Honors Fall 2023 Courses

Please note: Some information is forthcoming regarding certain courses.

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Honors 398 Topics Courses (Three Credit Hours)

High Performance Leadership
CRN 44386 | M 5 p.m. - 7:40 p.m. | In Person | Prof. Thomas Connolly

This course focuses on building high performing leaders. Students will learn modern leadership theory and practical applications. This course will walk students through common pitfalls of leadership, overcoming those pitfalls, and how to work efficiently as a team. The course will also require students to reflect on themselves as leaders in a diverse community.

Television and the Ideal Woman
CRN 43697 | TR 12:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. | In Person | Prof. Faye Prichard

Course Description TBA

Bringing Out the Best in Self
CRN 44024 | TR 9:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. | In Person | Prof. Christy Tyndall

In this course, we will explore the notion of self and the psychological, cultural, social, and biological foundations of identity with emphasis on the period of emerging adulthood in which identity formation is a key developmental activity. Through the lenses of social and educational psychology, students will also learn about theories of motivation including achievement goal theory, self-determination theory, expectancy value theory, and self-efficacy and how to optimize personal motivational strategies.

LGBTQIA Health/Aging 
CRN 46050 | T 4 p.m. - 6:40 p.m. | In Person | Prof. Tarynn Witten

This course will address several issues pertinent to the study of aging and health across the lifespan in “non-normative”sex, gender and sexuality populations. In particular, we will explore the meaning of aging and health and we will examine the current knowledge surrounding these problems/challenges in the GLBTIQ (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender/Transsexual, Intersex and Queer-identified) populations. The 1st portion of the class will address essentials of research with human populations and challenges working with minority/invisible populations. The 2nd portion of the course will discuss historical and multicultural definitions of body, sex, gender and sexuality. 

The Modern University
CRN 46189 | W 7 p.m. - 9:40 p.m. | In Person | Prof. Benjamin Plache

This course uses VCU as a case study to explore the development of the modern American university. Specific topics will include the history of higher education, the history of VCU, the structure and function of a large public university, and the evolving role of public higher education in modern society.

History of Immigration to the United States
CRN 46167 | TR 9:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. | In Person | Prof. John Lemza

This course offers a general social, cultural, economic and political approach to examining the integration of various groups that immigrated to the United States and influenced the unfolding American experience. The scope will encompass a study of peoples that arrived before the national period through the most recent immigrants. The purpose of the course is to provide an historical context for understanding the dynamics of immigration as a means to better interpret contemporary demographic trends in diversity and assimilation. We will also unpack the often complicated path to citizenship that immigrants must navigate.

Drivers Global Change
CRN 43696 | Online Asynchronous | Prof. Brian Toibin

The course looks at 25 critical issues and looks at how they impact society as individual issues and how each of these issues intersect with each other on local, national and international scales. The course utilizes the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a reference point to help students realize that working towards a more sustainable society requires and benefits from participation of all facets of society. By having them look at these issues at different scales (local, national, global) it allows them to internalize the similarities of the challenges and potential solutions to some of these issues. The course helps them build a mental matrix that allows them to see how these are connected. Progress in one tends to lead to progress in others while backsliding in one leads to backsliding in others.

Honors 399 Topics Courses (1.5 credits)

Reuse, Recycle, Recreate
CRN 44383 | August 22 - September 21, 2023 | Online Asynchronous | Prof. Chelsea Lee
**Drop deadline August 23, 2023**

This course is designed around a series of assignments that will challenge your understanding of recycled materials, tools, dexterity, knowledge, and the idea of art itself.

Discovery of Drugs for Treating Schizophrenia
CRN 44339 | August 30 - September 27, 2023 | Online Synchronous | Prof. Joseph Porter
**Drop deadline August 31, 2023**

The discovery and development of antipsychotic drugs began in the 1800s with the development of chemical dyes in clothing industries. In 1952 the first antipsychotic drug, chlorpromazine, was developed in France. Known as Thorazine in the United States, this was the beginning of pharmacotherapy for the treatment of schizophrenia. We will explore this history and the role of serendipity in the discovery and development of drugs for treating schizophrenia.

Contemporary Issues in Crime & Corrections
CRN 44341 | September 12 - October 12, 2023 | TR 12:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. | In Person | Prof. Layton Lester
**Drop Deadline September 13, 2023**

In this course, the students examine the traditional to the contemporary causes of criminal behavior. Students will explore how childhood development and exposure to violence leads to delinquent behavior and the introduction to the criminal justice system. Upon introduction to the course, the students will become acquainted with the criminal court process, alternative sentencing, and incarceration. In addition, students will research challenges women who have been incarcerated experience, the role of therapeutic programs that address criminogenic factors and promote a reduction in criminal behavior thus a positive change in behaviors.

*Cancelled* Introduction to Organizing
CRN | August 22 - September 21, 2023 | TR 9:30 a.m.-10:45 a.m. | In Person | Prof. Rachel Hefner
**Drop Deadline August 23, 2023**

This course is an introduction to community organizing, a community change model based on relational power. We will utilize the framework of person, community, and historical events to explore power, self-interest, and the reasons for engaging in community organizing. We will discuss how to develop a campaign and ways to increase power. Finally we will spend some time reflecting on organizing pitfalls and obstacles that may occur on the journey to community change.

