Spring 2016 Featured Courses

UNIV 3784-002: The Canon of American Legal Thought

Instructor: Michael Fischl

Now open to any third-year (or higher) Honors student. Email susan.ruggiero@uconn.edu for a permission number.

This seminar will examine what are widely regarded as the “greatest hits” in American legal thought, essays and articles that have significantly influenced the development of law and legal theory in the U.S. since the early 20th Century. The essays exemplify the principal schools of modern legal thought – including legal realism, law and economics, the law and society movement, and various branches of critical legal theory – and they feature legal thinkers from Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., and Karl Llewellyn to Duncan Kennedy and Catharine Mackinnon.

Class will meet on Wednesdays from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. in Gentry 140, and each week we will analyze and critique selected essays, most of which will be found in our textbook, The Canon of American Legal Thought (David Kennedy & William W. Fisher III, eds. 2006). A handful of additional readings will be available at a later date via email. Please be sure to purchase Kennedy & Fisher ASAP so you can  do the relatively short but very important reading assigned for our first class meeting on January 20.

Grades will be calculated in the following manner: 1/3 will be based on class participation; 1/3 will be based on your performance on a series of weekly quizzes; and 1/3 will be based on a final exam, which will be administered from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 27, our final day of class.

GERM 1169: Contemporary Germany in Europe (Conversion opportunity)

Instructor: Shane Peterson

While this is not an Honors course, Prof. Peterson welcomes Honors students of any major and would be happy to offer Honors conversions for interested students.

Taught in English!

Come find out why Germany is:

  • offering free university tuition to everyone
  • reacting differently to the refugee crisis
  • a leader in renewable energy
  • popular among young Israelis
  • mandating a 30% quota of women in business leadership
  • becoming patriotic about soccer
  • providing generous parental leave
  • reluctant about Google Street View & Facebook
  • much more diverse than you think

(CA 1, CA 4-Int)

GERM 1169: Contemporary Germany in Europe – flyer

EPSY 3830: Individual Differences in Creativity (Conversion opportunity)

Instructor: James Kaufman

While this is not an Honors course, Prof. Kaufman welcomes Honors students of any major and would be happy to offer Honors conversions for interested students.

What makes people creative? What traits, abilities, or personal factors help make you creative (and creative in different ways from your friends)? This class will discuss how your personality, motivation, intelligence, emotional intelligence, and other parts of who you are work together to help you be creative. You’ll learn “best practices” to increase your own (or others’) creativity and you’ll gain insight into related topics such as discovering your personality profile, how IQ tests work, what motivates you, and similar questions.

For the Honors conversion, I will want you to use more original sources and delve deeper in them– so assignments about writing about an article on creativity will ask for higher level analysis, and the final project will ask for more professional articles cited and discussed.

Prof. Kaufman is also willing to waive the prerequisite of EPSY 2810; email him for a permission number.

COMM 1100-035: Principles of Public Speaking

Instructor: Yerina Ranjit

Employers demand strong communication, presentation, and public speaking skills. As a future professional, you must be a confident speaker and have the ability to organize and prepare clear, concise, and interesting presentations. This course will prepare you for the future by helping you to develop specific methods for speaking and delivery as well as critical thinking and analytical skills that focus on how to organize a presentation, solve problems, build arguments, and be creative. As a honors section of this course, students will be expected to deliver clear and effective presentations and be able to write effective and well organized outlines. Students will be expected to demonstrate significant growth and development of skills as the course progresses. Students will also be expected to prepare for speeches by utilizing a variety of techniques, including but not limited to: peer to peer and online speech video recording. Finally, students will also be expected to improve their speech analysis skills by attending on-campus public speaking events.

MCB 2225: Cell Biology Laboratory

Instructor: David Knecht

Prerequisite: BIOL 1107 or equivalent

Many Honors students in the life sciences have benefited from MCB 2225, Cell Biology Laboratory.  The laboratory is designed to help students decide if they are interested in research and to prepare them for working in a research laboratory. Students will become proficient with experimental design, quantitative data analysis, and data presentation in the context of learning to work with living cells.  Like a research laboratory, the course laboratory is accessible 24/7 because real science often does not fit into 3 hour time blocks.

Students do not need an extensive knowledge of cell biology in order to succeed in the class.  The background cell biology for each experiment will be discussed in class and a general protocol will be provided.  Students working in pairs will then design the details of the specific experimental question, develop a protocol including the necessary controls, carry out the experiment and then analyze the data.  Experiments are often repeated outside of class time as student researchers fine-tune their technique or protocol.  The results are then discussed in a “group meeting” so that each group can see how others approached related problems. There is great flexibility for students to branch out from the starting point provided to take the experiment in a direction that is of interest to the student.

Students will maintain their own wild type and mutant cell lines throughout the semester.  The laboratory is equipped with computer controlled video microscope workstations for acquiring data on cell behavior. The experiments will focus on the growth, motility, development and underlying cellular structure of the soil amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum.  Many of the experiments will ask questions about how cells move and respond to signals both in unicellular and multicellular environments.  Students will transfect cells DNA to express fluorescent probes (GFP and RFP) and investigate the role of the cytoskeleton in cell motility and signaling. Flow cytometry and confocal microscopy will also be used to analyze cells.  Open source image processing software (Fiji/ImageJ) will be used to analyze the data captured from the microscope.   One emphasis of the course will be on the quantitative analysis of image data.

