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Honors College Courses

The Honors College Dean and Course Committee selects professors from the full range of Oakland’s faculty which means you can access the expertise of an entire comprehensive doctoral/research university. Our classes are small (max 20), personal and focused on success. In these classes, you will have HC friends and colleagues in every major, department and discipline.

HC courses are not open to anyone outside of the HC.

ART = Art
DIV = US Diversity
FR = Formal Reasoning
GP = Global Perspective
KA = Knowledge Application
LIT = Literature
NSTN = Natural Science & Technology
SS = Social Science
WCIV = Western Civilization
WIG = Writing Intensive in the General Education

Summer I 

HC2010 Sacred Spaces
Instructor: Randall Engle
Gen Ed:  Art + DIV
Course Time:  T/TH 5:30 p.m. -8:50 p.m.

Course Description:  “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us,” so said Winston Churchill.  This is perhaps most true for sacred spaces—be it a Chapel or Cathedral, a Synagogue or a Shrine, a Temple or a Teepee.  Each week, this class will study a different religious tradition, and then visit a representative sacred space of that faith in order to understand how theology informs architecture (and vice versa).  The on-sight tours will reveal vividly how each representative faith is expressed through space, symbol, and stone while introducing students to some of Detroit’s architectural masterpieces.  Individual presentations of sacred spaces not explored as a class will conclude the semester.

 

HC2020: Turtle Talk
Instructor:  Susan Lynne Beckwith
Gen Ed:  LIT or NSTD + WIG
Course Time:  T/TH  1 p.m. - 4:20 p.m.

Course Description:  In this class, we will explore novels, such as Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior, where Monarch Butterflies become the main character in a story of conservation, climate change, and conversions faced by the humans who inhabit those pages. We’ll go to Galápagos, where Vonnegut merges global financial crisis and fertility to explore the ferocity of evolution and the survival of the fittest–with flippers! From Richard Powers, physicist turned fiction writer, we’ll hear the tale the trees tell in Overstory.
     And as we read the stories, we will also explore the science behind these novels, the creatures who are characters, the planet that is protagonist. We’ll adventure into the intersections between the Arts and Sciences. We’ll also consider indigenous and native peoples’ relationships with the land and their stories of animals.  And as we listen to the turtles talk and what the trees tell us, we may even discover some interesting stories about ourselves….

 

HC 2050  Mirror into Montreal & Quebec
Instructor:  Roberta Michel
Gen Ed: GP + KA + WIG
Course Time:  T/TH 5:30 p.m. - 8:50 p.m.

Course Description: The Province of Quebec’s citizens are divided by different histories, sources of pride and grievances. Young people experience Quebec differently than seniors, who lived through decades of religious and linguistic conflict.  Québécois living in the regions often see Montreal as a foreign metropolis.  Quebec is increasingly the story of immigrants, the distinctly labeled Allophones, who think it is time for old-stock Francos and Anglos to get over their long-lost wars of conquest to deal with the urgent problems of the 21st century.  Quebec Province Literary Geography will explore the things that make Quebec so fascinating, frustrating, and different.
     Through examining stories (fiction and nonfiction) from Montreal and Quebec, students will explore the events and role that English and French-Canadian identity plays as a narrator into people’s lives.  In one portion of the course, lectures and readings will provide the backdrop that will enable the students to understand and analyze the cultural, socio demographic, and political development of Montreal and Quebec.  The other portion of this course, about 7 days, is designed to provide a vivid travel experience that immerses the students in the culture of Montreal and Quebec and encourages analysis of its unique development.  Journaling and daily explorations as well as a term based project will guide this understanding and analysis.


HC-3900 Research & Scholarship
Instructor: Susan Lynne Beckwith
Course Time:  (Online)

Course Description: With the support of an OU faculty member of your choice (your thesis mentor) and the HC 3900 teaching team, you will work to develop the proposal for your final Thesis project.

 

Summer II

HC-2050 Tudors of England
Instructor: Randall Engle
Gen Ed: GP or WCIV
Course Time: M/W  5:30 p.m -8:50 p.m. 

Course Description:  This course will survey the events that brought the Tudors to the throne, and England out of the medieval period and into the early modern world.  Such topics as the English Reformation, the Church of England, the development of the nation state, the monarchy, and the blossoming of English literature and music will be explored. 
   The course will clarify the important ways in which England responded to changing ideas about religion, government, economics and society—and help students understand the interplay between these entities.  Students will gain a better understanding of some of the conflicts that engaged people's’ minds and souls during this turbulent era, examine how England’s modern political system is based in Tudor models, and how the Elizabethan religious settlement shaped current religion and the state church.
   The first half of the course, on-line lectures and readings, will provide historical background of the Tudor monarchy that enables the students to understand and analyze the cultural development of England.  The second portion of this course, about two weeks in England, is designed to provide a vivid travel experience that immerses the students in English culture and encourages analysis of England’s cultural development.  Journaling and daily meetings will guide this understanding and analysis.
   In London, the students and professor will be housed in flats provided by Anglo-Education.  Each single room is air-conditioned, and has an en suite private bath.  Full English breakfasts are included, but students will be responsible for other meals in London.  With central London as home base, the class will be within walking distance from tube stations and thus in close proximity to all things Tudor:  St. James Palace, Lambeth Palace, Westminster, and Whitehall. 


