Featured Honors Courses: Fall 2020

ANSC 5618: Probiotics and Prebiotics

Graduate courses act as Honors credit, as long as you earn a grade of B- or higher.

Instructor: Mary Anne Amalaradjou

Recommended preparation: MCB 2610 (can be taken concurrently) or equivalent background in microbiology.

Interested to learn more about probiotics/prebiotics and how they are good for your health?

This course will provide an overview on probiotics, prebiotics and the microbiome, their biology health benefits and applications in human and animal health Commercially available probiotic and prebiotic supplements and functional foods will also be discussed.

Note: ANSC 5618 is cross-listed with ANSC 3318. Enroll in the graduate course in order to earn Honors credit.

EDLR 3263: Student Leadership

Instructor: Leigh Fine

“Leadership” can be described as inherent traits, a set of behaviors, the leveraging of relationships, collaboration, or a socially-navigated performance – leaders may be someone with social influence, unique knowledge, a convincing enactment of “leadership”, or all of the above. UConn Honors believes leadership is a process that improves conditions in communities of practice. We believe leadership can be practiced by multiple subjects in many contexts, and that the need for leadership in all fields of study is as important now as it has ever been. Keeping such emerging social and leadership realities in mind, this course endeavors toward an integration of experiential, theoretical, and applied learning on the subject of leadership to the end of addressing a leadership challenge that exceeds the boundaries of traditional disciplines in the hopes of effecting change for the collective social good.

As a learning community, we will:

  • Analyze leadership as a phenomenon that we can experience, practice, and study
  • Evaluate current community and global problems through a leadership lens
  • Create proposed solutions to current problems while applying leadership theories
  • Embark on a shared leadership experience within our local communities

ENGL 1007: Honors First-Year Writing

Beginning in Fall 2020, ENGL 1007 will be the course number for all first-year writing courses at UConn Storrs.

Honors ENGL 1007 recognizes that Honors students are often expected to write more and differently than other UConn students. There are additional opportunities for connection to your own major(s) and greater emphasis on the roles of inquiry and discovery in the humanities. Finally, the Honors sections will culminate with a public celebration of student work.

For Fall 2020, there will be two themed sections of Honors ENGL 1007. They share a single studio section (instructor: Beth Reinwald).

ENGL 1007-015: Music and Identity

Instructor: Darby Lacey

Music is all around us and shapes our connections to places, films, experiences, and even ourselves. For example, music might help us connect to our cultures or explore our emotions or make friends by bonding over shared musical favorites. In this course, we will carefully consider our own various interactions with music and the impact those encounters have on how we perceive ourselves: how certain music makes us feel, how we interact with or use music, even how music might help us to construct our own personal identities.

As we consider our own reactions to music, we will also think about the convergences and divergences in rhetorical choices that are made both when artists compose music, and when we compose our own writing across different mediums. Just as composers, musicians, and djs make countless choices to make a song perfect for the moment, so too do writers when they create their own compositions. As we write together this semester, we will explore the key inquiry, “How does music specifically and writing in general compose our individual and collective identities?”

Our course will also embrace multimodality in music and our own writing. Music brings together sound, lyrics, and even images and video for maximum impact. We will similarly investigate the possibilities of different mediums and modes for our own composing as we explore our course inquiry. The contributions you make in this course will take the form of a personal reflective essay, an annotated playlist, an annotated bibliography, a critical introduction, and a visual album cover. We will explore a variety of composing technologies together, and no previous experience of writing across technology is required.

ENGL 1007-016: Documentary Film and the Composition of “Truth”

Instructor: Mollie Kervick

In a media landscape in which the line between fact and fiction is increasingly blurry, how does documentary media construct our perception of truth? This course asks you to consider the rhetorical moves that a variety of documentary texts make in order to craft an idea of “truth.” As we consume different kinds of documentary daily, it is vital to consider whether documentary media has more to do with “truth” or the ways we construct and consume stories about the “truth.” Furthermore, to what degree has the indecipherability of differences between fiction and non-fiction stories in our current media landscape exacerbated ideological divisions that cause us to interpret the same realities in dramatically different ways? In this class, we will use the art form of documentary film and other documentary media (podcasts/social media/news articles) to explore questions about the representation of truth and reality in art, media, and narrative form more generally. Studying a mix of classic and recent documentary texts, often in comparison with theoretical meditations on truth, we’ll celebrate the complexities of documentary media and delve deeply into the philosophical and aesthetic questions it inspires.

