Current Honors Courses

Spring 2015

Honors English 201

  • Honors English: ENGL-201-B016H (11:00-12:15): Dr. Huse Wika

From textbook readings and film(s) to novels and theory articles, this class will teach the art of argumentation. Students will learn to critically read and analyze difficult scholarly texts like Adorno's theories on the culture industry, Foucualt's "Panopticism," and Cohen's theories of the modern monster, among others.  Through thematic units concerned with popular and contemporary culture, students will learn to "read" the world around them, actively decode its messages, and understand how these messages help regulate and/or mediate identity and identity politics (gender, class, race, and sexuality).  Honors English students will learn to compose various modes of the argument, from the synthesis to the analysis to the academic argument.


Foundation Courses

  • Intro to Philosophy: PHIL 100-B003H (10:00-10:50 a.m. MWF): Dr. Gaffey
    The American writer William James said it best: philosophy is “the habit of always seeing an alternative, of not taking the usual for granted, of making conventionalities fluid again, of imagining foreign states of mind.” Introduction to Philosophy (PHIL. 100) is a course that seeks to cultivate this habit. This class asks students to engage contested theories of reality, knowledge, and ethics. From these discussions and debates, students compose analytical response essays that formulate an intellectual self-portrait. In this sense, philosophy fulfills its role in our lives by inculcating the habit of analytic reasoning, and the equally important job of facilitating self-discovery. In addition to completing regular assignments and exams, students in PHIL. 100H will engage in weekly discussions and readings that analyze the role philosophy plays in our contemporary world. This work will culminate in a separate written analysis of a cultural text from a specific philosophical perspective. In short, PHIL.100H will ask students to interrogate our philosophical premises, both personal and public alike. Though philosophical inquiry often challenges our presumptions, its reward is undeniable: no more second-hand experiences.


  • The Bible as Literature: ENGL 411: B002H (9:00-9:50 a.m. MWF): Dr. Wallerstein
    This course is designed for two groups: (1) Students who have never read much of the Bible will be introduced to the general narrative framework of the Hebrew Scriptures (what Christians call the Old Testament) from the time of mythological origins to the kingdoms of David and Solomon and the eventual demise of the kingship leading to the Babylonian Exile in 586 B.C. (2) Students who have read lots of the Bible will be introduced to a new way of reading it: We will engage in an academic-scholarly-scientific study of biblical literature; we will view the Bible as a collection of written texts produced by the human imagination, within a variety of historical, philosophical, and political contexts. Our study will be based primarily on the great European and American biblical scholarship of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries such as Wellhausen’s “Documentary Hypothesis” and the important archeological, linguistic, and literary discoveries of the ancient Near East over the last 200 years. Our approach will include the analysis of ancient precursors to many biblical stories, such as Babylonian myths, Egyptian writings, and Hittite and Assyrian law codes. For the New Testament, we will engage in a “close reading” of the Gospel of Mark, comparing that writing to other writings in the New Testament. For Honors credit, students will meet frequently with the professor to discuss issues brought up in class and will write a seminar paper to be read to the other Honors students at the end of the semester. Because this “Bible as literature” course is offered at a secular state university, it is presented to you without regard to your personal religious convictions and commitments, if any. Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Mormons, Wicca, Atheists, Pagans, Secular Humanists, et al., are welcome. No religious perspective or persuasion will be privileged, nor will the class be an opportunity for anyone to espouse his or her personal theology.


  • Intro to the Visual Arts: ARTH 121 B003H (11:00-12:15 MW): Professor Schoenewies


  • Through the Whedonverse:  Understanding Popular Culture.  HON 302: B001 (T 4:00-7:00 p.m.): Dr. Huse Wika
  • This cultural studies and philosophy course proposes an examination of postmodern society through the texts of Joss Whedon: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, Angel, Dollhouse, Firefly, Serenity, The Avengers, and his prose and graphic novel work. Using gender, monster, and postmodern theory, we will explore issues of authenticity, identity, and the posthuman. We will explore who we are in this moment: we are the society of the image and hyper-real, where illusion can be more powerful and desirable than reality. We are the society of fragmented, splintered identities and a seemingly blind dedication to hyperspace. We are products of the culture industry. We are the postmodern.

Fall 2014

Honors English 101

  • Honors English: ENGL-101-B016H (2:00-3:15 p.m. TTH): Dr. Cremean

From textbook readings and film(s) to assignments, this class is based on a theme of  Western South Dakota as Place. Though many of the students were born and/or raised here, they generally do not know the region’s background, history, and issues all that well.  In addition to our two “writing” texts, A Brief Guide to Writing from Readings, 6th ed., and A Pocket Style Manual, 6th ed.,, content readings will come from the four books and a smattering of articles. The books are Kathleen Norris’s classic essay collection, Dakota: A Spiritual Geography (also this year’s “One Book South Dakota” for the SD Humanities Council), Dan O’Brien’s book-length Buffalo for the Broken Heart, Joseph Marshall’s The Day the World Ended at Little Bighorn: A Lakota History, and Kent Meyers’s novel, Twisted Tree. Thus the majority of the course readings will involve non-fiction, but the overall experience will be an across curriculum one, with nonfiction, history, and fiction all represented. The essays written by students (the major basis for class assessment) will include two two-page article summaries, one 4-6 page book review, one 4-6 page film review (most likely of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, a mixture of fact and fiction relative to Dr. Charles Eastman’s life), and a 10-15 page synthesis essay. Consequently, one major option for the course will be using the BHSU Special Collections for the major “research” project (their Synthesis Essay). Both the reading and writing amounts are above and beyond my non-Honors 101 requirements.