HC2020  Fictional Food
Instructor:  Doris Plantus
Gen Ed:  LIT + WIG
Course Time:  MW 8 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.

Course Description:  Literature records some of the most interesting scenes involving meals. This course studies how food functions in stories, revealing things about the characters, their times, places, and cultures by the things they eat. We will situate food in the literature and explore the meaning of meals by studying basic or exotic ingredients, settings for consumption, attitudes towards food, and how some foods become iconic or establish lasting traditions. Food in general, and meals in particular, all tell stories when we prepare and eat them.


ART = Art
DIV = US Diversity
FR = Formal Reasoning
GP = Global Perspective
KA = Knowledge Application
LIT = Literature
NSTN = Natural Science & Technology
SS = Social Science
WCIV = Western Civilization
WIG = Writing Intensive in the General Education

HC1000 Making Discoveries
Instructor:  Dr. Graeme Harper, Dean of The Honors College
Gen Ed:  Art or WCIV
Course Days/Time:  MW 3:00 p.m. - 4"47 p.m.  or TR 10:00 a.m. - 11:47 a.m.

Course Description:  HC 1000 is a 4 credit freshmen course exploring the exciting and significant nature of human discovery, whether in the sciences, the arts or the community, whether by individuals or by groups. It is also a course in which you can explore your own ambitions; that is, your own potential personal and professional discoveries. We will look at things that have been (and are) discovered in and around a university (like this one!). In addition to exploring a range of university disciplines and subjects, Making Discoveries will examine the wider world, to industry and the professions, and to the community for models of the opportunities that the world offers. The course will encourage and develop your critical thinking, as well as your creative engagement. It will look at what we can do individually as well as what we can do in teams or groups, as a leader and as a participant.

ART 
HC- 2010 Graffiti and Street Art
Instructor:  Roberta Michel
Gen Ed: Art
Course Days/Time:  T 5:30 p.m. - 8:50 p.m.

Course Description:  This course will examine murals, graffiti and other forms of street art created the late 20th and early 21st Century as an expression of culture, social and community identity.

HC -2010 The Rube Goldberg Project
Instructor: Doris Plantus
Gen Ed:  Art
Course Days/Time:  MWF 8:00 a.m. - 9:07 a.m.

Course Description:  American cartoonist Rube Goldberg first established the concept of his eponymous machine that uses a chain reaction characterized by indirect and convoluted ways of performing a simple task ( e.g. The Mousetrap game). We will study various examples of such contraptions to understand the process of cause and effect. We will then explore ways to design a Rube Goldberg machine that defines a particular issue from a variety of possibilities, such as a social or policy issue, or a natural or man-made event. The goal is to analyze anything that involves a chain-reaction by assigning an element of cause or effect using physical pieces like dominoes or springboards, ball bearings, levers, or gravity to explain the completed task. This unites creativity, critical thinking, imagination and logic in problem solving.

HC - 2010 Opera: Singing Great Stories
Instructor: Victoria Shively
Gen Ed: ART
Course Days/Time:  TR 8:00 a.m. - 9:47 a.m.

Course Description:  How does music effectively illuminate narrative as varied as mythology, fantasy, love stories, and tales of deception and treason? We will first explore the nascence of opera and learn key components of this multifaceted genre. Analysis of four operas from distinct eras, different countries and languages, and varied musical styles will help us discover the techniques used by composers to effectively convey emotions and further plots. In addition, we will establish the context in which each opera was written and examine influences surrounding their creation

 

Literature 

HC 2020 Literature in Medicine
Instructor:  Kathleen Spencer
Gen Ed:  Literature + Writing Intensive
Course Days/Time:  W 5:30 p.m. - 8:50 p.m.

Course Description:  In this course, students will closely read and discuss a variety of written works, several genres, with themes of health and illness. Imaginative literature shows the richness of human relationships by inviting us to experience lives outside our own, rather than by directing our thinking like textbooks and didactic lectures can. Through narrative competence, we will adopt other perspectives and gain insight in to the human experience of health and illness.  Through literature, we will investigate the roles of healthcare provider (HCP), the patient, and the HCP as patient. We will tolerate ambiguity in our exploration of ethics and professionalism in our readings.  We will understand how storytelling is vital to the clinical encounter. Our study of the interdependence of literature and medicine will inform our lives and professional practice, no matter what career paths students take. 

 

HC- 2020 Unsolved Historical Mysteries
Instructor: Doris Plantus
Gen Ed: Literature + Writing Intensive
Course Days/Time: MWF  9:20 a.m. - 10:27 a.m. or
                               MWF 12:00 p.m. - 1:47 p.m.

Course Description: We will consider some of the more famous unsolved mysteries in history as we evaluate what missing information would give potential answers and how such information may be discovered. We will also think about what present knowledge and technological advances might support such answers—known and emergent. Topics such as the birthdate of Jesus, the identity of Jack the Ripper, who killed JFK, and the fate of the Ark of the Covenant, to name a few, will comprise our efforts to formulate a theory that could yield answers by offering explanations for past or present historical mysteries. The course will culminate in a project that theorizes a solution based on analysis and creative, modern, method.

 

HC - 2020 A Lion. A Witch. A Wardrobe
Instructor: Randall Engle
Gen Ed: LIT + WIGE
Course Days/Time:  TR 1:00 p.m. - 2:47 p.m. or
                                TR 10:00 a.m. - 11:47 a.m.                  

