Honors Spring 2023 Courses

Disclaimer - This is an initial list and more information and course options are forthcoming

Jump to: 

Honors 398 topic courses (3 credit hours)

Intercultural Communication
CRN 42329 | MWF | 11:00 - 11:50 AM | Blended Asynchronous | Prof. Shira Schieken
**Mondays will be in person**

This course will increase students’ intercultural coCerditmpetence by providing them with a set of cognitive tools to be used in their personal, academic, and professional lives. Throughout the semester, we will examine the concept and impact of culture and how cultural frameworks influence our daily and professional communication. Topics will focus on cultural self-awareness; understanding of cultural contexts, worldviews and perspectives; verbal and nonverbal communication, as well as, challenges to intercultural communication.

The Modern University
CRN 43199 | 7:00 - 9:40 PM | W | 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.

Diving into Qualitative Research
CRN 38209 | 9:30 - 10:45 AM | TT | In Person | Prof. Christy Tyndall

In a range of disciplines, scholars and professionals are increasingly recognizing the importance of using exploratory qualitative (non-statistical) and mixed research methods to advance knowledge in ways that allow for a richer and more in-depth understanding of phenomena and processes of interest. This course is designed for students interested in adding tools of scholarly inquiry to their research toolboxes and will provide an engaging introduction to qualitative approaches, study design, data collection, and analysis based on documents, field observations, and interviews. Students will also gain experience writing and presenting qualitative research based on a topic of personal interest.

CRN 38662 | 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM | TT | Prof. Ann Marie Halstead
CRN 41232 | 12:30 - 1:45 PM | TT | In Person | Prof. Ann Marie Halstead

In Social Justice and the Arts, students will investigate the relationship between social justice and the arts (theatre, visual arts, and music), with a particular focus on contemporary dramatic literature, i.e. plays that contribute to social and political change, such as The Exonerated, My Name is Rachel Corrie, Notes From the Field, The Good Body, The Laramie Project, and Have You Filled a Bucket Today? As a classroom community we will critically analyze and discuss other relevant texts, including videos and images, and will engage with leaders from the VCU and Richmond arts communities. Students will research social (justice) issues of particular interest to them and will look at the ways in which various art forms expose and help to resolve issues of social justice, inspiring us to act and effect positive change. Assignments will include oral presentations, multi-media projects, creative writing, reflection papers, peer review, and traditional research.

World Events and Broadway Musicals **CHS EXPERIENTIAL FINE ARTS CREDIT**
CRN 43667 | 1:00 - 3:50 PM | M | In Person | Prof. Patrick Smith & Prof. Sonia Vlancevic

A survey of historical world events as portrayed through American Broadway Musicals. Students will gain knowledge of major, life-impacting events through the present day, witness the ways in which these events inspired some musical creations of the Broadway musical stage, and recognize similarities and differences between historical fact and theatrical representation. Through the duration of the semester, class meeting topics will alternate weekly between viewing selected musicals (in class) and lecture/discussions.

Legal & Ethical Social Media
CRN 43527 | 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM | T | Hybrid - Asynchronous | Prof. Cheryl Black, Esq.

The course looks at the intersection of traditional legal concepts, such as contract law, intellectual property law and privacy with the emergency technology of social media platforms. The course explores the impact of social media platforms on these legal topics and the role ethics plays or should play in this growing digital landscape. Basic legal principles and concepts will be introduced to provide context for students who have not taken a legal foundational course. 

Survey of World Pandemics
CRN 43230 | 4:00 - 6:40 PM | M | Hybrid - Synchronous | Prof. Christopher Brooks

From early documented history, viruses have been a part of the human experience. Celebrated examples include the Justinian Plague (541 CE) throughout the Mediterranean; Leprosy in 11th century Europe; The Black Death Bubonic Plague) 14th century Europe; the Columbian Exchange in 1492 (Western Hemisphere); The Great Plague of London (1665); First Cholera Pandemic (1817); Fiji Measles Pandemic (1875); Russian Flu (1889); Spanish Flu (1918); Asian Flu (1957); HIV/AIDS (1981); SARS (2003); H1N1 (2009); Ebola (1976); Zika (2015); and most recently COVID-19 (2019). In each of these outbreaks, populations have been forced to respond to these deadly health emergencies. In this course we will survey outbreaks throughout history and then focus on three zoonotic viruses (i.e. pathogens that jumped from a non-human). We will also consider how social sciences, like anthropology, have played a role in how people process, understand, and respond to such health emergencies.

