The following criteria will be considered for registration for all Honors Seminars:
  1. Seniors will be given priority to register for Honors seminars.
  2. We will consider the student’s progress towards the completion of their Honors Baccalaureate (i.e. number of Honors credits taken, second language fulfillment status, and a cumulative GPA of 3.5 and above).
  3. The seminar is advantageous towards the student’s field/s of study and/or future career plans.

SPECIAL NOTE: It is highly recommended that you put your name on multiple seminar lists that work in your schedule or pique your interest to ensure that you are placed in at least one of them.

Fall 2019 Honors Seminars

 

Death Becomes Us: The Mystery of Mortality and the Need for Meaning 

HONR 494-001 (4 credits)
Prerequisites: 
HONR 201 & HONR 202, or HONR 301
Time:    M/W 10:00 – 11:50 am
Place:     
NAH 331
Instructor:  Dr. Thomas P. Donovan, Honors College 

Course Description: 

This seminar seeks to critically explore the role of mortality awareness in the creation of cultural meaning systems. We will explore how our beliefs and values provide a crucial antidote in the face of mortality and against feelings of insignificance and meaninglessness, while also contributing to creating "made-up minds" in the face of uncertainty. We will also explore how challenges to our systems of belief often inspire defensive and aggressive responses to this perceived mortal threat and the implications for our present global reality. This course will examine how humans across cultures manage the enormity of our awareness of finitude and the efforts to give meaning to our temporary existence. 

Thomas Patrick Donovan has been teaching graduate and undergraduate students since 2004, and has served as a Faculty Fellow in the Honors College at Montana State University since 2011. He holds a doctorate in Psychology and is particularly interested in the existential questions regarding living a meaningful life that inform the human condition the world over.   

 

Design Thinking for Our Community

HONR 494-002 (4 credits)  
Prerequisites:  
HONR 201 & HONR 202, or HONR 301 
Time:  M/W 10:00-11:50 am
Place:  
 NAH
Instructors:  
Professors Brad Stanton, Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering and Lucas Graf, Honors College/Music Department

Course Description:

In this upper division seminar course, we explore the process of design thinking in our multidisciplinary class through solving real world problems in our community.  In Fall 2018, we will be applying the design thinking process to complex problems facing our MSU community and beyond.  Examples of past projects are widely varied ranging from re-designing Move-In day on campus (see http://www.montana.edu/news/16319/honors-college-students-design-plan-to-improve-move-in-day) to assisting community non-profits like GVLT, CHP and the Community Cafe to solve tough problems facing their organizations.  While the course is open to all honors students, we are especially seeking those students in humanities, basic science, arts and architecture and business majors. The seminar is capped at 16 and no more than 50% of its students will be from any given college. 

Brad taught high school English for five years before going back to school for engineering where he studied the bidirectional reflectance distribution of various snow surface morphologies as part of a NASA funded research project.  He now teaches for MSU in both the Engineering and Honors Colleges.  In the summers, he instructs on climbing expeditions for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) based out of Lander, WY.  Here at home, Bozeman provides the perfect balance of skiing, trail running, fishing and the more cerebral side of research and teaching.  During mud season, I tinker with model trains or dither in the abstractions of things mathematical that pair well with coffee. He is interested in inspiring students to explore interdisciplinary design through collaborative efforts between educators across all colleges. 

Dr. Lukas Graf is a faculty fellow in the Honors College where he has taught Text and Critics since 2015. He is also currently directing the University Chorus and teaching undergraduate voice students through the school of music. Dr. Graf also directs the Intermountain Opera chorus and the St. James Episcopal Choir in downtown Bozeman. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Graf taught Voice, Choir, and Opera at Minot State University in North Dakota. Dr. Graf received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Montana State University and holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Voice Performance and Pedagogy, and two Masters of Music degrees in Voice Performance and Choral Conducting from the University of Colorady-Boulder.  Dr. Graf has performed and conducted opera, musical theater, in concert, and in ensembles throughout Europe and the United States. As a prior military youth and veteran, he prides himself in the work he does entertaining troops at home and abroad.   

 

Our Nuclear Age

HONR 494-003 (4 credits)  
Prerequisites:  
HONR 201 & HONR 202, or HONR 301 
Time:  M/W 8:00-9:50 am
Place:  
 NAH 331
Instructors:  
Professors Brad Stanton, Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering and Lucas Graf, Honors College/Music Department

Course Description:

This upper division seminar is a multidisciplinary dive into nuclear energy.  We examine the fundamental physics, historical, cultural, political and energy implications of nuclear energy and its applications.  The ultimate goal of the class is not to shape opinions on nuclear energy, but rather to provide the background knowledge, technical foundation and political backstory on this controversial technology. 

