Course Directory

University Honors Program Spring 2020 Courses

 Spring 2020 Advising Information

Liberal Arts Core

BIOL 1014-04

Life: Continuity and Change

CAP 3128/COMM 4236-02

Capstone: Ethics in Communication

COMM 1000-08

Oral Communication

FAM SERV 1010-02

Human Identity and Relationships 

HUM 1023-06

Humanities III

HUM 3125-02

Non-Western Culture: India

MUSIC 1100-04

Soundscapes: Music in Culture

PSYCH 1001-03

Introduction to Psychology

RELS 1020-01

Religions of the World

Other Honors Course Offerings

UNIV 1092-01

Presidential Scholars Seminar: Rethinking the Learning Society: Education and Its Future(s) (1st Year Presidential Scholars ONLY)

UNIV 1092-02

Presidential Scholars Seminar: Sophomore Service Learning (2nd Year Presidential Scholars ONLY)

UNIV 2196-01

Seminar: Science and Practice of Well-Being: Exploring Mindfulness, Compassion, and Joy

UNIV 2196-02

Seminar: Sex, Power, and Violence

UNIV 4197-01

Honors Thesis

UNIV 4198-01

Honors Independent Study

Liberal Arts Core Class Descriptions



BIOL 1014-04 Life: Continuity and Change with Dr. Kimberly Cline-Brown, 10:00-11:15 MW

Fulfills LAC Category IV

Course Description:  How can understanding the processes of science help you navigate through life’s decisions? Are you interested in how YOU work? This non-biology majors course focuses on cells, genetics, and diseases. We will explore topics such as Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and their controversies, how cells become cancerous, research methodologies/limitations/and funding, as well as assess current and possible future treatments for human conditions -- all the whilst developing a toolbox of skills that will help us think more insightfully about our careers and lives. This class will involve groups discussions, interactive lessons, in-class activities, and short presentations. 

Professor Biography:  Dr. Kimberly Cline-Brown is a member of the Department of Biology where she specializes in teaching non-major biology courses. She has a BA in Psychology from SUNY Plattsbugh and received her Ph.D. with Distinction in Biology from the University of New Mexico. Her research interest was in Evolutionary Medicine and she was an intern at the Mississippi Department of Mental Health. In addition, she did clinical trial research for pharmaceutical companies in the Baltimore/D.C. area before coming to UNI. Last summer she assisted with a Field Ecology course at Gerace Research Center in the Bahamas. Dr. Cline-Brown loves taking an interdisciplinary approach and showing students how basic biology concepts apply to their daily lives. In her free time, Dr. Cline-Brown enjoys kayaking, hiking, traveling, trying different foods, and attempting to keep up with the shenanigans of her kids and dogs.

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CAP 3128/COMM 4236-02 Capstone: Ethics in Communication with Dr. Kyle Rudick, 2:00-3:15 TTh 

Prerequisites: Junior Standing

Fulfills LAC Category VI  

Course Description:   

Professor Biography: 

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COMM 1000-08 Oral Communication with Dr. Ryan McGeough, 12:30-1:45 TTh

Fulfills LAC 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:  Dr. Ryan McGeough is a member of the Department of Communication Studies, where he teaches courses such as Political Communication, Rhetoric and Civic Culture and Oral Communication.  His research is focused on public argumentation across various types of media. His classes ask students to take an active role in class conversations and to connect assignments to their interests and passions. In his free time, he enjoys Southern cuisine, farmers’ markets, LSU football and being walked by his dog, Vonnegut.