Queering Religion
CRN 43458 | 4:00 - 5:15 PM | TT | Online - Synchronous | Prof. Rachel Pater

In Queering Religions, students will investigate the intersections of LGBTQ+ identities with religious/spiritual traditions.  Students will be introduced to the discourse of Queer Theologians/Queer Theorists and investigate how this body of work has disrupted (or exposed disruptions within) mainstream ideologies.  Outside speakers from the religious/queer community will ground this theoretical work.  This course will culminate in a research project about the queerness within students’ own religious traditions (or a tradition of their choice).

Nutrition Intel
CRN 44619 | | Online - Asynchronous | Prof. Stephen Sowulewski

In this course, students will examine the latest Intelligence (Intel) as it relates to nutrition as a multi-disciplinary field involving biochemistry, mathematics, psychology, sociology, history and anthropology. Students will be able to tailor their learning outcomes to align to their chosen discipline. Topics in this course will touch on the microbiome, nutrigenomics, deconstructing the numbers on a food label, behavioral eating (fat cell theory & set point theory of metabolism), food deserts/food swamps, significant achievements in food science, and diets patterned after our ancestral hunter-gathers.

1960s: A Time of Change
CRN 45204 | 10:00 - 11:15 AM | TT | In Person | Prof. John Lemza

The decade of the 1960s was a crucible of change for the United States. It provided energies that resonated throughout culture and society, and left an imprint on the lives of Americans that would carry with it a demand for a departure from the limitations of existing boundaries and a
vision for a new future. That momentum carried into the following decades to the present with new approaches to existing challenges and new interpretations of Americanism. The purpose of this course is to follow the trajectory of those energies that began in the 1960s through an examination of their origins, successes and critiques, and come to an understanding of how they set the conditions for societal and cultural change. Topics include discovering the intellectual underpinnings of protest, changing perspectives on immigration, women’s rights and gender rights, the evolution of civil rights, environmental awareness, and protest and change on film and in literature. We will accomplish this study through readings, class discussions, short papers, and a research project.

Writing off the Page
CRN 43816 | W | 3:00 - 5:40 PM | Synchronous Hybrid  | Prof. Mary Boyes

This transdisciplinary course explores how changing the ways in which we present verbal communication from traditional forms (the page or spoken word) and changing the traditional venues through which we normally conduct this communication (books, newscasts, podcasts, articles, libraries), may create a larger, more engaged, and more surprising audience. In this course, you will be exposed to transformational communication via a series of speakers and through examples, including installations, guerilla art, performances, digital works, and community design. You will be able to use your own interests, regardless of whether these interests are academic, artistic, or informational, to create a proposal for your own transformational project. Click here for a full course description.

Honors 399 Modules (1.5 credit hours)

Honors Research Ready
CRN 44850 | March 21 - April 21, 2023 | Online - Asynchronous | Prof. Pamela Dillon
*Drop Deadline March 20, 2023*

This 1.5-credit course prepares you for an experiential research opportunity with a VCU researcher. In this class, we will explore the process and products of research as well as the ethical conduct of research. Topics will include responsible conduct in human and animal research, literature searches, outcome measures, study design, and dissemination strategies. Upon completion of the course, you should have a basic understanding of research and be able to discuss how it pertains to your research interests.

Reuse, Recycle, Recreate
CRN 43656 | January 17 - February 14, 2023 | Online - Asynchronous | Prof. Chelsea Lee
*Drop Deadline January 18, 2023*

Create one of a kind artworks out of everyday objects. Get outside the classroom to source reusable and recyclable materials to create sculptural artworks. We’ll get inspiration with visits to the ICA, and local galleries, and begin to see the things around you in a different way.

