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Honors Program Courses

To help you plan your Honors courses, download here an overview of a Honors course offerings for each semester.

Spring 2020 Courses

Courses the fill the Communications General Education Requirement

Professor Alicia Tomasian - This class will provide you with an introduction to drama, poetry, and fiction through the lens of English-speaking society’s evolving ideas about the Devil. We will cover roughly 250 years, from early seventeenth-century England to colonial America and then back to Victorian London, with a final brief visit to the all-American town of South Park.  As we examine depictions of The Evil One, we will also be contemplating how various devils capture the anxieties of their particular cultures.  When do people use the Devil as a scapegoat, and at what points in history were people willing to accept evil as human in origin? How do ideas of the Devil reflect ideas about marriage, sexuality, women, and notions of the self? Is the Devil pathetic, sexy, rich, cunning, or a figment of the human imagination?

TR, 11 a.m.–12:15 p.m.

Professor Margaret Bilos, will allow students to discover the power of the spoken word, and students will receive instruction from Harper's award-winning, nationally respected Speech faculty (in this case, Prof. Bilos!). Emphasis will be placed on delivery, organization, research, audience analysis, and argumentation. Significant time will be dedicated to peer analysis of presentations.  Students will also be videotaped for self-analysis.

TR, 12:30–1:45 p.m.


Courses that Count toward the Humanities Gen.-Ed. Requirement

Professor Michael Horton. This is the Honors Colloquium class.  This course is required for all Honors students who wish to acquire Honors Program Graduation status. This is the Honors Colloquium class. This course is required for all Honors student who wish to acquire Honors Program Graduation status.  The Great Ideas course examines primary sources from various academic disciplines. This particular section will do this through a focus on language.  All ideas have in common the fact that they are expressed in natural language. This includes great ideas. Some of those great ideas are ideas about how language works. What happens when we look at great ideas in language and about language with our contemporary ideas about how language works? Are they still great? What great ideas will these ideas spur in us? For inspiration, we'll look to writings from Whorf, Chomsky, King, Jr., Pinker, Wollstonecraft, Lorde, Locke, Lao-Tzu, Arendt, Marx, Nietzsche, among others suggested by the class. The class will employ discussions, lectures, student-led discussions and guest visits from relevant experts, among other class formats.

(Note: half of the seats in this course are in the HST 105 “half” and half are in the HUM 105 half.  You sign up for one or the other, not both. It’s the same class, fulfilling the same requirements, either way.)

MW, 9:30–10:45 a.m.

Professor Josh Sunderbruch. This is the Honors Colloquium class.  This course is required for all Honors students who wish to acquire Honors Program Graduation status.  We are running two sections of this Honors Great Ideas course in the Spring, which is the one course you need if you would like to graduate with Honors Program Graduate distinction. The Great Ideas course examines primary sources from various academic disciplines. Core readings might include selections from Plato, Darwin, Confucius, the Qur’an, Nietzsche, Rousseau, Bacon, Machiavelli, Marx, Martin Luther King, Jr., Simone de Beauvoir, and Mary Wollstonecraft. Students will select and lead classroom sessions on the readings; students may also have the opportunity to discuss these “great ideas” with Harper professors from across the campus and from many academic disciplines (Note: This is a 12 week late start class. Half of the seats in this course are in the HST 105 “half” and half are in the HUM 105 half.  You sign up for one or the other, not both. It’s the same class, fulfilling the same requirements, either way.)

W, 6:30–9:10 p.m.

Professor Charles Roderick. This course is a non-traditional introduction to how we study (consume), and make (produce) visual art and culture. From the perspective of artists, theorists, art historians, and philosophers, students will actively participate in developing a foundation in visual literacy and methodologies for different ways of looking, discussing, and critiquing traditional and contemporary art media. The student will be introduced to the various processes, materials, vocabulary, and styles that constitute the diverse world of the visual arts. Students will produce projects, both solo and collaborative, aimed at connecting to the course subject of the course and the larger world. (Fulfills the Fine Arts portion of the Humanities Gen-Ed Requirement)

MW, 11 a.m.–12:15 p.m.