In the last third of the course, students will work on independent projects of their choosing.  Often these projects involve investigation of mutant cell lines available from a National Stock Center or cells isolated from the local environment.

Unlike many courses that aim to teach science concepts, this course puts an emphasis on teaching students to think like a scientist. The class size is small and there is ample opportunity for individual attention from the instructor and TAs. This course will provide students with specific skills and experience that will aid them in applying to any laboratory in MCB (and other departments) for Honors thesis research. There is also the possibility of continuing these projects as Honors thesis research in the instructor’s research laboratory as many of the experiments conducted in the class are an outgrowth of ongoing research projects.

POLS 1602-009: American Politics

Instructor: Vin Moscardelli

Debates. Elections. Filibusters. Partisan Polarization. Police Brutality. Economic Inequality. Donald Trump! You know you want to know more about these things.

Well, this is your chance. This course is designed to serve two purposes. First, it will focus on the “nuts and bolts” issues of American government. We will deal with, among other topics, the legislative, executive, judicial, and electoral processes, both as they were designed, and as they work today in the real world.

Second, the course should enhance your understanding of the principles underlying the modern system of governance in the United States. You will be asked to step away from the details of contemporary political debates and controversies and come to grips with the more fundamental political questions they address—questions that have dominated American political discourse since the nation’s founding.

(CA 2)

POLS 1602H – Introduction to American Politics — Flyer

ENGR 3195-001: Interdisciplinary Design Marketplace

Instructors: Leslie Shor, Alexander Agrios

This course is intended for School of Engineering majors graduating in the current academic year or the next academic year. This course is not intended for sophomores who have “junior standing” by credit hours. Students who are in their sophomore year are encouraged to take the course next year.

This course provides students from across the School of Engineering with an opportunity to apply their individual, disciplinary technical skills to answer a peer-generated interdisciplinary design challenge.

Students in the course will work as both a “consultant” and as a “client” on an interdisciplinary design challenge posed by their classmates.  First, as “consultants,” student groups will summarize the technical skills typical of their own engineering discipline. Then, as “clients,” individual students will be mentored to formulate a specific technical challenge and scope of work.  The scope of work should make use of skills available in a different academic discipline, and must include a clear statement of expectations, constraints, and the deliverable schedule. Consultants and clients will be matched, and ultimately consultants will provide clients with the specified technical product(s). These products may include theoretical analyses, computer simulations, modeling, coding, primary research, or prototype fabrication. Finally, clients will integrate the consultant’s product into the broader context of their original challenge. Design challenges may be related to Capstone Design projects, undergraduate research projects, or technical-related extracurricular activities and outside interests such as Engineers Without Borders (EWB), 3D Printing Club, etc. Learning goals include: increase confidence and competence employing technical knowledge and skills; enhance interdisciplinary knowledge; improve project management skills; improve technical communication skills.

Interested students are encouraged to contact the instructor for more information: Leslie.Shor@uconn.edu

SPAN/LLAS 1009-002: Latina/o Literature, Culture and Society

Instructor: Guillermo Irizarry

This honors course will study and discuss how Latin@ identity is represented and what historical events have marked its social and cultural articulation. These concerns will guide our course, as we review significant US Latin@s cultural products and practices. We will study the relationship of this community with Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States, and analyze how gender, race, sexuality, class, and other socio-historical factors affect the production of identities in literature, film, photography, and other cultural practices. Required texts include: Juan González. Harvest of Empire (Penguin Books. 2000), Marcelo Suárez Orozco’s Latinos: Remaking America (U of California P, 2008), and selected texts by Gloria Anzaldúa, Junot Díaz, Daniel Alarcón, Cristina García, an others. Evalutation will be based on three exams (30%); short reaction papers (30%); class participation (10%); final paper (30%).

(CA 1, CA 4)

ECON 4206: Mechanism Design

Instructor: Vicki Knoblauch

Prerequisite: ECON 2201

Recommended preparation: Well developed mathematical reasoning skills, ability to work in small groups on an independent project. Prof. Knoblauch is willing to waive the ECON 2201 prerequisite for Honors students who possess the recommended mathematical and analytical reasoning skills.

One-semester introduction to mechanism design. Mechanisms are designed to induce people to act in such a way as to promote social welfare. Topics include public goods provision, 2-sided matching markets and peer evaluation of performance. The project in this course may serve as a good start for an Honors thesis or other piece of research.

PSYC 3201-002: Animal Behavior

Instructor: David B. Miller

Prerequisites: BIOL 1102 or 1107; PSYC 1100

PSYC 3201 ANIMAL BEHAVIOR is an overview of the scientific study of animal behavior covering a broad range of topics, including evolution, adaptation, domestication, mating, communication, development, ethological concepts, and much more. The course is constructed around many examples from the scientific literature on a wide range of species. This is actually a “hybrid” course, in that 90% of the material is available day and night via streaming screencast videos. Around 8 in-class sessions allow for the presentation of additional content that is not contained in the screencasts, and around 6 in-class sessions are devoted to questions and answers. This is a combined class, with 185 seats open to all students (who register in Section 001) and 15 seats reserved for Honors students (who register in Section 002 for automatic Honors credit). Honors students meet once weekly for around an hour for a discussion session. The instructor is Professor David B. Miller, of the Department of Psychological Sciences, who has an extensive background in field and laboratory animal behavior research, primarily on birds.