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University Honors Program

Honors Courses


Learning done differently

Most UW-Eau Claire Honors students will identify Honors courses as the center of the program. Honors courses are small –limited to 20 students –and are interdisciplinary, usually discussion-based, and often taught with innovative or experimental teaching methods that put you at the center of what happens in class.

Want a sneak peek in to what an Honors class is like? Hear what Blugolds have to say about the "Song &Symphonies" course.

Types of Honors Courses

Colloquia

Interdisciplinary courses designed especially for Honors students.

Seminars  

1-credit Honors seminar for first-year students (HNRS 100), seniors (HNRS 400), and for Mentoring in Honors (HNRS 410), and Tutoring in Honors (HNRS 420).

Seminars

1-credit Honors seminar for first-year students (HNRS 100), seniors (HNRS 400), and for Mentoring in Honors (HNRS 410), and Tutoring in Honors (HNRS 420).

Special Experience Courses

"Umbrella" courses that enable students to earn Honors credits for special projects, independent or directed study, certain study abroad experiences, important internships, or a senior Honors thesis.

 

The best parts of the Honors Program are the interesting courses taught by absolutely passionate faculty; the opportunity to come together with high achieving, critically thinking students from a variety of disciplines; the opportunities the faculty created for us to have interesting, innovating projects within our coursework to fulfill something new and exciting within ourselves.

Jenna Rosquist | Psychology

Adding Honors to your schedule

Below are examples of current and previous Honors courses. Browse through and filter by the different types and click on a course name for more information. Please note that this information may change. The most up-to-date information may be found online in My Blugold Camps

It's the End of the World As We Know It (And, I Feel Fine)

It's the End of the World As We Know It (And, I Feel Fine)

The class will consider origins, endings and futures: we start at the beginning, discussing the origins of life, the universe, and everything from a scientific viewpoint and a wide range of other perspectives. Next, is to look at existential threats to life as we know it, or “endings.” And because it would be much too depressing to stop there, a variety of utopian futures will be discussed to finish the course!

At the same time, students be working on the skill of “storytelling”: how to construct a narrative that effectively communicates to an audience? A wide variety of narratives will be examined as source materials. An example this massive narrative arc leading from the beginning of time and narratives of the origin of humanity to the possible extinction of all life on Earth – and beyond, to more hopeful alternative endings will be used as a starting point for study and discussion!

Throughout, the objective will be to actively seek connections between these “big ideas” and from students’ experiences and expertise to the subject matter. Students will work on a series of personal narratives, inviting them to consider their own origins and explore their own ideas of utopia.

First-Year Honors Seminar

First-Year Honors Seminar

Introduction to the expectations of a baccalaureate degree. Explore the value of a liberal education, the skills and knowledge needed to be an educated person, the role of the honors program and of university requirements.

Scandals in Politics

Scandals in Politics

This course examines the impact of political scandal. The course will examine the political, sociological and historical ramifications of major political scandals in the United States and Europe from the 19th century through today.

Honors: General Chemistry II

Honors: General Chemistry II

CHEM 104 is a continuation of CHEM 103. Topics addressed include equilibrium, thermodynamic and kinetic aspects of chemical reactions; acid-base, precipitation and redox reactions; transition metal compounds; organic compounds; nuclear reactions.

Senior Honors Seminar

Senior Honors Seminar

University Honors Program capstone course will recap and evaluate your UWEC and Honors experiences and look toward applying your academic achievements to future personal, academic, and career endeavors. Taught by University Honors Program Director Dr. Jeff Vahlbusch. It is recommended that you take this course the spring of your junior year or fall of your senior year. Senior Standing or Department consent required.

Pop Culture and the Constitution

Pop Culture and the Constitution

The U.S. Constitution is ever present in American popular culture, both as a topic actively discussed in films and television programs and as an important part of the background landscape in these media. In this course students will learn about constitutional law and politics while exploring the relevance of popular depictions of the Constitution, why the Constitution is so pervasive in American media, and how myths about the Constitution are distorted by pop culture. Themes explored may include powers of Congress and the President, First Amendment freedoms of speech, press, and religion, the rights of the criminally accused, equal protection of the law, the right to vote, and/or the amendment process.

