Dr. Kristen Olson
Associate Professor of English
ENGL 129H (GH) 3 credits
Four hundred years and still going strong. Why is Shakespeare still popular? In England he’s a symbol of national identity; in fact, the security hologram on many bank cards displays his portrait. The American film industry regularly produces movies and adaptations of his plays, including "O" and "10 Things I Hate About You, as well as “biopics” such as "Shakespeare in Love."
Despite language barriers, Shakespeare’s works are performed around the world in venues ranging from state-of-the-art theatres to remote locations, including prisons. What's the source of Shakespeare’s staying power? How and why do his words speak so clearly to us?
We'll examine theme, form, and language in four of Shakespeare’s major plays: "Hamlet," "Richard III," "A Midsummer Night’s Dream," and "King Lear" as well as several of his shorter poems and sonnets. The Shakespeare Honors Course retains many objectives of the regular Shakespeare course, which include gaining familiarity with aspects of poetics, character, genre, period history, textual history, and performance history. The class will allow students to understand the possibilities open to them through Shakespeare’s works.
The Honors course extends this experience by allowing students to contribute significantly to seminar discussion by incorporating active learning to a greater degree than the traditional Shakespeare class. Shakespeare lives in the contemporary imagination through direct experience and conversation, and these will be the focus of this seminar.
We'll supplement class with the opportunity to attend a professional performance of a Shakespearean play by the Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre. Dr. Olson will be working with the theatre company as dramaturg which is the scholarly consultant for the project. Therefore, students will have access to “behind-the-scenes” insights as the production develops.
History of the Holocaust
Dr. Robert Szymczak
Associate Professor of History
HIST 121U (GH;IL) 3 credits
This perennially popular course will be offered for the first time in a seminar format for Honors students. Course emphasis will be on discussion as well as the opportunity to develop an individualized research project. The course treats a range of material from the period of 1933-1945.
The Science of Physics
Mr. Leo Takahashi
Assistant Professor of Physics
PHYS 001H (GN) 3 credits
This discussion-based seminar examines the historical development and significance of physical science, with emphasis on the nature of physics and its role in modern life, at a conceptual level for students in non-technical majors. Course objectives include the development of an understanding of the scientific method and its application to physics problems of historical interest as well as an appreciation of the historical role played by physics in the development of modern science and cultural and societal issues. The course also offers an understanding of the basic laws of nature as applied to everyday experience, natural phenomena, and applications technologies both old and new.
TAKAHASHI’S TOP TEN REASONS TO TAKE PHYSICS 001H
10. It isn't Physics 007.
9. It isn't a math-intensive, problem-solving course.
8. Physics isn't biology (no pathogens).
7. Physics isn't chemistry (no bad smells).
6. Knowledge (of physics) is power.
5. Physics can tell you a little bit about how the physical world works.
4. Your body operates according to the laws of physics.
3. Applications of physics produced Clark’s Law, “Any sufficiently-advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
2. The vision that physics presents of the physical world is, in its intellectual depth, complexity, and articulation, the most beautiful and wonderful collective work of the human mind.
1. Thinking and talking about physics is fun.
The Hero in World Literature
Dr. Robin Bower
Associate Professor of Spanish
CMLIT 011U (GH;GI) 3 credits
The Hero in World Literature is a discussion-based course that provides an introduction to some of the major texts of the Western Canon and the literary currents that contextualize those works by focusing on literary expression of heroism as it relates to gender, heritage, centrality and marginality, self, and other. The course will sensitize students to the evolution of literary forms and of representational practices through the effects of intertextuality, influence, and contestation. Students will hone their abilities to think critically about the use and power of narrative and to articulate such thinking in concise writing.
A further, and primary, goal of this course is to help students become aware of the ways in which even the most ancient literary themes, characters, modes, and strategies pervade contemporary pop and elite culture.
Readings for the course will include:
Homer, The Iliad and The Odyssey
Sophocles, Oedipus the King
The Holy Bible (New Revised Standard Version): Genesis, Job, Luke, John
Lazarillo de Tormes, a Spanish picaresque novel
Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote
Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn
International Business and Foreign Studies
Dr. Talha Harcar
Associate Professor of Business
IB 303H 3 credits and BA 229H 3 credits
International Business is important and necessary because economic isolationism has become impossible. Failure to become a part of the global market assures a nation of declining economic influence and deteriorating standards of living for its citizens. Therefore, international business presents more opportunities for expansion, growth, and income than does domestic business alone.
This course will cover the major aspects of the international business environment and operations with the emphasis on its impact. You'll learn why international business differs from domestic business. In addition, economic theories on international trade and how managers deal with the uncontrollable forces of the international environment will be explored as will the ways in which international operations effect different parts of a business organization.
