Course Descriptions

Spring 2022 Honors Courses

 

Biology H206: Genetics

Dr. Saul Honigberg and Dr. Scott Hawley, M/W/F 8-8:50am, in-person

Pathway Class Code: 12637

A modern approach integrating molecular and organismal studies of the general genetics of lower and higher organisms. Chromosomal structure and function, gene transmission, heredity, plasticity, and population genetics will be discussed. Prerequisites: BIOLOGY 108, BIOLOGY 109, CHEM 212R. The course offers in-class discussion to dig deeper into topics like the societal issues of genetics and offers a limited number of seats, taught by active geneticists, including Dr. Hawley, an investigator at Stowers Institute, and is considered an important class for students interested in research.

Biology H333: Invasive Species

Dr. Jess Magaña, Tu/Th 1-2:15pm, in-person

Pathway Class Code: 16928

Invasive species are of concern to the public, scientists, and governments as invasive species can negatively impact native ecosystems, economies, and human health. Students in this 3-credit-hour, online course will study the biological traits that contribute to successful invasions, the ecological and economic impacts of invasive species, and the legal and cultural responses to invasions. Students will develop critical analysis and communication skills by analyzing scientific literature, discussing implications, and presenting arguments in written and oral platforms.

This is not an honors-only seminar. Students who wish to earn honors credit for this class will give a 10-minute presentation from the point of view of a stakeholder dealing with an invasive species, followed by a class discussion in which presenters will answer questions “in-character.”

Biology H498WI: Critical Analysis of Biological Issues

Dr. Jess Magaña, Online Asynchronous

Pathway Class Code: 13669

Why do animals do what they do, and how do we know? This three-credit-hour course explores evolutionary influences on animal behavior and the challenges associated with developing and testing hypotheses. Students will develop critical analysis skills and effective written and oral communication skills by analyzing scientific articles, discussing methodology and implications, writing analytical papers, and communicating through oral presentations.

This is not an honors-only seminar. Students wishing to earn honors credit for this class will create an additional project that explores scientific writing as a discipline.

Communication Studies H110: Fundamentals Of Effective Speaking And Listening

Dr. Steven Melling, Tu/Th 11:30am-12:45pm, in-person

Pathway Class Code: 15632

An introduction to the dimensions of effective platform speaking with special emphasis on developing critical listening and successful public speaking skills. In this honors-only section, students will compose a research-based asynchronous presentation—a video essay.

English H225: Intermediate Academic Prose

Staff, T/Th 1-2:15pm, in-person

Pathway Class Code: 15963

This course extends the work of English 110 with an additional emphasis on research. This honors section of English 225 uses a combination of book-length and shorter texts to focus on specific historical and/or cultural issues. As they learn to participate in scholarly conversations, students will find and evaluate library and Internet sources. As with English 110, this course emphasizes revision, editing, and proper academic documentation.

GECRT-AH H106: Kansas City as Text

Dr. Henrietta Rix Wood, Tu/Th 1:00-2:15pm, in-person

Pathway Class Code: 16835

In this class, you will learn about the arts and history of Kansas City by going to places such as the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the 18th and Vine Historic District with Dr. Wood and your peers. Then you will choose a topic, problem, or issue relevant to the arts and history of Kansas City for your individual research project. For example, you might explore how the city can preserve the cultural and historical value of the 18th and Vine District while responsibly revitalizing that area. Or you could consider how First Friday, the monthly public gathering in the Kansas City Crossroads, should be altered to better serve the needs and interests of artists, merchants, and guests. In the process, you will develop the important skills of posing a research question; conducting research using methods appropriate to the humanities, such as observation, archival research, and expert interviews; taking a position on your topic; and sharing your findings in a multimodal presentation and an essay.

GECRT-SS H102: Culture Through the Camera Lens

Dr. Stephen Christ, Tu/Th 2:30-3:45pm, in-person

Pathway Class Code: 16056

This course provides an introductory survey of documentary film making as a distinct form of social research that has the ability to reflect, critique, reshape, and impact society and culture. In the first half of the course we will consider how documentaries critically examine various aspects of society and culture (violence, race, class, gender and sexuality, environmentalism, etc.). In the second half of the course students will collaborate to produce their own multimedia project on some aspect of human behavior in one particular group/community—their history, culture, and experiences.

GECUE H202: Social Action

Dr. Stephen Christ, Dr. Henrietta Rix Wood, Tu/Th 4:00-5:15pm, in-person

Pathway Class Code: 16633

If you want to be part of the solution to an important social problem, you are invited to join Dr. Stephen Christ and Dr. Henrietta Rix Wood in GE-CUE H202: Social Action. This class will introduce students to concepts and strategies that will enable them to collaborate with classmates to identify and analyze a social problem, develop a solution to that problem, and implement that solution in the course of the semester. Since Dr. Christ and Dr. Wood introduced this class, students have taken action on social problems ranging from food insecurity to plastic recycling to the lack of mental health awareness.