The course assignments include:
1) A Documentary Review (YouTube video)
2) Mini Discovery Documentary
3) Documentary Treatment
4) Collaborative Documentary Composition

ENGL 2407-003: The Short Story

Instructor: Dwight Codr

Prerequisite: ENGL 1010, 1011, or 2011

This course will entail the study and analysis of fictional writing. We will read 20-30 excellent short stories, but our concern will be with fiction and fictionalization broadly conceived. Students will gain an understanding of the formal properties of fiction and narrative and will cultivate the ability to generate a critical interpretation of a given text. Finally, we will study the way in which the short story as a genre concerns itself with difference or otherness, how the form we know as the short story has, at its core, a particular fascination with the inexplicable, complicated, uncategorizable, and extraordinary.

Class meetings will consist of a combination of lectures, discussions, and small group activities. Written assignments may include textual explications, reading journals, discussion board posts, and/or an argumentative essay of 4-5 pages. There will be a midterm and final exam testing your reading comprehension and your grasp of key concepts in the analysis of literary texts.

CA 1.

ENGL 3218W-001: Ethnic Literatures of the United States

Instructor: Veronica Makowsky

Prerequisite: ENGL 1010 or 1011 or 2011; open to juniors or higher, or others with permission of the instructor.

What is an American? How does ethnicity affect one’s sense of identity? How do class, race, sexuality, gender, generation, and location(s) interact with ethnicity to form or challenge identity or to suggest identities contingent upon context? In addition to these broad questions about ethnicity and identity, this course also considers how movement over time and space (within the US, to the US, from the US, and globally) may lead to unstable or fluid senses of identity. We will read a play, short stories, novels, and autobiographies. The texts encompass Native American works (Zitkala-Sa’s American Indian Stories (excerpts) and Louise Erdrich’s The Round House); African American works (Charles Chesnutt’s The Conjure Stories and August Wilson’s Fences); and works concerning immigrant experiences: a collection of short stories by Anzia Yezierska, Tina De Rosa’s Paper Fish, Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake, Julie Otsuka’s When the Emperor Was Divine, and Noviolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names. Grades will be based on: 1) active participation in daily discussion which usually includes in-class writing assignments based on the day’s assigned reading; 2) 2 short (2-3 pp.) response papers and their revision; 3) an 8-10-page research paper and its revision.

CA 4, W.

Healthcare Innovation graduate courses

[UConn Storrs]

Graduate courses act as Honors credit, as long as you earn a grade of B- or higher

Honors students are invited to take one or more courses in Healthcare Innovation on a space-available basis. Courses must be taken in sequence:

  • NURS 5111: Healthcare Innovation Theory and Application (Spring)
  • NURS 5112: Healthcare Opportunities for System Level Solutions (Fall)
  • NURS 5113: Developing & Leading a Sustainable Culture of Healthcare Innovation (Spring)
  • NURS 5114: Healthcare Innovation Development (Fall)

Contact Dr. Tiffany Kelley to discuss your interest in and fitness for these courses. The sequence is not recommended for first-year students.

JUDS 5397/CLCS 5301: The Talmud, the Rabbis, and History

Graduate courses act as Honors credit, as long as you earn a grade of B- or higher

Instructor: Professor Stuart S. Miller

Open to advanced undergraduates with permission of the instructor.

This course is a unique introduction to Talmudic narrative and related writings of the ancient rabbis of Roman Palestine and Sassanian Babylonia.

The aim is to gain both an appreciation for the ways Talmudic writings inform history and why they continue to fascinate not only scholars of Judaism and rabbinic law, but also philosophers, theologians, legal and literary theorists.

Some discussion will be devoted to the unique discourse of the ancient rabbis and especially to “midrashic thinking.” Of late Talmudic literature has been of great interest to scholars of American juridical thinking, for example, the Yale legal scholar, Robert Cover, the author of the influential Narrative, Violence, and the Law. We will examine how his work has had an impact on legal thinking. We will also take a detour into the work of Emmanuel Levinas to understand better why Talmudic writings have generated much interest among philosophers and theologians.