In this course, students will have the opportunity to visit Turkey, a country which is a bridge between Europe and Asia. Students will experience European and Asian business and culture during the field trip in March 2008. This course concentrates on the historic as well as current economic and political situation of the region (Europe and Middle East) and how these factors affect the current business environment in the region. This course should acquaint you with the cultural and unique business practices of conducting business in this area of the world. The tour component of the course will include many visits to companies in Turkey, representing a broad cross-section of local and U.S. multinational businesses.
1. Understand the differences that businesses face when operating in an international versus a domestic environment.
2. Examine the various international institutions and practices that impact international business.
3. Develop insight into how the environments in other countries or regions significantly impact international operations.
4. Understand the impact of international operations on the local businesses in your state.
5. Appreciate how cultural differences impact individuals and how those differences must be considered by international businesses.
6. Understand how to research and enter international markets.
DRAMATIC ARTS IN THE MASS MEDIA
Dr. Carol Schafer, Associate Professor of Theatre, Women’s Studies, and Integrative Arts
INART 110 (GA) 3 cr. Enrollment Limit: 12 students
Is there a formula for a successful movie or television drama? How does the director of film or television create meaning? What impact do these dramas have on the beliefs and values of society? This course will develop critical and analytical approaches to dramatic arts primarily in television and film from an audience perspective. We will learn methods of examining the composition of the smallest segment of film or television production, the shot, and we will explore approaches to examining the plot and thematic structure of an entire television program or movie. We also will explore the art of adaptation of a literary work, e.g. epic poem, play, or novel, to film or television. Classes will consist of lectures and discussions. Readings will consist of introductions to stylistic elements and structural components of film and television, as well as critical approaches to the study of mass media in society. In addition, homework assignments will require students to view movies and television programs for class discussion.
Dr. Kristen Olson, Associate Professor of English
ENGL 129H (GH) 3 cr.
The Honors Shakespeare course will look deeply at the intersections among theme, form, and language in four of Shakespeare’s major plays: Hamlet, Othello, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and King Lear. The course retains the objectives of the regular Shakespeare course, which include gaining familiarity with aspects of poetics, character, genre, period history, textual history, and performance history and opening possibilities for what these plays can give us in return over what may be a lifetime of reading. The Honors course extends this experience by relying on students to contribute significantly to seminar discussion and will incorporate active learning to a greater degree than in the traditional Shakespeare course.
Classes will be supplemented by attendance at a professional performance of Hamlet by New York’s Aquila Theatre Company, a national touring company comprised of British and American actors.
Dr. Robin Bower, Assistant Professor of Spanish
SPAN 130H (GI) 3 cr. Enrollment Limit: 12 students
This course will offer students a unique educational experience combining the rigor of classroom discussion, research, and international travel. Throughout the course, discussion will focus upon the constitution of national and cultural identity, giving students a rich contextual background that will inform their own, first-hand experience of the contemporary arts, architecture, and civic life of Spain.
Spain, specifically Barcelona, is particularly appropriate for this focus, since the definition of the national culture has always been delineated against significant minority populations whose contribution to that culture has been problematized. Students will acquire an understanding of the tri-cultural Spain comprised of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism that flourished prior to 1492 and will consider the ways in which the breakdown of that cultural amalgam conditioned Spanish culture and history after 1492. The course will also invite reflection on the contemporary reassertion of minority regional cultures against a dominant national culture as reflected in the linguistic and cultural distinction of the Catalan region of Spain.
Students will visit, among many other destinations, architectural sites including the Gothic Quarter, which represents one of the most intact medieval communities in Europe, the Templo de la Sagrada Familia of Antonio Gaudí, and other modernist and postmodernist buildings and installations; and museums, including those dedicated to such masters of twentieth-century art as Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, and Salvador Dalí.
Students will choose a particular topic at the beginning of the semester, in relation to their major, and will present a preliminary overview of that topic and an outline for a project that they will carry out through traditional library research as well as through the international experience itself, which will take place in Barcelona, Spain from March 6 - 13, 2008. Students will present their final project upon return, and classroom discussion and assignments will invite them to reflect upon both the impact of history and cultural tradition upon contemporary, lived culture, as well as upon the impact of international travel in their own lives, and how it has confirmed or transformed their understanding of themselves, their attitudes, and their aspirations as citizens of a global village.
