuss course requirements and have their registration holds removed. Call Brenda at 3-3175 to make an appointment.