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FAM SERV 1010-02 Human Identity and Relationships with Dr. Nathan Taylor, 9:00-9:50 MWF    

Fulfills LAC Category VB

Course Description:  In this class, we will utilize social science theory to explore influences of identity development and interpersonal relationships. The focus of the course is answering the question ”who am I” by exploring psycho-social-cultural influences that contribute to the way you think, feel, and behave. To understand who we are, we will spend a significant amount of time understanding those that influence our identity the most, our closest relationships. We will explore what makes people attractive, stresses and strains in relationships, and empirically-based practices for maintaining strong, healthy relationships. You will find out why all people are shallow, greedy, and lie, and will leave this course with a better understanding of yourself and those around you.  This course consists of the application of current research and theory to facilitate positive individual growth and committed intimate relationships. To facilitate accurate self-reflection, you will have the opportunity to take validated assessments to explore aspects of your identity you may not know. To enhance content application, you will read a supplemental book and participate in book clubs. The book is a fun and enjoyable read and I guarantee is different than any other course book, and for many the most enjoyable aspect of the class. Finally, you will not demonstrate your knowledge with a paper, but as a group will create a digital public service announcement that can be shared with others. This project allows you to creatively engage with content in novel ways.

Professor Biography:  I was born in the mountains of Utah, lived in New England for two-years, and attended graduate school in Nebraska. I am the proud parent of three children, and utilize their experiences as case examples to better understand families. I am a trained marriage and family therapist, and bring clinical experience and examples to better apply and integrate course content. My main research focus is on improving the mental health and wellbeing of families in underserved areas, particularly rural communities. I have had opportunities to extend this work internationally, and have collaborations in Australia and Brazil. Other areas of scholarly interests include couple relationships and young widowhood. Enroll in this class to find out what I learned from attaching skin conductors to couples and having them fight.

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HUM 1023-06 Humanities III with Dr. Jolene Zigarovich, 2:00-3:15 MW      

Fulfills LAC Category IIA 

Course Description:  Honors Humanities III covers The Age of Revolution to the Present. We will discuss literature, philosophy, religion, and the fine arts integrated with the history of Western Civilization since the French Revolution. By comparing various works in different disciplines, we will discover significant trends and developments in cultural expression. While our primary focus will be on Western culture, we will at times put these expressions into a global context. The honors section will require seminar discussions, student presentations, and critically engaged writing assignments.

Professor Biography:  Jolene Zigarovich is an associate professor of Global Nineteenth-Century Literature in the Department of Languages & Literatures at the University of Northern Iowa. She has previously taught at Cornell University and Claremont Graduate University. Her recent book publications include Writing Death and Absence in the Victorian Novel: Engraved Narratives (2012), and she is editor of TransGothic in Literature and Culture (Routledge 2017) and Sex and Death in Eighteenth-Century Literature (2013). Her current research interests lie in the intersections of death, the Victorian novel, and the law. Her courses focus on Gothic literature, the work of Charles Dickens, and gender and sexuality. She is a recipient of the UNI Apple Polishers Award for teaching and mentoring, and her research has been recently supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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HUM 3125-02 Non-Western Culture: India with Dr. Louis Fenech, 9:00-9:50 MWF  

Fulfills LAC Category 

Course Description:  The Non-western Humanities course which focusses on India and South Asia will take students on a journey throughout the most remote pasts of the subcontinent. It will begin in prehistory and end with the situation we see in India today. It will not follow a linear trajectory chronologically speaking, but rather dip in and out of historical time to demonstrate how the history of India’s past is very much the reality of India’s present; to demonstrate too how Eurocentric categories fail to convey the realities of South Asia.  Along this past-present adventure students will meet India’s earliest inhabitants, the Adivasis; tour the streets of India’s first civilization, that of the Indus Valley; encounter Aryans and Achaemenids, Sultans and Swamis, Mughals and Marauders. While so doing we will note how the Indian encounter with these groups helped shape Indian civilization, its many vibrant cultures, its foods, and its awesome art and literatures.  We will furthermore become privy to how these encounters also helped mold those cultures which interacted with India’s.

