Course Descriptions

Fall 2019 Honors Courses

Anchor H199: Reacting to the Past: Patterson, NJ 1913 and Greenwich Village, 1913

Dr. Henrietta Rix Wood, M/W 4-5:15pm, Class number: 44850

Dr. Wood will teach this interdisciplinary anchor course. It is part of the Reacting to the Past Program, which invites students to explore important issues and ideas by recreating the historical contexts that generated those issues and ideas. This semester, we will recreate the silk strike of 1913 in Patterson, NJ and the meeting of feminists, labor activists, and bohemians in New York City in 1913. Approaching these events as “games,” students will assume roles based on real or historically accurate figures. To perform their roles, students will read and discuss relevant texts, write analytical papers, and present persuasive speeches. The instructors of this course will act as “gamemasters” who provide information and guidance but do not dictate the outcomes of games. This will be a challenging course, and it may also be the most fun that you have had in a classroom.

Anchor H199: Social Justice

Dr. Stephen Christ, Tu/Th 10-11:15am, Class Number: 46063

This is an introductory survey course of social justice issues (primarily in America) with the expectation that students will critically engage in discussions of civic engagement. In addition to participating in civil discourse, students are expected to engage in collective civic action. As such, this course will present multiple opportunities for students to become actively involved in the communities to which they have a membership. The scope of this course is as broad as the idea(s) of social justice itself and as complex as notions of equality. We will begin with a foundational exploration into social justice concepts, issues, and policy remedies—thereby developing the necessary analytical tools and information to assess inequality and injustice and address historical and contemporary issues. 

Anchor H399: Social Action

Drs. Henrietta Rix Wood and Stephen Christ,Tu/Th 4-5:15pm, Class Number: 47131

This course will introduce students to concepts and strategies that will enable them to collaborate with classmates to analyze a social problem, develop a solution to that problem, and implement the solution within the semester. For example, students might decide to take action on the campaign to raise the minimum wage, the problem of people without homes, or other issues related to gender, race, and class in Kansas City. 

Biology H498WI

Dr. Jess Magaña, Tu/Th 10-11:15am, Class Number: 46279

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.

Honors component for BIO H498WI: This is not an honors-only seminar. In order to earn honors credit, students need to complete additional work for the course at the honors level. Students who wish to earn honors credit for this class will write a research proposal addressing a need for specific knowledge related to behavior.

Discourse H100

Thomas Ferrel, Tu/Th 1:00-2:15pm, Class Number: 45620

“Discourse” refers to the language, images, styles, genres, behaviors and other forms of communication used by specific social and professional groups. The techniques of discourse analysis and language awareness taught in this course will enable you to position yourself socially and professionally, helping you understand the discourse conventions, reasoning, and “commonsense” assumptions that create and define academic, political, professional, and other discourse formations and communities. Students will produce, perform, and analyze college-level, oral and written texts; and they will learn how written and oral performances function together in specific discourse communities.

Discourse H200: Culture and Diversity in Kansas City

Dr. Henrietta Rix Wood, Tu/Th 1:00-2:15pm, Class Number: 46132

What do the UMKC campus, the Country Club Plaza, and the 18th and Vine Historic District tell us about the culture and diversity of Kansas City? To begin to answer this question, we will use the “City as Text” approach to learning, which asks students to investigate important issues by going to places to map, observe, listen, and reflect. Drawing upon your impressions, you will then conduct further research on specific topics of your choice that are relevant to the culture and diversity of Kansas City in order to produce informative and persuasive speeches and essays. 

Discourse H300

Staff, Tu/Th 11:30-12:45pm, Class Number: 45621

Students will put the knowledge and skills learned in Discourse I and II into practical use by engaging in a service-learning project that is interdisciplinary and intercultural. Students will use strategies of critical discourse analysis and critical language awareness to target the appropriate audience/recipients for their service project, to develop innovative and rhetorically effective texts, and to reflect on their project’s purpose, methods, and consequences. This course is taught in close connection with Anchor H399.

Honors 330

Dr. Jess Magaña, TBD, Class Number: 14933

Senior Honors Thesis/Project Practicum: This graded, one-hour 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. The week before classes begin, students will choose, in consultation with Dr. Magaña, the day and time of the class.

Honors 496 and Honors 496A

Dean Jim McKusick (Section 0001) and Jessica Elam (Section 0002), Tu/Th 10-11:15am, Class Number: 46063

Honors Internship:

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.

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

Sociology H203: Social Problems

Dr. Stephen Christ, T/Th 2:30-3:45pm, Class Number: 46889

This course explores significant social problems in contemporary society, examines the process of how these social problems arise in society, and considers possible solutions. As an introduction to this topic, the course will focus on understanding how and why social problems develop and the controversies that accompany them.