Women in Science
CRN 42333 | January 25 - February 22, 2023 | 4:00 - 6:40 PM | W | Online - Synchronous | Prof. Joseph Porter
*Drop Deadline January 26, 2023*

Historically, women have been under represented in science and have faced discrimination in both academia and industry. This course will examine the slow, but steady increase in the number of women in different areas of science and the obstacles that they faced and overcame. This course also will provide an overview of the scientific contributions of women (both historical and contemporary) in different areas of scientific research. Each student will give a presentation on a woman in science, her career path, scientific contributions, and biases/challenges faced during her career. Finally we will examine the current status of women in science and examine what biases and difficulties may still remain in their career paths.

Reacting to the English Civil War
CRN 43655 | WF | February 8 - March 3, 2023 |11:00 AM-12:15 PM | In Person | Dean Breuniniger
*Drop Deadline is February 9, 2023*

This class will play a Reacting to the Past roleplaying game that focuses on the English Civil War.  The game begins in the fall of 1648 and England is in chaos.  Parliament’s New Model Army has routed King Charles I’s forces on the field of battle, but stability has proved to be extremely fragile.  Charles is in custody at Hampton Court, but the growing tension between Parliament and the Army, coupled with an army of Scots to the north, does not bode well for peace.  Students in this Reacting game are thrust into this historical context, assuming roles in the Parliament corresponding to the main factions of the time: Royalist supporters of Charles I defending the traditional notion of the divine right of kings, Puritan Parliamentarians seeking to construct a “godly” state and limit the King’s authority, and members of the Army whose egalitarian experiences and control of military authority provide a stark challenge to English political traditions.  Drawing upon a wide variety of political and religious texts, students will play the roles of historical characters as they attempt to build a stable government upon the rubble of the Civil War.

Nationally Competitive Awards & Beyond
CRN 42241 | T | 2:00 PM-3:15 PM | In-Person | February 14 - April 25 | Prof. Meredith Sisson
*Drop Deadline February 15, 2023*

Wouldn’t it be great to get someone else to pay for you to do something cool? This honors module will teach you how to apply for nationally competitive awards, which can support research, study abroad, postgraduate study, and other enrichment activities. You will learn about some of the many opportunities that exist, as well as what it takes to put together a competitive application. Throughout the course, you will hone your writing skills and learn to craft a compelling Personal Statement. By the end of the course, you will have prepared the materials required to complete most applications. The skills and knowledge gained in this course can be directly applied to other applications, such as for graduate school, jobs, and grants.

Beyond Sustainability: Transformative Visions for Liveable Worlds
CRN | 5:30 - 6:45 PM | MW | February 6 - March 15 | In Person | Prof. Jesse Goldstein/Prof. Stephen Fong
*Drop Deadline February 7, 2023* | Note: This class will meet until 8:00 PM on February 15 and 22, and March 1

We are all now living and learning amidst an irreversible climate crisis. Nothing that we do, nothing that we study, nothing that we seek to achieve gets to escape this global reality. The climate crisis is not ‘just’ about fossil fuels or greenhouse gases; it is about all of the many overlapping and intertwined ways that industrial society is destabilizing, debasing and destroying the life-sustaining capacities of the world we inhabit. What does that mean for us, and what does that mean for our university? 

Honors Variant Courses (3 Credit Hours)

ENGL 350: Digital Rhetoric
CRN 43584 | MW | 2:00 - 3:15 PM | Prof. Caddie Alford

In this course, we will turn to the study of rhetoric to make sense of the simultaneously messy and generative world of social media. Digital rhetoric opens up provocative questions about the intersections between human and machine, habit and intention, interface and mediation, individual agency and communal agency, as well as ongoing fluctuations in memory, literacies, and community.

ENGL 370: Medicine In Literature
CRN 45212 |  TT | 12:30 - 1:45 PM | Prof. Adin Lears
A study of how the representational practices found in literary works may inform or enhance an understanding of a variety of medical issues.

