HONR210 and the Honors Program

Craig Watson, English, Chairperson

Honors Committee:
George Arnold, Dean of the College
Christopher Fasano, Physics
David Suda, Humanities, History

The Honors Program at Monmouth

College is intended for a select group of well-qualified students and incorporates a variety of special courses germane to liberal and general education. Some honors courses taken by Honors students may substitute for a course requirement in General Education * (see the requirements for substitution following this description). Each of the Honors courses is distinctive and may not be cross-listed for credit in other departments. The first course in the Program (110: Honors I)serves both to extend the issues raised in Freshman Seminar and to introduce the perspectives of various branches of intellectual inquiry. In the middle section of the Program, students take four courses that allow in-depth examination of the thought and work of figures and of events, movements, and ideas instrumental in shaping our world (Honors 210). Finally, students enroll in a senior level independent study (410: Honors II) whose project (and public presentation) ideally involves interdisciplinary inquiry and more than one faculty adviser.

Acceptance into the Program is determined competitively and normally occurs at the end  of the first semester of the freshman year. Sophomores, and transfer students may also seek admission. Their applications will be considered on an individual basis ** (see "Application and Admission to the Honors Program" following this description). To be recognized as an Honors Graduate, students must have at least 18 semester hours, including Honors I and II, attain at least a B-in each course, and graduate with a college-wide 3.5 G.P.A. A participant in an officially sanctioned ACM-GLCA off-campus study program may be released from one Honors 210 course. Possible release from the Senior Year Honors Course because of Off-Campus Program attendance will be negotiated on a case by case basis with the Honors Committee.

Courses are reserved initially for Honors students. If space is available, others are encouraged to enroll for elective credit with the consent of the instructor.

110. Honors I. Wonder, Ideas, Trials. A critical examination of texts and issues related to the acquisition of knowledge, the various means by which we know, and historical-cultural factors influencing what we know. The course is organized from a comparative and interdisciplinary perspective. (Three credits.) (Prof. Craig Watson)

210. Selected Topics. A critical examination of a seminal figure, event, movement, or idea recognized as significant in shaping our collective history. A minimum of four courses in required. (Three credits each.)

Current courses in Selected Topics:
The Births and Deaths of Tragedy. The
course first examines literary definitions and representative types of tragic drama, tracing the genre from Greek plays and Aristotle's Poetics through Senecan, Elizabethan, neo-classical French, then modern European and American works. Readings and discussion next focus attention upon philosophical theories of tragedy, particularly of the 19th century--theories which find in literary works ways of describing "tragedy in the world." Consideration is subsequently given to Freud's tragic consciousness and literary indebtedness to Greek tragedy; and to reports of intellectual and literary historians in the 20th century which pronounce the "death of tragedy." (Prof. Craig Watson)

Signifying Voices: The Caribbean. An in-depth study of the Anglophone, Francophone, and Hispanophone Caribbean, including the Greater Antilles (Cuba, Haiti, The Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Jamaica), and the Lesser Antilles (Guadeloupe, Martinique, Trinidad) and touching on Mexico and the countries of Central and South America where their histories and cultures pertain to the Caribbean. The emphasis is on understanding the peoples of the region through their own eyes, and largely through their literary traditions, but also including other artistic traditions, notably music and dance. Course participants will also study the history and the politically and economically strategic significance of the region. (Prof. Susan Holm, Prof. Marie-Josephe Descas)

Nobel Laureates: Modern Literature. The course is an overview of modern world literature by way of the recipients of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Works will be selected from the following authors: Albert Camus, Yasunari Kawabata, Samuel Beckett, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Wole Soyinka, Heinrich Böll, Thomas Mann, Naguib Mahfouz, Luigi Pirandello, Ivo Andríc, Patrick White, Czeslaw Milosz, Nadine Gordimer. If feasible, a work by the recipient of the 1998 prize will be included. The primary focus of the course is a critical appreciation of these writings as works of art. Secondarily, the breadth of the literature will invite comparative analysis both in literary and cultural terms. (Prof. David Suda)

The Human Dialogue. A course organized around the theme of dialogue as a principle for interpreting the human condition. The human sciences most commonly focus on either the individual self (e.g., psychology) or the social structures within which people live (e.g., sociology). By contrast a dialogical approach centers attention on the interaction between individuals as a generative force which can account for outcomes of both self and social structure. Topics covered while examining the dialogical principle will include: dialogue as a pragmatic of communication and conversation, dialogue as a philosophical concept, dialogue as a basis for ethics, and dialogue as the progenitor of the self. Students will read and discuss critical texts, reflect on dialogical experience in journals, analyze communicative interactions, and pursue an individual project. (Prof. Lee McGaan)

The Quantum World: The ideas of modern physics have profoundly changed our view of the universe and our role in it. The application of those ideas has had and will continue to have tremendous technological, social and ethical consequences. This course will focus on the conceptual understanding of quantum theory, cosmology, theories of chaos, and on the philosophical and practical consequences of those ideas. Particular attention will be paid to the historical development of these ideas and to the experimental data that support them. The consequences of a world view that includes quantum physics, modern cosmology, and new understandings of complexity will be discussed and analyzed in detail. This discussion may include topics dealing with ethical dilemmas and questions that arise because of both the world view and the practical and technological results of those ideas.

Reading Through the Millennia: An examination of texts from three millennial transitions (1 B.C., 1000 A.D., and 2000 A.D.). With an emphasis on general cultural and historical characteristics as well as prophetic/predictive aspects of each period.

410. Honors II. The capstone course attempts to synthesize the students’ intellectual experiences as well as to anticipate conditions and ideas for the future. Students are expected to research and to write a major independent study and to present their papers in a public forum. Prerequisite: Senior standing. (Three hours.) (Staff)

* substitution for General Education  required courses:
Honors students who complete the program may substitute specifically designated Honors 210 courses for the following General Education requirements: 1. A lab science course in the rubric "Physical Universe and its Life Forms" 2. A "Human Societies" course other than "Comparative Societies" 3. An "appreciation" course under the rubric "Beauty and Meaning in Works of Art" 4. A course listed under the rubric "Issues and Ideas." (The Registrar will normally count an Honors 210 course-not otherwise assigned as a substitute for any other General Education course—as a substitute for the "Issues and Ideas" course, for all students completing the program.)

For any student enrolled in the Honors program but who subsequently fails to complete it, the Registrar will evaluate the student transcript upon student notification of discontinuance from Honors, and apprize the student of remaining General Education requirements for graduation.

A grade of "B-" or better is required in each Honors course. If a student falls below that grade in a particular Honors course and leaves the program subsequently, that course will substitute for a designated General Education requirement. Should a student complete all requirements in Honors but fail to graduate with "Honors" because of a college-wide G.P.A. below 3.5, "designated" Honors courses taken by the student will substitute for the pertinent General Education courses.

** Application and Admission to the Honors Program
An interested student should solicit a confidential letter of recommendation from a faculty member familiar with his or her
academic performance. Typically, a letter of recommendation will address the student's preparation in terms of intellectual capacity, written and oral abilities, class participation, and it will provide judgments regarding independence, initiative, and creativity. Applicants may request more than one letter of recommendation. Applicants are asked, also, to submit a formal essay of about 400-500 words, in which they review their expectations of the program and their motivations for applying.
Along with the essay, applicants should also submit a recent sample of their writing (e.g., a Freshman Seminar paper). The Honors Committee will also review applicants’ high school records and ACT scores. All application material should be submitted to Craig Watson, Honors Program Coordinator. 

This webpage was prepared by Professor Thomas J. Sienkewicz. If you have any questions, you can contact him at toms@monm.edu.

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