Professor Biography:  Lou Fenech likes India, Indians, and Indian cultures. He also really likes Indian food, a lot, especially Punjabi food. At heart Lou is a Sikhologist, a guy who studies the Sikhs and Sikh traditions, and has written more than a couple of books on these amazing people (check him out on Amazon). Lou also likes to spend his summers in Southeast Asia and East Asia where he enjoys tracing the movement of Sikh communities to these countries that adjoin India. Luckily, he also really loves the food here, particularly sidewalk food. No surprise here as so much of this food originates in India. Lou doesn’t use PowerPoint or Blackboard. Lou lectures and shows images and tells stories and shares cooking tips.

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MUSIC 1100-04    Soundscapes: Music in Culture with Dr. Victor Acevedo, 11:00-11:50 MWF

Fulfills LAC Category IIIA

Course Description:  This course will focus on broadening students’ understanding and appreciation for various genres of music within a historical context. To this end, the course will help students develop the necessary skills and knowledge to understand the different elements of music, how music has evolved through the years, the historical context in which music has evolved, and how we, as listeners, can appreciate music. The course conveys an evolution of music over the centuries, from the chant of Catholics monks to the present. Overall, the course is designed to prepare students to listen to music in a meaningful way and be active participants in the listening process.

During the course, students will have the opportunity to talk and describe their listening experiences using vocabulary that makes references to objective/analytical, affective/emotional, associative/metaphorical, and physical/ kinesthetic responses to music. As part of the musical experience in this course, students will have the opportunity to attend live concerts in the Schools of Music and write concert reports to apply concepts learned in class. As the course progresses, students will create their own music library with a written journal. As an active participant in this course, you will explore a topic of personal interest related to this course. Some of the topics can include Music and the Brain, The Power of Music, Music Preference, The Role of Music in Our Lives, or explore how music relates to your major.

Professor Biography:  Dr. Victor Acevedo is an instructor of music, undergraduate coordinator, and advisor for the School of Music at the University of Northern Iowa. He received his B.M in Music Education from the Inter American University of Puerto Rico. Dr. Acevedo received his M.A. and M.F.A. degrees in Clarinet Performance, and a Ph.D. in Music Education from The University of Iowa.  While at The University of Iowa, he studied conducting with Dr. William LaRue Jones and conducted the University of Iowa Chamber Orchestra. Dr. Acevedo’s research interests include Music Perception and Cognition. In his Dissertation, Dr. Acevedo took a developmental approach to study how children from different age groups listen to music and reasons for their preference decisions based on their perceptual, cognitive, and affective capacities.

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PSYCH 1001-03   Introduction to Psychology with Dr. Kim MacLin, 2:00-3:15 TTh

Fulfills LAC Category VB

Course Description:   Psychology is the scientific study of mind, brain and behavior. Some of what you will learn may seem like "common sense," or at the very least familiar to you because you will be learning about topics that you can relate to.  However, one of the most important things you will learn is that some of what we believe to be "common sense" is not true at all, and that even "common sense" principles should be evaluated scientifically. You will learn about psychology from several different viewpoints: psychology as an academic science, psychology in life (yours!), and psychology in the broader world.

Professor Biography:  Kim MacLin, PhD is an active teacher, writer, and legal consultant. She has won several awards including the State of Iowa Board of Regents Award for Faculty Excellence in Research, Teaching, and Service.  


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RELS 1020-01 Religions of the World with Dr. John Burnight, 11:00-11:50 MWF

Fulfills LAC Category IIIB - (class in the Honors Cottage)

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 an Associate 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. 

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Honors Seminar and Elective Descriptions

UNIV 1092-01  Presidential Scholars Seminar: Rethinking the Learning Society: Education and Its Future(s) with Dr. Greg Bourassa, 9:30-11:20 T  

**2 credit hour seminar - First-year Presidential Scholars ONLY 

Course Description:  This transdisciplinary discussion-based seminar explores historical and contemporary trends in education. We will study the relationship between education – broadly conceived – and society. This involves unpacking taken-for-granted presuppositions about school, work, and society. We will contemplate critical questions about what it means to live in a “learning society” – one in which individuals are imagined to be responsible for “investing” in their education in order to optimize their human capital. While politicians suggest that this is a pathway for economic security, for many students it is a process that entails taking out loans and amassing exorbitant student debt. We will study how these developments are enactments of social control that alter the very form and content of education. Together we will consider alternative educational logics that offer new pathways and expand the horizon of possibility for the future(s) of education.

