Centennial Honors College

Honors Courses


+58687 GH 299 Sec. I19  CYBER BAGGAGE,  J. Myers, ONLINE

Cyberspace Baggage: Privacy and Problems Besieging Online Information:  This online course will examine recent case law and court ordered mandates concerning the legal and ethical issues related to information privacy in a technologically savvy society.  This course will address an individual’s legal right to control the collection, use, or distribution of information about oneself held by others. Specifically, the course will review online accessibility issues, advantages and disadvantages of maintaining online identities and individual branding, and risk assessment and management through legal opinions and ongoing litigation.

     This course explores the legal impact and effects of the Internet on all aspects of our lives as global citizens.  The course is designed to make the student aware of some of the existing and emerging legal and policy issues affecting privacy that arise online. Discussions and debates will be based upon legal readings, research, and videos drawn from court cases and legal scholars. The class is designed to encourage students to develop and express their own evidenced-based ideas and to cultivate a technological literacy with which to analyze and critique surveillance policies and technologies as social entities from the emerging legal perspective. +First Four Week Session

FALL 2020

(Go to "Y" classes)

57616 G H 101 Sec. 29   AUTOBIOGRAPHIES, M. Allison, 12:30-1:45 TTH, Simpkins 014

Autobiographies: (General Education/Humanities and English 180 or 280)In this course, we will study autobiographies in which a range of authors male and female, Australian, American, Pakistani, and Canadian, write the story of their lives.  Since autobiographies are often accounts of self-discovery, we will ask what these writers learn about themselves.  How do they choose to represent their identities to us, the reading public?  Do they depict the fragmentation of their lives or do they insist on wholeness and integration?  In addition, since outside forces shape individual lives, we will explore the ways in which family, gender, nationality, sexuality, and politics shape each of the lives we read about.  We will also consider how the imagination and the life of the mind influences the life one leads.  We will begin this course with an autobiography that has been considered typical of the genre.  We will then critically read a series of contemporary autobiographies. Throughout this course, we will ask ourselves what we can learn from each of these representations of human life. May be taken as Advanced Placement credit for English 180 or English 280, but not for both.

57604    G H 101 Sec. 33    FILM POP CULTUR, R.  Ness, 11-11:50 WF, Simpkins 220,  Also meets 4:30-6:45p M

Film and Popular Culture: (General Education/Humanities and English 180 or 280) This course will survey the ways in which film changed popular culture throughout the world. As a visual medium, film was one of the first universal art forms, and a powerful force in shaping a world that was coming to understand itself as more than a collection of nation-states. Through film, the world of the twentieth century opened up, as, for instance, the films of Charlie Chaplin were screened and loved everywhere in the world in the 1920s. This course will investigate how the medium of film and the institutions of cinema created a new, shared language for the world. While that language was primarily visual, everywhere in the world people were also writing about film: philosophers, art historians, sociologists, scientists all had much to say. Just as revealing, too, are the ways in which film was written about and talked about by journalists and, most importantly, ordinary people, the fans. We will pay special attention to how people write about film. Film writing reveals changing technologies, social contexts and norms, and provides both scholars and ordinary fans a vehicle to assess, celebrate, and contest the emerging meanings of modernity.  Over the course of the semester, our goal is to understand how film played a pivotal role in creating a new and unprecedented popular culture, and we will enter into that culture as writers ourselves. May be taken as Advanced Placement credit for English 180 or English 280, but not for both.

57615 G H 101 Sec. 41   UTOPIA/DYSTOPIA, W. Knox, 9:30-10:45  TTH Simpkins 027

Utopian/Dystopian Societies and Environments: (General Education/Humanities and English 180 or 280) Consistent with the University theme of Environmental Sustainability, this course will examine six novels with respect to the relationship between the societies and their environments, both natural and cultural as well as balanced and unbalanced, in which they their writers place them.  The settings will be studied as points of comparison and contrast for the societies which do and do not thrive in their midst.  Depending on the novel under study, the larger environmental setting, either rural or urban, will be viewed, generally, as a complement or point of ironic contrast to the social engineering created as the writer’s central focus.  Such points as physical and mental health of the characters, their sense of freedom, ability to associate with other characters, and encouragement to develop the political justice serve as points of departure for class discussion and written assignments.  The principal goals of the class are to have students see the potentially positive relationship between nature and social health and the ability of the human spirit to overcome sometimes profoundly dysfunctional environments. May be taken as Advanced Placement credit for English 180 or English 280, but not for both.