Course Description:  Author C.S. Lewis is a towering giant of an author and educator. While teaching first at Oxford and then at Cambridge, Lewis wrote one of the masterpieces of 20 th century literature, The Chronicles of Narnia. Though intended as children’s literature (rarely, if ever, is any word more than 2 syllables long) the 7–volume series captures adults as well, and pulls all readers into its inescapable imagination, metaphor, and delight. This course will survey the life and times of Clive Staples Lewis and read closely The Chronicles of Narnia, the work that brought Lewis such international acclaim. We’ll also evaluate radio, television, stage, film, and video game adaptations of the Narnia series.

 

HC - 2020 Animals in Literature
Instructor: Carol Hart
Gen Ed: LIT + WIGE
Course Days/Time:  MWF 10:40 a.m. - 11:47 a.m.

Course Description:  We see animals in literature from our first encounters with books. Children’s literature is filled with animal characters who possess different levels of self- awareness. What does the representation of animals in literature mean? Animals can function as symbol, stand in for humans in allegory or satire, or be the recipients of the best and worst of human nature. We will look at a variety of texts depicting animals across literary traditions and cultures from early fables to folklore, poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. We’ll contemplate the nature of the human-animal bond and consider the boundaries of animal rights. Our study will include questions of anthropomorphism, anthropocentrism, consciousness, and subjectivity. Potential texts include Aesop’s Fables, folklore from around the world, the limericks of Lear, Bulgakov’s The Heart of a Dog, stories from Kafka, animal biography by Virginia Woolf (Flush), Wallace’s “Consider the Lobster”, and Coetzee’s The Lives of Animals.

 

HC - 2020 - That's Uncanny!
Instructor: Susan Lynne Beckwith
Gen Ed: LIT + WIGE
Course Days/Time:  MWF 2:40 p.m. - 3:47 p.m.

Course Description:  From philosophy and theory to literature and film to technology, we’re going to explore the uncanny (a figurative and literal valley). This journey will start with considerations of what it means to sit with ambiguity, and why we find this both anxiety-provoking and also possibility-inspiring. However, no anxieties will be provoked in this class because we’ll also explore how we resolve these uncertainties in stories that have endings (denouement if not absolute resolution) and how we are reassured through catharsis on screen! And of course, AI has opened a whole new door for us to be able to ‘chat’ about the uncanny valley (including the tiktok trend that embraces the bot in the room!).
     The Turn of the Screw is endlessly adaptable, relocating itself to Bly Manor. Black Mirror reflects the moral uncanny. And The Outer Limits (1963) of the uncanny span from before Rod Serling’s original Twilight Zone in 1959 to Jordan Peele’s in 2020 (and beyond!).
     While ambiguity and uncertainty will be modes of being that we examine, there is no doubt that we will have fun in this class!

 

WESTERN CIVILIZATION
HC - 2040  Mermaids and Other Fish Tales
Instructor:  Cornelia Schaible
Gen Ed: WCIV + US Diversity
Course Days/Time:   TR  1:00 p.m. - 2:47 p.m.

Course Description:  Mermaids have captured the collective imagination since ancient times. These mythical creatures who live under the sea are half women and half fish, but before they became movie stars, people weren’t really sure what they look like. This explains why explorer Christopher Columbus thought he was seeing mermaids when he had actually spotted manatees. Also, mermaids are often mixed up with sirens, but these have bird-like bodies. And boy can they sing! Sitting on a rock with waves crashing around them, sirens lure sailors to their death – Ulysses needed every trick in the book to escape them. In this class, we will explore how the image of the mermaid has changed over time: In Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Little Mermaid”, the heroine still has an enchanting voice, but she trades it in for the love of a prince, two legs and a soul. The redheaded Ariel, in the latest Disney version of the story, is now part of pop culture and more diverse and nuanced than ever.


GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE 
HC-2050 Social Movements and Sports
Instructor:  Roberta Michel
Gen Ed: GP
Course Days/Time: TR 3:00 p.m. - 4:47 p.m.

Course Description:  Social Movement and Sports introduces students to the global environment of Sports (and Sporting Events). This course focuses on how differences in economic systems, national culture, socio demographics, and political orientations affect the way in which various sporting events are (played) and experienced by fans. This course integrates knowledge of how different international sports such as Soccer, Rugby, Baseball, and potentially a few other sports like Golf, Basketball and American Football has impacted people socially as well as culturally for over one hundred years. Students will have opportunities to watch (directly) and indirectly international sporting events and recognize how different political, environmental as well as social constructs influence the purchasing (of seats) and the experiences of people. Sports protests raise awareness and invite spectators and fans to become engaged and speak up. Many sports protests are organized to defend equal rights for all. Whether it is the athletes or the fans, often the point is to get people engaged and aware of certain issues, be it race, religion, gender, social class or previous activism or engagement. For example, on the local level, during the summer of 2023 the Detroit FC general admission seats was an ongoing location for public protest against recent Hamtramck banning of the Pride Flag. This protest is a micro example of social movement expressions and experiences happening in various sports arenas across the globe.

 

HC -2050 Contemporary World Economics - China
Instructor: Frank Cardimen
Gen Ed: GP
Course Days/Time: TR 10:00 a.m. - 11:47 a.m.