Honors 330: Senior Thesis/Project Practicum

Dr. Stephen Christ, day and time TBD

Pathway Class Code: 13296

This graded, one-credit course will prepare honors students to undertake a Senior Honors Thesis or Project. In this class, students will explore different options for theses or projects; identify a topic and faculty advisor; plan the production of the thesis or project; produce a component of the thesis or project; and collaborate effectively with other honors students to develop their plans.

Honors 496 and Honors 496A: Honors Internship

Margo Gamache, section 0001, and Heather Miller, section 0002

Pathway Class Code: 43602 (for section 0001 of 496) ; 44395 (for section 0002 of 496) ; 44132 (for section 0001 of 496A) ; 44396 (for section 0002 of 496A)

This course is an academic internship that requires written assignments in addition to the work performed in a professional workplace. Internships are individually arranged with the sponsoring organization, which may be a business, school, nonprofit agency or government office. Academic credit may range from 1 to 6 credit hours (0 credit hours for Honors 496A). There will be a Learning Agreement established in the first week of the semester that states the contractual responsibilities of the student, the workplace supervisor, and the internship coordinator. This Learning Agreement will outline the job responsibilities, workload expectations, assignments and anticipated learning outcomes of the internship experience.

Honors 499: Senior Thesis/Project Writing Group

Dr. Henrietta Rix Wood, day and time TBD

Pathway Class Code: 13295

This one-hour credit, graded course is open to honors students and high-achieving students who are working on senior theses, projects, or capstone papers. The group meets twice a month to offer peer response to the work of members who set goals and deadlines for producing their theses or projects.

Sociology H320: Social Deviance

Dr. Stephen Christ, Online Asynchronous

Pathway Class Code: 15571

An introduction to the study of deviant behaviors. We will examine the ways in which deviance is constructed and defined. Major sociological perspectives and theories will be applied to understand how they aid in the formation and development of social deviance. In addition, various forms of deviant behaviors will be discussed, including: drug use, sexual deviance, violence, suicide, LGBT issues, inequality and crime.

This is not an honors-only seminar. In order to earn honors credit, students will complete additional work for the course, which could include, but is not limited to, a collaborative learning experience, an additional individual research paper, an applied learning project, or an artistic project. Students are invited to meet with Dr. Christ at the start of the semester to develop a plan.

Courses vary by semester. Check the university catalog or Pathway for courses offered, and remember you can always contract for honors credit.

Fall 2021 Honors Courses

 

Biology H498WI and 498WI: Critical Analysis of Biological Issues

Dr. Jess Magaña, Online Asynchronous

Pathway Class Code: 44016

Why do animals do what they do, and how do we know? This three-credit-hour course explores evolutionary influences on animal behavior and the challenges associated with developing and testing hypotheses. Students will develop critical analysis skills and effective written and oral communication skills by analyzing scientific articles, discussing methodology and implications, writing analytical papers, and communicating through oral presentations.

This is not an honors-only seminar. Students wishing to earn honors credit for this class will create an additional project that explores scientific writing as a discipline.

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Critical Thinking-Arts and Humanities (GECRT-AH) H106: Kansas City as Text

Dr. Henrietta Rix Wood, M/W 4-5:15pm, in-person

Pathway Class Code: 46897

This course invites you to investigate and think critically about important topics, problems, or issues related to the arts and humanities in Kansas City through individual research projects. For example, you might address how UMKC performing arts students have adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic. You could explore how the city can preserve the cultural and historical value of the 18th and Vine District while responsibly revitalizing that area. Or you might could consider how First Friday, the monthly public gathering in the Kansas City Arts Crossroads District, should be altered to better serve the needs and interests of artists, merchants, and guests. To pursue these projects, you will conduct research using methods appropriate to the arts and humanities, such as observation, archival research, and expert interviews; articulate relevant research questions; take a position on your topic and produce a text that meets the expectations of the humanities; and share your findings in a class presentation.

Critical Thinking-Social Sciences (GECRT-SS) H102: Culture Through the Camera Lens

Dr. Stephen Christ, Tu/Th 10-11:15am, in-person

Pathway Class Code: 46905

This class will introduce students to the interdisciplinary study of culture. We will begin by examining the theoretical debates on what culture is, where it comes from, and how it works. We will then move on to examine empirical sites of cultural transmission – schools, immigrant communities, religious institutions, etc. We will end by examining the production of cultural perspectives and considering how mass media is produced and connected to social change. Documentaries and mass media will provide an empirical starting point for discussions and analysis. For the first half of the semester, students will analyze forms, content, and narratives of documentary films. Students will collaborate in the second half of the semester to produce a short documentary on an aspect of human behavior and culture.

English H225: Intermediate Academic Prose

Dr. Henrietta Rix Wood, Tu/Th 1-2:15pm, in-person

Pathway Class Code: 46940

This course extends the work of English 110 with an additional emphasis on research. This honors section of English 225 uses a combination of book-length and shorter texts to focus on specific historical and/or cultural issues. As they learn to participate in scholarly conversations, students will find and evaluate library and Internet sources. As with English 110, this course emphasizes revision, editing, and proper academic documentation.

