Honors Course Offerings

Honors classes are characterized by their presentation of interesting and challenging coursework in a supportive, seminar-style format where you will actively engage in the learning process through vibrant discussions. In all your Honors classes, you are expected to demonstrate aptitude in critical thinking, communication, ethical reasoning, and creative exploration of ideas. You will work toward developing these skills further through full participation in the reading, writing, and research projects that are the focus of each Honors class.

For information on our classes, use the links below


Other HON class descriptions 
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Honors class 
HON 29X class
HON 39X class
Other HON class
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Seminar in critical reading/writing

HON 190 

Course description

Honors 190 is a reading- and writing-intensive course designed to introduce you to a liberal studies education. An important part of this course is your acquisition of specific skills:

  • close reading
  • analytical writing
  • cogent speaking
  • attentive listening
  • critical thinking

The readings for this class, as well as the tasks required of you, have been carefully chosen and arranged in order for you to attain and enhance these skills.

Your 190 instructors come from a variety of departments and will help you to define and explore these key issues in a manner that reflects their unique training, specialties, and perspectives.

Select Spring 2014 Honors classes
Select Fall 2014 classes appearing soon!

No Sh*t Sherlock

 HON 291, Spring 2014

Instructor Kevin Ketchner
Sherlock Holmes is perhaps the foremost hero of the post-Darwinian world. His silhouette alone is instantly recognizable, his partnership with Watson is the first bro-mance; his science of deduction which establishes the use of forensics and analysis to dismiss superstition, fear, and ignorance is a staple of primetime television from the US to Finland. Holmes, it could be argued, is the first pop icon of the modern age. The aim of this course is to consider the enduring fascination of this character and how we see community, heroes and villains, science and art through a selection of mediums that have been used to update the personae of Sherlock Holmes, including literature, graphic novels, audio renditions, television and film that reveal the detective’s place in popular culture. We can gain insight about a society from the way it reinvents and embraces a Sherlock Holmes for each new generation.The Hero's Journey


The Hero's Journey

HON 291, Spring 2014
Instructor Emily Davalos

Why do our heroes grip us? What is it about them that can rip our hearts out as well as make them soar? What is it about our heroes that opens a door for us to enter their world and travel step by step alongside them without growing weary? Join me as we analyze our favorite literary heroes in the fantastical worlds of Middle Earth and Hogwarts in our exploration of the hero’s journey in the epic tales Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. What do these tales teach us about character, love, friendship, truth-telling, heroism, justice, law, war, punishment, identity, meaning, death, and free will? Universities across the country are offering courses on Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter because, as Melinda Finberg explains, they help us “understand why we are so driven to invent stories about battling inhuman powers to learn what it means to be human” (“When Harry Potter is in the Classroom, Cameras Role”). We will also focus on language and how it brings our worlds alive for us in light of Tolkien’s languages and Rowling’s use of Latin.


HON 293, Spring 2014
Professor: Ted Martinez

 This class will take a critical look at the “throw away” culture and single use items in the US. We will examine our solid waste stream from point of origin to landfill. We will learn to assess the lifecycle of items from cradle to grave. We will look closely at some of the more graphic examples of human waste on earth. For example, we will examine Catadores “trash pickers” in Brazil, trash pickers in India, the Pacific Garbage patch and other graphic examples of society and waste out of balance. Numerous films exist which examine society and waste such as; Waste Land, Bag it, Plastic Bag, Midway and more. The Artist Chris Jordan has been a longtime critic of throw away culture. His work and that of other artists will also contribute to this class. Finally students will be asked to critically examine their own consumption habits through ecological footprint activities, recycling plant tours, waste stream analysis, and other projects dealing with waste in our society.



HON 293, Spring 2014
Professor: Peter Kosso

This class will be a study of theories of gravity.  We will clarify the descriptions of gravity from Aristotle – a stone falls because it seeks its natural place at the center of the universe, to Newton – a stone falls because of an instantaneous force from the massive earth, to Einstein – a stone falls because, with no forces acting, it follows the curved geodesic of spacetime.  Equally important to understanding these scientific results will be understanding the scientific methods.  By studying how the theories were derived and tested, we will try to clarify what makes science scientific. 

Deconstructing Disney

HON 294-2, Spring 2014
Glenn Hansen 

Steamboat Willie, Epcot Center, princess obsessions, FantasyLand, and animated films have been a part of our culture for generations, entertaining young and old alike. In this class, nothing will be considered sacred about the Disney enterprise as we investigate its effect on society through history, gender issues, racial issues, economics, management, corporate culture, politics, community development, and the arts (to name a few) and consider whether Disney reflects our culture or creates it. Has Disney been a positive, educational influence on our children, values, and culture? Or is it an "evil," monolithic corporation to be feared and despised preying on an insatiable need for entertainment in pursuit of profit? Global perspectives and popular culture critiques guide this class.


...in the Wild West

HON 392, Spring 2014
Season Ellison


Despite commonly presenting itself as objective, the creation of historical narrative is nearly always a subjective process that creates, depends upon, and upholds the values of a given culture at a given time. In 39X we will use historiographical methods to explore “the forces which have shaped the present” myth of the “Wild West,” how the myth is commonly mistaken as historical fact, and that myth’s effect on the actual peoples and communities who populate the land. Using scholarly essays, popular fiction, cowboy and cowgirl poetry, western film, opera, published diaries, newspaper articles, and the special collections Colorado Plateau archive, we will explore the making of the Wild West myth, the creation of history, and the privileged and oppressive forces that the myth both appropriates and conceals. 


Women, Write Now

HON391, Spring 2014
Kerri Quinn

 This course will explore the ways women are portrayed in advertising, television, film, photographs, cartoons, performance arts, literature, religious texts, and news media from various worldwide sources. Through interdisciplinary study students will evaluate the powerful effects these representations have on the political, economic, and social lives of women throughout the world.