Mentoring in Honors

Mentoring in Honors

Assist in instruction of Honors 100: First-Year Honors Seminar or an Honors FYE course. Focus on the value of a baccalaureate education and on what constitutes an educated person.

Living in an Information Economy

Living in an Information Economy

This course introduces students to the practice of analyzing a problem using information. In this course, students will identify a real-world problem, develop informed opinions, engage in civil discourse, and collaborate to recommend a response to the problem. In the semester-long process of identifying and researching a problem, students will gain an understanding of the evolution of information, including how it is generated, produced, and disseminated. They will build strategies for finding and critically evaluating information from a variety of sources and media, and will come away with research skills preparing them to become informed, responsible and engaged students, citizens, and professionals.

Honors: Fundamentals of Speech

Honors: Fundamentals of Speech

Fundamentals of effect public speaking from both the speaker and listener perspectives. Preparation, presentation, and evaluation of student speeches. Special attention on the intersection of cultural diversity and stakeholder communication of environmental concerns.

Honors: Human Geography

Honors: Human Geography

The basic elements, processes, distributions, and problems associated with cultural groups: their principal ways of life, interrelationships with the natural environment, and socio-cultural diversity. Topics include: population, race, language, religion, political ideologies, and economic systems. Honors students will additionally participate in small discussion sessions with the instructor periodically during the semester (Tuesdays at 8 a.m.).

Tutoring in Honors

Tutoring in Honors

Assist in the instruction of an Honors Elective or Honors Colloquia previously completed by the student. Open to juniors and seniors. Note: Students must apply to the University Honors Program Director to participate in Tutoring in Honors; enrollment is by permission. Students typically may not earn credit for both HNRS 410 and HNRS 420.

Honors Special Experience courses

Honors Special Experience courses

A framework of courses that provide Honors credit for special experiences such as independent/directed study, study abroad, internships, and a senior Honors thesis.  These courses can be taken for 1-4 credits (more in the case of the thesis). 

See the Honors staff if interested in pursuing one of these opportunities to build an experience meaningful for you.

Women of the Civil Rights Movement

Women of the Civil Rights Movement

A historical framework for the civil rights movement in the United States and, more specifically, the women who helped to shape the movement will be explored. These stories will be explored with a ten-day experiential-learning excursion to significant locations where important events linked to women and the civil rights’ movement unfolded. Furthermore, students will complete a major research project to present to their colleagues on a woman who contributed to the civil rights movement. A study of methods of organizing and advocating social justice issues will be explored by teams of students who will present primary elements of their chosen project design and theory used to support the design. During the pilgrimage, students will journal to record their

reactions and experiences.

Honors: World History II

Honors: World History II

A global history of humankind. Emphasis on the growth of international commerce, the rise and fall of empires, industrialization and deindustrialization, and changes in types of governance, belief systems, gender structures, and the environment.

Songs & Symphonies

Songs & Symphonies

Master works and historical eras of Western music; nontechnical, offered for enjoyment and enrichment of cultural background.

Digital Game Design

Digital Game Design

Small teams of cross-disciplinary students work together to create lightweight digital games facilitated by training in a game engine, and draft a design document for a larger-scale game.

Honors: Elementary Statistics

Honors: Elementary Statistics

Basic statistical analysis, including descriptive statistics, probability, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, simple linear regression, correlation, Chi-Square, and Analysis of Variance

Telling Stories, Writing Stories

Telling Stories, Writing Stories

A creative writing class using verbal exercises to produce ideas for stories and poems. We’ll be reading contemporary prose and poetry narratives for inspiration and for discovery of what makes a story. We'll be writing stories and poems, along with doing a bit of drama writing and performing. Portfolio grading at midterm and end.