Honors component for SOCIOL H203:  This is not an honors-only seminar. Students who wish to earn Honors credit for this class will meet with Dr. Christ to develop a plan of additional work to satisfy the honors credit requirement. In previous semesters, this has included photojournalism, developing a comic series, and an original research project. Each honors credit arrangement is a collaboration between Dr. Christ and the student.

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

Spring 2019 Honors Courses

Anchor H298: The Idea of Culture

Dr. Stephen Christ, MW 4:00-5:15pm, Class Number: 14910

What is culture, and how do we define it? Most people think they know what their own culture is, but end up defining it through opposition to other cultures. Is culture a normative or descriptive concept? Is it opposed to or connected with nature and science? What does it mean to “be cultured?” The course will follow the evolution of ideas of culture from Classical Antiquity to the present, discussing different notions of culture across the world, whether anthropological, political or otherwise.

Anchor H397: Urban Public Education

Drs. Henrietta Rix Wood and Stephen Christ, MWF 1-1:50pm, Class Number: 14904

Is public urban education a “wicked problem,” an unparalleled opportunity, or a complex challenge that can be met during the twenty-first century in the United States? This interdisciplinary class will interrogate that question by surveying the history of public urban education, by considering contemporary educational issues, and by sending students into public urban schools to make their own observations and recommendations. We will meet on Mondays and Wednesdays, with no class on Fridays so that students can work at least twelve hours during the semester at designated Kansas City schools. This class will be closely connected to the associated Discourse H300 class.

Biology H206: Genetics

Drs. Saul Honigberg and Scott Hawley, MWF 8-8:50pm, Class Number: 13772

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.

Biology H385: Special Topics (Invasive Species)

Dr. Jessica Magaña, TuTh 1:00-2:15pm, Class Number:

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 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.

Honors component for Bio 385: 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 shareholder dealing with an invasive species. After presentations we will have an in-class debate about potential solutions in which presenters will answer questions “in-character.” All students will write a brief summary and evaluation as a Policy Advice Paper.

Biology H498WI: Critical Analysis of Biological Issues

Dr. Jess Magaña, TuTh 10:00-11:15am, Class Number:

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. In order to earn honors credit, students need to complete additional work for the course at the honors level. Students who wish to earn honors credit for this class will write a research proposal addressing a need for specific knowledge related to behavior.

Discourse H200: Culture and Diversity

Dr. Henrietta Rix Wood, TuTh 2:30-3:45, Class Number: 15409

Culture and Diversity in Kansas City:

What do Kansas City institutions and icons tell us about the culture and diversity of our community? How do local monuments, museums, historical sites, places of worship, and other sites represent the attitudes, ideas, and ideals of citizens of the past and present?  To learn more about the culture and diversity of Kansas City, we will visit sites such as the historic 18th and Vine District; the John Wornall House and Loose Park; the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; the Shawnee Indian Mission; and the Toy and Miniature Museum. Assignments will include speeches and research essays on cultural sites of interest to individual students. For more information, contact Dr. Wood at woodhr@umkc.edu.

Discourse H300: Civic and Community Engagement

Dr. Henrietta Rix Wood, TuTh 11:30-12:45 pm, Class Number: 15410

Discourse H300: Civic and Community Engagement invites students to explore important cultural, political, and social issues by choosing their own topics, conducting research, and sharing their findings in speeches and essays. In recent sections of this class, students have investigated the politics of food, the rhetoric of immigration policy, Russian cyber warfare, and transgender healthcare discrimination.

Honors 330: Honors Practicum

Dr. Jess Magaña, TBD

Senior Honors Thesis/Project Practicum: This graded, one-hour 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. The week before classes begin, students will choose, in consultation with Dr. Magaña, the day and time of the class.

Honors 499: Senior Thesis/Project Writing Group

Dr. Jess Magaña, TBD, Class Number: 14932

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

This course is a sociological examination of deviant behavior in American society; its nature, theoretical perspectives, and societal reactions.  A special emphasis of the course will focus on the development of deviant identities, specific behaviors including substance abuse, sexual deviance, crime and delinquency, mental illness, and social protest.

Honors component for SOCIOL 320:  This is not an honors-only seminar. Students who wish to earn Honors credit for this class will meet with Dr. Christ to develop a plan of additional work to satisfy the honors credit requirement. In previous semesters, this has included photojournalism, developing a comic series, and an original research project. Each honors credit arrangement is a collaboration between Dr. Christ and the student.

Honors 496 and Honors 496A

Dean Jim McKusick (Section 0001) or Jessica Elam (Section 0002)

Honors Internship:

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.

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