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University Honors Program

Course Directory

University Honors Program Spring 2015 Courses

Spring 2015 Advising Information

Liberal Arts Core

BIOL 1012-02Life: The Natural World
CAP 3131-05
Capstone: Analysis of Social Issues
COMM 1000-17
Oral Communication
FAM SERV 1010-07Human Identity and Relationships
HUM 1021-05
Humanities I
HUM 1022-01Humanities II
HUM 1022-04
Humanities II
HUM 3125-02
MUSIC 1100-07Soundscapes: Our Musical Heritage from Bach to Broadway
PHIL 1020-07Philosophy: Art of Thinking
POL INTL 1024-04International Relations

Seminars & Electives

ANTH 3104-01/ PSYCH 4608-01/SOC 3411-01Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective
UNIV 2196-01Terrorism: History, Religion, Nationalism & Security
UNIV 2196-02

Travel Writing

UNIV 4197-01

Honors Thesis

UNIV 4198-01Honors Independent Study
UNIV 1092-01

Introduction to Astrosciences (1st year Presidential Scholars ONLY)

UNIV 1092-02

Sophomore Service Learning (2nd year Presidential Scholars ONLY)

Liberal Arts Core

BIOL 1012-02 Life: The National World with Dr. Maureen Clayton, 10:00-10:50 MWF *Fulfills Liberal Arts Core requirement for Category IVA

Course Description: A study of life on Earth, with an emphasis on how the natural world functions as a system and how living organisms interact with each other and with the world around them. The honors section will discuss major topics in ecology and evolutionary biology, and will be customized to the interests of the students. We’ll also discuss the nature of science – how do scientists (more specifically biologists) attempt to understand the natural world?

Professor Biography: Maureen Clayton has had a lifelong interest in environmental science, which began with crabbing and fishing in the Chesapeake Bay as a kid and progressed to collecting soft shell clams from highly contaminated areas of Massachusetts (she ate the crabs, but not the clams!). During her graduate and postdoctoral studies, she discovered an interest in working with students, which led her to UNI. Dr. Clayton is excited to be teaching an honors class and looks forward to discussions of how biologists view the natural world.

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CAP 3131-05 Capstone: Analysis of Social Issues with Dr. Trudy Eden, 2:00-3:15 TTh *Fulfills Liberal Arts Core requirement for Category VI - Capstone (Junior standing)-(class in Honors Cottage)

Course Description: Critical thinking skills applied to rhetoric about issues confronting society. How to use philosophy, logic, social science and natural science to critique arguments and engage in meaningful discourse.

Professors Biography: Professor Eden is in the history department. She teaches a wide variety of courses all of which have as an underlying theme ideas and what people do with them. Most of her research and publications have been on food, particularly what people do with food besides eat it.

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COMM 1000-17 Oral Communications with Dr. Penny O'Connor, 2:00-3:15 TTh

*Fulfills Liberal Arts Core requirement for Category IB

Course Description: This course is a survey course designed to assist the student in discovering how verbal and nonverbal communication messages function in a variety of settings--intrapersonal, interpersonal, group, and public. By studying the theory and process of communication and applying communication theory and principles to diverse real-life situations, students will have opportunities to practice and analyze communication skills in various communication contexts. In order to do this, this course involves both written and oral assignments throughout the semester.

The honors section will involve more critical analysis and discussion of course concepts, with an emphasis on both speaking and listening. At least one of the assignments will have a social issues or service-learning component, and topics for speeches will have more specific guidelines than other sections. Students will complete at least three individual speeches and one group project.

Professor Biography: Penny O’Connor (M.A.) has been a full-time member of the Communication Studies faculty since 1988. She is a former coach of the UNI Individual Events Speech team and currently serves as manager of the Oral Comm course, supervising and mentoring the graduate teaching assistants who also teach the course. She teaches a variety of courses in the department, but her primary emphasis is on the basic course, Oral Comm. She has been involved in a great number of community service activities, including serving as a volunteer for Cedar Valley Hospice for 22 years, serving as a Weight Watchers leader for 19 years, and being involved in community theatre. Her philosophy of education and life in general is that we shouldn’t waste time doing it if it is not any fun.