Course Description:  This class will comprehensively examine the three major free trade zone initiatives in North America (USMCA), Europe (European Union) and Asia (Regional Cooperative Economic Partnership). We will evaluate the similarities and the differences of each and examine how American businesses can enter these other free market zones……studying culture, politics, language, currency and history that will provide a chance to succeed in foreign investment.
     In the past 25 years CHINA has developed into an economic powerhouse rising to the number 2 country in the world economically – GNP - $17 Trillion. The US leads the world with $24 Trillion. It is the fast growth of China economically and their current public position to become the #1 country economically, militarily and politically. This class will examine all elements of China’s growth and evaluate the future of CHINA vs. the USA.

 

HC 2050 Psychology of Compassion and Kindness
Instructor:  Travis Hartin
Gen Ed: GP
Course Days/Time: ONLINE Synchronous MWF 10:40 a.m. - 11:47 a.m.

Course Description:  What is compassion? What is kindness? Are these constructs measurable? What conditions and experiences prevent us from developing or exhibiting kindness and compassion to others? How do these ideas vary across cultures? The purpose of this course is to try to answer these and similar questions by examining compassion and kindness as psychological constructs. Throughout the semester, we will explore current and historical theories of compassion and kindness, characteristics of kind and compassionate people, barriers to the exhibition of kindness and compassion, and cultural views of these concepts across the world and across history. We will also look at these concepts through a developmental perspective to understand the childhood experiences that contribute to the development of kindness and compassion.


SOCIAL SCIENCE
HC-2060 Intelligence and Creativity
Instructor: Travis Hartin
Gen Ed:  SS
Course Days/Time:  ONLINE Synchronous MWF  1:20 p.m. - 2:27 p.m.

Course Description:  What is intelligence? What is creativity? What constitutes creative or intelligent thinking? How do we measure them? Can one exist without the other? What function(s) do these ideas serve in society? The purpose of this course is to try to answer these and similar questions by examining creativity and intelligence as psychological constructs. Throughout the semester, we will explore current and historical theories of human creativity and intelligence, characteristics of creative and intelligent people, barriers to creative and intelligent output, and cultural variations in the way we think about these concepts.

 

HC -2060 Native American and First Nations Gender Studies
Instructor:  Noelle Mongene
Gen Ed: SS
Course Days/Time:  TR  3:00 p.m. - 4:47 p.m.

Course Description:  In this interdisciplinary course, students will examine the impact that colonization has had on gender structures in Native American and First Nations communities. The course will begin by establishing a theoretical knowledge base for thorough comprehension of gender as a socially, culturally, and historically situated concept. Students will learn and discuss various gender theories, including intersectional feminism, postcolonial feminism, hegemonic masculinity, and social constructionist perspectives. The history of colonization will be discussed, and gender in Indigenous communities will be examined from early contact with European settlers to the lasting effects of colonization seen today (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit individuals, violence against Indigenous women, increased poverty and marginalization, disruption of matriarchal societies). Readings, discussions, and research projects will be used to critically examine the intersection of colonization and gender, and discuss how factors such as cultural erasure, dispossession of ancestral land, imposed patriarchy, and specific historical events have changed gender structures for Indigenous men, women, and non-binary individuals. The course will also explore cultural resilience and resistance movements that have emerged as a response to the profound and often detrimental impacts of colonial structures.


FORMAL REASONING
HC-2070 The Art of AI 
Instructor: Susan Lynne Beckwith
Gen Ed:  FR
Course Days/Time:  MWF 1:20 p.m. - 2:47 p.m.

Course Description:  Technology and technological advancements are nothing new to artists: techniques and mediums are always evolving with new tools and materials. A profession centered on creativity is not adverse to innovation. But where is the line with regard to generated? We now lean toward thinking of ‘generated’ in terms of AI, but many famous artists well-known to you and whose art hangs on museum walls had apprentices and studio workers who performed various aspects of those canonized and familiar works. How is that different from AI generated work? What do we make of our ability to now become literally part of the work with immersive experiences where we enter a field of sunflowers or starry night? Can these same technologies also perhaps be used to make the field of art more accessible to the differently-abled or those without the ability to purchase and procure the often-expensive materials? Questions of production and ethics as well as inclusivity and accessibility will be entertained in this class as we enjoy looking at works of art together. In this course we are going to explore the possibilities of AI generated art. As always, we will also expand our gaze and look at artists from outside the canon (those of other cultures) and whose work hangs on city street walls and buildings (street art and graffiti). And since we will also consider the body – the body of the artist, the body of the audience, the differently-abled creator and viewer – we’ll look at body art – tattoos – and consider the literal meeting of human and machine when AI becomes a component of these works. Who is the artist in AI generated art? Can we all become creators? We’re going to be creative and have fun as we explore these questions, our own creativity, and immerse ourselves in the question ‘What Is Art’ and who is the artist?


NATURAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY 
HC-2080 What are we Eating?
Instructor: Kelly Bambrick
Gen Ed: NSTD
Course Days/Time:  TR 1:00 p.m. - 2:47 p.m.

Course Description:  We live in a technologically advanced society with increasing demands for anything fast and convenient. Food is no exception. We are surrounded by processed foods with a large number of difficult-to-pronounce chemicals. In this course, we will examine topics such as food processing, synthetic ingredients, industry practice of labeling food items, and GMO foods and explore their potential impact on our health and wellbeing. We will also discuss health promoting alternatives that will allow us to function optimally in this fast-paced society.