Worship in American Churches

Worship in American Churches

This seminar explores the meaning, functions, and form of worship in American religious traditions, with a primary focus on Jewish and Christian worship but also including nonWestern-European traditions such as Islam and Buddhism. Through reading, discussion, guest speakers, and field trips, students will explore the historical background, evolution of structure and content, and current worship practices in various American religious traditions. Students participate in field trips with the class.

Honors: General Physics

Honors: General Physics

Fundamental principles of mechanics, heat, wave motion, and sound. Designed for students who desire a one-year non-calculus course in physics. Proficiency with algebraic and trigonometric operations is expected.

Fermentation: Culture Meets Cultures

Fermentation: Culture Meets Cultures

Everybody knows, or thinks they know, about fermentation, the biochemical process by which alcoholic beverages like beer and wine are produced. That narrow understanding of fermentation, however, doesn’t do justice to the process of fermentation or the degree to which human culture is dependent upon it. Human nutrition, indeed culinary and cultural traditions around food and eating, are enriched by fermented foods. It’s no exaggeration to say that human societies as we know them today are built around fermented foods--everyday foods that we take for granted. Bread, cheese, and foods from soy sauce to sauerkraut, from tofu to Tabasco, from coffee to chocolate are the happy, blessed results of fermentation. In this hands-on class our learning objectives for students are to understand the biology and biochemistry of fermentation (itself a multi-billion dollar a year industry in the US alone), expand their awareness of the role and ubiquity of fermented foods in culinary

traditions around the world, appreciate the historical and cultural significance of fermented foods across the globe, and at the same time develop a deeper appreciation for their own food traditions. In addition students will be introduced to a body of literature focused on food and culture and will be invited to participate in that conversation through writing about their own experiences with making, eating, and researching the history and cultural significance of fermented foods.

Connecting Children to Nature

Connecting Children to Nature

Adoption of the Common Core standards in schools, implementation of standardized testing and society’s rapid embrace of digital technologies for education and entertainment has, in part, left young people inside and disconnected with their natural world. Therefore, we have a growing generational sequence of environmentally unaware and scientifically illiterate adults. Many argue for the need to reconnect with the outdoors and immerse in nature-based education. The justification is that time spent in nature brings many mental and physical health benefits, an awareness of human dependency on nature for ecosystem functions and services, and thus ultimately better human well-being, biodiversity protection and economic security. Connecting Children to Nature is a course that will use assigned readings and group discussions to examine the state of environmental awareness and sustainability. Students will engage in an active learning environment that will not only include observations of experts in the field working with children in nature but will also include development and application of an independent project that will leave no child inside.

Honors: American National Politics

Honors: American National Politics

Analysis of major components of American national politics. Includes examination of the individual's ability to affect politics, and the impact of politics on individual lives.

Global Environmental Change

Global Environmental Change

This course examines environmental change from a global perspective. The course utilizes an integrated approach based on principles from the disciplines of biology, chemistry, physics, and geology. An understanding of global geo- and bio-chemical cycles operating on both short-term (tens to hundreds of years) and long-term (thousands to millions of years) time-scales is emphasized. Topics covered include plate tectonics, mineral resources, El Niño, the greenhouse effect, acid rain, the ozone hole, and the evolution of the atmosphere, oceans, and biosphere. Students with a strong

interest in majoring in the sciences are encouraged to enroll.

Take Action: Mentoring Youth Who Have Differing Abilities

Take Action: Mentoring Youth Who Have Differing Abilities

Kids with special health care needs face multiple challenges and barriers to thriving. One such barrier, surprisingly, is a lack of coordination in their health care across both their physical, mental, and emotional needs: physicians, nurses, specialists, parents, and other community members do not always coordinate their efforts as effectively as possible, and many children with special health care needs are slipping through the cracks. In this civic engagement course students will discuss and address issues related to students with special health care needs.

Honors: Introduction to Psychology

Honors: Introduction to Psychology

Introduces students to human behavior, learning, thinking, motivation, perception, emotion, behavior disorders, personality, psychological tests, social behavior, and selected applications of psychology.

