Honors Seminars

Fall 2022

An Honors Seminar is a 300-400 level course reserved exclusively for honors students. Honors Seminars will rotate every semester and are limited to 15-20 students per class. No prerequisites are needed. Enroll in an Honors Seminar for fall 2022! Registration is available in MyNIU.

This seminar focuses on three of the most famous and influential books in Western literary history: Homer’s Iliad, Homer’s Odyssey, and Virgil’s Aeneid. We will spend the semester studying these narrative poems in English translation—including commentary on literary, historical, and intellectual contexts.

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

You will consider historical and philosophical perspectives on the role of work in life, as well as critique popular narratives around passion, career choice and happiness. You'll examine trends and inequities in the U.S. labor market and contextualize discussions about work into broader frameworks of individual mental health and community wellness. You will develop personal meaning profiles to help guide their career planning, decision making, lifelong learning and civic engagement. 

Taught by Melissa Fickling, Ph.D., Department of Counseling and Higher Education 

This seminar is designed to create good consumers of empirical studies in social justice settings. Issues related to social justice are often articulated and debated through analyses of quantitative data. You will improve their quantitative literacy so they can learn to critically analyze the common types of empirical studies that they encounter in daily life. 

Taught by Alan M. Polansky, Ph.D., Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science

This seminar will invite students to critically analyze film, TV and other media that tell us stories about what it means to be successful, who can make it, and what is the cost of success. The seminar will include sampling various media and analyzing the representation of entrepreneurship and creativity through the lens of justice and equity. 

Taught by Laura Vazquez, Ph.D., Department of Communication and Furkan Gur, Ph.D., Department of Management

Perhaps no other institution is so heavily mythologized in the popular consciousness as the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States.  It is both hailed by some as the stealthy protector of world liberty and freedom and reviled by others as the epitome of tyranny and democratic hypocrisy. This seminar examines the history of this influential and controversial agency not solely from an American perspective but also from a global historical vantage, drawing attention to its impact worldwide.   

Taught by Eric Jones, Ph.D., Department of History 

This seminar explores the intersection between humor and politics, crossing boundaries between politics, history, philosophy, and literature. Themes like satire, censorship, free speech in historical and current contexts will be pursued. We will be particularly interested in discussing the connections between liberty, democracy, and ridicule (especially ridicule of those in power). We will read primary sources, including some famous examples of satire in literature (such as Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal), as well as reflect on political controversies regarding satire, and address current trends like the consumption of political news through comedy shows.

Taught by Andrea Radasanu, Ph.D., Department of Political Science and Honors Director

Technology is a pervasive element to living in the 21st century. In this seminar, students will consider intended and unintended consequences of mass access to major tech advances, including inequities in tracking, use, and emergent equity issues related to intrusiveness and data mining.

Taught by: Christine Nguyen, Ph. D., Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and Nicholas A. Pohlman, Ph.D., Department of Mechanical Engineering

Contact Us

University Honors Program 
Campus Life Building 110
DeKalb, IL 60115

815-753-0694
honors@niu.edu

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