Prior to beginning her 11+ year teaching career at MSU, Mandy was a R&D engineer at Los Alamos National Laboratory.  Working there sparked an interest in all things nuclear that she hasn't been able to shake since.  Currently Mandy is the lead instructor for EGEN 310, Multidisciplinary Engineering Design. She also co-teaches the honors version of this course, Design Thinking for Our Community, and has taught a slew of other classes in the NACOE. 

 

Shakespeare in Performance

HONR 494IA-001 (4 credits)
Prerequisites:  HONR 201 &  HONR 202, or HONR 301
Time:  M/W, 3:10 – 5:00 pm
Place:  NAH 331
Instructor: Professor Kent Davis

Course Description:

"Discovering Shakespeare". This seminar will focus on the great works of William Shakespeare. Not only will these pieces be dissected from an academic and literary standpoint, but they will be analyzed in the way the Bard intended them to be, through performance. Led by Joel Jahnke, former artistic director of Montana's Shakespeare in the Parks for over thirty years, this seminar will analyze the works of Shakespeare from all facets including dramaturgical analysis, analysis from the actor’s perspective, including verse work and choices of interpretation, and directorial interpretation of the plays. Shakespeare's intent was never to have his plays read, but to rather be shared through performance. This course will therefore culminate in an end of the semester performance. 

Kent Davis has taught in the Honors College since 2009, and has spent most of his life making stories as a writer, actor, and game designer. His novel for kids, A RIDDLE IN RUBY is slated for release by HarperCollins’ Greenwillow Books in September, 2015. He holds a B.A. in English from the University of Pennsylvania and an MFA in Theater from UC, San Diego.

 

The Art and Science of Medicine

HONR 494RH-01 or 494RS-01 (4 credits)
Prerequisites:  
HONR 201 & HONR 202, or HONR 301
Time:   Tuesday/Thursday, 3:10 – 5:00 pm
Place: 
NAH 331
Instructor: 
Professor Don Demetriades, Department of History and Philosophy and University Honors

Course Description:

Designed for students from all academic disciplines, this seminar will focus on just how broadly and profoundly contemporary medicine touches all of our lives.  It will examine the underlying principles of medicine through the lens of literature, science, art and related fields.  The why of suffering and disease, the how of healing, and the role both patient and physician play in individual health will be explored.  Medical professionals will be invited to visit the seminar.

Professor Demetriades is the past coordinator of the humanities curriculum for the Inteflex Program (Integrated Pre-med/Med Program) at the University of Michigan.  He currently serves as an Assistant Teaching Professor for the MSU Honors College (nine years) and the History and Philosophy Dept. (fifteen years). He holds a BA in Philosophy and Classics (Michigan), an MA in Philosophy (Michigan), and was a Doctoral Candidate in Philosophy (Michigan).  He is also a veteran of thirty-six marathons and twenty ultra-marathons. 

 

Wolves in Yellowstone:  A Social, Scientific and Photographic Journey

HONR 494IN-001 (4 credits)
Prerequisites:   HONR 201 & HONR 202, or HONR 301
Time:   Tuesday/Thursday, 10:00 – 11:50 am
Place:   NAH 331
Instructor:  Dr. John Winnie, Department of Ecology

Course Description:

In this seminar, we will explore society's historic and current attitudes towards wolves framed in the context of wolf reintroduction in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem. Further, we will evaluate wolves' role as ecosystem engineers by examining how they influence prey population dynamics and behavior, and in turn look at how changes in prey may be influencing plant communities. Students are expected to read, understand, synthesize and discuss content and concepts from the social and life sciences, and use this knowledge to inform opinions and positions they express verbally and in writing. In addition, over the course of the semester, students will develop natural history photography skills through a combination of in-class instruction, independent assignments, and 2-3 field trips to Yellowstone National Park and surrounding lands. Students will use their photos to illustrate the ecological effects of wolf reintroduction, and related conservation issues and controversies, in seminar presentations and their final papers. 