Professor Andrew Wilson. In Japanese Lit. In Translation, we will survey English-language translations of Japanese fiction, non-fiction, and poetry; we might also watch a few selections from Japanese cinema: maybe Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru, Isao Takahata’s Grave of the Fireflies (which some have called the greatest war movie ever made, even though it’s actually “anime” and sort of film for children), and Yojiro Takita’s almost impossibly beautiful Departures, for example.  Works will be studied in the context of Japanese history, sometimes . . . but ours will NOT be a Japanese-history class, so each work will also be encountered simply as a great piece of art, regardless of who wrote it and when (and even where) he/she wrote it.  Lit. 220 mostly emphasizes the 20th Century in Japanese literature.  We won’t read a ton of the “older stuff,” in other words, though a few super-awesome older works will be examined in order to understand the modern period’s links to the past: a tiny snippet from The Tale of Genji, for instance, or a sample from Basho’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North, or a small handful of haiku, etc.  We will have so much fun in this class!  And please know: no speaking or reading knowledge of Japanese is required, and no background knowledge of Japan is required!  (Of course the class will be entirely conducted in English.)  To take Honors Lit. 220, all you’ll need is your very good brain, just as it is now, in this moment — and a slightly adventurous spirit won’t hurt. (Fulfills Harper’s World Cultures/Diversity requirement) 

MW, 12:30–1:45 p.m.


Courses that Count toward the Social and Behavioral Sciences Gen.-Ed. Requirement

Professor Helmut Publ. The intent of this course is to introduce the student to the comprehensive discipline of Anthropology and how it applies to our understanding of human behavior through time from the physical, cultural, and archaeological perspectives. Among the topics we will examine are human physical and cultural evolution, the origin of civilization, language, religion, kinship, economic and political organization, culture change, and more. It is noteworthy that students will have access to our very rich and extensive replica fossil hominid collection (one of the best-equipped and most comprehensive collections of any two-year college in the U. S.); this will provide them with a unique, hands-on opportunity to handle, observe, and compare world-wide specimens in an authentic context, whereas non-Harper folks might simply be viewing pictures in books. Core readings will include a textbook in Anthropology supplemented with selected articles on anthropological topics that students will have an opportunity to discuss. The course will also include a variety of films aimed at enhancing the various topics we cover, plus an added bonus of a possible museum field trip. (Fulfills World Cultures and Diversity Requirement)

TR, 12:30–1:45 p.m.

Professor Getachew Begashaw. Put simply, Macroeconomics tries to teach students a) what the economy is, and b) how the economy functions. As most of us know, the media continually draws our attention (esp. lately) to what is happening to interest rates, unemployment, and “the median income.” But can exposure to television and print-media business reports really provide an in-depth, comprehensive understanding of the complex world of economics? In this Honors section, we’ll look carefully at a number of timely questions: “Will the economy suffer another recession soon? Can the US government (with all of its tireless infighting) reduce the budget deficit? Should taxes be raised? Lowered? Does globalization improve or worsen our economic growth?” We’ll begin with an introduction to economics, highlighting the problem of scarcity. Then, we’ll gradually build upon a handful of economic models in an effort to understand, at last, how they apply to the cold realities of Wall Street and Main Street.

(Note: This is Blended course, so you meet only once a week rather than twice, and do more work independently online.)

T, 2–3:15 p.m.

Professor Kirsten Matthews. For those of you who took Psychology 101 and loved it, we are trying to make sure we offer an exciting 200 level Psychology class the next semester.  We are very excited to offer Child Psychology again this spring.  This course is a wonderful because it covers so much of life, from conception through puberty.  Do babies know physics? Should we trust children’s eyewitness testimony? Do parents really matter? In Child Psychology, explore these questions and many more by integrating theories, scientific research, and real-world applications

TR, 9:30–10:45 a.m. 