Foundation Courses

  • Intro to American Indian Lit: ENGL-214-B002H; AIS-214-B002H (10:00-10:50 a.m. MWF): Dr. Dragone

In addition to three 3-page critical analysis papers, the group conference poster project, and the weekly journals on the readings, the Honors Students will also be required to write a conference style paper critically analyzing some aspect of the Native American and/or First Nations monsters and tricksters we will be reading about and studying this fall.  Additionally, as a group, the Honors Students will be required to create a conference panel proposal and submit the proposal to Black Hills Symposium with the goal of presenting their panel at the symposium this year.

  • College Algebra: MATH-102-B012H (2:00-2:50 p.m. MWF): Dr. May

All too often in College Algebra, students are exposed to concepts, procedures and formulas without proof or much justification. Honors College Algebra students will have the opportunity to derive many of the important concepts from the course on their own, through collaboration and instructor-guided inquiry activities. There will be an emphasis on mathematical proof and rigorous justification of ideas. Examples will include proofs of the Pythagorean theorem, deriving and proving the quadratic formula, proving the rational root theorem, and multiple derivations of the number e. In addition, students will investigate some idea from the core of college algebra topics and write a paper on it in detail, including historical aspects, rigorous proof, and a discussion of applications.

  • General Biology: BIOL-151-B002H (11:00-11:50 a.m. MWF): Dr. Bergmann

Students in Biology 151H will attend the lectures for Biology 151 section B001 or section B002 and are responsible for completing all online quizzes available through D2L and the four in-class exams. Students in Biology 151H will have additional readings, which will be available online through D2L, which must be completed prior to class meeting. The class meetings will consist primarily of discussions, so the participation of all students is essential. While it is hoped that readings will reinforce some of the factual content presented in the larger Biology 151 lectures, the main purpose of the readings and subsequent class discussions will be to examine how the “scientific method” is used in the case of biology, how hypotheses and theories have developed and changed, and what concepts are still being debated in biology. Weekly readings will include essays from a number of authors, such as Charles Darwin, Alfred Russell Wallace, Richard Dawkins, Stephan J. Gould, Lynn Margulis, Stuart Kaufman, James Watson, and others (I am open to suggestions for other readings). These readings will often relate to topics presented in the Hickman et al. Integrated Principles of Zoology textbook. In addition, we will attempt to read and discuss a few original research articles which have been published in biological journals- not so much to gain factual content, but to discern the “scientific method” in action and to learn how to read original scientific literature (not always an easy task).

  • General Chemistry I: CHEM-112-B001H (9:00-9:50 a.m. MWF) OR CHEM-112-B002H (1:00-1:50 p.m. MWF): Dr. Jensen

Students enrolled in the Honors section of General Chemistry will attend the regular General Chemistry lectures and complete all of the requirements of the course.  We will also meet for an additional weekly session that is exclusively for Honors students.  These additional sessions will be a combination of lectures, chemistry demonstrations, laboratory experiments, and peer led learning.  Students will be expected to participate in class discussions and activities, complete reading assignments, and prepare a short presentation on a chemistry-related topic chosen by the student.

  • General Psychology: PSYCH-101-B003H (TTH 11:00-12:15 p.m.): Dr. Flint/Dr. Anagnopoulos

The Honors section of General Psychology will complete all of the regular course material.  In addition, they will meet separately with a faculty member to complete projects related to course content that require greater critical thought and depth on the topics.  Further, they will complete an individual project based upon their specific major/career goals that requires them to incorporate three different topic areas of General Psychology.  For example, a student majoring in Elementary Education might be expected to create a project that examines how to handle a 2nd grade student whose parents are divorcing.  The project might require them to incorporate some developmental theory relevant to the age group, memory research, family issues, as well as depression from abnormal psychology.


  • German 1: GER-101-B001H (9:00-9:50 a.m. MWF): Inst. Hubbard

In order to receive Honors status in German 101, honors students will complete three projects in addition to the required coursework for German 101:  an in-class presentation in German lasting 3-5 minutes, a 3-5 page paper (or alternative) discussing the interdisciplinary relationship between an aspect of German study or culture and the student’s major, and a personal encounter with a native speaker of German.

  • United States History: HIST-151-B004H (10:00-10:50 a.m. MWF): Dr. Campbell

In addition to the section requirements, honors students will each write two, two-page historical theses and lead two discussions in the honors section by framing a debate on a topic from the previous week.  Additional activities, discussions, and projects for the semester will be created with student input.


  • Revolution in the Heavens: Galileo, Science, and Religion: HON-304-B001 (4:00-7:00 p.m. W): Dr. Parrow 

This honors colloquium will put Galileo and his achievements in perspective by introducing students to modern astronomy (with the help of at least one BHSU astronomer); to the medieval geocentric, pre-Copernican understanding of the universe; and to Galileo’s own work (through his writings and other readings).  Understanding the social and cultural influences of religion (with the assistance of a sociologist) will aid students’ grasp of the socio-historical context of what Galileo did when he challenged the church by “putting the sun in the center of the universe”.  By raising issues about the relationship of science and religion in a historical time and place, students will learn to think more objectively about these issues in general.  Possible areas for student projects include astronomy, history, mathematics, political and social sciences, and religion, and projects could generate honors thesis ideas and submissions to the BHSU Research Symposium and NCUR.