HC-3900 Research and Scholarship
Instructor: Susan Lynne Beckwith
Course Day/Time: Online (1 credit)

Course Description: With the support of an OU faculty member of your choice (your thesis mentor) and the HC 3900 teaching team, you will work to develop the proposal for your final Thesis project.

ART = Art
DIV = US Diversity
FR = Formal Reasoning
GP = Global Perspective
KA = Knowledge Application
LIT = Literature
NSTN = Natural Science & Technology
SS = Social Science
WCIV = Western Civilization
WIG = Writing Intensive in the General Education

 

ART 
HC-2010 Art and Accessibility
Instructor: Susan Lynne Beckwith
Gen Ed: ART + WIG
Course Days/Time:  MWF  10:40 a.m. - 11:47 a.m.

Course Description: This course will explore Art & Accessibility: how art can be used as a form of social activism and awareness and a means of advocating for inclusivity; how art can be made more accessible to those who are differently-abled; and art that is made by those who are differently-abled.
We’ll examine museums as spaces and innovations in curation that allow for more equitable and
inclusive entry into exhibits and the experience of individual works of art. In addition, we’ll
explore street art as art and also as truly public works. We will look at works of art that promote
inclusivity – including illustrations in children’s literature and animated film(s) – while also
moving beyond the canonized to works created by people who come from diverse backgrounds
or who are either differently-abled or neurodiverse themselves.  Art has long been the medium and record of change, as it pushes boundaries in its nature (creative – to create; new techniques, new mediums), through its representations of something either not seen or now seen differently, and through its appeal to our eyes and ability to affect our emotions.

 

HC 2010 Sebastian:  A Course on Bach
Instructor: Randall Engle
Gen Ed:  ART & KA
Course Days/Time: TR  1:00 p.m. - 2:47 p.m.

Course Description:  Johann Sebastian Bach is a household name. But why? This course surveys the life journey of Bach, from orphan Johann, to aspiring musician, to death in obscurity, to rediscovery in the 19 th century.  How did this musician (with 2 marriages and 22 children) manage to accomplish so much and write such sublime music of the High Baroque era? Along the way, lots of musical examples will guide our discussion and make the case that, indeed, Johann Sebastian Bach deserves his fame. And who knows––graduates may even add Bach to their playlists!

 

HC 2010 Cinematic Migrations
Instructor:  Carol Hart
Gen Ed:  ART & WIG
Course Days/Time: TR  8:00 a.m. - 9:47 a.m.

Course Description: The theme of migration is an eternal and ever-renewing topic of concern for both emigrants/immigrants and the people and societies who receive them. This class will examine the topic through a series of films and readings that look at the migrant experience from both sides. Areas of study will include loss of home, the journey, work and exploitation, trafficking, human rights, alienation, and establishing a new identity. The migrant experience covers illegal migration as an escape from war or economic crisis and the legal movement to a new home. Legal and illegal migrants can have similar feelings of loss and alienation as well as the possibility of new beginnings. Students will gain understanding of the flow of populations, ideas and cultures across borders. They will further analyze films as social commentary and artistic expressions of human experiences.

 

HC 2010 Renaissance Italy
Instructor: David Kidger
Gen Ed:  ART + WIG
Course Days/Time: TR  8:00 a.m. - 9:47 a.m.

Course Description:  Introduction and Purpose of Course The notion of the Renaissance as an artistic movement remains problematic for general historians, as well as historians of architecture, the arts, music, sculpture, and philosophy. This course examines and critiques the notion of the Renaissance as exemplified through the artistic life of a number of churches, cities and courts in northern Italy in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. In this period there was a patchwork of city states, republics, dukedoms and other principalities in what we now consider northern Italy. We consider how this puzzle contributed to artistic life, both sacred and secular, and how different modes of artistic expression developed as a result of these political and social systems. The course will make extensive use of internet and other multimedia resources to enhance the learning environment. Through a set of case studies of different types of artistic expression, students will discover how artists interacted with their patrons and their public audience, and how their work influenced contemporary life and thought. Finally, as a brief coda, students will examine how we view all of this in the 21st century, and what we can learn about the arts today from our study. Course Procedures The course has two lectures per week.



LITERATURE

HC 2020  Where the Wild Things Live
Instructor:  Roberta Michel
Gen Ed:  LIT + WIG
Course Days/Time:   TR  1:00 p.m. - 2:47 p.m.

Course Description:  This course will examine prose written in the late 20th and early 21st Century that explores the connection between people and the natural world. Student engagement has a high consideration in the design of the curriculum. Learning will come through a “hands on approach” as we explore the natural world and critically discuss various forms of literature. As a writing intensive course, students will learn how to produce well written essays drawn from critically examining the course texts; engage in various rhetorical strategies that are appropriate to the topic and context as well as gain a greater appreciation for the Natural world as offered through literature. An emphasis will be placed on Ecocriticism. Ecocriticism is the study of literature and the environment from an interdisciplinary point of view, where literature scholars analyze texts that illustrate environmental concerns and examine the various ways literature treats the subject of nature.


HC-2020 Chinese Calligraphy
Instructor: Chensi Wang
Gen Ed:  LIT & WIG
Course Days/Time:  TR 1:00 p.m. - 2:47 p.m.

