Honors Seminars

Spring 2021

An Honors seminar is 300-400 level, limited to 15-20 students per class and satisfies upper division requirements. No prerequisites needed. Enroll in an Honors Seminar for spring 2021! Registration is available in MyNIU.

"This seminar is devoted to one of the most famous and influential books in literary history: Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote. This work, initially published in two phases (1605 and 1615), tends to be considered the first modern novel. At the turn of the 21st century, a group of 100 prominent authors worldwide voted Don Quixote #1 in the history of fiction. This seminar will explore this literary masterpiece and the fascinating relationships between society and human imagination across time periods and cultures.

Taught by Timothy Crowley, Ph.D., Department of English

Many medievalists have been struck by the uses and abuses of medieval history in the HBO television series Game of Thrones. This course will address how and why the showrunners drew from the Middle Ages, whether consciously or unconsciously, in creating a “believable” or “realistic” fantasy world. As a result, we will explore ways modern people understand, interpret, and selectively emphasize certain aspects of the Middle Ages to comment on contemporary issues and to come to terms with the cultural meanings of the past. As we work our way through the series Game of Thrones, we will also spend time reading texts from the Middle Ages, scholarly texts about the Middle Ages, recent commentaries on allegedly medieval aspects of Game of Thrones, and popular analyses of the series.

Taught by Valerie Garver, Ph.D., Department of History

Thinking about you can improve health outcomes or patient experiences? The World Health Organization recommends interprofessional education. Learn about, from, and with each other through readings, discussion, and group projects to learn about different professions and develop your skills with collaboration. In this class, you will participate in interactive learning with other disciplines to prepare you for “deliberatively working together” to improve community and population health care systems.

Taught by Beverly Henry, Ph.D., School of Interdisciplinary Health Professions

Interest in personal background has become a priority in our current era. This is the newest form of “exploration,” in which genetic ancestry is plumbed to provide direction for the present. The popularity of genetic testing via kits such as 23andme continues to increase as individuals seek answers to their origins. As genetics tests also reveal DNA variation that may indicate health status, many hope to identify disease risks both for themselves and future offspring. The study of evolution is an essential complement of this exploration as it reveals the steady unfolding of the genetic signature of humankind as a whole.

Taught by Clare Kron, Ph.D., Department of Biological Sciences

In the 1960s, President Nixon claimed a ‘War on Drugs.’ Since that time, we have seen changes in drugs and a drug epidemic that has impacted communities. This course examines the possible solutions to drug overdoses through community health and sociological lens. We have broken the course up into three parts. First, we will begin the class discussing the historical changes in the health and criminal justice system. Second, we will then focus on social class, racial/ethnic groups, sexualities, abilities, citizenship status and gender positions in community health and the criminal justice system. Third, we will examine the labor practices of professionals. Students will explore ways of effectively analyzing the outcome effectiveness of different programs/policies and will be required to gain firsthand knowledge by doing research in the greater Northern Illinois area.

Taught by Kari Hickey, Ph.D., Department of Nursing and Carol Walther, Ph.D., Department of Sociology

In the United States and across the globe, individuals and organizations look to sports as a tool to teach positive values and life skills. Just look at policy statements of the International Olympic Committee, UNICEF, UNESCO, YMCA, Active Schools USA and the Laureus Foundation. In addition to fostering individual success, there is growing interest in using sport as a lever for social change (i.e., to promote peace and community development). In this course, you will explore this issue in detail. You will examine the potential of sport to support both positive youth development and social change.

Taught by Paul Wright, Ph.D., Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education

Contact Us

University Honors Program 
Campus Life Building 110
DeKalb, IL 60115

815-753-0694
honors@niu.edu

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