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Course Descriptions

HONN100 Honors Freshman Seminar

This course is designed for incoming Honors Program students. (Qualifying students who have not yet enrolled in the Honors Program are also eligible.) The objectives of the course are twofold: First, the course will orient students to the College and its resources. Second, the course will encourage students to view their early experiences at the College as a series of steps in a lifelong process of intellectual, social, and personal growth. Students will be encouraged to look for interconnections among their courses and to develop habits that will support academic success.

The course will be organized around a common book that the class will read over the course of the semester. This book will address a contemporary idea or paradigm and will provide a springboard for discussions about academics, the nature of knowledge, and the life of the mind.

The course employs a seminar format that incorporates critical reading, critical writing, class discussion, and guest presentations. Consistent with Honors Program expectations, the course will place heavy emphasis on student engagement with course materials and in class discussions.

This course satisfies the College’s First-Year Experience requirement.

HONN110 Honors Expository Writing

This course is intended for the student who has already demonstrated a high degree of proficiency in the use of language and who is motivated to pursue an advanced level of writing. Each student will be encouraged to develop his or her own distinctive voice and style, to make sharp and effective word choices, to become his or her own best critic, and to ultimately experience the satisfaction that comes from producing relevant, effective, and polished pieces of writing.

The course will be organized around a specific socio-cultural issue or theme and will incorporate readings about that theme from a variety of disciplines. The objective of the course is to enhance the depth and quality of students’ written expression through sustained engagement in the semester theme. The student will practice writing about that theme for various purposes and audiences with systematic feedback from peers and the instructor.

The course employs a workshop approach that incorporates critical reading, discussion, and a series of intense writing activities including analysis of rhetorical strategies used by other writers, and reading and responding to the work of others. Working in small groups, students will develop original ideas about the semester theme through active discussion and critique.

This course satisfies the College’s Composition requirement for Associate’s degree.

HONN130 Honors Ancient Greek Philosophy

The main objective of this course is to develop students’ understanding of ancient Greek philosophy by examining in depth the work of its three major representatives: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Attention will be given both to the social and historical context in which the ideas of these thinkers arose and to the influence of their ideas across the Western world over the course of history. The course will help the student develop a sense of the intrinsic value of these classical modes of thought for her or his own ethical development as well as to the development of later civilizations. After all, Athenian social life was as fraught as any contemporary society with tensions between truth and deception, virtue and moral relativism, and ethics and self-centeredness. Understanding how the ideas of the classical philosophers evolved in response to these tensions will help students link the relevance of their ideas to the development of individual and social values at almost any point in history.

Students will be encouraged to make connections between past and present through exploration of three fundamental questions: What does it mean to live a good life? What is the difference between knowledge and belief? What is an ideal society, and what roles should various groups have within it?

This course can be used to satisfy a Group F General Education requirement.

It will be offered as part of an Honors Learning Community (with HISN101 History of Western Civilization from Ancient Times Through the 17th Century) in Spring 2011.