Course Description:  This is a course for beginning Chinese calligraphy. It will teach students how to 
produce Chinese calligraphy during hands-on practice in class. In addition to the history, 
development, aesthetics, and appreciation of Chinese calligraphy, it also includes many aspects 
of the culturally fascinating heritage of China. Each class will begin with a lecture on a specific 
aspect of Chinese culture, and will then be followed by brush writing practice. 
 Students in this class are also expected to explore the considerable amount of material 
relating to Chinese calligraphy available on the World Wide Web and study articles and example 
styles online.

HC 2020 21st Century Irish Literature
Instructor:  Roberta Michel
Gen Ed:  LIT + WIG
Course Days/Time:   TR  3:00 p.m. - 4:47 p.m.

Course Description:  This course will examine prose and poetry written in the late 20th and early 21st Century that explores the connection between what, how, and why of Ireland’s most promising voices in contemporary fiction. As a writing intensive course, students will learn how to produce well written essays drawn from critically examining the course texts; engage in various rhetorical strategies that are appropriate to the topic and context as well as gain a greater appreciation for Ireland as offered through its literature. Irish writers have continued to focus on their relation to place, politics, history, and those points where the public and the private collide often with wit, humor and satire.


HC 2020 FanFiction: Whose Story is it?
Instructor:  Susan Lynne Beckwith
Gen Ed:  LIT + WIG
Course Days/Time:  MWF 1:20 p.m. - 2:27 p.m.

Course Description:  John Wick, the film(s), were written by Derek Kolstad and released in 2014 – but Greg Pak and Matt Gaudio (write the backstory of the leading man we fan in the prequel comic series published from 2017-2019. The graphic novels were not conceived or written by the author: it was a fan. And the film series itself takes inspiration from and was influenced by The Matrix, creating further concentric circles of fanning Keanu.... Even in the 1800s, authors were ‘shipping and spotlighting their favorite characters from other books to create best sellers as they changed up the narrative to fit their, or the readers’, needs. The 2023 film Renfield explores the blood-sucker’s little buddy’s story in a contemporary setting of self-help and support groups in a time of toxic friends, dysfunctional families, and bad bosses; but Bram Stoker could not complain even if Dracula wasn’t out of copyright, because he may have been fanning on the female vampire in Carmilla, by Sheridan Le Fanu written 25 years earlier than Dracula. Enola Holmes is Sherlock’s little sis. Cher from Clueless is Jane Austen’s Emma. After is ‘one direction’ that Harry Styles fanfic can take. Glee and Grey’s Anatomy have fanfic followings. The Mortal Instruments of writing what we readers want to read in books is nothing new, and not to be dismissed! What happens when readers have as much agency as authors?! When readers become the writers of their favorite characters and their stories?! FanFiction is fabulous, and we’ll also consider the creation and dissemination of these works (Wattpad or An Archive of Our Own anyone?) We’ll have conversations about copyright and raise questions of who owns a beloved literary character – the author, or the reader? Times change, should texts change too? Once the pen leaves the page, the book leaves the publisher, and the story enters our minds, whose story is it? How do we see the characters and world? And whose stories do we most want to tell? Is it always the main character? What happens when the reader gets, literally and literarily, into the story? This summer, we’re going to get into the stories we love...and maybe even decide our own endings for them!


HC 2020 Laboring For Better Lives
Instructor:   Amy Pollard
Gen Ed:  LIT + WIG
Course Days/Time:  TR 10:00 a.m. - 11:47 a.m.

Course Description:  Laboring for Better Lives: Fictional Accounts of American Worker Solidarity In this course students will be introduced to the American Labor Movement from the 19th and 20th centuries through works of fiction.  Possible works to read include Women of Copper Country by Mary Doria Russell, The Ink Truck by William Kennedy, and In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck. The works of fiction will cover real-life American labor movement events from the 19th and 20th centuries, such as the Copper Country strikes of the early 20th century, the West Coast Waterfront Strike, the Triangle Waistshirt Factory fire and legacy and the Sanitation Strike of 1968, as well as fictional labor struggles.  In the course students will be expected to perform close readings of texts, draw connections between fictional stories and the real-life events that inspired them, construct detailed written critical analyses that ask and answer questions about relationships between power, money, organizing, race, class, gender and more.  Additionally, students will be asked to prepare a final project that would serve as a public relations/communications campaign of sorts for a historical labor struggle, promoting the cause of either the employer or the employee as a means of showing a comprehensive understanding of the issues at stake for both parties.

HC 2020 Masters of the Short Story
Instructor: Carol Hart
Gen Ed:  LIT + WIG
Course Days/Time:  MWF  12 noon - 1:07 p.m.

Course Description:  Why does the novel get all the attention? In this course we will read and discuss the the short story in all of its glory. Our readings will move through time from the nineteenth to the twenty- first centuries and across language with English originals and master translations. We will consider what defines the genre, explore the wide range of themes and topics, and view the development of the short story over time. Readings will include some examples of the fantastic from E.T.A. Hoffmann, Poe, Doestoevsky, and Kafka; Russian masters such as Chekhov, Babel, and Nabokov; and English language writers such as Joyce, O’Conner, Carver, Mason, and Saunders, to name a few. Writers’ explorations of each other’s work will round out our reading and inform our discussions. 



