Tag Archives: courses

Message From the Director: New Senior Capstone

21 Mar

Dear University Honors Program Students,

A month or so ago I met with a small group of UHP students for one of our semi-regular “lunch with the director” gatherings. Those students were excited when I told them about a new curricular direction for the program, and I hope you all are too. Over the past year the UHP faculty, staff, and I have decided to revamp the capstone course designed for seniors. While we recognize the value of the senior thesis or project as one key component of a capstone experience, we felt for a variety of reasons – some philosophical, some logistical — that our capstone course could and should take a new form and direction.

The new capstone course will continue the ideal of bringing UHP students together during their senior year to reflect on what they learned during their four years at GWU and what direction their future lives and careers might take. Rather than develop a single course on a single, if broad, theme, we will now offer a series of very short courses – month long mini-seminars. You need only register for one such “mini seminar” during your senior year. These mini-seminars will tackle a big theme – an “enduring question” – from whatever disciplinary perspective a faculty member might represent, or from a variety of perspectives that interest seminar participants. One goal is for you to be able to study again with a faculty member who taught you earlier in the program. Another goal is for you to have a more relaxed academic experience –to engage in intellectual discussion without the “carrot or the stick” of grading. The new capstone course will not have any written requirements or tests associated with it. While it will carry one credit, the only expectation will be that you read material assigned and come prepared for a lively, but informal, conversation with each other and with the faculty member. We are choosing themes that are broad enough to interest all of us. This fall the theme will be love; next spring it will be time. This fall, Professors Winstead, Ralkowski, and myself will offer mini-seminars; next spring, Professors Creppell and Christov will offer mini-seminars, and Professors Kung and Aviv will team-teach one. Each will meet only 4 times over the course of a month.

When registration for Fall 2013 courses appear, you will see descriptions for this fall’s offerings, and next fall the descriptions will be available for the spring offerings. We hope you find the new format enticing and that you will look forward to this component of the senior capstone experience with as much enthusiasm as we feel about it. We have a ways to go in developing our ideas between now and next fall, but with Registration Season upon us, we wanted to let you know right away of the coming change.

-Maria Frawley, Director, University Honors Program

The Difference between Courses and Curriculum

27 Jun
Head Scratcher

It's easy! Don't be confused.

We know there’s a bit of confusion out there among incoming freshmen about what courses to schedule.  Here’s some help:

A curriculum explains generally the program of study.  For example, a curriculum might be “2 courses in natural science, 2 courses in language, and 2 courses in fine art.”  A curriculum typically lists large categories under which many courses may fall.  Sometimes, a curriculum can be very specific and may identify a specific course.

Course offerings explain in detail what courses are offered during a semester.  Courses might be “Astronomy, Spanish II, Black and White Photography.”  Course offerings have a title, a description, professor name, a day and time, and often lists what other requirements the course may fulfill or courses it may be equivalent to.

So, when you see what’s required in your curriculum, don’t start looking for a class called “natural science.”  Look for a class that fulfills that requirement of your curriculum, like “Astronomy.”  College courses are a bit different than most high school courses, and you’re less likely to find cookie-cutter factory style courses (especially in the Honors Program), so make sure to read the course description to understand what course you’re signing up for.

For the Honors Program, you can find our curriculum here. You can find our course offerings here.

DegreeMAP and the UHP Make Course Tracking Easier

7 Mar

As you may have already heard, the University is launching DegreeMAP, a new online advising tool to track students’ progress in their curricula.  DegreeMAP already launched with undergraduates in the School of Business and the School of Engineering and Applied Science, while the rest of the undergraduate programs will begin using DegreeMAP on a rolling basis starting in Summer 2011.  For more information:


We at the Honors Program have been working closely with the Registrar’s Office to ensure that DegreeMAP accurately reflects UHP requirements and how UHP courses fulfill requirements in your degree programs. To that end, we’ll ask you to please keep us updated with any inconsistencies or problems you see with the UHP component of DegreeMAP!  We’re hoping it will be as close to perfect as possible, but something may slip between the cracks so contact Catherine or Liz directly with any feedback on how DegreeMAP is or isn’t working for you!

Last Week of Walk-in Advising!

17 Jan

The End is Coming...

This is the last week to walk-in and speak with an advisor without an appointment!   It’s the final countdown!