Men’s Health
CRN 46233 | August 22 - September 21, 2023 | Prof. Stephen Sowulewski  

This course will examine men's health from three domains: physical, mental and spiritual. Topics will include andropause (owing to decreasing testosterone levels as males age), prostate, testicular, skin, and breast cancer in addition to the swelling of the prostate gland (benign prostate hyperplasia) in the male life cycle. The prevalence of sleep apnea in men and other sleep disorders will be reviewed. Depression will be studied as the "under disease" in men (under recognized, under diagnosed, and under treated). Finally, a look at spirituality in men in the realm of mind-body exercise.

Reacting to the French Revolution
CRN 44387 | September 20 - October 24, 2023 | WF 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. | In Person | Prof Scott Breuninger
**Drop Deadline September 21, 2023**

This course will explore the origins and course of the French Revolution through the use of a Reacting to the Past game.  After a brief introduction, students will be assigned historical ‘roles’ and will seek to achieve their goals through interactions with one-another to see if the course of the revolution could have been altered.  

Honors 494 Capstone (4 credits)

Eligibility: Only available to take during students' graduating semester.  However, any student who wishes to enroll in the capstone course earlier must consult with their honors advisor for approval.

CRN 43459 | Online Asynchronous | Prof. Brandi Daniels

These sections are identical and will examine community engagement, including theories of citizenship, human rights, social movements, civic leadership, social justice, civil discourse, and social capital strategies. Through the use of case studies and field observations gained from neighborhood visits in RVA, students will be able to use an interdisciplinary lens to analyze and apply principles and practices of community engagement. Lastly, while engaging in this capstone course, students will connect the nine priority areas established by the Capital Region Collaborative. These pillars – Education, Job Creation, Workforce Preparation, Social Stability, Healthy Community, Coordinated Transportation, James River, Quality Place, and Demographics – serve as a framework for community engagement. Those areas of interest are particularly relevant, having been established by the greater Richmond region through lengthy engagement with the Collaborative.

Honors Sections

Honors sections of the following standard VCU courses will be offered. Please see the VCU Bulletin for course descriptions.

  • Biology 151
  • Biology 300
  • Biology 310
  • Economics 210
  • Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate 311
  • Gender, Sexuality & Women's Studies 201
  • Management 310
  • Marketing 301
  • MATH 201
  • Philosophy 201
  • Philosophy 221

Honors Variants (Three Credit Hours)

APPM 355: Honors Orchestra 
CRN 43487 | T, W, F 1:30 p.m.- 2:50 p.m. | In Person | Prof. Daniel Myssyk

In addition to weekly rehearsals, students in the Honors College will have reading/listening assignments related to the music performed during the semester. To receive honors credit for APPM 355, students will work on a guided research project. The project will consist of a comparative study of between

three and five different recorded interpretations of an entire piece will include research on the composer’s life when the work was created and will culminate into a research paper discussing historical findings and comparisons between selected interpretations of the chosen work.

ANTH 200: Introduction to African Societies  
CRN 43116 | Online Asynchronous | Prof. Christopher Brooks

This course introduces students to the African continent. For example, geography, climate, traditional economies, languages, religions, and social systems will be examined.

ENGL 313: Pop Culture
CRN 41227 | MW 2 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. | In Person | Prof. Mary Caton Lingold

This course is ideal for music lovers, history buffs, and those interested in identity and race. We will listen to many different kinds of music, watch documentary films, read cultural criticism, and learn a lot about the history of American popular culture. The class will explore the historical origins and development of several genres, focusing on how these musical forms are shaped by race, migration, and identity categories like gender and ethnicity. In this class, you can expect to sharpen your listening skills and your understanding of American history and culture. Assignments will include a podcast, a take-home midterm exam, and a research project on a contemporary musical genre of your choosing.

ENGL 391 Topics in Literature: Bodies, Myth, Death and Culture
CRN 46191| MWF 11 a.m.-11:50 a.m. | Hybrid Flex (accepts online students) | Prof. Sachi Shimomura

This course examines views of the body, death, health/illness, gender, and related physical needs and bodily anxieties in myths and folklore, and their resonance in texts from classical and medieval to the modern. Guest visits by medical professionals will allow us to contextualize ancient themes alongside modern issues. Texts will deal with gods, monsters, death, childbirth, and animal transformations, and may include creation stories from Mesopotamia, classical mythology and epic, medieval reworkings of Celtic mythology, and some chivalric romance.  Modern texts, such as episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer will be examined. Themes of death, bodily change (whether illness or growth), and their relationship to identity, voice, gender, social forces, or inner feelings will be key topics. Exploration of how bodies and death partake of natural and civilized forces, inner and outer worlds.  Vivid imagery illuminates varied perspectives on life/death amidst the structures of human cultures from their earliest origins. Requirements will include careful reading and discussion of some weird and wonderful texts, a class presentation or group project, essay and identification exams, and short writing assignments.