WESTERN CIVILIZATION
HC 2040  German Poetry in Translation
Instructor:  Cornelia Schaible
Gen Ed:  WCIV
Course Days/Time:  TR  1:00 p.m. - 2:47 p.m.

Course Description:  This course introduces students to German poetry from the 17th century to the present. Great German poems exude an exquisite and subtle beauty that often comes as a surprise to those who hear it for the first time. It would be a waste to leave it to speakers of German to read and appreciate them! While the sound of the words may be lost; a good translation should evoke an emotional and esthetic response similar to the original, and it can even reveal a new layer of meaning. Through critical reading of these poems with an eye on their structure, students will explore the wonderful world of verse and develop an appreciation of the German-speaking literary culture. Also, they will read alternate translations of select poems and evaluate them. Since German pronunciation is easy, students will learn to recite a poem of their new favorite author. Poets include, among others: Benn, Brecht, Domin, Goethe, Heine, Hesse, Hölderlin, Kirsch, Mörike, Rilke, Sachs, and Schwitters.



GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE 
HC-2050  Sacred Sites of Jerusalem
Instructor:   Michael Putlik
Gen Ed:  GP
Course Days/Time:  TR  1:00 p.m. - 2:27 p.m.

Course Description:  Archaeology of sacred sites in the Near East. Anthropological models concerning the archaeology of religion as a discipline are explored. Sacred sites relevant to Judaism, Christianity and Islam with an emphasis on the history of Jerusalem.

HC 2050 Contemporary World Economics - Italy
Instructor: Frank Cardimen
Gen Ed: GP
Course Days/Time:  TR  10:00 a.m. - 11:47 a.m.

Course Description:  This travel class is scheduled for the winter break in 2025 traveling to ITALY - Florence, Rome and Venice to evaluate Italian businesses and determine the economic condition in Italy. Prior to travel the class will evaluate three world free market zones; North America (USMCA), Europe (European Union) and Asia (Regional Cooperative Economic Partnership) with a comprehensive study of ITALY. In addition to the economic issues, students will prepare for the cultural and history of Italy before traveling. The class will study each free trade zone and understand the differences within each country that would face an American company whose interest to invest in that country. Culture, politics, currency, language, history etc. will be fully evaluated.


HC 2050 King and Things
Instructor: Randall Engle
Gen Ed: Global Perspective 
Course Day/Time: MWF 12:00-1:07 pm

Course Description: England’s history is the most exciting of any nation on earth. Its triumphs and disasters are instantly familiar, as are many of its kings and queens. But to fully understand the monarch’s significance, we first need to understand the entire story. This class sheds light on the colorful history and key individuals of the English monarchy, bringing them together in an enlightening and engaging account. Along the way we’ll discuss the royal life, “the season,” English aristocracy, English landmarks, and ponder why the Royals do what they do, and what they wear whilst doing it. Evaluation will be class participation, quizzes, readings, and an individual project that will be offered as a class presentation. The class will be offered at Oakland University’s own regal residence, Meadowbrook Estate.


HC 2050 Global Impact of Chocolate
Instructor:  Roberta Michel
Gen Ed:  GP
Course Days/Time:  TR  5:30 p.m. - 7:17 p.m.

Course Description:  This course focuses on how differences in economic systems, national culture, socio demographics, and political orientations affect the production as well as the use of Chocolate. The chocolate industry is not well understood—it has its fair share of social issues that are often complex. These problems primarily affect cocoa farmers and workers in cocoa- producing regions, as well as the environment. Some of the key social issues within the chocolate industry includes Child Labor; Poverty among Cocoa Farmers; Environmental Degradation; Lack of access to healthcare and education; Gender Inequality; Supply Chain complexities and ethical sourcing and certification; market monopolies. Understanding the global context of how chocolate is produced and traded and used in various societies will be closely examined. While much of the “social realities” will be explored, discussed, and analyzed, its “sweetness” will also be experienced. Global samples of Chocolate will be tasted and field trips to Michigan based chocolateries will be part of the course experience. Currently, the global chocolate market size was valued at USD 130.56 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.6% from 2020 to 2027—that is a lot of chocolate! Students will also get a chance to explore how sustainable farming practices, kiva loans, and other innovations are joining the global conversation on chocolate.



SOCIAL SCIENCE
HC 2060 Economics and the Arts & Literature
Instructor: Julie Granthen
Gen Ed: SS
Course Days/Time:  TR  3:00 p.m. - 4:47 p.m.

Course Description:  In the words of the economist L. G. Reynolds, Economics is about economizing, something we all do every day. So, like the person who discovers that he/she has been speaking prose all of her/her life, you have been living economics without knowing it. As the study of economics has evolved, economists have begun to recognize economic concepts in literature, poetry, and film and its representation in sculpture and paintings. Whether it is Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken demonstrating the concept of opportunity cost or the film the Wages of Fear utilizing the incentive function of wages, or the types of unemployment found in the Grapes of Wrath and Death of a Salesman, the discipline of economics is prevalent in the arts and literature.  We will begin the class by analyzing some classic literature and films for their use of economic concepts.  Then I will ask you to find economic concepts in more contemporary literature and films and share with the class the literary passages and film clips that demonstrate economic thinking.

HC 2060 Food is Social
Instructor:  Carol Hart
Gen Ed:  SS
Course Days/Time: TR  1:00 p.m. - 2:47 p.m.

