University Honors ProgramUniversity of Cincinnati

University Honors Program

Spring 2015 Honors Seminars

The listings below are tentative and subject to change. Please contact your honors academic advisor with questions.

Seminars in the first table have international or domestic study tours.

Honors Seminars with International or Domestic Study Tours
 Course Number     Title       Call #       Day/Time     Instructor     BoK      
BIOL3082 The Melting Pot of the Pacific: Physical, Biological and Cultural Diversity of the Big Island of Hawaii TBA TBA; with required study tour to Hawaii E. Kaneshiro
T. Culley
K. Petren
Hawaii Island has four of the five the Köppen Climate Zones (all except for Cold-Continental) and 10 out of 13 sub-zones making it one of most diverse climate system on earth.  Uniquely, this is all within 4,028 sq. miles from sea level to 13,796 ft. at the summit of Mauna Kea. The Big Island also has the most ethnically and racially diverse human population in the USA.  First inhabited by the Polynesian people who navigated (way-finding) across the Pacific, today Hawaii has no ethnic or racial majority - all groups are in the minority.  More than half of marriages and more than half of the children born in Hawaii are interracial.  Students will learn about the island, the history of the Polynesian native Hawaiians, the Kingdom, Territory and State of Hawaii, the cultures of immigrants who settled in the islands, international telescopes and astronomy cooperative projects, impact of the volcanoes on the culture of the Hawaiian people, diversity and endangered species of unique flora and fauna, biological evolutionary changes, and have the opportunity to participate in research projects.  Students will have the opportunity to experience a 9 to 10-day trip to Hawaii over the Spring Break for which they will keep a journal.

Application required. Learn more!
FAA TBA How Art Makes the World: Visual Art as Inquiry & Research in New York TBA TBA; with required week-long study tour to New York City

K. Holland
N. Anderson
The prevailing view most people have of visual art is that it is ‘creative self-expression,’ or worse, an isolated act of leisure. Some students at the university level may not be conscious of the expansive implications research in the fine arts has produced, or its links to the production of knowledge in the humanities. The goal of this course is to fundamentally shift people’s perception of the visual arts away from the idea that it is about creative or ‘emotive’ self-expression and instead create an understand of art as an inquiry process – a way of generating knowledge.

Students will not be required to make or have knowledge of contemporary art to be in this course. Rather, we envision this course as a way to create future connoisseurs of art that understand and articulate the way artists employ visual research methods.

By integrating a spring break trip to New York City as a culminating experience linking course material to real world practice, students will learn about why inquiry and research processes are so vital to contemporary art in both the American and global context. This trip to the ‘center of the art world’ also serves to ground the course material and situate art as a vital inquiry and/or research process in global culture and the humanities. As a result, students will: 1) become acquainted with the aspects of creative arts-based research methods, 2) be aware of issues and articulations that truly reveal how ‘art makes the world,’ and 3) perhaps most importantly, students will gain respect, understanding, and become advocates for this vital practice of the humanities.

Application required. Learn more!
FAM3095 Music, Art, and Thought in Medici Florence TBA TBA; with required week-long study tour to Italy S. Schlagel FA, HP

From c1420 to the end of the sixteenth century, Florence witnessed a remarkable synergy of music, art, and thought. With the 1436 completion of the cathedral dome, an architectural and engineering feat designed by Brunelleschi, and the rise of the Medici dynasty, Florence became the embodiment of humanistic ideals. Inhabited by such artists as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, musicians Guillaume Du Fay and Heinrich Isaac, and writers Angelo Poliziano and Niccolò Machiavelli, Florence was the Renaissance city ―par excellence.‖ Florence also witnessed its share of calamities, particularly as religious fanaticism fomented by Girolomo Savonarola and foreign invasion ravaged the city, before another branch of the Medici family retook the city by force.

In this interdisciplinary course we will study the political, economic, artistic, and cultural forces that gave rise to Florence as a vortex of European Renaissance civilization. The course will culminate with a one-week study tour of Florence, where history will come to life. The streets of modern Florence are relatively unchanged from Renaissance times, and an abundance of art and architecture remains available to modern viewers to witness and experience first-hand.

Application required. Includes required study tour to Italy. Learn more!

FREN3032 Paris Honors Seminar TBA TBA; with required week-long study tour to Paris, France. K. Lorenz DC, HU
The city of Paris, the "City of Light", is perhaps the most well-known city in the world. Why are people attracted to Paris? Where does the reputation of Paris come from? In this course, students have the opportunity to explore the city of Paris using historical and literary sources and contemporary media. Students will develop insights into physical and cultural development of the city and the nature of travel to a city such as Paris. Students are exposed to the tools necessary to explore the city in person or from afar. Taught in English.

Application required. Includes required spring break study tour to Paris. Learn more!
SAID3010 Humanitarian Design TBA TBA M. Zaretsky SE, HU

In this honors seminar, students from across colleges and disciplines will combine research into humanitarianism, social responsibility and the principles of design thinking into the development of a project that will benefit a non-profit organization doing work in impoverished communities in rural Tanzania.

We will explore how the fields such as engineering, nursing, medicine, education, business, liberal arts, design and more are all critical in the development of effective and inspiring humanitarian design projects. Together, we will explore the social, cultural and technological issues inherent in the field of humanitarian design and work collaboratively to create and implement projects that will have a positive impact on communities in need. The course includes a required trip to Tanzania.

The projects will be designed and implemented in three villages in rural Tanzania through the Cincinnati-based non-profit organization Village Life Outreach (

Application required. Includes required study tour to Tanzania. Learn more!