57614  G H 101 Sec. 91  SOC CLASS LIT, T. Helwig, 1-1:50  MWF  Simpkins 120

Class Mobility in American Literature : (General Education/Humanities and English 180 or 280) In 1782, American essayist J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur wrote, “The rich and the poor are not so far removed from each other as they are in Europe….We are the most perfect society now existing in the world.”  And thus, from the 18th century to the present, a number of American authors, political theorists, and social commentators have helped to construct the image of America as a largely classless society, thereby frustrating our efforts to appreciate the importance of class to our everyday lives and even to perceive how class difference is represented in our national literature and culture.

     This course, designed with our university’s large number of first-generation college students in mind, will investigate how a diverse set of American authors since the beginning of the industrial revolution in the 1830s responded to America’s volatile economic climate and began to construct class identities.  From Frederick Douglass’s heroic pursuit of freedom and the rights to his own labor, to Herman Melville’s prophetic depiction of mind-numbing office cubicles, to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s poignant portrait of American idealism, to Paul Auster’s dystopic figuration of the post-industrial age, American writers can help us to see the ways that class, along with the equally important social sites of race and gender, shapes the American experience. May be taken as Advanced Placement credit for English 180 or English 280, but not for both.

%55291 G H 299 Sec. 03   COFAC HON SEM, STAFF  8-8:50  W  TBD

COFAC Honors Seminar:   This will be a seminar that introduces students to the disciplines within Fine Arts and Communication:  Art, Broadcasting, Communication, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Music, and Theatre and Dance.  Focusing on an interdisciplinary theme or issue, students will learn to develop collaborative research/creative projects, drawing on perspectives from those disciplines.  %Honors College permission required, COFAC students only.

/55292  G H 299 Sec. 05   PRES LEADERSHIP, R. Hardy  12-12:50  M Horrabin 82

The President’s Leadership Class:  This course is restricted to freshman or sophomore recipients of the Centennial Honors Scholarship, President’s or Trustees’ Scholarships.  The purpose of the course is to analyze elements of civic leadership, study civic exemplars, reveal opportunities for leadership, and learn tips for applying for prestigious national and international scholarships.   The course will include guest lectures by noted civic and campus leaders, discussions of leadership essays and books, and recommendations from faculty on how to apply for the Truman, Fulbright, Marshall, Goldwater, Rhodes, Udall, Madison, and USA Today Scholarships.   Students will also be provided information about honorary societies, the Study Abroad Program, the Learning to Lead Program, and opportunities for community and governmental internships.  /Permission of the Honors College Required.

58670    G H 299 Sec. 21   NEXT GREAT IDEA, P. Schlag  12-12:50  W  Horrabin 82

The Next Great Idea:  Many people believe that when individuals collaborate and harness their collective brain power, great ideas are born. Others believe the greatest ideas occur when a singular brilliant mind generates a vision and pursues it to fruition. In both instances, great ideas are a valuable currency of our knowledge economy and a necessity for the betterment of the world. In virtually all instances, great ideas are actualized through a core group of key individuals working cooperatively to make positive change and projects happen. This course will empower students to develop and implement the next great idea for Western Illinois University and/or the communities we serve. Students will experiment with developing and pursuing a vision, building connections with the influential policy- and decision-makers in the community, and forging positive change through the implementation of real-world projects. They will learn firsthand about the political, social and material capital necessary to effectively enhance the world.

58701    G H 299 Sec.  28  SEE INVISIBLE  M. Boley, 3-3:50  W  Currens 302          

  Seeing the Invisible :  This course is designed to help students understand the nature of scientific reasoning and develop their skills in applying scientific reasoning to a number of practical problems.  The common thread to the problems examined in this course will be determining the nature of the unseen connections between phenomena.  The students will learn the role of theoretical models used to explain the causal relationships between physical phenomena.  They will learn how to build these models, how to test them and how to evaluate them.  They will use these skills to evaluate the validity of various conclusions that claim to be scientific.  Students will also compare scientific reasoning to other types of knowing, and explore whether scientific reasoning is appropriate in other, non-scientific, contexts.

     This course will use a variety of approaches to help students develop a well-rounded perspective of all the considerations that go into making scientific conclusions.  There will be readings from the main text for the course:  “Understanding Scientific Reasoning” by Giere, et al., supplemented by readings from the popular media and other sources.  There will be one in-class experiment related to the detection and analysis of the properties of non-visible electromagnetic radiation.  There will be an independent study project and in-class presentation for the final.  There will be a final term paper in which students will draw on their experiences in doing the group project to bring together the ideas and concepts required to see the invisible. 