Usually thought of as works of religious law, the two Talmuds, that of Babylonia and the lesser known “Talmud of the Land of Israel,” are a treasure trove of information about the rabbis’ times, their neighbors, and, of course, their outlook on life. Seminar meetings will be devoted to discussion of diverse Talmudic and “midrashic” passages. Students will gain knowledge of the overall rabbinic corpus, the modes of rabbinic discourse, and the challenges they pose for scholarly inquiry.

Although the rabbis were primarily interested in articulating their program for sanctifying daily life, they reveal much about their lives and times (first through fifth centuries C.E.) and especially about their perspectives towards other Jews and non-Jews among whom they lived. Special attention, therefore, will be devoted to the rabbis’ perception of history, and especially their relations, interactions, and attitudes towards others, including women, apostates, heretics, Samaritans, Romans/pagans, Zoroastrians, and Christians.

For more information, contact Stuart Miller at stuart.miller@uconn.edu.

MATH 2141Q: Advanced Calculus I

Instructors: Katie Hall (section 001) and Myron Minn-Thu-Aye (section 002)

Prerequisite: A year of calculus, which may include calculus taken in high school. Instructor consent required; email the faculty member for the section in question.

This is the first course in a four-course sequence (2141Q, 2142Q, 2143Q, 2144Q) that approaches calculus in a fundamentally different way: focusing on proofs and theoretical understanding more than on drilling skills. While other math courses you’ve taken might emphasize tricks and recipes, this sequence will focus on seeing patterns and helps to provide a solid conceptual understanding of how math works instead of just gaining computation skills.

Completing the two-year sequence fulfills the requirements of a mathematics minor and satisfies the prerequisites for upper-level mathematics courses (those that require linear algebra, differential equations, and/or transitions to advanced mathematics).

More information.

MATH 3094: Mathematics & Politics: Voting, Fair Division, and Conflict

Instructor: Myron Minn-Thu-Aye

Prerequisites: MATH 2710 and instructor consent.

This course applies mathematics to shed light on problems in the realm of politics, both domestic and international. We begin with a study of voting systems, including both electoral and legislative processes. By formalizing notions of fairness, we will work towards theorems that will inform just how fair we expect elections to be. Our discussion of fair division will revolve around the problem of distributing seats in the U.S. House of Representatives among the fifty states. We will explore various apportionment paradoxes (e.g. how could an increase in the total number of seats lead to a reduction in the number of seats assigned to a particular state?) through history anddetermine whether these are avoidable in the future. The development of methods to measure the political power of voting blocs and coalitions will inform our analysis of the apportionment problem and lead us to investigate political conflict via game theory.

MCB 3421: Introduction to Molecular Evolution and Bioinformatics (Conversion Opportunity)

Instructor: Johann Peter Gogarten

Recommended preparation: At least one 2000 level course in MCB.  

While this is not an Honors course, Prof. Gogarten welcomes Honors students of all majors. For an Honors conversion, students compile and analyze a sequence dataset of their choice in parallel to the lectures and computer lab exercises. This will include databank searches, multiple sequence alignment, and phylogenetic reconstruction.

Evolution of biomolecules and application to molecular data analysis and the design of new molecules. Topics include selfish genes, molecular innovations, data bank searches, alignment of sequence and 3-D protein structures. Course includes lectures, discussions and computer lab exercises.

PSYC 3250W: Laboratory in Animal Behavior and Learning

[UConn Storrs]

Instructor: Etan Markus

Prerequisites: (1) ENGL 107, 1010, 1011, or 2011; (2) PSYC 1100; (3) PSYC 2100; (4) PSYC 2200 or 2500 or 3201 or 3552; (5) a good knowledge of statistics

Permission number required. Request a permission number using this form.

Remember how you got to class today? a bad experience? learning to ride a bike? What parts of the brain are involved in these different types of behaviors? How can one examine these questions in the laboratory rat? This hands-on laboratory will provide students with an opportunity to conduct experiments using modern behavioral techniques. The ability of rats to carry out different types of tasks will be related to different brain structures.

This is a serious lab designed for students interested in continuing to graduate or medical school.