John Winnie Jr., PhD, is an Associate Teaching Professor in the Ecology Department here at MSU. He started doing wolf and elk research in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in 2000, publishing regularly on topics ranging from animal behavior to the influences predators have on prey population dynamics, to trophic cascades. Dr. Winnie is also an avid natural history photographer whose work has been widely published.

 eering changed the practice of science in the 19th century. He is interested in all things vertical.

 

Spring 2020 Honors Seminars

 

Design Thinking for Our Community

HONR 494-001 (4 credits) 
Prerequisites: 
HONR 201 & HONR 202, or HONR 301
Time:  Monday/Wednesday, 10:00 – 11:50 am
Place:  
 NAH 325
Instructors: 
Professors Amanda Rutherford, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering and Lucas Graf, Honors College/Music Department

Course Description:

In this upper division seminar course, seminar students will learn to expand their abilities to solve real-world design problems by applying the methods of Design Thinking.  Students will collaborate in multi-disciplinary groups to design and implement human-centered solutions.  Students will utilize campus innovation resources such as the DSEL space in Cheever Hall and the MSU Makerspace.  While ALL majors are highly encouraged to register for this seminar, we especially seek arts, humanities, business and health sciences majors.  The seminar is capped at 18 and no more than 50% of its students will be from any given college. 

Mandy is a full time instructor and a graduate of the MSU Honors program (2001).  Currently, she teaches Multidisciplinary Engineering Design in the College of Engineering and is the faculty point of contact for the newly launched MSU Makerspace.  Prior to MSU, she was a Technical Staff Member at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Dr. Lukas Graf is a faculty fellow in the Honors College where he has taught Text and Critics since 2015. He is also
currently directing the University Chorus and teaching undergraduate voice students through the school of music.
Dr. Graf also directs the Intermountain Opera chorus and the St. James Episcopal Choir in downtown Bozeman.
Prior to this appointment, Dr. Graf taught Voice, Choir, and Opera at Minot State University in North Dakota. Dr.
Graf received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Montana State University and holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree
in Voice Performance and Pedagogy, and two Masters of Music degrees in Voice Performance and Choral Conducting from the University of Colorado-Boulder. Dr. Graf has performed and conducted opera, musical theater, in concert, and in ensembles throughout Europe and the United States. As a prior military youth and veteran, he prides himself in the work he does entertaining troops at home and abroad.

 

Critical Perspectives in Leadership

HONR 494-002 (4 credits) 
Prerequisites: 
HONR 201 & HONR 202, or HONR 301
Time:  Monday/Wednesday, 5:10 - 7:00 pm
Place:   
NAH 325
Instructor: 
Professor Richard Broome, Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship

Course Description:

From local news to world events, leadership issues permeate every aspect of our daily lives. The purpose of this course is to encourage students to develop and exercise critical thinking skills as they discuss and examine the many significant, and diverse issues and realities that impact leadership in the 21st century. Student will explore:

--Historical and contemporary theories of leadership
--Current technological advances and their impacts on leadership
--Recent societal changes that impact leaders
--New definitions of power within a cyber world
--The impact of evolving values and ethics on leadership decision-making
--Gender, race and the cultural intelligence aspects of leadership
--The looming leadership takeover by the Millennial Generation

During this course, students will be encouraged to embrace the belief that their generation does have the potential to transform the world via their understanding of the leadership issues they face.

Professor Broome teaches courses about leadership, management, entrepreneurship and professionalism and has almost 19 years of significant leadership experience with Fortune 500 companies, holding leadership positions at NASDAQ OMX, Computer Sciences Corporation and Booz Allen Hamilton.  He also served in the U.S. Army for 27 years retiring as a full Colonel. He was asked by 2 Presidents to be on their White House staff at the National Security Council where he served on each President’s crisis management team during major international crises. He has a B.S. degree in Psychology from Utah State University, an M.S. degree in Systems Management from the University of Southern California, and an additional M.S. degree in Information Systems from the Naval Postgraduate School. He is a prolific writer with two suspense novels and over 60 published articles and major industry conference presentations to his credit.

 

Studies in World Building

HONR 494-003 (4 credits)
Prerequisites: 
UH/HONR 201 & UH/HONR 202, or UH/HONR 301
Time: Tuesday/Thursday 3:10 – 5:00 pm
Place:  
NAH 331
Instructor:  Professor Kent Davis, Honors College

Course Description:

Students will explore the design and analysis of fictional worlds for narrative media, such as novels, films, graphic novels, and plays. Through collaborative examination of these narrative works the class will delve into the incorporation of cross-disciplinary elements—including mythology, history, anthropology, ethics, politics, biology, economics, geography, and technology—in the construction of fictional settings, as well as to scrutinize their impact on our own world. The study of these fictional works is geared toward a project-driven goal: each student constructing their own original fictional setting.