Coincidentally, this is also the last week of open-registration.  Get help figuring out the classes you need or want, and get all those other pesky problems out of the way to start the semester off right!

Put the final touches on your schedule, get a little wisdom, and do it whenever you feel like it!  That’s right, it’s walk-ins. (For a limited time only.)

P.S. Remember that we’re closed today.  Happy MLK JR Day!

About that Course You Wanted… [Registration]

10 Jan

You have two weeks to keep adjusting your course schedule.  So, if you find out that the classes you’re in just aren’t for you, or if you really wanted that one course — make use of open registration!  Check out these UHP opportunities:

(You can find full descriptions and course information for all the following here.)

Criminology w/ Prof. Chambliss – New Time!
(HONR 2175:15)
Counts as Self & Society, and more.

This course was just moved to Thursdays from 3:45-6:15pm right in the UHP Club Room.

You cannot pick up a newspaper, pass a bookstore, or turn on the radio or television without being bombarded with accounts of crime. A subject so often discussed and debated is bound to create widely disparate and contradictory perspectives on the subject. This course cuts through the popular images to learn what the systematic study of crime by social scientists teaches us.

Belief w/ Prof. Caws – Seats Now Available!
(HONR 2175:12)
Counts as Arts & Humanities, and more.

This course filled up immediately during the first days of registration, so don’t miss your opportunity to grab a seat while they last!

Belief is a central concept in philosophy, psychology, and politics, and especially in religion. Beliefs can give comfort and confidence; they can also be used to justify conflict and cruelty. Does everybody have them? (Does anybody need them?) What are their foundations, their varieties, their logical structure? How do they relate to knowledge, to opinion, to feeling, to experience? Can they be chosen? What responsibilities follow from holding them? What are our own beliefs, and are we willing to challenge them?

Sex, Lies, and Videotape: an Examination of the 1st Amendment w/ Prof. Kasle
(HONR 2175:10)
Counts as Self & Society, and more.

This annual blockbuster is sure to fill up quick.  Check it out now!

Honors 125: Justice and the Legal System is a prerequisite for this course. This course is an introduction to the study of the First Amendment from the legal (as opposed to the philosophical or political) point of view. The course covers the basic principles of freedom of speech (including the regulation of harmful or subversive speech, libel, obscenity and indecent speech, fighting words, and commercial speech), freedom of association, and freedom of religion. The course will consider the intersection of the First Amendment and cyberspace and cover such topics as the regulation of speech on the Internet.

Honors General Chemistry II w/ Prof. Zysmilich
(HONR 2175:13)
Counts as an Honors Science, but is designed for science majors.

This course is the second half of the two semester sequence. This semester’s laboratory will be more research-oriented than Chemistry 12. Pre-req: Chem 11 or equivalent.

Narrative Medicine: Stories of Illness, Patients, and Caregivers in American History w/ Prof. Gamble
(HONR 2175:14)
Counts as Self & Society, and more.

This seminar will focus on narratives as a mechanism to study the history of American medicine in the 20th century. It will use various styles of narrative such as historical accounts, memoirs, short stories, essays, and films. These stories will provide a framework to examine several themes in the history of medicine including illness from the patient’s perspective, the roles of nurses and physicians, cultural representations of disease, the state of medical knowledge, and societal responses to disease.

Bookmarks of Jewish History w/ Prof. Schwartz – Hands-on with Ancient Texts!
(HONR 2175:16)
Counts as Arts & Humanities, and more.

In this course we will learn about the history of books in general and Jewish books in particular, exploring how texts were made, circulated and read. We will also learn about the ways in which books gave rise to new conceptions of knowledge and authority and even new ideas of what it meant to be Jewish. And we will do all this on site at the Library of Congress and the Kiev Library, in the physical presence of the works we are studying.

The Promotion of Democracy w/ Prof. Perina – 1 Credit
(HONR 2184:10)

This course will provide a better knowledge and understanding of the role played by an international organization such as the Organization of American States (OAS) in the defense and promotion of democracy. We will introduce a theory of democracy and different approaches to promoting it from an international organization’s perspective, with special emphasis on the concrete and practical activities to fulfill this purpose and mandate. The course will identify the instruments of “high politics” at the diplomatic level and “low politics” such as electoral observation missions and technical assistance. We will explore the limitations and tensions between the promotion of democracy and the long held principle of non-intervention, and will examine what critics have to say about this new OAS role.