Course Description:  Food: we all love it! We rely on it to sustain us as individuals and communities. Cuisine is a key element of social identity that serves as a balm for its members and a marker for outsiders. Why do we associate pasta with Italians and hamburgers with American cuisine? Drawing on a variety of texts, literary and scholarly, the class will research, write and discuss food and food culture and the role food plays in our society, our perceptions about it, and how we consume it. We will examine the role that food plays in issues of ethnicity, nation, gender, class, and power. Other topics for discussion include the food supply and its industrialization, access to food, globalization, and the ethics of food production and consumption. Field trips to local food markets, producers, and restaurants will complement the classroom experience.

HC 2060 Shipped: Love & Friendship
Instructor:  Susan Lynne Beckwith
Gen Ed:  SS
Course Days/Time:  MWF  12 noon - 1:07 p.m.

Course Description:  Relationships are essential to our well-being, affecting our physical, mental, and even economic health. But they are not static over time or place.  In this class, we are going to consider, first, philosophical constructs of various relationships:  from the Platonic ( << see what I did there! ) to the romantic to the aromantic (aro). We will then use literatures of various eras which attempt to define categories of relationships or reify and promote certain #relationshipgoals to more fully understand the societal impact on individuals (from marriage plots to tiktoks). And I don’t really think we can truly get through this ‘Labyrinth’  Swiftly without considering music and song lyrics too!  With loneliness ranking as an epidemic, those concepts of introvert and extrovert and the way we are categorized as human beings and human behaviors may no longer be for the best or at the very least be potentially restrictive. And how does technology play into our creation and maintenance of the ideal (for each of us as individuals, our ideal) relationships in our lives today.



Formal Reasoning
HC 2070  Time Travel & Travelers
Instructor:  Doris Plantus
Gen Ed:  FR
Course Days/Time: MWF  8:00 a.m. - 9:07 a.m.

Course Description:  We will study the history of time travel, beginning with ancient accounts such as the Sanskrit poem Mahabharata (400BC), to the Jewish Rip van Winkle, Honi ha-M'agel (1 AD), up through H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, as well as Einstein’s theories and others. In addition, we will consider the “time traveler” as a co-topic in light of ancient objects/artifacts/ cave drawings, rock inscriptions, paintings and photographs. Therefore, we will explore and re-examine the question of time travel through the lens of archaeology, science, literature, and culture in order to better understand the implications of time in general, and time travel/er in particular. The course will culminate in a project that analyzes and attempts to explain the meaning, consequences, and probability of a particular case of time travel and time traveler that supports or rejects the event.


HC2070 Dad Math: Math for Real Life
Instructor:  Joseph Grzywacz
Ged Ed:  FR
Course Time:  tbd

Course Description: Have you ever run into a problem that just seems to be out of your reach? No matter what you try - Google, YouTube, even a book (scary, I know) - the solution escapes you. Where, or to whom, rather, do you turn? Look to your trusty dad, who has a wealth of life experience and an approximate knowledge of many obscure things. In this course, let me help you tackle the everyday questions you might turn to a dad to solve.


Natural Science & Technology
HC 2080  Designed to Move
Instructor: Kelly Bambrick
Gen Ed: NSTN
Course Days/Time:  TR 1:00 p.m. - 2:47 p.m.

Course Description:  Our body is a remarkable machine that is perfectly designed to keep us healthy, with all different components functioning in harmony. Part of being healthy inevitably involves movement. Our body is designed to move and move in both innate and creative ways.  We move for daily activities, for exercise, for competition, for entertainment, and for art.  We move to function, we move to have fun, and we move to heal. In this class, we will explore movement and its benefits for both the body and the mind. We will study the mechanisms of movement by taking a wholistic approach to understand movement.  Instead of looking at the organ systems involved in movement separately, we will examine how different organ systems function in concert to produce movement. The simple act of walking on two feet is a remarkable feat of coordination of not only the bones and muscles, but the entire system of activation, co-activation, and de-activation.  We all know the importance of exercise in our lives, but we may not truly appreciate the intricate workings of the body to keep us functioning. The main goal of the course is to increase your awareness of the beautiful design of the body and its movement and its power to promote and sustain your health.


HC 2080  Science, Medicine & Terrorism
Instructor:  Steffan Puwal
Gen Ed:  NSTN
Course Days/Time: MWF  12:00 noon - 1:07 p.m.  

Course Description:  This science course will cover concepts in public health related to radiation, bioterrorism and chemical agents. We will discuss the science of these agents, public health models of terrorism, and the role of the first responder and Emergency Department. Scenarios we discuss will include the 1995 sarin attack on the Tokyo subway system, the Oklahoma City bombing, the 9/11 attacks, and the ensuing anthrax attacks via the US Postal Service. As a science course, our focus will be on the agents of nuclear, radiological, chemical, and bioterrorism, the physics and chemistry of how these agents work, the cell biology and physiology of their health effects, and the public health and environmental health aspects of these agents.


HC-3900 Research and Scholarship
Instructor: Susan Lynne Beckwith
Course Day/Time: Online (1 credit)

Course Description: With the support of an OU faculty member of your choice (your thesis mentor) and the HC 3900 teaching team, you will work to develop the proposal for your final Thesis project.

The Honors College

Oak View Hall, Room 210
509 Meadow Brook Road
Rochester, MI 48309-4452
(location map)
(248) 370-4450
Fax: (248) 370-4479