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FAM SERV 1010-07 Human Identity and Relationships with Dr. Kirsten Linney, 12:30-1:45 TTh

*Fulfills Liberal Arts Core requirement for Category IVB- (class in Honors Cottage)

Course Description: We will learn about things that make us “us” and how we experience relationships in good ways and bad. We will examine gender, different abilities, sexual orientation, and peak experiences. We will learn about relationship issues such as attraction, emotional communication, love, jealousy, conflict, alcohol use, aggression and breaking up to name a few. We will work throughout the semester to make the material come alive by taking it from theory and applying it to everyday life. We will write, discuss, think, create, ponder and have fun. I will offer creative as well as traditional ways of assessing your learning. I don’t want to dictate what you learn, I just ask that you learn. My expectations for the class are high, but I will give you clear guidelines and practice in how to get where you need to be.

Professor Biography: I have taught this course (in a variety of shapes and sizes) every semester since 2000. My research interests have focused on family policy, emotional communication in marriage, observational methods and how alcohol influences the family. Research serves a purpose, but for me, my passion is teaching. When I get on a roll crafting something new and different for class, I forget to eat and pee. That’s how much I love it. I’m currently exploring how social media and technology can enhance our learning and not hinder it. I’m not sure the same can be said for our relationships. About me? I like to nap. Spotify is the bomb. I let my kids mix play-doh colors. I stopped the glorification of “busy” in August of 2014 and am phenomenally happier now. It could be the new meds, but I think our culture has a warped view on living life at such a frenetic pace.

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HUM 1021-05 Humanities I with Dr. Wendy Hoofnagle, 9:30-10:45 TTh

*Fulfills Liberal Arts Core requirement for Category IIA - (class in Honors Cottage)

Course Description: This course is an introduction to the study of the humanities and the notion of cultural literacy. The central question will be what it means to be civilized, which will embrace not only social and political institutions but also literature, art, architecture and music. We will further endeavor to understand some of the more important social, economic, political and cultural elements that constitute the (hi)story of Western civilizations. By examining a variety of cultural artifacts in an effort to understand the societies that produced them, we thereby gain insight into the peoples who inform our own ideals of civilization today.

We will approach these fundamental issues in two ways: (1) by discussing the more prominent figures, events, ideas and values which have shaped the cultures of the West up through the end of the Middle Ages (up to the end of the 14th century); and (2) by examining some of the most influential and enduring literary, philosophical and religious texts written during these centuries. In our examinations of primary texts, we will focus largely on the depictions of heroes and heroic acts as determiners of civilization; i.e., we will look at specific heroes as a mirror of a society’s self-image, priorities, cultural goals, etc. Moreover, we will strive to understand how and why this heroism is celebrated and commemorated, as well as the cultural and civil prowess of the society that birthed these heroes (eg., in literature, song, art, and so on), as a way to better understand ourselves as inheritors of these ideals.

My interdisciplinary, discussion-based approach to the material in this class challenges students to think more critically about the material as well as think more broadly about the sweep of human history. Rather than organizing the course around lectures, I create a discussion question for each class designed to synthesize the material from the day’s reading. Students then analyze the question in small groups, after which we discuss the findings as a class. Students comment time and again that they enjoy this approach to the class structure and ultimately understand the material better this way.

Professor Biography: I am professor of Medieval literature in the Languages and Literatures department, and my work encompasses English, French and Scandinavian traditions. I love to look at the way that literature and history intersect, especially the ways that we can use literature as a lens to examine how and why people think and act the way that they do, to gain unique insight into the motivations of the people and events that shaped history.

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HUM 1022-01 Humanities II with Dr. Jay Lees, 9:00-10:50 NWF

*Fulfills Liberal Arts Core requirement for Category IIA - (class in Honors Cottage)

HUM 1022-04 Humanities II with Dr. Jay Lees, 10:00-10:50 MWF

*Fulfills Liberal Arts Core requirement for Category IIA - (class in Honors Cottage)

Course Description: This course surveys the development of Western Civilization from the beginning of the Renaissance in 1300 to the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789. We will survey the history and sample the literature of the Renaissance, the Age of Absolutism, and the Enlightenment. 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 director of the University of Northern Iowa Summer Study Abroad Program in Italy, where he teaches a course on Sacred Space. Lees is the recipient of the Class of 1949 Award for Excellence in Teaching for 2004, and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Award for Outstanding Teaching for 1996 and 2004 as well as the Above and Beyond Award.