In the current professional and academic climate, where the abilities to creatively problem-solve and initiate innovative content are increasingly primary indicators of success, much can be learned from an active examination of the constructs of other innovative thinkers. An equally large amount can be learned by honing one's own creative processes. 

The final benefit of such a study is that it can open student architects, scientists, teachers, engineers, and yes, even writers, to the possibility that the way the world is, is not necessarily the way that it could be. 

Kent Davis has taught in the Honors College since 2009, and has spent most of his life making stories as a writer, actor, and game designer. The third volume in his critically acclaimed fantasy adventure trilogy for kids—A Riddle in Ruby—is slated for release by HarperCollins/Greenwillow Books in November, 2017. He holds a B.A. in English from the University of Pennsylvania and an MFA in Theater from UC, San Diego.

 

Death Becomes Us: The Mystery of Mortality and the Need for Meaning

HONR 494-001 (4 credits)
Prerequisites: 
HONR 201 & HONR 202, or HONR 301
Time:   M/W  1:00 – 3:00 pm
Place:   
NAH 325
Instructor:  Dr. Thomas P. Donovan, Honors College 

Course Description:

This seminar seeks to critically explore the role of mortality awareness in the creation of cultural meaning systems. We will explore how our beliefs and values provide a crucial antidote in the face of mortality and against feelings of insignificance and meaninglessness, while also contributing to creating "made-up minds" in the face of uncertainty. We will also explore how challenges to our systems of belief often inspire defensive and aggressive responses to this perceived mortal threat and the implications for our present global reality. This course will examine how humans across cultures manage the enormity of our awareness of finitude and the efforts to give meaning to our temporary existence.

Thomas Patrick Donovan has been teaching graduate and undergraduate students since 2004, and has served as a Faculty Fellow in the Honors College at Montana State University since 2011. He holds a doctorate in Psychology and is particularly interested in the existential questions regarding living a meaningful life that inform the human condition the world over.   

 

Human Nature

HONR 494IH-001 (4 Credits)
Prerequisites:  HONR 201 & HONR 202, or HONR 301
Time: Wednesday, 3:10 - 6:20 pm
Place: Wilson Hall, Room 2274
Instructor(s): Professor Robert Rydell and Distinguished Guests

Course Description:

What exactly is human nature and why do answers to that question matter so much? This seminar examines the problem of human nature from multiple perspectives in the sciences, the humanities, the social sciences and the arts with a view towards encouraging students to “dive deeper” (the phrase is from Moby Dick) into issues that have been fundamental to thinking of ourselves—and our future—as human beings. To what extent do we have free will? How important is “nurture” to understanding our “nature” and vice versa? How do ideas about human nature inform thinking about government and society? Why do ideas about human nature change? Does human nature itself change?

The seminar will meet once a week for three hours and will be organized around three thematic clusters: 1) Human Nature: Our Bodies, Our Minds, Our Selves; 2) Being Human: Nature and Culture; 3) Human Nature and the Body Politic. Each cluster will be divided into four seminar meetings between students and visiting faculty with the final week of each cluster being devoted to synthesis. For each of the seminar meetings with visiting faculty, students will prepare a 1-2 pp. set of questions along with comments about why their questions are significant. At the end of each cluster, the seminar will meet to summarize and synthesize the arguments that have been presented. For a final project, students will work in groups of five and will prepare a creative project for presentation that elucidates the themes of the course.

Professor Rydell is an historian who specializes in the study of American thought and culture. He is especially interested in understanding the intersections between science, the arts, and the humanities and the questions these areas of inquiry raise about the human prospect. Foundational to understanding the human prospect is trying to understand human nature--that is, our complex biological and cultural identities and our capacities to change ourselves and our world for the better or otherwise.