Professor Monica Edwards. This is an introduction to gaining both depth and breadth of knowledge about the society that we live in through the lens of understanding and disruption.  More specifically, we will look at how things are and how we got here through the lens of: the relationship between food systems and social structures, the impact of the mass media on our relationships to each other and the world, the sociological concerns of climate change, and alternative disruptive practices—from peaceful protests to farmers markets to mindfulness meditation.  All of this exploration will be in the service of learning about the complexity and interconnectedness of our social world and of our relationship and responsibility to each other, thus developing what Mills (1959) calls our “sociological imaginations.” (Fulfills World Cultures and Diversity Requirement)

TR, 8–9:15 a.m.


Courses that Count toward the Physical Sciences Gen.-Ed. Requirement

Professor Daniel Ranieri. This course follows CHM 121 as the second semester of a general chemistry sequence. A major emphasis of this course will be the study of experimental data and its connection to and development of theory. Students will engage the principles of chemical kinetics, equilibrium, acid-base reactions, electrochemistry, and thermodynamics. The course also introduces topics in organic, nuclear, transition metal, and descriptive chemistry. Laboratory includes experiments related to lecture material. Fulfills lab course requirement. (5 credit hours)

MW, 2–3:15 p.m.; M, 3:20–4:10 p.m. (discussion), Thurs. 2–4:45 p.m. (lab)

Professor Margaret Geppert. Engineers and scientists, do you like to tinker?  Or do you have no building experience whatsoever and need a place to start?  Come take PHY 201 and get project development experience vital to your career. Fulfills lab course requirement (5 credit hours)

MW, 9–11:50 a.m.


Classes that Count Toward the Math Gen. Ed. Requirement

Professor Kyle Knee. Calculus is a rich subject with beautiful applications in many areas of science, technology and engineering. In our honors section of Calculus II, we will investigate integrals and their applications, techniques of integration, sequences and series, as well as calculus with polar and parametric equations. Although the applications are vast, we will develop the concepts with mathematical rigor and emphasize the logical framework of the how's and why's behind these ideas.  As a result we will be able to see various counter-intuitive and surprising results that which stem from these topics and help us to understand various applications." (5 credit hours)

M–F, 8–8:50 a.m.


The Honors Study Abroad Trip

Every year the Honors Program sponsors a study abroad opportunity only available to Honors Program members.

If you are interested in applying for this opportunity, you can complete an application through the International Education website:

Some things to note:

Make sure to leave room, when you sign up for Spring classes, for the three credits for this class.  Also, please leave room in your actual schedule. The class will meet 8 times, Tuesday evenings from 6 pm - 8:40 pm, beginning on Feb. 11th and ending a few weeks after you return from the trip, which will take place during spring break. The class is a HUM 115 class, which unfortunately means it may not transfer as easily as some other courses. It counts as an approved elective here at Harper. Applications are due by November 15th. That way we will have time to notify people as to whether you have been accepted for the trip between then and the end of the semester.


Overview of upcoming Honors courses

Every Summer we run a section of the Great Ideas course, the course that is required to graduate with Honors Program Graduate Distinction.

This coming Fall, look for the following courses, which we offer each Fall:

English 101 and 102
Speech 101
Great Ideas (HUM/HST 105)
Chemistry 121
Economics 211
Psychology 101
Calculus I

In addition, a couple of classes that we did not offer this past Fall will be returning:

Accounting 101
Geography 111 and 112 (a Physical Science with a lab)
History of Film (MCM 200) (evenings)

Finally, we will be adding a new course:

A Learning Community of Ethics (Phi 115) and Chemistry 103 (a lab Physical science for non-majors), focusing on Sustainability. Learning Communities are opportunities to see how courses in different disciplines inform one another for a deeper understanding of our world. Students in this class would actually be in two classes, for a total of seven Honors credits.