Honors: Introduction to Sociology

Honors: Introduction to Sociology

Introduces students to sociological perspectives of human social behavior, social structures, interaction, socialization, culture, institutions, and social change.

Cognitive Bases of Religious Belief

Cognitive Bases of Religious Belief

Course will explore proposed cognitive explanations based on theories of concept formation, memory function, and thinking. The course will explore proposed cognitive explanations based on theories of concept formation, memory function, and thinking that may account for the nature and influence of people's ideas about and practice of religion.

Understanding Suicide

Understanding Suicide

This course introduces students to the study of suicide by exploring a variety of issues and topics related to suicidal behavior and its prevention. Topics will include those related to prevalence, risk and protective factors, theories of why people become suicidal, evidence-based strategies for intervention and prevention, issues related to ethics and the after-math of a suicide, specialized topics (e.g., media & suicide), and controversies. Using instructional methods of discussion, lecture, small group work, and

self-reflection, the course will emphasize how suicide is multifaceted, that anyone can be impacted by suicide, that suicide is preventable, and that we all carry some responsibility for suicide prevention.

Course Objectives:

1. Describe the major theories of suicide and identify the dominant risk and

protective factors for suicide.

2. Identify empirically supported approaches to suicide prevention and

intervention.

3. Understand the impact of suicide on individual, familial/group, societal, and global levels.

4. Explain ethical issues related to suicide.

5. Become familiar with special issues and controversies in the field of suicidology.

This course is NOT intended to provide clinical skills for conducting therapy with suicidal individuals.

Civic Agency: Science & Power

Civic Agency: Science & Power

The colloquium will be organized around the themes of science and power as they relate to the Eau Claire community response to mental health. This course will include a civic engagement experience: students will participate in Clear Vision Poverty Summit activities – specifically, they will support the work of the Mental Health Action Team, which is acting to address the impact mental health is having on poverty in our community.

From Russia with Love: Studies in Classic Russian Literature

From Russia with Love: Studies in Classic Russian Literature

This course in Russian literature starts with Pushkin and includes the writings of such classic authors as Gogol, Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Gorky, Bulgakov, Pasternak, and Solzhenitsyn. Class discussion is not only encouraged but expected.

Empathy Enhancement for Helping Professionals

Empathy Enhancement for Helping Professionals

In this course, students will examine the uses of theatre in the classroom, particularly as a form of creative simulation, to address the declining levels of empathy documented in students from helping professions. This is a teaching application that analyzes the concept, meaning, and essence of empathy as an experiential approach to attain best practice in occupations where effectiveness is highly correlated with the practitioner's ability to connect and relate to the experiences of others. Examples of human responses that can be examined through theatre enhancement are human loneliness, conflict in love and family, gender and realism, grief and loss, or developmental role reversals.

Utopia & Dystopia

Utopia & Dystopia

Study of the literature of utopias and dystopias, exploring social yearnings of the human animal by examining the societies depicted (critically, imaginatively, or provisionally), in such works as Utopia, We, 1984, Neuromancer, and The Road.

The Soul's Journey: From Plato to Dante

The Soul's Journey: From Plato to Dante

Through close reading, vigorous discussion, and an occasional lecture, we will make our way through works by Plato (Symposium, Phaedo, short excerpts from the Republic), Virgil (The Aeneid), selections from the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, Augustine (Confessions), and Dante’s complete Divine Comedy. Our guiding metaphor will be the journey: of the soul toward the divine, of a people toward a promised land, of the course toward Dante’s astonishing vision of God at the end of his Paradiso. Our watchwords will be lines by the Roman historian Sallust—“myth is what never happened, but always is” (Of Gods and of the World)—and the contemporary New Testament scholar J. Dominic Crossan: “religion is taking your stories seriously” (National Public Radio interview). We will read and strive to understand these texts first and foremost as stories, both in the terms they set for themselves and in terms of their influences on each other.

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