Honors Seminars
 Course Number     Title       Call #       Day/Time     Instructor     BoK      
Chemical Aspects of Forensic Science TBA TBA
A. Pinhas TBA
Surveys forensic chemistry both for students who are STEM majors and for those who are not STEM majors.  The course will be taught by presenting a crime scene and discussing the types of techniques needed for the investigation.  The course will consist of lectures and in-class demonstrations of the various scientific techniques used to solve a crime.  Some of the topics to be covered include glass identification, blood visualization, blood type identification, latent fingerprint visualization, drug testing, gunshot residue, and DNA isolation and identification.

In order to maintain a balance of science/engineering majors and non-science majors in this course, students must have permission from University Honors to register. Specific contact information for this will be posted here closer to spring 2015 registration. Students will receive permission and/or be placed on a waiting list in the order requests are received; confirmation will be sent by email, with further instructions for registering for the class.
Save our Schools: Educational Controversy and Change
TBA Tuesdays once-a-week
S. Stitzlein TBA
Nearly everyone cares about the success of our schools. Nearly everyone thinks they know how to make schools better, yet schools continue to struggle year after year.  In this course we'll work together to figure out what the best solutions are and put them into action to Save Our Schools!  Class participants will delve into educational issues central to improving schools, many of which are marred in controversy: from school vouchers to national standards and charter schools to teacher merit pay.  Participants will engage in experiential learning that takes them into local K-12 schools and education-related agencies (CityLink, Strive/Knowledge Works, Teach for America, etc.), brings teacher union and charter schools representatives to the classroom, and culminates in a two-day immersion in the Ohio legislature, where students will share their best ideas for education policy and change with elected officials and lobbyists.  This course allows you to develop genuine leadership skills as you become an agent of change helping to solve a major social problem.
Adolescent and Child Abuse in Film, Literature and Reality TBA TBA B. Dziech SE, HU
Designed for male and female students in all majors, this course employs fiction, non-fiction, films, speakers, and experiential learning to examine the crisis of battered youth and attempts at intervention. Included in the course is a required weekend service trip to an Eastern Kentucky non-profit residential facility for abused young people ages twelve to eighteen.
HIST TBA Art and The Great Depression TBA TBA T. Teslow TBA
What was it like to live through the worst economic crisis in U.S. history? How did American artists, filmmakers, writers, and photographers grapple with the hopes and fears, tensions and innovations of a modern, capitalist society in crisis? Combining a study of historical texts with
analysis of artwork and visual culture in the 1930s and early 1940s, this course will explore the lives and concerns of Americans during the Great Depression. Topics of study include mosaic murals at the Cincinnati Museum Center, Farm Security Administration photographs, the paintings of Grant Wood and Thomas Hart Benton, the Century of Progress World’s Fair in Chicago, the literary work of James Agree, and movies, including “Grapes of Wrath,” “Meet John Doe,” and “The Wizard of Oz.”
HNRS TBA Carved In Stone: The Meaning of Urban Public Inscriptions Canceled Canceled K. Grace
T. Grundy
This honors seminar has been canceled for the spring due to unforeseen circumstances. We hope to offer it in the 2015-16 academic year.
HNRS2081 Exploring Biomedical Research
TBA TBA I. Cartwright
R. Brackenberry
This course is intended to give students some broad insight into the world of biomedicine from the perspective of people who work in and around a large Academic Health Center.  One section of the course will emphasize the research enterprise, with talks from funded biomedical research investigators, and tours of their laboratories to meet graduate students and postdoctoral fellows with career goals as research scientists.  Furthermore, how to apply for and obtain undergraduate research experiences – especially funded summer opportunities at UC and CCHMC - will be emphasized.  To broaden the perspective, however, students will also be exposed to other biomedical professionals who are essential to the research mission, including those who oversee the care and proper treatment of animals, directors of essential core service laboratories, those who work with patients or the community, bioethicists, genetic counselors, public health practitioners, and finance and administrative people.  To supplement the weekly meetings, there will be opportunities to consider and discuss topics of current interest in medicine and medical research, facilitated by the course directors.
IT3070C Social Networks and Disaster Management TBA TBA H. Said SE, TI
When a disaster strikes (earth quake, hurricane, flood, Tsunami, war, etc), the connections someone has to other people can make one of the most significant differences in how well they do during an event and how well they recover after. This course will survey and examine social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc and explore the use of the existing connections a person has to prepare for emergencies. Students will create a Lifeline mobile application (iPhone, Android, iPad) that utilizes a person's existing connections on social networks to prepare and respond to emergencies. This course is based on a challenge by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response in the US Department of Health and Human Services. There are no prerequisites for this course. Students will work in multidisciplinary teams contributing within their areas of expertise.
MG3000 Climate Change – Think Globally, Act Locally TBA TBA E. Gruenstein SE, NS
This course has three goals: (i) To have students understand the scientific basis of climate change and the technology for dealing with it, (ii) To have them appreciate that mitigation of climate change will be a political and ethical as well as a technological activity, (iii) To have them realize that they can personally make a significant contribution to solving the problem. The first goal will be addressed through classroom discussions of seminal climate change literature facilitated by the course director. The second goal will be addressed by interactive seminars with Cincinnati leaders in politics, community action and philanthropy. The third goal will provide the experiential component of the course. $2000 will be made available to the students for philanthropic distribution to non-profit organizations which promote climate change mitigation in the Cincinnati community. Student teams will select local organizations to champion and each team will promote its organization before a panel of community leaders for a share of the philanthropic funds.
PHIL2085 Conversations about Life TBA TBA J. Martin SE
Built into college life are the late night conversations about love, sex, religion, politics - life's most important things. This seminar is designed to encourage this tendency in an informal but structured setting. Serious topics will be selected by the students and then "hashed out" with the professor contributing to give direction and suggestions only as a "referee".  Students will come with topics to discuss, and write a research paper on one of the topics raised in the course of the semester's conversations.