Spring 2021 Featured Courses

PNB 5700: Sensory Physiology

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

Instructor: Karen Menuz

Recommended preparation: This graduate course is an advanced version of PNB 3700. As such, it is appropriate for senior Honors students with credit for PNB 2274 or 3251.

This course is designed to provide students with an in-depth understanding of sensory physiology. Special attention is paid to the receptors, receptor cells, and tissue physiology in peripheral sensory organs. The course covers senses that are familiar to humans, such as olfaction, taste, vision, touch, and hearing, and those that we lack such as magnetoreception, electroreception, and infrared detection. A comparative approach will be taken, highlighting the common principles and key differences in select sensory systems in vertebrates, invertebrates, and other organisms.

ENGL Honors classes Spring 2021

All three of these courses carry the pre-requisite of first-year writing (ENGL 1007, 1010, 1011, or 2011).

ENGL 1701-003: Creative Writing I

Instructor: Ellen Litman

This introductory class will concentrate on poetry, short fiction, and creative nonfiction. Students will learn by writing original work, reading and discussing the work of published authors, responding to their classmates’ stories, poems, and essays, and trying to help one another. We’ll begin by doing a series of exercises, eventually working our way toward producing three to four poems, one finished piece of creative nonfiction, and one short story, all of which we will workshop in class. Students should be prepared to read and write a lot and actively participate in class and online discussions.

ENGL 2409-001: The Modern Novel

Instructor: Margaret Breen

This is an exciting reading-intensive course. We will be reading a selection of significant novels of the last 125 years from a range of cultural contexts—novels important for both the stories they tell (stories regarding alienation, resilience, resistance, violence, memory, and forgetting) and the ways in which those stories are told (ways regarding narrative technique, point of view, plot construction, metaphor, and so on). In short, this is a course on the modern novel, where “modern” refers to both the new kinds of stories these texts recount and the innovative formal means that facilitate and create that recounting.

Likely texts: Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897), Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway (1925), Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones (2011), Jenny Erpenbeck’s Go, Went, Gone (2017 [2015]), Jordy Rosenberg’s Confessions of the Fox (2018), and Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous (2019)

Likely assignments: a short, 75-minute essay exam; a 5-6 essay or creative project; a final 6-8 page essay or creative project.

CA 1. 

ENGL 3122-001:Irish Literature in English since 1939

Instructor: Mary Burke

Open to juniors or higher.

This Honors course will situate contemporary Irish drama, prose, and poetry in its evolving historical, social, linguistic, and political contexts. No previous knowledge of Irish writing or culture is assumed. Authors to be discussed include Elizabeth Bowen, Seamus Heaney, Martin McDonagh, Glenn Patterson, and Claire Kilroy. Some contemporary Irish films or films on a contemporary Irish theme (e.g. McDonagh’s 2005 Oscar-winning short) will be considered alongside the literary texts. Group discussion will be at the center of class. Writing: a practice essay, a midterm paper, a presentation, film reports, and a final exam.

CA 4-Int.

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.

NRE 4370: Population Dynamics (Conversion Opportunity)

Instructor: Tracy Rittenhouse

Open to students with more than 50 credits.
Recommended preparation: STAT 1100Q and EEB 2244

While this is not an Honors course, Dr. Rittenhouse welcomes Honors students of all majors and would be happy to offer Honors conversions for interested students. 

Why do some wildlife populations become over abundant while others decline towards extinction?  Learn how to create and game a mathematical model, a skill-set applicable to all STEM majors, while also learning why black bear populations are growing throughout North America and African wild dogs nearly went extinct.

MCB 2225: Cell Biology Laboratory

[UConn Storrs]

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 TA. 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.