Dr. Irene Wolf, Instructor in Philosophy
PHIL 007H (GH; GI) 3 cr. Enrollment Limit: 10 students
As a diversity course, a major theme is to demonstrate the similarities between Eastern and Western thinking. Specifically, we will examine an ethical / good life by practicing "ahimsa" (non-violence). We will study Confucius, Buddhism, and Taoism as well as the concept of Nirvana, i.e., enlightenment, focusing on four areas in detail: Hinduism, Sun Tzu, Dali Lama (Tibetan Buddhism), and Zen Buddhism. Using western thinker Thoreau’s work on Civil Disobedience and the Asian thinkers' on nonviolence, Honors students will extend this experience by learning how to become a political activist from an actual activist, investigating ways to become involved in the political area in a “NON-VIOLENT” way. We will engage directly with a professional political advocate in various activities including letter writing, calling state representatives and senators, and making a trip to Harrisburg to meet with various political representatives. Students will keep a journal on these activities and complete a final paper on this project.
This course will also be offered at Penn State Greater Allegheny, and students from Beaver and Greater Allegheny will travel together and collaborate in many components of the course.
GENERAL VIEW OF MATHEMATICS: MATHEMATICAL THOUGHT
Dr. James Monroe, Professor of Mathematics
MATH 035H (GQ) 3 cr. Enrollment Limit: 20 students
Math 35H is not a typical math course. It is not a problem-solving course, as most mathematics courses are. The objective of Math 35 is to give the student a sense of present day mathematics and the culture of mathematics. It is much like a course in architectural history where students learn about various architectural styles but not how, for example, to actually design and build a building in a particular architectural style.
Math 35H will explore, among other issues, Fermat’s Last Theorem and why its proof was announced on the front page of the New York Times. It has a long and interesting history. The theorem is no more complicated than the Pythagorean theorem, and its implications are similarly profound. Other topics will include dynamical systems theory, which has gotten a lot of attention recently. One aspect of this theory postulates that, “If a butterfly in Brazil flaps its wings, it affects the weather in Pennsylvania." We will explain what is behind this statement. Fractals, another topic receiving above-average media play, will also be examined. Again, the objective is not to train professional mathemeticians in these areas, but to foster an understanding of the nature of the topic and why it is of interest.
SHAKESPEAREAN COMEDY: POETRY AND PERFORMANCE
Dr. Carol Schafer, Associate Professor of Theatre, Women’s Studies, and Integrative Arts and Dr. Kristen Olson, Assistant Professor of English
THEA 297H (GA) or ENGL 297H (GH) 3 cr. Enrollment Limit: 12 students, total
Shakespeare was one of the greatest poets to write in the English language; yet, his plays were not just literary “set pieces,” but were written to be performed. This course will explore the relation between literary analysis and theatrical performance by asking students to approach three works from both perspectives, examining the ways in which these methodologies inform one another.
Among the topics we will consider will be the development of "Comedy" as a genre, tracing its evolution across early, middle, and late periods of Shakespeare’s career by examining elements inherited from classical antecedents in Two Gentlemen of Verona, the elaboration on genre conventions emerging in Twelfth Night, and the innovative development of a new comedic genre, “Romance,” represented in The Tempest. To further supplement a hands-on approach to the material in classroom work, we will have a guest demonstration and workshop on clowning techniques such as juggling and busking, and we will attend two local performances - Two Gentlemen of Verona at Point Park Conservatory and Twelfth Night at Pitt Repertory Theatre. (Those of you who attended the Globe Theatre Company’s production of Twelfth Night in November will have an interesting perspective on two very different productions!)
SOCIOLOGY OF THE FAMILY
Dr. JoAnn Chirico, Senior Instructor in Sociology
SOC 030H (GS) 3 cr. Enrollment Limit: 20 students
“Family” is a universal institution. All societies use family as the primary mode of social organization. Because most of us live in families for most of our lives, we assume that we know all there is to know about families. We know that families are important, but there are many important aspects of family that many of us take for granted or don’t understand or about which we have formed incorrect assumptions. Perhaps this contributes to the “crises” facing many families today.
This course will provide an overview of the processes involved in maintaining families from dating, love, marriage, parenting or not parenting, and “empty nesting." We will confront many of the common assumptions about these processes that often get in the way of creating the best families that we can.
We will examine the challenges facing the modern family in the United States, including poverty, the source of many stresses, single parenthood, divorce, and abuse.
While most of our work will focus on the United States, we will look at family structures and processes of formation in other cultures and compare the strengths and weaknesses of the variety of forms. We will have a special section on families in extreme strife around the world.
Class is conducted as a seminar. Class assignments include mini-research exercises, attendance at a theater performance, service learning (guided grant writing for a social service agency), a book review, and a news clipping scrapbook on a contemporary family issue.