+58673  G H 299 Sec. I38  WEALTH MGMT  D. DeBoeuf,  ONLINE

Wealth Management:   The purpose of this course is to understand how excess money should be smartly invested in stocks, bonds, money market accounts, and certificates of deposit.  Included in the course is a discussion of internal and external factors that materially affect this “allocation of assets” decision.  How these investable assets should be spread across regular (taxable) investment accounts and retirement (tax-free or tax deferred) accounts is also addressed by the course.  Within this structure, a somewhat detailed understanding of how stocks and bonds are valued and traded is included.  + Class meets first eight weeks.

57617    G H 301 Sec. 11   LIT OF CHESS  A. Mossman  11-11:50  MWF  Simpkins 214

The Immortal Game:  A Literary Exploration of Chess: (General Education/Humanities) Chess has been around since at least the fifth century.  In addition to being a game played across cultures throughout centuries, it has also been the subject and inspiration of literature, across cultures, for over 1400 years.  Emphasizing this point, David Shenk cites a 2000 article by writer Daniel Schifrin in Tikkun Magazine: "The game of chess--with its richness, complexity and barely suppressed violence--is an extraordinary metaphor for the human condition.  Some of the most important fiction writers and poets of the last two centuries--Nabokov, Borges, Tolstoy, Canetti, Aleichem, Eliot, and others--have fully recognized the uncanny ability of a chess game to represent the contradictions, struggles, and hopes of human society."

In the humanities, chess has played a role as inspiration, metaphor, allegory, problem-solving device--even a key to understanding how we think, learn, and adapt.  In this course, we will focus on texts that incorporate chess, both literally and figuratively, to reveal, question, and comment on the human condition. 

Questions we'll address during the course include:  In what ways has chess served as metaphor and allegory in literature?  In what ways has chess been epistemic in the humanities?  How is chess employed in contemporary texts?  How have writers used chess to artistically comment on war, governance, morality, leadership, and life in general?  And finally, by studying its intersections with text, we’ll try to answer the question, at least for ourselves, what is it about chess that has earned it the title of “the immortal game”?

57479    G H 302 Sec. 73   GAME THEORY  J. Babin, 3:30-4:45   TTH Stipes 217

Game Theory in the Social Sciences: (General Education/Social Sciences)  This interdisciplinary course will provide an introduction into the method of game theory and how to use it to answer important political and social questions.  The method of game theory is becoming increasingly important to many disciplines:  In political science, game theory is used to understand political phenomena such as voter turnout, bargaining, and coalition building.  In law enforcement, game theory is used to study phenomena such as police patrolling, jury decision making, and prisoner interrogations.  In sociology, game theory is used to study phenomena such as cooperation, conflict, collective action, and norms.  This course will provide a solid foundation in the basic concepts of game theory while applying it to real life situations and scholarly questions.

55299    G H 302 Sec. 75  POWER & CONTROL  P. McGinty   2-3:15  TTH  Morgan 322

Power and Control in Human Societies: (General Education/Social Sciences)Borrowing insights from across the social sciences, this course investigates the conceptual linkages, contradictions, and controversies among (and between) classical, modern, and contemporary social scientific theories and writings on the nature, form, and organization of power and forms of control in human societies.  Students are encouraged to thoroughly investigate: the assumptions on which theories of power are based; the logical ends of each line of thought; and the implications for each line of thinking on social scientific conceptions of human interaction and relationships.

57478    G H 302 Sec. 81   CITIZENPOLITICS   J.  Lee    11-12:15  TTH  Morgan 316

Citizen Politics: (General Education/Social Sciences)This course is intended to guide students to examine critically the question of why ordinary citizens behave the way they do in politics.  The course will cover four key topics on the politics of ordinary citizens—public opinion, political psychology, political participation, and voting behavior.  Specifically, students will have the opportunity to analyze the following questions:

-How do ordinary citizens make sense of politics, form opinions on issues of the day, and take part in the political process?

-How can people arrive at political decisions while equipped with limited political information and capabilities to process that information?

-Why do people participate in politics as much, or as little, as they do?

-Why do different groups of people—in particular, different racial, ethnic, and gender groups—have different political preferences?

Students will also deal with the question of how best to ascertain the will of the people, if it exists.  In so doing, the course will provide a solid ground on which students may probe and understand the nature and characteristics of the principle of popular rule—the ultimate foundation of American democracy.