  • This is a hands-on lab, most of the time we will only have a brief classroom session. Instead, on about half the weeks students will be training animals for about 1-2 hours/day for 3-4 days a week.
  • On occasion you will have to come in on the weekend to care for your animals.
  • This is also a “W” class, and I’ll be working with you on your writing (& re-writing).


PSYC 5140: Foundations in Neuropsychology

Graduate courses act as Honors credit, as long as you earn a grade of B- or higher. 

Instructors: John Salamone & Deborah Fein

Recommended preparation: Some background in biology and/or neuroscience

An introduction to neuropsychology, including functional neuroanatomy, neurochemistry, neuropharmacology and cognitive/emotional function and dysfunction.

PSYC 5285: Neurobiology of Aging: Changes in Cognitive Processes

Graduate courses act as Honors credit, as long as you earn a grade of B- or higher. 

Instructor: Etan Markus

Recommended for clinical, developmental, and neuroscience graduate students, as well as upper level undergraduates.

Instructor permission required.

Aging is an important topic of research due to its political, economic and social implications, and the fact that we all will (hopefully) personally experience this stage in the lifespan. We will examine aging at the neurobiological, personal, and family levels. Human data will be presented together with animal models of specific age-related deficits. This will be followed by a presentation of the neurobiological changes found during aging. Finally, the relationship between the behavioral and neurobiological findings will be examined. The emphasis will be on the normal aging process, although some age-related pathologies will also be examined.

Topics include:

  • What is aging? Must we age?
  • Evolution and models of biological aging.
  • Changes in the brain: Brain imaging, EEG, neurons, dendrites & synapses
  • Changes in motor ability and perception
  • Age-related changes in complex cognitive & adaptive functioning
  • Animal models of aging
  • Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease
  • Normal vs. pathological aging

Format: Lectures, class discussion and student presentations.

PSYC 5614: Personnel Psychology

Graduate courses act as Honors credit, as long as you earn a grade of B- or higher.

Instructor:  Janet Barnes-Farrell

Open to psychological sciences majors in their senior year.
Prerequisites: PSYC 2600 (with final grade of A or A-) and instructor consent. If you are currently taking PSYC 2600, permission will be granted contingent on providing the instructor with confirmation of your final grade.

Methods and techniques of personnel psychology.  Topics addressed include job analysis, recruitment, selection and hiring, training and development, performance evaluation, and related areas.

UNIV 3784-Z81: Interdisciplinary Honors Seminar

[UConn Stamford]

Instructor: Richard Watnick

Instructor consent required. To request a permission number, email Professor Watnick and include the name of a faculty member in your field who would recommend your participation.

This seminar has multiple faculty session leaders from different departments. There will be a guest session leader for approximately 10 of the weekly meetings, and the other meetings are for open discussion. The topic of the course will be finalized after considering the interests of the students who enroll; past topics include Ideas and Actions and Globalization, Culture, & Current Challenges. Professor Watnick organizes the course and attends all meetings. Each session leader assigns reading material ahead of time and then presents before opening up discussion.

Sample topics from Spring 2019 (Where are we? How did we get here? Where should we go from here?):

  • Jerome Sehulster (Psychology): Self‐fulfillment and maturity
  • Joel Blatt (History): Uncovering Rosselli’s ideas and actions and its relevance now
  • Chris Bruhl (President and CEO of the Business Council of Fairfield County): Implications of Stamford’s location on policies and strategies
  • Mark Boyer (Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Geography): Adapting to climate change: Managing threats in uncertain times
  • Susan Nesari (Honors student): Respecting refugees: Evaluation of integration practices by Connecticut service providers
  • Fred Roden (English): Harari’s 21 lessons for the 21st century
  • Yonatan Morse (Political Science): Authoritarianism
  • Charles Yarish (Ecology & Evolutionary Biology): Harvesting and maintaining the Sound
  • Ricardo Salazar (History): The crisis of Argentine gradualism

50% of your grade is based on the open discussion in class and on HuskyCT as well as the additional discussion of the topic on your final exam. The other 50% of your grade consists of a term paper or project on a topic in your major under the supervision of a faculty member in your major. You and your faculty supervisor will decide upon the topic and nature of your project so that you can progress in your area of interest. Your faculty supervisor will determine this portion of your grade. Professor Watnick will help you connect with a faculty member if needed.