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HUM 3125-02 India with Dr. Louis Fenech, 12:00-12:50 MWF

*Fulfills Liberal Arts Core requirement for Category IIB - (class in Honors Cottage)

Course Description: This course deals with the history, culture, and arts of the Indian subcontinent since its prehistory. We will focus in the first portion of the course on modern India, its government, cultures, languages, and of course Bollywood amongst other features and then in subsequent sections divide the chronology and the civilizations of India into manageable sections spanning just under a millenium. In this class we will thus spend time focusing on the first of India’s civilizations, the Indus Valley, and its successors, the civilization of the Indo-Aryans. This will be followed by Classical and Indo-Islamic India to end with the period of Indo-Anglian civilization. Thsi course will combine history, literature, and religion.

Professor Biography: Lou Fenech has loved things Indian since he was a kid, everything but particulalry Indian food. In fact, he chose his area of expertise, Sikh and Punjabi history, partly because of the exquisite cuisine of this Indian region, especially his favourite delicacy, kharela bharva (small bitter gourds stuffed with a hauntingly nutty and spicy paste) often accompanied by flattened breads generally called naan, chapati, or roti. In this area, as well, an extraordinary dish called makki di roti ate sarson da saag (corn-flour roti and Punjabi mustard greens) is available from about November to February which is simply to die for. This is the main reason why Lou generally goes to India during the winter.

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MUSIC 1100-07 Soundscapes: Our Musical Heritage from Bach to Broadway with Dr. Dyan Meyer, 1:00-1:50 MWF

*Fulfills Liberal Arts Core requirement for Category IIIA

Course Description: Soundscapes explores music within the context of evolving Western culture, ca. 400-2000, and examines the basics of music fundamentals and vocabulary. The aims of this course are to teach the languages of music so the music can speak to you; to explore the geography of music so you can be at home in its terrain; and to discover the musical feelings within yourself. Particular emphasis will be placed on listening skills that will last a lifetime and be applied to any style of music.

Concert Attendance is a vital part of this course. Experiencing live music will add much to the overall experience of this class. Each student is expected to satisfy this concert attendance requirement by attending five concerts or recitals on campus. After the performance, each student will write a detailed review on the history of the music performed as well as how the music affected that student on that particular night of the performance.

Within each class, the students will be expected to communicate orally (by themselves and within group discussions). This interaction among students will hopefully create personal relationships outside of the classroom, resulting in a feeling of belonging to the university atmosphere. At the end of the semester, each student will be assigned to a group in which three students will work together culminating in a polished presentation of analyzing an assigned Broadway musical.

Professor Biography: Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Dyan S. Meyer is Instructor of Music Theory at UNI.

Meyer holds a B.A. in Music Education and Music Performance from Graceland University and a Master’s degree in Music Performance with a Choral Conducting emphasis from the Florida State University. She has taught at the University of Northern Iowa from 1999-2003, and 2007-present.

From 2003-2007, Meyer established a home piano studio. She currently accompanies numerous students at the Iowa High School State Solo/Ensemble Festivals. She also serves on the Fellowship of Christian Athletes board and enjoys working with athletes outside of the classroom.

Meyer lives in Cedar Falls with her husband, Monte, and five children.

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PHIL 1020-07 Philosophy: At of Thinking with Dr. Margaret Holland, 3:30-4:45 TTh

*Fulfills Liberal Arts Core requirement for Category IIIB-(class in Honors Cottage)

Course Description: Philosophy takes as its subject matter, and critically examines, all human activities and beliefs. It asks questions about the fundamental nature of reality, knowledge, goodness and beauty. Western philosophy began in ancient Greece with thinkers who investigated nature and the physical world. Later thinkers directed their attention to human life and conduct. They then went on to examine questions about the nature of reality, the foundations of knowledge, politics and moral value. In this course students will have the opportunity to acquire first-hand knowledge of the concerns and methods of the best in our philosophical heritage. We will focus on notable themes, as well as points of agreement and disagreement among various thinkers. My hope is that students will complete the course with an understanding of the philosophical tradition, and an appreciation for the activity of critical and reflective thinking. Honors students will have the opportunity to research one of the branches of Philosophy and give the class a short presentation on the branch he or she selects.

