The words ‘politics’ and ‘honors’ are not always spoken together. Whether that is due to the dishonorable scandals politicians find themselves in or the current political climate, it is evident that politics does not always have the most ‘honorable’ reputation. The good news? Dr. Geoffrey Peterson, a 16 year veteran University Honors Program professor, has seamlessly blended political science and honors by creating interesting and relevant courses.
His favorite course to teach is Scandals in Politics in which the class discusses infamous political scandals in history through today. The information he learns from students is often not in the planned curriculum, but is his favorite part of the course. The University Honors Program celebrates the exploration of topics and content through discussion based classes which allow discourse between peers and faculty. Dr. Peterson finds that he benefits from working with Honors Students because of their work ethic and thirst for knowledge. The dialog of ideas that the small class sizes allow for makes students’ voices the forefront of the course material.
Honors Students benefit from courses on topics they would not conventionally have the chance to explore. In addition to teaching Politics in Television, a look at how TV shows like “West Wing” depict politics, Dr. Peterson will be teaching a new course. Next spring, he is looking forward to teaching HNRS 121: Conspiracies & Politics. The course will examine the history and psychology connected to political conspiracy theories. In the course, students and Dr. Peterson will examine the reasons some individuals can be more or less susceptible to conspiratorial thinking. They will also look at the impact some major conspiracy theories in the US and internationally have had on political views and involvement. Dr. Peterson developed this course after multiple students urging him to teach another course in Honors along with his personal interest in conspiracies and how they affect the political sphere. He is eager to hear the points of view from Honors students and looks forward to the lively discussions that will spark from the course content.
The Honors Program appreciates professors, like Geoffrey Peterson, for sharing their expertise with students and fostering environments of discussion and learning. The Honors Program prides itself in the experiences Honors Students have in class learning alongside expert professors and engaged peers. While politics may not always be thought of with honor, the University of Eau Claire Honors Program works to offer political science courses with honors taught by excellent professors like Dr. Geoffrey Peterson.