HONORS ASTRONOMY: THE ASTRONOMICAL UNIVERSE
Dr. Peter Deutsch, Associate Professor of Physics
ASTRO 001H (GN) 3 cr. Enrollment Limit: 20 students
The course will explore not only the fundamentals of astronomy, but will afford considerable extra scope than does the traditional course, with an emphasis on experimentation and direct observation. The course is intended for students in all majors. Course activities could include:
More emphasis on the universe at large
Our emphasis will be on the extra-solar system, stars, and stellar evolution, including the eventual fate of the sun and our solar system. We will examine exotic objects such as pulsars, extra-solar planets, gamma-ray bursts, galaxies and galactic evolution, evidence of black holes, and theoretical material related to the creation of the universe, the “Big Bang,” etc.
Short out-of-class projects, including observing with a specific objective:
Observing specific stars and nebular object.
Satellite observing, including the International Space Station, shuttle missions, Progress space vehicle, Soyuz space craft observing when and if appropriate. Also, we will look for Iridium flares of the satellite telephone system.
Outside field trip
Visiting locations such as the Allegheny Observatory and the Carnegie Science Center for roof-top observing
Dr. Lee Samuel Finn from Penn State’s Gravity Research Center will discuss the Center’s ground-breaking research on gravity wave observation, a project that is currently re-defining an important area of astronomical theoretical measurement and observation.
Additional mind-stretching exercises
“What if” scenarios and cognitive exercises combining “hard science” and imaginative speculation
Special reserve reading selections
Supplementary reading for our Honors Astronomy course will include the exploration of astronomy or astrophysics in realistic, “serious,” or “hardcore” science fiction, the popular press, and in other readings such as “What if the Moon Did Not Exist?”
We will cover material both with more intensity and at greater length. We will also invert the “traditional” order of the standard astronomy course, beginning on the frontiers of exploration current in the field by studying stars and galaxies, then moving “closer to home,” looking at the solar system, the moon, and planet Earth. The course will provide opportunities to test theoretically observations mathematically, adapting the use of Physics to students’ individual abilities and interests. While this class remains an introductory exploration of astronomy, it will provide individualized opportunities to extend the imagination and range of experience as appropriate to an Honors course.
PUBLIC SPEAKING AND FORENSICS COMPETITON
Team-taught by: Dr. John Chapin, Assistant Professor of Communications and Terrie Baumgardner, Instructor in English and Communications
SPCOMM 297H (GS) 1, 2, or 3cr. (see options below) Enrollment Limit: 10 students
SpCom 297H goes beyond the introductory public speaking course to include other forms of speaking consistent with forensics competition. In addition to researching, composing, and delivering presentations, the course prepares students to provide effective critiques of oral presentations by serving as judges in the annual Penn State Beaver High School / Junior High School Forensics Tournament to be held on campus on March 14, the Friday of spring break. Therefore, a day-long (6+ hours) commitment to serve as a judge at the tournament is a prerequisite for registering for the course. (To find out more about how the Tournament works, visit the following Web sites: www.br.psu.edu/faculty/jrc11/spcom350h.htm and http://www.debate.uvm.uvu/.) At this tournament, which attracts over 200 local participants, you will be able to mentor young competitors who mght share your local school backgrounds. As part of the tournament’s leadership team, you will also observe and experience first-hand the challenges of hosting a large-scale academic competition. In short, you will gain valuable service-learning and peer-mentoring experience for your resume and future community leadership roles.
The class will meet once a week for 50 minutes IN THE FIRST HALF OF THE TERM ONLY of spring term (January 16 - March 20, 2008). It will then meet once (March 20) following spring break. The remaining course hours encompass your day of service at the tournament.
FOR 1 CREDIT, STUDENTS WILL:
Attend and participate regularly in the classes described above.
Serve as a judge throughout the day-long campus tournament.
Write a paper evaluating their campus tournament experience.
FOR 2 CREDITS, STUDENTS WILL:
Complete the requirements for l credit.
Attend and observe the Geneva Forensics Tournament for college students, to be held during one Friday and Saturday (dates yet to be announced) in February 2008.
Write a brief reaction paper on their observations of the Geneva tournament.
FOR 3 CREDITS, STUDENTS WILL:
Complete the requirements for 2 credits.
Compete in the Geneva Tournament, as prepared for in class.
Write a brief paper evaluating their Geneva Tournament competition experience .
HONORS FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
Dr. Caroline Hall, Associate Professor of English, American Studies, and Women’s Studies
ENGL 030 (GWS) 3 cr. Enrollment Limit: 12 students
Like ENGL 15, ENGL 30 is a standard course in expository writing meant to introduce students to the types of analytical academic writing and research expected at the college level. Enrollment in ENGL 30 is based primarily on NSO scores. However, if you have taken AP English in high school and / or have experience writing analytical papers in which you advance an argument about a focused point, then ENGL 30 would be the appropriate course for you. This course examines rhetorical objectives closely, considering the relationship of writer and reader and the accordant shaping of prose to negotiate the distance between the writer and his / her audience. Classes are held seminar-style and incorporate interactive discussion among students and professor.