ENGL 391 Topic: Victorian Enviromentalisms
CRN 45215 | TT | 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM | Prof. Nicholas Frankel

An in-depth study of a literary genre, an aesthetic or cultural theme in literature, or of a major writer in English or American literature. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

HIST 201: Queer Pasts
CRN 43770 | TT | 12:30 - 1:45 PM | Hybrid-Synchronous Instruction | Prof. Christopher Ewing

Introduces non-history majors to the methods of the discipline by undertaking a series of case studies in historical inquiry. Each case study will consist of a close examination of a single historical question, covering the general background to that question and exploring relevant primary and secondary sources. Students will then use this evidence to propose well-reasoned solutions to the question at hand.

HIST 202: History Without Borders
CRN 43771 | TT | 9:30 - 10:45 AM | In Person | Prof. Bernard Moitt

Introduces non-history majors to the analytical modes of transnational history, which explores networks of connection that link individuals and communities across established political or cultural boundaries. Students will consider the historical influence of networks such as systems of economic exchange, the movements of people or the spread of technologies and ideas. See the Schedule of Classes for topics offered each semester

HIST 336 History of Christianity II
CRN 45379 | In Person | MWF | 1:00 - 1:50 PM | Prof. Andrew Crislip

This course traces the history of Christianity from the Renaissance and Reformation to the current transformation of Christian practice in a post-modern, globalized world. We take a World History approach, looking at the diverse trajectories of Christian thought and practice in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. 

HIST 389 History in Film: German and Nazis
CRN 45297 | In Person | W | 4:00 - 6:40 PM | Prof. Joseph Benderksy

This course on German social history uses film as the medium, and as historical evidence of, selected crucial aspects of German society in between 1918 and postwar Germany, often in disturbing and dramatic fashion. It has three main objectives.  First: to use film to acquire insights into various phases of German society. Second: to understand the importance of film in promoting certain political, ideological, and social causes. Lastly: to learn about the role of film in the German attempt to come to terms with this catastrophic period in their history, the process generally referred to as Vergangenheitsbewältigung. It confronts directly working class exploitation, especially the plight of families, women, & children; racism and anti-Semitism; women in war; and the gendered defeat as women in Berlin facing Soviet conquest.

HIST 391 Greek & Roman Religion
CRN 45380 | In Person | MWF | 11:00 - 11:50 AM | Prof. Andrew Crislip

This course will cover the variety and diversity of religious thought and practice from archaic Greece to the end of pagan antiquity. Through primary source readings in epic poetry, drama, philosophy, and a Roman novel, we will explore the ways that people in the ancient Mediterranean thought about the gods, nature, and even the meaning of life. The course will look at ritual practices, mythology, divination, mystery religions, and magical practices across the Greek and Roman world.

HIST 391 Science & the Supernatural
CRN 45534 | Online Asynchronous | Prof. Leigh Ann Craaig

This course will explore the modes of thought developed by European and American cultures as they attempted to make sense out of experiences or events which were out of the ordinary and difficult to explain. From Greek gods to UFO abductions, from medieval angels, demons, and witches to alchemy, mesmerism, and spirit photography, this course takes us on a tour of how past people grappled with supernatural claims. How and why have humans defined certain events as supernatural?  By contrast, on what intellectual grounds have humans denied the supernatural nature of such events, and instead asserted that these events were naturally explicable? How has doubt and skepticism shaped such claims? And how do present-day historians deal with these same issues?

Honors Capstone (4 Credits)

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 45342 | Directed Instruction | Prof. Jacqueline Smith-Mason

This capstone section is in partnership with the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, Equity, and Success and students are matched with pre-identified projects before the semester begins designed to focus on social impact through the lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion at VCU and the Richomond community.  During the first week of classes, student will meet with their project leader and Prof. Smith-Mason to create a meeting schedule for the semester.

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.

  • Applied Music 355
  • Art History (ARTH) 104
  • Biology 300
  • Biology 310
  • Business 325
  • Chemistry 102
  • Econ 211
  • Gender, Sexuality & Women's Studies 201
  • Mass Communication 493
  • Philosophy 201
  • Psychology 498
  • Psychology 499