 

The First Amendment:  Free Speech Past, Present and Future

HONR 494IS001 (4 Credits)
Prerequisites: HONR 201 & HONR 202, or HONR 301
Time:  Tuesday/Thursday, 5:10 – 7:00 pm
Place:  NAH 329
Instructor:  Professor Susan Dana, College of Business


Course Description:
 

Despite a century of Supreme Court decisions interpreting the First Amendment, free speech remains a controversial issue in the United States. This course is designed to give you an understanding of the evolution of the U.S. Supreme Court’s jurisprudence of the First Amendment and to help you develop your own philosophy of free speech. The course begins with an overview of the history and theories of the First Amendment, and then moves on to some of the key areas in which the Supreme Court has developed and grappled with these theories, including national security, defamation, obscenity and indecency, and commercial speech. We then consider some currently controversial areas, including hate speech, free speech on campus, campaign funding, and free speech on the Internet. Finally, the course explores free speech protection/regulation in other countries and alternative theories of the First Amendment.


The course is modeled after a law school seminar in which our primary sources will be U.S. Supreme Court opinions and law review articles, supplemented by other scholarly articles and books. Discussions will be conducted through a friendly Socratic method in which we ask each other questions to better understand both legal concepts and our own underlying assumptions and values. Assignments, which will strongly emphasize critical thinking and persuasive writing, will include law school-type case briefs, leading several class discussions, a moot court oral argument on a pending case before a federal court, and an in-depth research paper on a current free speech issue. The course should appeal to those interested in free speech issues as well as those interested in law.

Prof. Dana has an A.B. in Classics from Brown University and a J.D. from Stanford Law School where she was the Editor-in-Chief of the Stanford Journal of International Law. She has worked for a leading Washington D.C. law firm, clerked for a judge, and taught at the University of Montana School of Law. Since coming to MSU she has taught a variety of courses at the Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship including Introduction to Business Law, served as Associate Dean for ten years and Interim Dean for one year, and served as the MSU Pre-Law Advisor. Her research interests include human resources management, free speech in the workplace and campaign finance law. She has won numerous teaching awards at MSU, including the President’s Excellence in Teaching Award.

 

Occupation and Ownership of Desire: Mapping the Greater Yellowstone Region

HONR 494RA-001 (4 Credits)
Prerequisites: HONR 201 & HONR 202, or HONR 301
Time:  Monday/Wednesday 8:00-9:50 am
Place:  NAH 329
Instructor:  Bradford Watson, Architecture


Course Description: 

This seminar will utilize the methodology of mapping, best described by James Corner, to examine the present-day occupation of the Greater Yellowstone Region through the lens of territory and question our occupation of this place. It will examine our role within the ecology and the implications of our growing visitation and population. It will explore the interconnected relationships, not always visible, that have informed the place and set our current trajectory to find new opportunities. It will examine this through historic texts that reveal both the realities and attitudes that set our current condition. We have radically informed the present-day West in ways that may not be evident. Our impact is not just in the construction of roads and communities. Our policies and language are perhaps more impactful than our presence. William Cronon describes Wilderness as “Far from being the one place on earth that stands apart from humanity, it is quite profoundly a human creation” questioning if we can still have the desired nature that draws people.  If we accept the premise that we might be “loving these places to death”, how do we proceed as we are inextricably tied to the ideals, be they a reality or based on myth, of The West?.

This seminar will utilize Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator for the creation of the visual communication of research.  No previous experience with this software is required. All Adobe products are available for free to MSU students.

Bradford Watson is an architect who has been a faculty member in the School of Architecture since 2012.  His research examines our present day inhabitation of the Mountain West region in relationship to extraction and tourism. 

 

The Art and Science of Medicine

HONR 494RH-01 or 494RS-01 (4 credits)
Prerequisites:
HONR 201 & HONR 202, or HONR 301
Time:   Tuesday/Thursday, 3:10 – 5:00 pm
Place: 
NAH 329
Instructor: 
Professor Don Demetriades, Department of History and Philosophy and University Honors


Course Description:

Designed for students from all academic disciplines, this seminar will focus on just how broadly and profoundly contemporary medicine touches all of our lives.  It will examine the underlying principles of medicine through the lens of literature, science, art and related fields.  The why of suffering and disease, the how of healing, and the role both patient and physician play in individual health will be explored.  Medical professionals will be invited to visit the seminar.

Professor Demetriades is the past coordinator of the humanities curriculum for the Inteflex Program (Integrated Pre-med/Med Program) at the University of Michigan.  He currently serves as an Assistant Teaching Professor for the MSU Honors College (nine years) and the History and Philosophy Dept. (fifteen years). He holds a BA in Philosophy and Classics (Michigan), an MA in Philosophy (Michigan), and was a Doctoral Candidate in Philosophy (Michigan).  He is also a veteran of thirty-six marathons and twenty ultra-marathons.