Professor Biography: Margaret Holland is an Associate Professor of Philosophy. She has a M.A. in Philosophy from Boston College and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She has been teaching classes such as Ethics, Ancient Philosophy, the Philosophy of Art, and Philosophy: The Art of Thinking at UNI since 1991. She particularly enjoys classes with a good deal of student participation. Professor Holland had a very good experience teaching an Honors section of this class a few years ago; she looks forward to working with Honors students this Spring.

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POL INTL 1024-04 International Relations with Dr. Brian Warby, 2:00-3:15 TTh

*Fulfills Liberal Arts Core requirement for Category VC

Course Description: International Relations – alternatively called World Politics at some universities – introduces students to different ways of thinking about how governmental and non-governmental leaders behave and why they do the things they do. The course then explores some of the key transnational issues in the world today and why finding workable solutions can be so difficult. We will explore these ideas through the assigned readings, class discussions, simulations and course assignments.

By the end of the semester, students should be able to discuss a spectrum of important issues in world politics based on either information they have obtained during the semester or through extrapolation from key principles and patterns we discuss in the class. Students should also be comfortable with their ability to critically analyze social science and policies that relate to world politics in various formats, including oral, essay and research paper formats.

Professor Biography: Professor Warby has been teaching at UNI since the fall of 2013. His research primarily focuses on poverty alleviation and the politics of development. His current projects focus on microfinance and conditional cash transfer programs. However, he enjoys discussing ideas beyond political economy, such as international law, military security, human security and environmental concerns. He has a hybrid teaching style which relies heavily on class discussion, but incorporates active learning, lecture, and independent learning projects. He is often described by students as being an expert in his field, approachable, friendly and helpful.

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ANTH 3104:01/PSYCH 4608-01/SOC 3411-01 Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective with Dr. Cynthia Dunn, 11:00-12:15 TTh

Course Description: Are there differences between women and men that are found in all societies? To what extent are such differences based in human biology and to what extent are they culturally created? Are humans always and everywhere divided into only two distinct sexes or genders? What were gender roles like in the earliest human societies? Are there societies that had gender equality or even matriarchy in the past? What aspects of social organization cause gender (in) equality? How have the social and economic changes caused by colonization, industrialization, and globalization changed gender roles in societies around the world? Are women better or worse off than they were five hundred years ago?

In order to explore these questions, you will read between 40 and 90 pages per week, write weekly “reading response” papers to explore these questions in the context of the readings, discuss the readings with your classmates, and use the readings and discussion, in addition to other materials from films or lecture, to respond to three take-home essay exams. Students will also participate in at least two Women’s and Gender Studies events over the course of the semester.

Professor Biography: I received my undergraduate degree from Oberlin College, a small, liberal arts college in Ohio. Even then I couldn’t decide whether I was more interested in language or culture, so I double-majored in English and Anthropology. After graduation, I spent two years teaching English in a small fishing village on the northeast coast of Japan. I was the only foreigner in a town of 8000 people and it was a wonderful immersion in Japanese language and culture. After returning to the U.S., I started graduate school in linguistic anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin. I also spent nine months in Tokyo conducting a study which compared the speech styles of female Japanese college students with those of older women in their fifties and sixties. My most recent research looks at business etiquette training for young Japanese who are entering the workforce. I have been teaching at UNI since 2000 in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology. I enjoy hiking in beautiful places, drinking good wine, and reading science fiction.