Professor BiographyGreg enjoys spending time with family, playing guitar, reading, writing, and dreaming of a better world.

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UNIV 1092-02 Presidential Scholars Seminar: Sophomore Service Learning with Dr. Jessica Moon, 4:00-4:50pm T + arr

**2 credit hour seminar – Sophomore Presidential Scholars ONLY (class in the Honors Cottage)

Course Description: The intent of Sophomore Service Learning is to provide a structured way for Presidential Scholars to grow intellectually while combining their strengths and talents for the benefit of our campus and community. The spring semester will be devoted to the execution of the implementation plan developed during the fall Think Tank. 

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UNIV 2196-01 Honors Seminar: Science and Practice of Well-Being: Exploring Mindfulness, Compassion, and Joy with Dr. Sarah Montgomery, 2:00-3:15 TTh (class in the Honors Cottage)

**3 credit hour seminar - Sophomore standing  

Course Description:  What is well-being and how can we cultivate it in our lives?  This course will explore emerging research and practices regarding Mindfulness, Compassion, and Joy.  Students will engage in readings, discussions, and discovery of how these concepts can apply to their own lives and academic interests.  In this course we will be reading peer-reviewed articles on research related to well-being and two books, namely: The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Anchor & The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, & Douglas Abrams.  Students will engage in course content via discussions, readings, presentations, and research.  In every class session, students will be invited to engage in secular practices that promote Mindfulness, Compassion, & Joy.

Professor Biography:  Dr. Sarah Montgomery is an Associate Professor of Elementary Education in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction at the University of Northern Iowa.  Her research and teaching focus on promoting democratic practices in elementary classrooms and mindfulness in higher education.  On a personal note, Dr. Montgomery enjoys spending time with her family – Zak, a Spanish Professor at Wartburg College, their two children Xavier & Lucia, and their fur babies.  Dr. Montgomery has been practicing mindfulness for 20 years and is excited to share the research and practical aspects of mindfulness, compassion, and joy in this honors course.

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UNIV 2196-02 Honors Seminar: Sex, Power, and Violence with Dr. Elizabeth Sutton, 10:00-11:50 W 

**2 credit hour seminar - Sophomore standing 

Course Description: In the wake of #MeToo and Women’s Marches around the world, academics, corporations, non-profits, governments, and individuals are learning how to proactively discuss and meaningfully address the presence of and potential diffusion of gendered violence and its roots in history.  This seminar will use various interdisciplinary readings, podcasts, and films as touchstones for investigation and discussion of inequality, power, violence, and trauma.  Hands-on workshops and field trips, connected to class content, will shed light on the real world effects of gendered violence and provide participants examples and strategies of empowerment.

Professor Biography:  Elizabeth Sutton is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Northern Iowa.  Her scholarship, while specializing in issues of globalization and power in art and in art history, also has included active pedagogical research.  Dr. Sutton’s most recent project, Angel De Cora, Karen Thronseon, and the Art of Place is forthcoming from the University of Iowa Press, and uses visual culture to investigate the overlap of Norwegian settlers onto Native American territory in Iowa and Kansas in the nineteenth century.  She has published Art, Animals, and Experience: Relationships to Canines and the Natural World (Routledge, 2017), Capitalism and Cartography in the Dutch Golden Age (Chicago, 2015), and Early Modern Dutch Prints of Africa (Ashgate, 2012).  She edited Women Artists and Patrons in the Netherlands, 1400-1700 (University of Amsterdam Press, 2019). Her current interests include various interdisciplinary projects that seek to amplify feminist research, methodology, and pedagogy.

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UNIV 4197-01 Honors Thesis with Dr. Jessica Moon, arr

Course Description:  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 Dr. Jessica Moon, arr

Course Description:  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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