University Honors Program

Honors Courses

Spring 2019

HONS 160:  Composing a Life through the Contemplative Arts of Mindfulness

Goal Area 1; equivalent to ENGL 191

Fox, C.

Tuesdays, 3-6:30 p.m.

Who are we?  How do we want to relate and live in relation to other people?  These two questions about personal identity and ethics have been central questions for humans across cultures and generations.  In this class we explore and discover insights into questions of identity and ethics.  Using the contemplative arts of writing, reading, listening, yoga, and meditation (the practice of active presence with a curious, inquisitive mind) we will explore how the arts of contemplation can be used to compose one’s sense of self through the written word.

HONS 210:  Digital Storytelling

Goal Area 9

Miltenoff, P.

Thursdays 3:30-6:20 p.m.

Storytelling is as old as humanity and is about humanity.  We will build our own definition of digital storytelling.  The purpose of the course is to introduce students to a broad set of digital storytelling genres and technologies.  Exploring digital storytelling will expand students’ capability to engage diverse publics in the construction and dissemination of knowledge; selling both products and ideas.  This course juxtaposes storytelling with digital storytelling and helps understand and improve our writing and technology skills and our skills as humans.

HONS 213:  Genocide for Democracy

Goal Area 9 Diversity/MGM-Gender

Tabakin, G.

Mondays, 2-4:40 p.m.

How often and with what horror do nations, governments, and the people they represent abhor and condemn the genocidal actions of others while denying, justifying, and exorcising the genocidal actions of our nation, our government, and our complicity?  Let us consider the founding of "our" democracy and "our" conquests on the dismembered bodies, blighted hopes, and convenient disappearance of those who were in our way.  How has the concept of "genocide" been contained to limit culpability?  What is the commercial meaning of genocide in North America?  What about imperialism, race, religion, oil in present day Africa, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Darfur?  In particular we will consider gender, sexual violence, and genocidal intent that has only recently been recognized on the world stage as a full aspect of genocide and the power to destroy persons and people (vide United Nations resolution).

HONS 231:  Telling Hard Stories:  Genocide Hurts 

Goal Area 6 Diversity

Tabakin, G.

Wednesdays, 2-4:40 p.m.

We've heard or seen so many stories about awful things that we've stopped paying attention.  Worse, we fail to own our responsibility to act and respond.  So, PAY ATTENTION - LIVES DEPEND ON THIS (your own included).  How well we respond to such mind-boggling horrors as genocide will depend on how effectively we use the art (or craft) of storytelling.  Facts do not speak for themselves without context and voice.  We will examine the extremes of harm in the stories of genocide and the genocidal but also in terms of our personal experiences - without this empathic awareness we cannot tell the story.  In particular will use Jon Paul Lederach's concept of voice and social justice (see Lederach The Moral Imagination) as we develop our voices so as to tell the story effectively and demonstrate this through performance.  It matters how we tell the story and to whom.  De te fabula narrator - Of you the story is told.

HONS 250 – Critical Thinking in Academic Research

Goal Area 2 and 6

Gruwell, C., Tuesdays and Thursdays 2-3:15 p.m.; also enroll in HONS 106 Wednesday 2-3:15 p.m.

Quinlan, J., Mondays and Wednesdays 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m.; also enroll in HONS 106 Tuesday 11-11:50 a.m.

Gorman, M., Mondays and Wednesdays 9:30-10:45 a.m.; also enroll in HONS 106 Tuesday 9:30-10:20 a.m.

"Knowledge is power.  Information is liberating."  Koffi Annan  How do you use information?  Do you understand its power?  This course examines the critical thinking necessary to assess information and the ability to distinguish fact from fiction.  We will discuss and study arguments, fallacies, and evidence as we look at current events, mainstream controversies and academic/scholarly research.


  • At the beginning of the semester I almost expected this class to be redundant but the class was challenging and I actually learned a lot
  • Expanded my critical thinking skills; better able to analyze sources
  • I learned about critical thinking in academic research; playing games/watching videos that tied in what we were learning about at that time

HONS 260:  Anthropology of Homelessness:  Service-learning for ourselves and our community

Goal Area 2 and 6

Branam Macauley, K.

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 9-9:50 a.m.

Using ethnography and the ethnographic method of participant-observation through a service-learning project, students will examine homelessness within N. America.  Students will receive a grounding in cultural anthropology and method and through this lens they will examine their role as citizens in a multi-cultural society where the population of children experiencing homelessness is on the rise.  Throughout the semester they will consider definitions of homelessness and will examine the bureaucratic structures within which people experiencing homelessness must navigate and the structural violence that they often experience as a result.  After spending 20+ hours of service-learning in the St. Cloud community, students will also be asked to discuss their role in addressing needs facing those experiencing homelessness.

HONS 261:  Changing the World and You

Goal Area 5 Diversity

Anderson, S.

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:30-10:45 a.m.

The class will work together to identify a unique list of events, developments, and people from around the world that have shaped or changed the course of modern history.  The identified list of events, developments, and people and the past, present, and possible future impacts (social, economic, cultural, diversity, etc.) will be explored through discussions, debates, and activities.  Explored information will be related to how people can change the world around them.

Examples of Past Honors Courses

HONORS 230-Seminar in Rock Music
An advanced study of the philosophy, practice, and aesthetics of Rock Music, 1950-present.

HONS 250 - Harry Potter and Philosophy
Do you have fond memories of reading Harry Potter as a child?  Did you enjoy the Harry Potter movies?  Now is your chance to think reflectively and critically on those experiences. 

HONS 263 - Gender & the Body
This course examined key issues around the gendered body.

HONS 260 – Exploring Happiness
Discovering ways to improve your overall state of well-being.