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UNIV 2196-01 Seminar: Terrorism: History, Religion, Nationalism & Security with Dr. Kenneth Atkinson, 11:00-12:15 TTh

*3 credit hour seminar – Requires sophomore standing -(class in Honors Cottage)

Course Description: Following the devastating September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Americans have begun to ask questions about Islam and its adherents. Does Islam advocate Holy War against non-Muslims? Does Osama bin Laden’s use of the Qur’an and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict reflect the views of mainstream Islam? The media has largely failed to recognize the extent to which groups such as al-Qaeda use history, nationalism, and religion to justify their actions. However, various forms of domestic terrorism, which are often based on violent interpretations of Christianity and politics, also create their own historical narratives to justify their actions. This seminar seeks to help students understand the violent events since 9/11, as well as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the varieties of domestic and foreign terrorism that afflict our society.

Although this seminar will primarily focus on Islamic-based terrorist organizations, it will expose students to the wide variety of foreign and domestic terrorist movements that combine history, religion, and nationalism to achieve their goals. The first part of the course will look at the history of terrorism through an exploration of examples from several countries and religions. The second part will focus on the events of September 11, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and other terrorist groups that have affected the U.S. during the past decade. The third part of the class will explore contemporary western reactions to terrorism through changes in U.S. federal policy and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.

Professor's Biography: I am a Professor of History in the Department of History at UNI ( I hold several degrees in biblical studies, with concentrations ancient history, archaeology, languages, and World Religions, from the University of Chicago (M.Div.) and Temple University (M.A., Ph.D.). My most recent book is Queen Salome: Jerusalem’s Warrior Monarch of the First Century B.C.E. (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2012). I have received several awards for scholarship, teaching, as well as a medal from the U.S. government for public service. I held several other jobs before entering academia, including work as an archaeologist, a full-time traveler, a factory worker, a kibbutz laborer, and a soldier in Cold War Berlin (U.S. Army). You can find out more about my background, as well as my résumé (c.v.) at:

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UNIV 2196:02 Seminar: Travel Writing with Dr. Joyce Milambiling, 3:00-4:50 M

*2 credit hour seminar – Requires sophomore standing-(class in Honors Cottage)

Course Description: People have been writing about their travel adventures and misadventures since ancient times. By its very nature, travel writing cannot be contained. In this course, students will be immersed in a range of travel essays, books, and blogs that will expose them to familiar and unfamiliar places and perspectives. In addition to the theme of distance, students will also explore the notion of identity and how travel has affected and, in some cases, transformed the traveler.

Professors Biography: Dr. Joyce Milambiling teaches TESOL and Applied Linguistics courses in the Department of Languages and Literatures. She has traveled extensively throughout the world and has lived in six states in the U.S. and in Sweden, France, Indonesia, and the Philippines. What keeps her going? Having another trip to look forward to!

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UNIV 1092-01 Presidential Scholars Seminar: Introduction to Astrosciences with Dr. Joshua Sebree, 2:00-3:50 Th

*2 credit hour seminar – 1st year scholars only

Course Description: This course aims to expose students to the interdisciplinary “astro” sciences at a broader level then the regular chemistry/astronomy/physics/biology courses would typically allow. Topics included cover the areas of astrophysics, astrochemistry, and astrobiology. Various past and current space missions will be discussed along with the economic and political pressures that influenced them over the last 50 years. In addition, several colleagues from my previous job at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center will deliver guest lectures periodically throughout the course offering a unique experience allowing for discussion with NASA scientists, including a few who are actively working on the Mars rovers.

In general, lectures would be set in a mix of discussion-based setting with as many hands-on activities as I can cram in. There will be assigned readings that the students are expected to have read prior to class, but I will be keeping the math content to a minimum. There will also be several current event reading/writing assignments asking the students to find and report on current mission and how the missions may be affected by decisions by congress. There would be several opportunities to observe the night sky during the Earth Science's telescope nights to see the various science concepts at work that are discussed in class.

Professors Biography: I am a Chemistry Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry ( Before coming to UNI I worked at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center doing a combination of research and outreach. My research program aims to explore new aspects of prebiotic and Titan-like aerosols and their importance both in interpreting data from missions, such as Cassini-Huygens, and in understanding how biological molecules may form in abiotic environments. When I’m not doing research or teaching, I’m working on creating new chemical and astro demonstrations.

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UNIV 4197-01 Honors Thesis with Jessica Moon, arranged

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.

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UNIV 4198-01 Honors Independent Study with Jessica Moon, arranged

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.

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