Note: Class occurs in a hybrid flex format: class meets at least 2 days/week on campus (students who prefer to learn remotely can inform the instructor at the beginning of the semester, and participate via Zoom video-conferencing, but MUST have exceptional audio access); a few class periods may meet entirely online. Zoom classes will be recorded and recordings made available to students. However, students should plan to participate in-person (or live with audio, if necessary) for the majority of class sessions.

ENGL 413 19th Century Literature: Love & Death in Victorian Fiction  
CRN 46259 | TR 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. | In Person | Prof. Nicholas Frankel

British novelists of the Victorian period were preoccupied with the fatal power of love. Can love be so powerful that we would die for it, they ask, and if so does its power transcend the terrible fact of death? In this course, we will read five or six Victorian novels, as well as short stories by Thomas Hardy, in which love and death feature prominently in close relation to one another. Class assignments will include two formal critical papers, biweekly informal “response” writing, quizzes, and a final exam. While hugely enjoyable, Victorian novels – which were often first published serially in magazines over the course of many months – can be daunting in their length. Class will involve a substantial amount of reading, so this course is a good fit for those who enjoy reading lengthy novels.

HIST 365: History of Gender and Sexuality in America 
CRN 46304 | MWF 3 p.m.-3:50 p.m. | Hybrid-Asynchronous | Prof. Carolyn Eastman

Analyzes historical changes in gender and sexuality from the first colonial settlements through the Civil War. Explores the changing relation of femininity and masculinity to families, economics, politics, religions, race, and culture for the wide variety of people who inhabited, immigrated to, or were forced to migrate to America and the subsequent United States.

HIST 391: Education in Latin America
CRN 46390 | TT 9:30 a.m.- 10:45 a.m. | Online Synchronous | Prof. Antonio Espinoza

This course analyzes education in Latin America throughout history.

HIST 393: Revolutions in Science II 1800s to the present 
CRN 46534 | MW 11 a.m.- 11:50 a.m. | Hybrid Asynchronous | Prof. John Powers

This course examines the idea of a "scientific revolution" by analyzing four case studies of supposed scientific revolutions, which occurred since 1800.  First, we will study Charles Darwin's development of his evolutionary theory and its reception by the scientific and religious community in Victorian England and Progressive-era America.   Next, we will look at the "revolution" in physics prompted by Albert Einstein's theory of relativity, along with the political, ethical, and social ramifications of Einstein’s work.  Then, we will analyze the notion of “Big Science,” and how the relatively recent change in the scale of scientific research has fundamentally changed its practice.  Finally, we will scrutinize the rise of genetics leading to the Human Genome Project.   For each case study, we will discuss both cognitive and social factors to see how these revolutions were made in order to illuminate the interaction between scientific ideas and the communities and cultures that form them.

Note: This is a hybrid-asynchronous course, which is structured as follows.  For a typical class meeting, students will be expected to watch a short (15 min.) lecture, read the assigned texts, and take a short (5-question, true/false & multiple choice) quiz, all posted on the course Canvas site.  Class meeting time will be spent discussing the course readings and major themes for the day’s topic.  The course meets twice a week - on Mondays and Wednesdays from 11-11:50 AM.  

In addition to the online quizzes, course requirements include a take-home midterm and final examination (comprised of essay questions), a biographical sketch (of a 20th-century scientist) assignment, and - for Honor’s Students - a 3-4 page book review.

IDDS 200: Disability Culture and History
CRN 44558 | M 4 p.m.- 6:40 p.m.  | Online Synchronous | Prof. Tosha Yingling 

This course provides an interdisciplinary exploration of disability, within American society and internationally, throughout history. It examines how disability studies, as a field of study, views disability as a social, political, historical, and cultural phenomenon. The class examines cultural attitudes about disability and how they influence policies that are designed to address disability.

POLI 391: VCU Votes 
CRN 46166 | T 4 p.m.-6:40 p.m. | Professors Alexandra Reckendorf and Amanda Wintersieck

Voting has consequences. Our elected officials set the tone and substance of our political agendas, and they directly impact what does and does not get passed at the local, state, and national levels. However, older Americans routinely outpace younger cohorts when it comes to participation in elections, which may explain why many politicians so often fail to represent the interests of young voters. If you’ve ever felt like you weren’t adequately represented by your elected officials, or if you’ve ever felt that you were ignored by candidates, it could be because only 27% of 18-29 year olds cast a ballot in the most recent 2022 midterm elections!  But there’s good news -- that rate, while low, still marks an improvement on youth voter turnout numbers over the last three decades. This means there is obvious room for optimism and mobilization among young voters, and this class is designed to help make that happen!  In this class you will identify trends regarding youth voter turnout in the U.S., brainstorm reasons that an age gap exists in voter turnout, and then work as a team to execute Get Out The Vote (GOTV) projects on and around campus that will help increase voter turnout among VCU students. Upon the conclusion of the 2023 Virginia elections, we will reflect on our challenges and successes, build a tool kit for students in future semesters of the course, and continue to discuss the power of the vote.