/55300  G H 333 Sec. 01   INDEP STUDY   R. Hardy  ARRANGED

Intensive study and writing on interdisciplinary topics to be approved by the Honors College director and faculty supervisors.  Students must have upper-division status.  See the Honors Director for more details.  /Permission of Honors College required.

/55301  G H 444 Sec. 01   IND SR RESEARCH  R. Hardy    ARRANGED

Intensive research and preparation of an interdisciplinary senior honors thesis or project report.  Topics to be approved by the Honors College director and faculty supervisor.  See the Honors Director for more details.  (Note: students working on senior theses should use course numbers available in their major departments.  GH 444 can be used if no departmental course number exists.)  /Permission of Honors College required.

&54980 COMM 241H Sec. 25    INTRO PUB SPKG  S. Hill  9:30-10:45  TTH  Memorial 338

Introduction to Public Speaking: (General Education/Communication Skills)  Students in this honors class will receive the same amount of speaking experience and practical instruction as in other sections but will engage in a more intensive development of those speeches.  Each student will give three major speeches.  The first will be an informative visual presentation, the second will be an argumentative presentation, and the third major speech will be a persuasive presentation.  Students will also deliver some minor, upgraded speeches. 

      The course has two objectives.  The first is to have the students master the practicalities of public speaking.  They will learn and put into play the canonical principles of invention, organization, style, memory and delivery, and will do so in both informative and persuasive situations.  The second objective is to introduce students to the richness of rhetorical theory.  The section will be conducted in such a way as to promote both goals simultaneously.

      Speeches will be critiqued by the instructor and the class according to the principles outlined in the texts and discussed in class.  With the exception of the days devoted to giving speech assignments, class will be conducted as a seminar and workshop.  Students will be expected to have read the material assigned and be prepared to raise issues about the readings.  Discussion will follow the students' reactions.  &Counts toward General Honors course requirements

&56273 ECON 351H Sec. I01      GLOBAL POVERTY  J. Lin  ONLINE

Global Economic Poverty Issues: (General Education/Multicultural Studies) (Global Issues) This course on global economic poverty utilizes economic principles to define, examine and analyze the scope and breadth of underlying poverty-related policy issues in developing and developed countries. Students in this course will learn to not only define and evaluate international measures of economic poverty but also gain greater appreciation for the underlying causes of global poverty and the intricate interconnections between different cultures and countries across the globe. The tools learned in this class and subsequent discussions will help our students better navigate and understand the often-unfamiliar world around them.  This course provides writing opportunities with revision possibilities to better develop students’ critical thinking skills.  &Counts toward General Honors course requirements


The following First Year Experience Y courses are available to incoming honors freshmen. Contact an academic honors advisor for permission to enroll in one of these courses.

55820  Anth 110Y Sec. 03  INT CULT ANTH, H. McIlvaine-Newsad, 9:30-10:45 T TH  Morgan 322  

Intro to Cultural Anthropology: (General Education/Social Sciences or Multicultural Studies) Survey of basic concepts and approaches of anthropology to the study of human beings.  Study of worldwide cultures from prehistoric to the present.  

56250   Econ 100Y, Sec. 01  INTRO ECONOMICS, T.  Sadler 11-12:15   T TH Stipes 317

Intro to Economics: (General Education/Social Sciences) Introduction to economics with emphasis on application to contemporary social issues. Core concepts include price theories, money and banking, national income accounts, economic fluctuations and growth, and international economics, with special applications in criminal activity, health care, and environmental quality. Not open to students who have already completed both ECON 231 and 232.

56604   Phil 100Y, Sec. 01  INTRO TO PHIL, G. Pettit  9-9:50 MWF    Morgan 230

Intro to Philosophy: (General Education/Humanities) An introduction to some of the fundamental problems and major theories in philosophy. Topics may include the existance of God, knowledge and skepticism, the nature of mind, free will and determinism, and the nature of ethical reasoning. 

56979   Pols 122Y, Sec. 04  AMER GOV & POL, E. Taylor  9:30 – 10:45 T TH Morgan 308

American Government & Politics: (General Education/Social Sciences)  Development, organization, powers, limitation, and practical problems of the governmental and political system of the United States.

55878   Soc 100Y, Sec. 32  INTRO SOCIOLOGY, P. McGinty  9:30-10:45  T TH Morgan 226

Intro to Sociology: (General Education/Social Sciences)  Basic sociological concepts and studies in such areas as culture, social organization, personality, family, and community.

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