English 273: Science Fiction

Dr. James McKusick, Online Asynchronous (First 8-Week Session)

Pathway Class Code: 46505

This course is open to all majors and will focus on a range of science fiction (SF) literature and film from a variety of periods and traditions. Covering the utopian tradition, dystopias, “hard” SF, cyberpunk, and SF dealing with issues of gender, race, technology, and knowledge, our focus will emphasize the historical, cultural, and social contexts of each work while pursuing an understanding of how SF connects with a wide interdisciplinary field of inquiry. Prerequisites: ENGLISH 110 or DISC 100. Fulfills a General Education Focus A (Arts and Humanities) and a 100- or 200-level elective for the English major.

This is not an honors-only seminar. In order to earn honors credit, students will complete additional work for the course, which could include, but is not limited to, a collaborative learning experience, an additional individual research paper, or an artistic project. Students are invited to meet with Dr. McKusick at the start of the semester to develop a plan.

Required Texts:

  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The Yellow Wall-Paper, Herland, and Selected Writings. Penguin, 2009.
  • Thomas More. Utopia. Translated by Roger Clarke. Alma, 2017.
  • Kim Stanley Robinson. New York 2140. Orbit, 2018.
  • Joanna Russ. We Who Are about to . . . . Wesleyan UP, 2005.
  • Charles Yu. How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe. Vintage, 2011.

Film/Television (available for rental on Amazon Prime and other streaming services):

  • “USS Callister.” Black Mirror, season 4, episode 1, Dec 28, 2017.
  • Interstellar. Directed by Christopher Nolan, Paramount, 2014.
General Education: Culture and Diversity (GECDV) H202: Exploring Race, Class, and Gender

Dr. Henrietta Rix Wood, Tu/Th 5:30-6:45pm, in-person

Pathway Class Code: 46896

How does your race, class, gender, and other socially constructed categories shape the way that you see the world, others, and yourself? How can you learn to see things from another culture’s point of view and why is doing so important? These questions will guide this new general education honors course on Culture and Diversity. Surveying the perspectives of diverse scholars and public figures through readings, videos, and class discussion, you will explore concepts of privilege, identity, the culture of organizations, interaction, and worldview. Then you will share what you have learned in a cultural autobiography.

Honors 496 and Honors 496A: Honors Internship

Margo Gamache, section 0001, and Heather Miller, section 0002

Pathway Class Code: 43602 (for section 0001 of 496) ; 44395 (for section 0002 of 496) ; 44132 (for section 0001 of 496A) ; 44396 (for section 0002 of 496A)

This course is an academic internship that requires written assignments in addition to the work performed in a professional workplace. Internships are individually arranged with the sponsoring organization, which may be a business, school, nonprofit agency or government office. Academic credit may range from 1 to 6 credit hours (0 credit hours for Honors 496A). There will be a Learning Agreement established in the first week of the semester that states the contractual responsibilities of the student, the workplace supervisor, and the internship coordinator. This Learning Agreement will outline the job responsibilities, workload expectations, assignments and anticipated learning outcomes of the internship experience.

Sociology H203 and 203: Social Problems

Dr. Stephen Christ, Online Asynchronous

Pathway Class Code: 46650

All around us are social phenomena that could potentially be viewed as problematic; yet only a few garner the public’s attention. The social problems that capture our attention are not necessarily the worst and may be replaced before they improve. Thus, there must be forces other than the seriousness of these problems that explain their procession through the public imagination. In this course we will explore modern social problems, and deconstruct the process of claims-making that pushes these to the forefront. We will confront “social problems” of everyday life: those issues, situations, behaviors and ideas perceived and labeled as problematic and for which a solution is seen as possible and necessary. We will be learning about some of these social problems. But we will also be learning about what constitutes a social problem. Who, for example, defines what a social problem is? Why do some social problems receive so much attention, while others are ignored? And what are the impacts of defining social problems in a particular way?

Students who wish to earn honors credit for this course will be challenged to produce an ethnographic research project analyzing a social problem facing the Kansas City community.

Sociology H359 and 359: Media and Society

Dr. Stephen Christ, Tu/Th 11:30am-12:45pm, in-person

Pathway Class Code: 46610

This course investigates the evolving role of media in shaping our understanding of, and relationship to, the world. We will focus on the economic, political, social, and ecological implications of mass media as it relates to democracy, consumerism, human relationships, and how we make sense of the world both as individuals and as a society. Additionally, we’ll be examining the nature of entertainment, advertising, news, and the institutions that create mass media. We will address questions such as: How does the news shape reality? How does advertising actually influence human behavior? How does entertainment impact how we perceive our own lives? Who decides what program choices exist on television? This course will emphasize critical thinking and use variety of textual, audio, and video materials that will allow you to further your critical consumption of mass media.

Students who wish to earn honors credit for this course will be challenged to produce a film/media project analyzing an aspect of society related to class material.

Courses vary by semester. Check the university catalog or Pathway for courses offered, and remember you can always contract for honors credit.